Slogan Hype…Let’s Hear it
Liah Qureshi from Srinagar
A middle aged man in white beard is the apple of the eye of his town. Wherever he goes people follow him. He is no leader or politician. But still he managed to become the talk of the town. He does nothing extraordinary except for giving a way to his emotions for Kashmir, and that too in his own unique way. He vents out the anger by raising slogans.
Protests in Kashmir are a way to show the government and the international agencies that we demand freedom from illegal occupation. And the main thing that catches one’s attention when Kashmiris in particular are protesting is the Slogans they use.
We have come across so many slogans that were raised by angry Kashmiri youths during 2008 and 2010 protests and have now crossed the borders and are used all around the world to protest against the injustice happening with the people of Kashmir.
Sarjan Ahmed Barkati, by his own admission, was never into politics but following the death of the Hizbul Mujahedeen commander Burhan Wani on July 8 and the subsequent state repression, he has found himself pushed to the front of the pro-freedom rallies and marches in several parts of southern Kashmir.
This person’s talent of raising slogans has made rounds in the villages and towns adjacent to the place he lives in. This Sufi cleric talks about every atrocity done by the Armed forces, and quotes precisely what Kashmiris want and what they have been going through using words that seem like enchantments. This pied piper gathers crowd as soon as he raises his first slogan. People flock around him like bees. Have a look for yourself:
Azadi has become his sole goal in life. “Kill me, cut me into pieces, but I have now made my mind…my only goal is freedom for Kashmir,” he says.
When asked if he wants Kashmir to be independent or to merge with Pakistan, his reply is no different from what majority of Kashmiris want… An Independent Kashmir.
And when asked why do they wave the Pakistani flags while protesting, he has this to say: “I don’t want Pakistan, but to give pain to India we are hoisting Pakistani flags. India won’t give us freedom. They have been trying to muzzle our voice by force. Hoisting Pakistani flags is the only weapon with us to give more pain to India and also gain sympathy from Pakistan so that it helps us in our cause. Personally, I believe in independent Kashmir.”
His view about the ongoing protests is no different from a common Kashmiri too, he believes that we may get tired of protesting and we may suffer more than we have already suffered, my conscience might get corrupted but when I put an eye on the protesting youth that are full of aspirations for Azadi, I get back on track. The protesters have made up their mind that it’s now or never.
Not a different story here that police is looking after him to slap the infamous PSA on him. Not long back the police raided his home and he was not found there, the police had beaten his 7-year-old son to pulp. But these hurdles don’t stop this slogan raiser, he is high on energy and enthusiasm and he is confident that the police cannot find him. And even if they find him and arrest him, they won’t be able to stop the slogans that he has started.