Hypocrisy In Kashmir
The hypocrisy of social media jihadis in Kashmir brazenly played out recently when the photograph of the Class 12 topper went viral on social media. No sooner had people started congratulating her and sending her good wishes that social media jihadis unleashed her vicious trolling for not covering her head with the hijab or headscarf.
It is a coincidence that around the same time, a hijab-wearing student of Karnataka was chased by goons of another faith for her attire. Over the last few days, trolls in Kashmir have been aghast at the heckling of the girl from Karnataka for wearing the hijab. They vociferously argued that to wear or not wear the hijab is the girl’s choice. They also put forward the argument that India is a secular democratic nation. Every individual has the right to wear what he or she wants to wear. On many social media accounts, the comparison was drawn that if the chief minister of the largest state in the country can wear saffron kurta and dhoti to office, why can’t a girl choose the attire of her choice? This argument is valid. Nobody has the right to impose his or her choice on others.
Herein lies the hypocrisy. The social media jihadis in Kashmir want the Indian state and the Indian people to follow the secular principles because there is accommodation in the idea of secularism and democracy. It guarantees equal rights and opportunities for all without any discrimination on the basis of race, colour, language, region or religion. The well-founded argument is that India is a secular democratic country. It is constitutionally bound to allow the girl from Karnataka the free will to wear what she chooses to. But the trolls are refusing to accept the same argument in Kashmir – that a girl has the choice and free will to wear or not wear the hijab. Why? Kashmir is not an Islamic state. Here too, one has the same choice that is available in secular India. In Kashmir as in the rest of India, one is not compelled to follow religious bigots or social media jihadis.
It is deeply unfortunate that the girl who chooses not to wear a headscarf in Kashmir is abused. Here the argument of freedom of choice is not extended by the religious bigots. Her family and friends are cursed for giving the girl an upbringing where they don’t insist upon their daughters to wear hijab.Semi-literate and small-minded people jump into the debate to shame the girls who exercise their right of choice. While many Kashmiri youngsters are seeking excellence and glory in diverse fields, other Kashmiris are plunging to new depths. Some are conjuring up lies to undermine the Kashmiri girls studying in the mainland. It is a matter of shock and concern that they regard moral policing as a matter of right. Recently, a video went viral in which a group of Kashmiri young men were seen barging into the rooms occupied by Kashmiri girls late at night. The young men are seen alleging that the girls staying there had slept with boys of another faith.Does this rowdyism define how we as a society are going to grow? Are we going to be a society where every Kashmiri shall take it upon himself to do moral policing for girls – regardless of whether he knows them or not.
A couple of years ago, moral policing by some elements in the UP government was widely denounced by the same lot of social media jihadis. But where Kashmiri girls are concerned, they take it as a matter of right to abuse them if the girls don’t follow the diktat. Another interesting dimension of trolling in Kashmir is that Pakistani social media users immediately jump into the argument related to Kashmir and raise the din several notches higher. There is a definite pattern which is being followed to socially discredit freedom of choice in Kashmir. This pattern is evident in anti-India rhetoric and also the project of Islamization. The pattern is this: A social media jihadi or a so-called working journalist comments on something vengeful against the Indian state or against those Kashmiris who have nationalist credentials. Thereafter, the argument is given strength by social media users within or owing allegiance to the Pakistan establishment. They are the first to popularize the comment through Twitter or Facebook. In this way, a storm is unleashed on social media in favour or against.
Class 12 topper Arusa is the latest victim of this pattern. Somebody has rightly pointed out that these trolls are swarms of radicalized Kashmiri well-frogs who want Kashmir to remain a cesspool. The concerted efforts by the Pakistani establishment through their radicalized stooges have intruded deep into Kashmir society. They have blinded many by their narrow world view. The bold and confident Arusa appropriately responded to the trolls by saying that she doesn’t need the certificate of being a good Muslim from anyone.