I quit.

The Kashmir valley is silent. The rock band has quit. But something else that they’ve done has further dampened the spirits of many a campaigner.

It’s like an abyss of sheer futility. The rhetoric is incessant. The voices of dissent are many, probably increasing. But this great juggernaut of oppression just tramples all hope.

First, I wish to share something I had missed earlier.
The Grand Mufti had stated in an interview with IBN Live: “Girls are responsible for rape. They should be in their limits, they must wear their veils at all times. They can sing in their homes. They shouldn’t sing in public, they are giving bad signals to men”.

Before you start becoming livid and tearing off your hair, I’ll request you to read on.
Calm down, your blood pressure is more precious than the Nation’s development.

Please know that your shrieking or protesting shall not bear fruits. No you shall not succeed. How many morons will you silence?
There are millions of them.

It’s like in the movie Zombie. You kill one. Many more rise. I’ve wasted my time on this, writing sleepy eyed on many midnights. I wrote in health. I wrote in heartache..

I believed.

Okay, if you are a little stable by now, here comes the final blow for you. You’ll never be a believer any more after reading this:

The all-girl band ‘Pragaash’ (which translates as Light) apoligised that “the people” were unhappy with their music and they respected the religious ruling issued by Grand Mufti Mohammad Bashiruddin at the weekend, they stated that the girl band will no longer play.

One of the girls issued a statement to the Times Of India: “Mufti saab has said our music is un-Islamic. We respect him and the people of Kashmir … and their opinion. That is why we have quit,”.

The unnamed band-members face was blurred out in the broadcast.

So, this is it. The net result of thousands of blogposts, one petition signed by thousands, facebook support groups – an apology to half-witted extremists.

Members of the girl band, if you ever read this, and I hope you will, I’d like you to know that you’ve let a nation down.
Well done.

It’s been my belief that music without ideology is noise. This incident further cements my belief. There was no ideology. That’s why it was so easy to say, “We quit music”.

Yes, I’m being a hardliner and judgemental. I admit that. But, I’m also being very honest.
It feels that the entire thing was a BIG joke – writing for Women’s empowerment and gender equality.

I’ve wasted my time on this. And I quit.
I’ve compromised my blog’s tone and voice to let in a little space for social responsibility.

There’re now fewer times when I write only for myself.

I’ve been a fool. I’ve always had issues with people who get degrees with the ex-chequer’s money and Government’s subsidies and then fly away to foreign shores. I felt that they were less of a patriot.

Today I feel why they do so. Because this nation is going in reverse gear. It’s hurtling back into the 14th century.
They say rats are the first to leave a sinking ship. But atleast rats survive.

This nation is suffocating now. It kills thought, expression, and most importantly it kills optimism.
Perhaps the only defense for the girls is that they are young and they got intimidated.

Sorry I can’t buy that anymore. I’ve been young too.

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This entry was posted in My take.

14 comments on “I quit.

  1. Rachna says:

    Sad to know about the statement of a girl…..I can understand how you feel as you are genuinely support the cause. It feels like evil wins in this society. What I feel there must be lot of pressure on that girls….and they must be left with no choice except surrendering. But this is really sad….but don’t be disheartened….change will definitely come one day.

    • Thanks for kind words of encouragement, Rachna ji. My brain is pounding with one question. Everything was okay till they apologised. Why did they have to apologise? But then it is not possible to know what’s happening in Kashmir, sitting from where I am now.

  2. Sudden says:

    Courage is festered in an environment of security. You can’t really blame the girls for quitting when they know that there’s every possibility of them being attacked. Heck, these are 16 yr olds- they have a right to be scared. The sitiuation is so bad that even Sarpanches across J&K have been quitting. And the the threats are not empty- people have been gunned down. If there at all is a sense or cowardice or of deflecting responsibity, it has been on the behalf of the State Govt. After making a statement supporting the girls, the CM very put across the message that the girls could quit if they wanted to. I bet, deep down, he wanted them to- saves him another law and order hassle to deal with.

