Je Suis Kashmiri

This past weekend’s march commemorating the exodus of Hindu Kashmiri’s which I could not attend due to travel, reminded me of a recent visit to the Indian border. I visited the Line of Conrol in Kashmir some months ago.

In Bharat we look at the Himalayas of Kashmir and know for 5000 years without dispute, they are a part of Bharat.

Governments invaders imperialists come and go but Hindustan is eternal. As Kennedy said ‘ich bin ein Berliner’ (I am a Berliner) so we say ‘I am a Kashmiri’. Before all of you this land was mine. By lineage this is my land. I claim it by birthright. This is my land. To those squatting upon the land of my Fathers. I claim it. By precedence this is my land. I claim it. Shame on you to desecrate the consecrated. My Gods live on this land.

For the ashes of my Fathers and the temples of my Gods I claim it. All of us everywhere in the world who have suffered at the end of an invading sword or imperial pen, we are all Hindustani Kashmiris.

Je suis Kashmiri should be the motto of all those displaced from their lands by religious fanatics – from Kashmir to Syria to Iraq. Where Suni kills Shia – Je suis Kashmiri; where Shia kills Suni – Je suis Kashmiri. Where anyone kills a Hindu for being Hindu – Je Suis Kashmiri. Where ISIS kills Jews for being Jewish – Je suis Kashmiri.

‘Here, in this place, they call it Hindustan, they call it Bharat’ I thought to myself as I approached the Indian border with Pakistan at the Wagah crossing to see the daily parade. Soldiers stomped their feat, Vanda Mataram blasted through the loud speakers, as young girls ran with billowing Indian flags larger than themselves and the families shouted ‘Jai Hind’. I must have stood ten feet tall.

In Bharat there is no line of control.

That is how we think in Bharat, in Hindustan. I don’t care to know how they think in India.

Alpesh Patel

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