The Kashmir Files- History Revisited and Rewritten

Kashmir Files was not a movie that one saw. It was an experience that one lived through. The man is on a mission to expose many lies perpetrated..

By Namrata Kohli

I could not sleep the night I watched The Kashmir Files at the neighbourhood theatre. Gruesome, blatant, violent, tragic, poignant and very painful. As if this was not enough, I heard a Kashmiri family watching this in the same audi say that- “this is only one percent of what we have gone through.”

Kashmir Files was not a movie that one saw. It was an experience that one lived through – and in just those three hours, you felt everything from pain to guilt to deep sense of shame and embarrassment. The film doesn’t leave you with any pleasant feeling in the end rather it will shake you to the core. But sometimes, it’s important to move, and to be moved. After all, being empathetic and emotional is what makes a human what s/he is – so I will recommend please watch it to know the bitter truths, just as we expose our children (once they are a little grown up) to experiences like death and not push those unpleasant facts of life under the carpet- this one too, needs to be seen, heard, known.

Vivek Agnihotri is a man on a mission to expose many lies which Bollywood perpetrated and media stands exposed. He says and I quote – “Tell me one country where they make heroes out of the terrorist. Tell me one country where the urban elite go into a numbing silence and the whole movie mafia goes quiet.”

I understand the Director and his team gathered some 700 video testimonials of first generation Kashmiri Pandits, who went through this trauma, and are now living across different parts of the world from America to Africa and across the length and breadth of India.

The movie takes strong objection to the myths being circulated. First and foremost, that this was an “exodus” of Kashmiri Pandits when it was a “genocide” of over 500,000 people. Second, that the perpetrators were Indian army while the terrorists were victims- a lie that has been dished out through eight Bollywood movies which almost justified the creation of a terrorist – be it Fanaa or Fiza or Mission Kashmir and so many others. Third, the biggest lie is that the then governor Jagmohan was responsible for this when he was fighting all odds to save the Pandits.

Kudos to the film maker and his team. What happened in 1990 would have remained unknown and unfamiliar to billions of people as this was strategically “whitewashed” – in this case even the State machinery complied in keeping this under wraps. The movie has raised these important questions – What were the then PM and HM doing? Why did they not send the army or the police to protect the civilians being tormented so viciously.

The stripping of Sharda in front of her son Shiva shows the stripping of values and all ethics. People who saw all this violence on the big screen narrate how they have seen this in real life – no wonder then, watching The Kashmir Files led to a collective catharsis of sorts for the Kashmiri Pandit community, who have lived the horror. Girija Tickoo’s niece speaks about the unspeakable atrocities her aunt faced, which she says ‘leaves me in shivers, tears, and nausea.’

Bollywood has not even acknowledged the release of this movie. What good are the bigwigs such as Mr Bachchan or the 3 Khans if they can’t comment on such an important issue. Media is hardly talking about it. A shallow movie like Gehraiyaan which comes with umpteen of f*** words is being shown in movie reviews. But the force that is now driving the truth is people of India- the truth is unstoppable. It was touching to see how some families are bringing their kids also .. I think today every Indian worth his salt should feel ashamed to have allowed this to happen to their own brethren, guilty that they did not know the extent of their pain.

Thank you, Vivek Agnihotri, for showing us a reference point, creating those ghory imagery. For WTC towers, we have the visuals of towers falling down; for Nazis we have stories that keep the pain alive.. for this there was zero public discourse or debate or discussion but the uncomfortable truths have now surfaced loud and clear through this film.

It is the collective responsibility of the entire society, starting with the State, to rehabilitate the Kashmiri Pandits back to Kashmir. While it is appreciable that Article 370 has been abolished, we simply cannot stop there. Kashmiri Pandits were made refugees and migrants in their motherland – which is a big blot onto our history. Leave alone Pandits, the rest of India will fight for the rights of Kashmiri Pandits to be restored – but first we need to create a safe haven for their return. And that should be our call to action.

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