    • Now that you put forward the Sarpanch argument, it all makes sense. Omar, being the soft politician that he is, mumbled something on twitter. One thought that an arrest was forthcoming under charges criminal intimidation. But no! Nobody touches G.mufti. Some people were arrested though for online bullying. Is this a downside of being a secular nation? I wonder what would’ve transpired if it was a Hindu hardline stand in place of Islamist condemnation.

  3. Sudden says:

    Typo- ” very succinctly put across..” had forgotten ‘succinctly’

  4. Its very disheartening that you’ve decided to call it quits. I don’t have the courage to say – No, you shouldn’t lose hope. No, not any more. 😦

  5. Jessica says:

    Don’t quit! I have thoroughly enjoyed the passion I find in your writing when you call others to social responsibility. I understand why you are disheartened. But never give up. Giving up means giving into the zombies. And as long as you and others keep up the fight, they have to, too.

    And that’s something.

  6. Beechmount says:

    “an apology to half-witted extremists.”…………

    Re-write of the above: An apology to brainwashed radical individuals, whose capacity for thinking independently is diminished to a degree found only in mentally debilitated people.

    Grandpa

  7. Raja says:

    Subhabrata,

    It is very disheartening to see you dejected. But, I hope with time, you will see the positive side. Firstly, these are just young girls of 16. There is huge social pressure on them. Out of fear of a social boycott, they might have apologised as lip service. But, as you have often written in your blogs that we might not live to enjoy the fruits of our efforts. So do not despair or expect changes. Just write and work with a positive mind. So far you’ve done a marvellous job, and you must not give up for the sake of thousands who don’t have a voice. You think social activism is easy? Ask me. After having worked for 15 years in this field, I have found that it is the most thankless of professions. Sometimes the very people we work for turn against us. But what option do we have? Do you think we choose social activism? No it chooses us. Cheesy as it may round I’ve found it to be true in my long experience as a social worker. Rethink your decision. Things are not as dreary as they seem. Best wishes.

    • Beechmount says:

      Raja

      “So do not despair or expect changes”……………

      I’m 75 years old next Friday and as such have seen how the world has changed during a lifetime, including either progress or regress, much depending on one’s personal point of view. Social activism can take credit for many of the changes I have see. Other changes have come about as a result of better education and exposure to other cultures through increased travel to different countries.
      The point is that changes do take place. For a young person, filled with idealism and expectations of instant gratification, it can be disheartening and frustrating to experience the apathy and often complete indifference that so many people have toward a particular cause or perceived injustices.
      It is far easier to make changes in a mono-cultural country with relative religious conformity and a small population than it is in countries with hundreds of millions of inhabitants or more, where cultural customs and religions have developed over millennia, often in relative isolation.
      Changes do come about, either gradually over generations or resulting from cataclysmic events. Think of The Second World War as such an event. The world was never the same after that. Smaller events can often result in changes. The gang rape of the girl in New Delhi may perhaps become an example of this, but the obstacles in the way for substantial changes to take place are huge, although not insurmountable. Education and political will are catalyst that can and will make changes.

  8. Raja says:

    You are right. Changes do take place. Consider war or Renaissance.
    But social change may take time, taking in the fact that there’s so little political will.
    Subh is young, and an idealist, so I thought about writing something that might encourage him. I foresee a great future for him. People like him have the will and ability to unite others for a common cause. That’s a great virtue.

    • Beechmount says:

      Raja,

      Yes indeed, he has great potentials, something I saw in him when first I came across his blog. I became a mentor for him, teaching him English composition and encouraging him. The interesting part is that in return, I learn a lot about India and its people.
      Political will, et. laws, do not change social behavior rooted in religion and thousand-year old culture. Only people themselves will cause such changes. Subh and his generation will no doubt begin to effect some changes. The cast system is probably the most difficult to get rid of, since it is rooted in privilege.

Let me know what you are thinking. . .

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