Fifth Column: A time to speak out

The violence we have seen in Kashmir in the past three months was never about Burhan Wani’s death, it was always about something uglier and more insidious, but we ignored it.

Written by Tavleen Singh | Published:November 6, 2016 12:00 am
kashmir, kashmir schools fire, j&k school fire, j&k schools, jammu and kashmir schools, j&k schools burnt, bandipore school burnt, amnesty on j&k school burning, indian express news At least 25 schools have been torched in the past three months in Kashmir, amid widespread unrest. (Source: AP Photo)

IF as much attention was paid to schools being burned in the Kashmir Valley as to pellet injuries, we might understand better what is happening. We might discover that what is going on is linked to what happened 20 years ago when Wahabbi Islam first appeared in Kashmir. This was when secular leaders who started the movement for ‘azadi’ were suddenly replaced by bearded new leaders who in the name of Islam threw acid on the faces of unveiled women, wrecked liquor shops, cinemas and video libraries, and burned down shrines like Charar-e-Sharief because they had about them the scent of Indic religions.

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This time we should have been forewarned, but like last time were taken by surprise. Not even journalists who consider themselves old Kashmir hands seem prepared. Intrepid reporters have gone to Kashmir in times of violence and brought us tales of police brutality and wounded children. But appear not to have noticed that since the death of Burhan Wani, more than 25 schools have been razed. Last week saw the first news reports appear, and when we began counting, discovered that three schools were attacked in a single day. This deliberate destruction of schools is of a piece with the jihad being fought across the world to take Islam back to what it was in the Prophet’s time. Only we in India have failed to notice.

It could be because the Indian media has ignored the horror stories that come from the Caliphate. Of women killed for revealing a hand or a foot, of Yazidi children tortured to death for failing to learn to say Arabic prayers. Personally I am haunted by the story of the little girl who was put in a box in the sun without food and water for a week because she could not learn her prayers. She was two years old. When she was taken out half dead from her awful prison, her mother was made to watch her being smashed to the ground by her slave master who said ‘kafir’ children could be killed. Survivors tell other tales as horrific, but in India we ignore them because we do not want to offend Muslims.

In Kashmir when they send small children into the streets to attack armed security personnel, we blame the policemen, not the children. When they end up in hospital beds blinded or seriously injured, we listen to them speak of their destroyed dreams and lost future. What future will there be for Kashmir’s children if there are no schools left? We have seen what happened to women in Afghanistan when the Taliban ruled, but again we have pretended not to notice because we believe it is somehow offensive to our own Muslims if we tell them what Islamism really means.

What it means in the Kashmir Valley is for it to be turned into a homegrown version of the Caliphate currently making its last stand in Mosul. One of the principles of Wahabbi Islam is that education except of the Koranic kind is bad and that, in any case, women are better off illiterate. Already early signs of Islamism are becoming obvious. Kashmiri women who never bothered to veil themselves now rarely wander unveiled in public and some shroud themselves so totally that only their eyes show. Is it not time to speak out about these changes?

As a country that was broken up in the name of Islam, surely we should be alarmed, but we are not. Our public square is dominated by those who think it is ‘secular’ and ‘liberal’ to accept the rules of Wahabbi Islam even if they make women second-class humans. These same people object to Muslim women demanding modern rules of divorce. We are so ‘liberal’ that we have sat back and watched Kashmir being turned into a new arena for the worldwide jihad. The Prime Minister once said that he would like to see Kashmiri children with laptops in their hands and not stones, but since then, he has chosen to remain silent about what is happening in the Valley.

The violence we have seen in the past three months was never about Burhan Wani’s death, it was always about something uglier and more insidious, but we ignored it. The destruction of schools points more violently than almost anything to what is really happening. If this does not wake our leaders up to the desperate need for a new policy for Kashmir, nothing will. What we are seeing is the systematic obliteration in the Kashmir Valley of the values that India represents so that Kashmir can begin to resemble more closely the Islamist republic next door. If this plan to erase all Indian influences from the soil of the Valley succeeds, how long will it be before other parts of India become fertile territory for Islamism?

