MENTAL AND PHYSICAL OPPRESSION BY ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS: THE BADAMWARI FIASCO

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“Behind the safe shield of Islam, their primary goal has always been, and will always remain, to destruct and to deprive the people of Kashmir of solitude and happiness. They thrive on bloodshed and chaos. Violence is their only method of communication, and hatred is their only tool. They do not care for the lives of innocent people. They actually don’t care for peace-making.”

 Zoon

There is no questioning how terrorism has devastated Kashmir. Oppression, physical as well as mental, impacts individuals in the most brutal ways possible. It lowers self-esteem, reduces life opportunities, puts people in danger of rape, abuse, and other forms of violence. There is a well-established and extremely significant connection between the well-being of a person and the environment they live in. An oppressive environment tends to have an adverse effect on mental wellbeing and may cause several disorders. Taking care of one’s mental health is just as important as caring for one’s physical health. However, this seems rather impossible in a place like Kashmir.

MALICIOUS MOTIVES OF ISLAMIC FUNDAMNETALISTS

Over the course of several decades, the people of Kashmir have gone through tumultuous times. They have been misunderstood, oppressed, and violated at the hands of terrorists. Various terrorist and Islamic fundamentalist organizations have time and again committed hazardous atrocities and shattered peace in Kashmir. These terrorist organizations not only choose violence every day but also aim at harming people mentally. They feed off of fear and unrest. They have crushed any and every hope that Kashmiris could ever harbor. The people of this so-called heaven on earth have experienced nothing but crippling grief and trauma, only because of cowards that hide behind the name of jihad and shamelessly justify their extremist actions.

To somehow defeat the purpose of the terrorists, the artists of Kashmir have made tremendous and highly appreciable efforts toward promoting the Kashmiri culture and music, knowing its therapeutic impact upon people. Research shows the benefits of music therapy for various mental health conditions, including depression and trauma. Music acts as a medium for processing emotions, trauma, and grief. Music can also be utilized as a regulating or calming agent for anxiety or for dystopic living conditions. Kashmiri artists have been tirelessly working toward the noble cause of rejuvenating the lives of people through their enchanting creativity and imagination, which intricately reflects in their rich art forms—be it music, poetry, cinema, or dance. They have been achieving major milestones by promoting their art not only in the valley itself, but all around the globe. They organize remarkable shows and events to help the people of Kashmir gain some normalcy in life, and reunite by the brotherhood that our heritage fosters.

THE BADAMWARI FIASCO

One such event was organized at the Badamwari Garden, Srinagar, on March 28, 2021. The UT Administration funded and organized a show for the refreshment and entertainment of people, but certain brainwashed, radical Islamist youth of our valley would not have it. Hundreds of people joyfully gathered in the beautiful Badamwari garden, after a year of quarantine, to enjoy and entertain themselves. About a hundred artistes were to perform and showcase their talents.

Just as a respected female performer started singing, a group of intolerant Islamic fundamentalists started creating a ruckus. The ruckus in the name of Islamic intolerance was such that people’s lives ended up in danger. The Islamic fundamentalists beat the artistes present there, including singers, instrumentalists, coordinators and other staff. They also broke the equipment and stage. People got anxious and panicked. A huge chaos prevailed. These militants chanted their usual mantra: Hum kya chahte? Azaadi! They think that stunts like these can get them the azaadi they seemingly want, or achieve any good at all? When has violence and bloodshed ever been an answer?

This was definitely not the first time something like this happened, and probably not the last. These infiltrators, using religion as an excuse, have never let the people of this valley live in the peace and harmony they deserve. The state is trying its best to normalize the situation in Kashmir and improve people’s lives here. But militants like these make it extremely difficult to do so. Behind the safe shield of Islam, their primary goal has always been, and will always remain, to destruct and to deprive the people of Kashmir of solitude and happiness. They thrive on bloodshed and chaos. Violence is their only method of communication, and hatred is their only tool. They do not care for the lives of innocent people, and do not actually care for peace-making.

The Toxic Impact On Society

The worst part is, due to events like the Badamwari fiasco, the mindset of Kashmiri people has been extremely polarized. We now have people who support the kind of atrocious behaviour these radical Islamists showcase and promote. A section of Kashmiris have been tricked into believing that this misery is what they deserve and that they are destined to lead this horrendous lifestyle.

The people of Kashmir have been deprived of all forms of entertainment. Most cinema halls in Kashmir closed in the 1990s due to diktats issued by terrorist groups. By enforcing the closure of all entertainment hubs, these organizations have stripped Kashmiris of their basic human rights of entertainment and joy. They have forced the artists to stop with their passion and profession of filling the lives of people with colors of joy.

All this is done by these radical Islamists in the pretence of Islamic tradition and values. They hide behind the curtain of religion to fulfill their ulterior motive of spreading hate and violence. They say that according to Islam, all such activities are forbidden. But even in Saudi Arabia, the most Islamic country in the world, people have access to recreational centers like theatres, auditoriums, etc. Women artists have equal opportunities in Saudi whereas their counterparts in Kashmir are suffering at the hands of these terrorists in the name of religion.

What’s more is that the youth of Kashmir, the upcoming artists and budding talents of the valley are not able to get exposure to various art forms. Their potential as the future of Kashmir’s art and culture has been snuffed. The threats and restrictions that these terrorist organizations have imposed upon us have led to an all-round decline and dip in the morale of Kashmiris.

Art Is Our Shield Against Mental Trauma

The militants and the terrorist organizations have always posed hurdles in the way of the cultural rejuvenation of the people of Kashmir. Despite these immense challenges, the artist community has always come together to withstand the storm. The terrorists have always aimed at decimating the cultural heritage of Kashmir in the name of religion. Their ultimate goal is disharmony and bloodshed. These artists, with the relentless support from the state, are always ready to rebuild the artistic scene of Kashmir and its legacy, just so the people of Kashmir can experience a sliver of hope and joyful entertainment. We believe that through the support of the state, there will be scope for the artistic exploration of talents and its enrichment in the youth of Kashmir.

The artists are trying hard to liberate the minds of the people from the clutches of despair and bleak lifestyle that these terrorists and foes of humanity have imposed upon us. With the support of the state and the undying spirit of our artists to fight for the people of Kashmir, the art and culture of Kashmir will stand as a barrier between the devastating ideologies and intentions of these terrorists, and the mental wellbeing of the people.

Islamist Assault on Our Culture

A sinister game is at play in Kashmir. There is an attempt by Islamists to obliterate the rich cultural history of Kashmir. Indoctrination among a section of the populace is so deep that they have forgotten the vital place of women on our cultural landscape. It is extremely saddening to see the sadist comments posted by Islamists on photographs or videos of cultural performances by women. The women artists are abused and cursed. Thankfully, the larger Kashmiri populace is mindful of our glorious culture, and endeavors to protect it from the assault of these indoctrinated, rabid elements of the society.

zoon7@outlook.com

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