The promotional video by Jammu Kashmir Tourism has gone viral on social media as it entails a romantic, peaceful, helpful, and extremely hospitable view of Kashmir and its people. It has received mixed reviews from audience, and there are two major lenses of criticism.
Those who liked the song very much, and appreciated it for portraying what they call the real image of Kashmir, and those who hated the song mainly for not showing what they perceive as the actual picture of Kashmir or Kashmiri culture.
Taken together these two views are a broader reflection and representation of today’s Kashmir. Kashmir with its complicated yet straightforward history has largely remained an isolated arena for various political experiments.
Starting from the British rule when it was a princely state headed by Maharaja Hari Singh until today when it is with the political powers of India it has largely remained the focus of endless misery, treachery, and betrayal.
The song simply authenticates a political view of Kashmir where it is still largely considered a darling destination for most of the world, and particularly for young Indian couples.
Set in a beautiful background of the Valley, the song is composed by Clinton Cerejo, directed by Amit Sharma Production House, and sung by Mudasir Ali and Vibha Saraf.
The song has magical lyrics, wonderful performance, and a brilliant script that has combined and created a pure musical brilliance. The song has the potential to magically glue one to Kashmir. It has surely shattered the ugly tactics of hate mongers who continuously promulgate hate against Kashmiri people.
It mingles love, natural beauty, and peace-loving nature of Kashmir people with their warmth, which makes it magnetic. The song revives Kashmiri language, and I think this is one of the major positive developments to Kashmiri culture, and shall be remembered for years to come. It has truly carved its name in the Kashmiri history.
Perhaps historians will find the song very promising as it preserves the current political, social, and historical developments in Kashmir. This is visible throughout the song, and lyrics are very powerful and resounds the historical arguments. The song is actually a romantic yet emotional longing for beloved (guests) to visit the beautiful place on the Earth.
Generally, guests come on an invitation from the host, which could just be a place, person or even a thing. And if somehow the invitees are not coming by keeping the host waiting and craving that could reflect a hidden problem.
The song does exactly this. It portrays a hidden message that says even though I am so beautiful, peace-loving, romantic, and one of the most attractive, warmest places on the planet Earth you still feel threatened and insecure in my arms.
Why don’t you come? Perhaps Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, will call it slip, the Freudian Slip. This is because it indicates a hidden thought that has perhaps gone behind the scene in exploring the one sided story of the Kashmir valley, and somehow it exploded!
Visitors, be our guests, and remember you will not be disappointed to discover what the song has promised you. The warmth, love, selflessness, and hospitable nature are indeed some of the characteristic features of a typical Kashmiri.
However, like in most other countries or places, a rare percentage of people may cheat you, and even rob you, and I wish you never meet one.
However, the most surprising thing that the song has not shown is the other side of the story, the conflict that has scripted the entire history of Kashmir and its crisis. It has its imprints everywhere. Do observe when you reach Srinagar airport, if you are traveling by air, the intense security arrangements. Ask why. If this place and people are peace-loving, warm, cordial, then why large scale security deployment in paradise.
Please keep watching and observing, look at that airport main gate, it is located a few kilometers away from the actual airport, and it is intensely militarized, locked from the public visiting. This may be something very scary, and very strange for you to perceive, and you might ask how all this can coexist in paradise.
Now, when you step out of the airport and on the main road you will see various agencies of security forces, and everywhere. And then compare the place that you have visited so far with Kashmir, and try to understand what makes it different. That is what an average Kashmiri wants you to discover, and not just the natural beauty and generous people.
The song that motivated you to visit the gushing-cold-glacial-water-filled steams has not shown you the ghostly violent history of the Kashmir that resides in every Kashmiri’s heart.
How beautifully Mirza Ghalib puts it:
unke dekhe se jo aa jaatee hai munh par raunaq
woh samajhte hain ke beemaar ka haal achcha hai
(When I see my beloved, my face lightens bright,
and the beloved thinks that I have recovered from the illness.)
The arrival of guests truly makes a typical Kashmiri happy, cheerful, and smiling but little do the guests know that deep within their heart lies the extreme sickness that never goes, and feels like a chronic illness. How can I tell you that? This should ideally be visible to you because you love me, and cherish to be with me, and importantly you live in my neighborhood. Then why all this chronic indifference. Yes, you are right Kashmir is truly one of the warmest places on the planet Earth but ironically it is also one of the coldest places on Earth.
And we wait for the warmest atmosphere to resurface, InshaAllah one fine day. We wish that you become our family member, rather than a guest. This needs sincerity, love, affection, and care, and not just casual visits. The differences are easy to solve but if one genuinely wishes to achieve that. Let us start now.
Author is Assistant Professor in Structural Geology Physical & Geological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Brunei Darussalam