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I wish I could change the picture of Kashmir militancy

Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the 22 year old boy who could be an engineer, an architect, a businessman, and a sportsperson chose to be a militant. The chosen path led to his death in an encounter with the Indian security forces on July 8th ’2016. I wish I could bring him back to life. I wish I could change the picture of militancy in Kashmir. My thought may provoke hatred in some, confusion in others and hope in few and I buoyantly plead for peace. 
 
How many times actions have been justified on the saying, “Everything is fair in love and war.” Rereading it again I wonder was it love or war for Burhan Wani, the commander of Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen whose social media rage could influence youth to terrorism. Is it the love or war for the tailored tenets of Jihad which many used for their personal attainments or propagandas which make young Kashmiris to join the “holy war” with the “promise of a fulfilled life thereafter”?
It is to be believed that the bright student, Wani, son of a school headmaster was a budding cricketer took to militancy after security forces neutralised his brother, Khalid, during the 2010 unrest. This knocked out Khalid as reported by a family friend in a media report. What triggered Wani’s mind was discrimination which purely imbued that army kills Kashmiris and it was indebted in his mind that Kashmir students are beaten and badly treated in states across India while outsiders are safe in Kashmir which is not true, as there are many men from Kashmir in Army who will die for the country and safety of its countrymen. One incident which could be just the routine checking changed his life forever. His ultimate goal became to “unfurl the flag of Islam on Delhi’s Red Fort”.
He started using the social media at 16. Pictures of him in full battle fatigue and rifles went viral many years ago inviting people for Jihad.  He soon was the star of jihadi videos where he persuaded the troubled Valley’s youth “fighting against India” and was known as a top motivator and for many he was a glorifying militant.
Glorifying militant, does the term sound cynical to you.  It is quite contemptuous and sarcastic that he had a celebrated funeral where thousands of people attended along with top militants and offered him a 21-gun salute as if he was a martyr. 
While Wani was encountered, I was holidaying with friends in Pahalgam in a homely cottage stay enjoying the hospitality of the Muslim guy who owned the cottage. To my surprise, one of the helpers at the cottage was an M.Phil. degree holder and I could not  hold on to my curiosity and asked him about choosing a job of mopping the floors, scrubbing utensils or changing sheets while he could easily resort to better opportunities with his education background. The answer I got shook me. Anybody could turn to a militant at any point of time in Kashmir and till the time he is not completely helpless either by the mutiny of his own circumstances or falls prey to the stand ins who are merely bothered for their own self-interests and would do anything to make the sons and daughters of the soil to predispose to pick guns and project them as Robin hoods of their territory.
The litany of complaints on discrimination is one that has become common across Kashmir. It is the frame of mind; the conviction that has been set gives rise to the new militancy. Those questioning eyes at work, check points, etc. makes them more vulnerable. But aren’t those questioning eyes for everyone in doubt. Aren’t those question marks for our own safety? The recent chosen terrorism target Medina, the site of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad's tomb and his house was attacked and many innocent lives were lost. ISIS was proved to be involved in the act. To attack it is just a sign that you are attacking Muslims as a whole and the Muslim community as a whole and Islam as a religion. So does it not really point out that terrorism has no religion? When these pointing fingers at each other will really stop? Every terror attack is horrific and heart-breaking, when you witness the beautiful creations of God dying, it is like an attack on the soul of the God, and be it Allah, Ram, Jesus or any other name we may call. Does any holy doctrine permits you to kill innocent lives or promote terror?

Again, back to where I started…Wish I could bring Wani back to life and tell him that one hears the same complaints everywhere, the same conversations of Jihad, and discrimination against Muslims too is common, but if he could influence many to join the path of terror, could he not sway more to change that by other means and not by taking lives. I would tell Burhan Wani, that you could be an engineer, an architect, a leader or anyone like Faisal Shah who chose to become the first Kashmiri to top the Indian Civil Services Examination and the first candidate from Kashmir in several years to be selected to the Indian Administrative Service through open merit or another Parvez Rasool, the talented cricketer. They too might have had incidents of troubled childhood and had wounds of insurgency. It is more than 2 decades that this issue is burning in our heart and souls; it is high time someone changes that not with rifles but amicably encouraging young men of Kashmir to rise as they are one of the most intelligent species I have ever come across. The intensity of violence that has erupted as a result of your death would have been a different picture.  
I wish I could have explained to you that you were merely an exploitative element for leaders who have their own propaganda's and are like leech who feed on the blood of men who safeguard their own children with their sons living abroad, pursuing professions other than Jihad while don’t think twice to arm the youth for all the wrong reasons.
 
It is sad but true that this unrest, this bloodshed is just another business for someone. You chose to be a terrorist and you knew this was your end. I wish to bring you back to life for once to make you realise that it is the path that you choose decides your destiny and that choice is with you always. 
It is not the caste, creed or religion or the bloodshed. It is the path that you chose, you lost yourself. You lost the pleasure you derived by seeing the smile on your mother’s face when you made that ball cross the boundary of the cricket ground or when you topped in your class. Wish you could change all that for it is only possible with men like you to change the destiny provided you choose the right path. It is high time that path of humanity is chosen over any religion and peace prevails.
Disclaimer : Kindly note that this is an opinionated article and does not intent to hurt sentiments of any religion, individual or an organisation and is intended to peace prevalence.

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Author

Payal Jain