Follow Tavleen Singh on Twitter @ tavleen_singh

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  1. J
    Jay Smith
    Nov 6, 2016 at 11:14 pm
    Each uneducated child is a potential recruit for terrorists.
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    1. C
      crickin
      Nov 5, 2016 at 8:01 pm
      Nothing new from this RSS govt. cliche but true....old dharoo in new boutal. Read Bhanu Pratp Mehta article....undecl emergency in the country. united indai maynot surivive till 2019.
      Reply
      1. L
        lucy
        Nov 6, 2016 at 1:18 am
        Talveen is not paid by IE for her F A R T I C L E S, but by BJP or their AH whisperers.
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        1. G
          Gundappa
          Nov 6, 2016 at 1:11 am
          When did Talveen Singh forget to tell her followers ,bhakts, that her former husband was a stani who supported Kashmeres?
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          1. H
            hayatlives
            Nov 6, 2016 at 5:02 am
            Shoot children blind and then blame their parents...lt;br/gt;torture and kill your own citizens and then blame their religion for the mess successive governments have created..lt;br/gt;and later go on and fantasize about caliphates and so on....lt;br/gt;pure trash from an obviously biased author
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            1. H
              hayatlives
              Nov 6, 2016 at 4:58 am
              lol. funny. ramblings of a crazed mind. pure chaddi fantasies
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              1. V
                VP Joshi
                Nov 6, 2016 at 3:46 am
                Perhaps the writer means Fourth Estate, not Fifth Column, in the le of the otherwise well written article?
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                1. S
                  Scorpio
                  Nov 5, 2016 at 8:05 pm
                  Very true. This systematic destruction should be curbed and both state and central govt should find ways to send these children back to school. Let the light of education determine the future of these young generations
                  Reply
                  1. S
                    Shafi
                    Nov 6, 2016 at 3:25 am
                    Talween is obsessed with " Wahhabism" not knowing what it meant, the difficulty is that she wants to pretends to know it all and also feeling great about her knowledge in the area when it is not relvent. There is nothing called Wahhabism. She is an unintelligent writer, thinks herself to be one. Her path is the path of destruction. Every one shall be free to wear whatever dress one wants to wear based on his her belief without being undermined by some one like the writer. No Indian is a part of yazidi atrocity, which is not a Indian problem after all.!the author doesn't write about the problem in Ivory Coast or elsewhere but Muslim countries, to portray Islam in poor light broaden differences in the people of our country. A good journalism means how we can build bridges between the people rather than how to inflame a society
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                    1. S
                      SubbuI
                      Nov 6, 2016 at 7:01 am
                      THIS TIME MADAM TAVLEEN SINGH THOUGH TRY TO TOUCH THE NERVE OF THE KASHMIR PROBLEM WITH OUT POINTING A FINGER ON NALAYAK NMODI WHO IS FULLY RESPOSIBLE FOR THE PRESENT HORRIBLE SITUATIN IN THE VALLEY WHICH IS GOING OUT OF HAND.WAHABI CULT IS DEFINITELY ENTERED KASHMIR AND KERALA NOW AND SURE TO TO SPREAD KASMIR TO KERALA ALL OVER INDIA. RSS IS ADDING FUEL TO FIRE BY HARRASING POOR MUSLIMS.lt;br/gt;BUT TAVLEEN SINGH IN THIS WRITE UP DEFINETELY MAKES US TO FEEL SHE IS MORE LEANING TO HINDU FANATISM. I MAY BE NOT FULLY RIGHT OR WRONG
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                      1. T
                        Trumpesh
                        Nov 6, 2016 at 11:56 pm
                        Indian Express website should not use flash plug-ins. it is slow, impossible to type. does not work in FierFox. Chrome is iffy.
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                        1. M
                          Mathura
                          Nov 6, 2016 at 3:24 am
                          The present political scenario is aptly summed up if we join two head lines on the page i.e. 'A time to speak out' but 'No questions please, we are patriots'. Killing evidence in the name of jail break, where 50% of the guards were away to serve at homes of ruler patriots, is clic example of pseudo patriots / patriotism.
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                          1. A
                            Ajay G
                            Nov 6, 2016 at 11:41 am
                            A time to speak out on encounter of 8 accused too madam Tavleen. Time to speak out on curbing freedom of media too. Time to speak out on goondaism of MNS too. When will you speak out !!!
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                              aji govinda
                              Nov 6, 2016 at 4:54 pm
                              no body says it like you Tavleen and we are glad you do !!. Sooner rather than later we 'll have to crush this Islamism by demographic change.
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                              1. A
                                ajit
                                Nov 6, 2016 at 6:44 am
                                an article which correctly identifies and highlights the problem but does not suggest solutions possibly because of the author's growing disenchantment with the present leadership. it may be tempting (and perhaps justified to some extent) to blame the congress and the nehru-hi family for all that's wrong today but the sooner we distance ourselves from this approach and look at workable solutions the better it will be for the country. the liberal - conservative debate will continue as it does perhaps in most democratic countries but political opportunism, at the cost of the national interest, has been the bane of our democracy. unfortunately, the present government, like the congress, hardly appears to be an exception to this malaise.
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                                  ak dev
                                  Nov 6, 2016 at 3:13 pm
                                  India has always been a divided subcontinent. It's Indian army that's keeping it safe from Islamic forces. You can never win Muslims by persuasion. As Muslims are significant and fast increasing in India, it's a matter of time when India will become a Muslim country again and when it it happens all Hindus be butchered as never before.
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                                  1. H
                                    Harikrishnan
                                    Nov 6, 2016 at 9:17 am
                                    Time and again you have written articles which is the blind truth which very few writers or the media will show to guts to publish. Kudos to you and Indian express. Time and again I have asked many people as to what should happen in this world, if we should say that Islam is responsible for majority of the terrorist activity in the world?
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                                      anand
                                      Nov 6, 2016 at 2:43 am
                                      Spot on!
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                                      1. A
                                        Arpan
                                        Nov 6, 2016 at 4:34 pm
                                        How u can put all blame on BJP, is there any thing more to put blame? Sab blame to laga hi diya ab kya lagaoge ? Also I m bhakt so don't waste ur time in that
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                                        1. A
                                          Arpan
                                          Nov 6, 2016 at 5:32 am
                                          Money fundings matter. Govt should put blanket ban on foreign funding for NGOs. We can handle own religion hindu, shikh, muslim, Christian ourself we don't need oily money or gunpowdered money for that
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                                            Arpan
                                            Nov 6, 2016 at 5:52 am
                                            Please write chapter n stanza also. Frankly writing I could not complete reading Gita, although I read 2 or 3 chapters, everytime I start reading from ch1 n everytime I got beatiful meanings. If you have some wrong perception please go ghrough it once again definitely you will be able to interpret in positive way.
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