BY DR.ABDUL AHAD
The 4th and 5th generations of these immigrants are three steps ahead of their ancestors. They are more and more British than the British: as boozy, binge and bikini as the English young boppers; and as smart, stylish and classy as British dandies. They are generally spotted after evenings and during midnight fully drunk hurling abuses and curses on passers-by or on their counter-parts who are equally drunk.
These immigrants are seen in every nook and corner of the empire working in different capacities: doctors, engineers, judges, teachers, taxi drivers etc. There is hardly any sphere of socio-economic activity where you don’t find them full of zip; keenly contributing to their own economic wellbeing besides that of the empire. A vast majority of them is prosperous enough to not only afford bread, butter and shelter but also own huge estates, establishments and institutions of consequence where they provide employment to hundreds of people both indigenous and otherwise. A sizeable number of them have succeeded in carving out a pivotal position in the British socio-economic and political milieu by dint of their capabilities and acumen. Their astounding merit has been duly recognized by the empire by conferring on them prestigious awards, exalted titles and lofty honours from time to time. To interact with some of these excellent men/women was extremely enriching and immensely encouraging. Sharing my experiences with those Asians who have registered their mark as Councillors, Mayors and Parliamentarians was equally rewarding for me. A few of them are immensely popular for their pragmatism and people friendly activities.
Among all the immigrants the position of the British Muslims is disheartening; it is piteously depressing as their psyche still continues to be severely haunted by the gory events of 7/710 even after elapsing of half a decade. To their misfortune they have come to be hard-pressed into the quandary of psychological, emotional and mental crisis as a result of this reprehensible episode that was perpetrated, five years ago, by a handful of so called “Islamists who had nothing Islamic to show off except Muslim names and identities. This tragic and outrageous act of the fringe group of terrorists has distanced them from the mainstream only to make them suspect in the eyes not only of the non-Muslims but in those of the Government too; shattering their confidence afar redemption. Intensifying Islamphobia and anti- Muslim hate crime beyond proportions, it has menacingly pushed them into the vortex of global antagonisms to lock them up in the frame of perpetual trauma with an ineffaceable sticker of a terrorist possible, if not definite.
Despite striving hard to dispel this misperception by challenging the inhuman behaviour of the perpetrators of anti-Islamic acts and by condemning them vigorously and relentlessly all these years, the unpleasant upshot of the event continues to make their position feeble enough in the society; endangering their dignity and peace of mind to a large extent. The stigma that all Muslims are extremists persists with greater intensity to worry them with every passing day. The growing anti-Muslim feeling has become such an established norm within mainstream culture that it finds its manifestation in Muslim bashing, scorn and discrimination.
The dominant British culture declines to unearth the issues at the core of the problem. It is not prepared to accept that the British patronage of Iraqi invasion and its unrelenting and irrational support to Israel against Palestinians had mainly instigated the terrorists for the 7/7 offence rather than the teachings of Islam which unequivocally abhor terrorism and affirm that the crime against humanity is defying Quran.
What makes the British Muslims to withstand the social excoriation and the constant onslaught of the English disdain 1s their unwavering interaction with their community members and shared voicing of their feelings and concerns against perpetrators of violent acts besides motivating young Muslims to integrate into mainstream society. Such a customary communal engagement not only inculcates among them a strong feeling of bonding and togetherness but also gives them the requisite poise to face the psychological brunt and social bitterness. It facilitates their rendezvous and mutual contact both at societal and religious level to ponder over their pight and find out means to overcome their agony.
How do the British Kashmiri Muslims fit in this environment and negotiate with the circumstances? As Muslims they are undergoing the same agonising experience as their coreligionists do. But unlike the latter they are miserably disadvantaged because of their apathy for engaging themselves emotionally with rest of the British Muslims society. They live in their own world over obsessed with mundane affairs of life, having no desire even to cultivate cultural relations with rest of the Kashmiri brethren living in different parts of Britain. Also they have quarantined themselves from the place of their birth by their total indifference to the goings-on in the Valley. They have no hand in whatever little noises are seldom made in the streets of London to slam the naked genocide of the hapless people of the disputed Kashmir. It is the few people of other Kashmir who seem concerned to keep the world abreast of the problem that has consumed more than a hundred thousand native souls so far. The British Kashmiri Muslims have totally forgotten Kashmir to vindicate.
Kashmiri ghar ki muhabat ka maza bhool, gayay
Kha kay London ki hawa ehday wafa bhool gayay
Dr. Abdul Ahad is a well-known historian of Kashmir. He presents a perspective on the Kashmir issue and talks about Kashmir’s history and individuality and personality.