Dear British Paharis
I speak to you through this medium as a brother from Indian Occupied Kashmir. I speak to you for our shared homeland, history, and continuous struggle against oppression and aggression. We are the children of hills and mountains. We fought collectively against the brutality of the Dogra Regime for our freedom and many before them, and now today we continue our fight for freedom while a line of illegal control cuts through the heart of our homeland and divides it into two. It’s because of this very illegal line that our families are divided and we can’t even meet each other. This illegal line divides people and homes. It’s because of this illegal line that we are unable to share the space with each other in our own homeland. Our fight against this illegal division must continue until every barricade between us is removed and we are able to breathe in our land free of every hindrance imposed upon us by foreign aggressors.
The State of Jammu and Kashmir is a land of strong diversity. It’s an abode to people of various ethnicities and languages. Our state is a unit comprised of different ethnic and linguistic groups, our identity is a pan-J&K identity. We are all born in the lap of the Himalayas. Every community and every language adds a beautiful color to our land. Every citizen of this state has an equal right to this land and its history, tradition and culture. No matter the ethnicity, whether Koshur or Pahari, or any other; our shared homeland, our shared history, and this conflict in which we are caught together stand testimony to the fact that we are all Kashmiris. Every hereditary state subject of this land is a Kashmiri, it’s our state, it belongs to all of us equally.
Brothers and sisters, we are all from Kashmir, we are one people, we are all Kashmiris. A few decades old illegal line built by foreign aggressors can not break the bond of centuries that we have with our shared homeland and with each other. We have all lived in this land we call Jammu & Kashmir for centuries, but they want us to become Indians and Pakistanis and forget our own identity. They seem to have forgotten that we don’t forget.
Kashmir isn’t just a territorial issue between India and Pakistan, Kashmir is our homeland, it’s our home; we have lived here together in our homeland even before these two nations had a separate existence. The solution to the Kashmir issue can not come from outside. Pakistan and India has no right to speak on our behalf. Kashmir does not belong to India or Pakistan, it belongs to the native people of this region, who have lived in this part of the world for centuries. It’s our land and we will decide its future, and the future of Kashmir lies in freedom; freedom from discrimination, oppression, subjugation, and freedom from every foreign aggression. The future of Kashmir lies in peace and there’s no peace under occupation.
For peace to exist, the occupation must end.
Our struggle has to continue, come what may. It has faced many challenges and we have fought them valiantly and will continue to do so. Oppressors in Indian Occupied Kashmir are devising new methods to terrorize us, they improvise their oppressive tactics every day. They have unleashed a million strong armed force upon us that brutalizes and murders us with complete impunity. The land has bloodied rivers flowing through it, death is a guest in every other home. Kashmiris are being injured, maimed and killed every day. Under such circumstances, we need to get together and unite firmly in our resolve to fight the occupation. We need each other’s support to get through these dark days of oppression. We need to break the imbroglio imposed upon us by that ‘illegal line’, we need to connect more with each other and create new and strong alliances to move ahead in our collective struggle against occupation. We need to keep alive the flame of freedom together and enlighten our way out of occupation, so that this beautiful land and its people are bruised no more. Only if we are together, we will be able to see the dawn of that beautiful freedom that we all have been dreaming about. We, the people of this bruised land have to come together and heal every bit of it.
Mudasir Ali Lone
Pulwama, Indian Occupied Kashmir