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‘Ralive, Tsalive, Galive’: The Kashmir Files should shake our collective conscience and make our politicians, media who quietly let Kashmiri Hindus die accountable

Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. Which is why Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri's The Kashmir Files should be seen by every Indian so the bloody history of the valley is not forgotten

Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files releases this Friday, March 11. Last evening a special screening was held in Delhi which I had the privilege of attending. I am not a film critic, so the following is not a film review. Plus, how do you ‘review’ tragedies of people who have lived the trauma? These are a collection of my thoughts on seeing something on screen that sent a chill down my spine.

“Nirwa, the atrocities inflicted on us dismissed by the media, politicians and academics of India and it took someone 32 years to tell our story,” a Kashmiri Hindu friend of mine tells me. He and his family lived in camps in Jammu for a few years after the Islamic terrorists backed and supported by Pakistan as well as some Indian politicians whose hearts beat for Pakistan, unleashed terror. “You watched a virtual depiction of our reality, our lived trauma packed in less than 3 hours and that made you cry, we have lived through it,” he tells me.

There is nothing in the film we don’t already know. That the terrorists like Yasin Malik got tacit support and endorsement from those in power and the ‘intellectuals’ is not a secret.

Terrorist Yasin Malik with the then PM Dr Manmohan Singh, Arundhati Roy (author and ‘activist’), Farooq Abdullah (ex-Kashmir CM) and Hafeez Saeed (terrorist)

Just look at the happy faces. Dr Manmohan Singh, the then Prime Minister of India invited JKLF terrorist Yasin Malik ‘for talks’. He had also met Dr Singh in 2006 where he had claimed he asked the government to hold talks with ‘militant leaders’. Essentially, the Congress ruled government negotiated with terrorists. Yasin Malik is one of the terrorists belonging to Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).

Another JKLF terrorist, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate confessed on camera that he had killed 20 Kashmiri Hindus.

He apparently got ‘orders’ to kill Kashmiri Hindus from other top terrorists of JKLF. The first person he killed was Satish Kumar Tickoo, who was also his friend.

Speaking of which, the Kashmiri Hindu friend of mine tells me how at one point, a few years after the exodus, he along with his mother went back to their old home to get some paperwork done. They went to his mother’s friend’s house for tea and snacks. The friend had promised to take care of the house and keep things safe for them. Except, when they left, his mother was silent for a while. While having tea it had dawned on her that the carpet they were sitting on was from their old home they had left behind.

The stories of Muslim neighbours turning on their Hindu neighbours are so many from the valley that they are now unbelievable. Except, when you see the particular scene in the film which shows this deceit it leaves you with stunned silence. The scene is brutal on so many levels that the liberal cynic in me wanted to sometimes dismiss it as creative freedom. I had to remind myself that no, this actually happened.

That Islamists chanted ‘Ralive, tsalive, galive’ ‘convert (to Islam), run or die’ on the streets of Kashmir. That they announced these from the loudspeakers of the mosques, asking Kashmiri Hindu men to leave the valley, leaving behind their women so that they can finally have their ‘azaadi’ (freedom). As Mithun Chakraborty very correctly said in the film that ‘Azaadi’ is the song of terrorism. It is, therefore, shocking when one saw the same ‘azaadi’ chants, most of which were raised by Muslim mobs on the streets of Delhi in 2019-2020. The ‘liberals’ of India, too, have romanticised the idea of ‘freedom of Kashmir’. Except, because they live in their bubble and echo chamber, they don’t realise that the terrorists’ slogans they are chanting actually want to ‘free’ Kashmir from the ‘kafirs’.

What is even more astonishing is that it took someone 32 years to tell the story of Kashmiri Hindus. Minus the romanticisation of terrorism or justifying them picking up arms. Even then, there are people who believe there was no exodus, that there was no genocide, that Kashmiri Hindus were not forced out of their homes but they left at their own free will. Many have ‘justified’ the exodus claiming how the ‘monopoly’ of Kashmiri Hindus in government jobs irked the Muslims who were ‘oppressed’ and hence they picked up arms. In 32 years, we haven’t quite heard of the Kashmiri Hindus picking up arms despite having survived rapes, witnessing murders, living in absolute poverty after being driven away from homes and countless cruelty inflicted upon them by Islamists.

Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. Whether Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files is a cinematic brilliance or not is not the question here. The fact that he dared to make a movie about something that is pushed under the rug for 32 years now itself deserves an applaud. Every Indian must watch this movie, not only because it is very well made with brilliant performances but because we need to know what our school history books have not taught us.

So that ‘azaadi’ chants do not drive away more Hindus from their homes and that when the time comes when Kashmiri Hindus return to their homes in the valley, their wounds are healed.

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Nirwa Mehta
Nirwa Mehta
Politically incorrect. Author, Flawed But Fabulous.

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