“Big brother is watching you” not in Kashmir, well at least not the way the world’s Big Brothers are watching their respective nations.
Kashmir is a troubled state, the region has faced “law and order” problems for a long time. It is only recently that people have started to take notice on the ‘shah rag’ of Pakistan and ‘atoot ang’ of India. The state that both countries desire and has been “fully integrated into India” by the reading down of Article 370 and 35A; quite a repetitive and overstated phrase since the past few months.
The issues of Kashmir are now being written about far more than ever before, by the digital media, be it fake or true but content catches the hook of Kashmir quite well. Currently as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic by watching YouTube, Netflix and or accessing the widened range of Jstor, Kashmiris are pushed back into the previous decade with 2G. The news of the limitation on the speed of internet in Kashmir has been massively spread online to raise awareness, but it’s more of a cowardice than dutiful journalism. Students are being interviewed, narrating their problems caused by the slow internet – it’s the pigeon of circumcision, not meant to be derogatory in any way for either of the two, but the analogy holds. It’s funny to see media (at least non-Godi media) write about the problems of Kashmir and feel the weight lift off their shoulders, as if they are journals fighting for justice. The internet blanket is a huge misdirection to the Kashmir issue, it has been reduced to almost a corporate battle, than politics, people are seen demanding for the restoration of 4G in Kashmir, but no other issue of Kashmir is ever met with the same support.
Internet is a fundamental right in today’s world (although that right is technically there in Kashmir), but people seem to forget that so is justice, the right to live, the right to express opinion and the right to mourn. Everything that has occurred in the past, since the 90s or perhaps even before has been run over and flattened to a problem of students not getting 4G. The graves of more than 50,000 conflict ridden men, women and children, have been reduced to slow internet. That is misdirection; it has made it seem as if the only problem in Kashmir is the internet the cause is never discussed. Although the awareness is important on the issue of internet in Kashmir, but that is not the only issue and perhaps not even the main one. This is not a stamp of regard on the act of capped off internet in the Union Territory but a spotlight on the mask it has been created. Orwell summed up the anomaly of the way government acts in Kashmir when he said: There is something wrong with a regime that requires a pyramid of corpses every few years.
Raafat Gilani is a student pursuing English Honors from Jamia Millia Islamia.