Some thoughts on The Kashmir Files

March 16, 2022

Rohit Dhankar

It is neither a review nor a properly written article, but only some bullet points.

1. The people who consider themselves guardians of democracy and harmony are saying again and again that films should be made on other unfortunate riots and atrocities as well. THEY ARE RIGHT.

2. But they forget that there are many films on such issues. Mostly fictitious and to build a narrative that every time Hindus are aggressors and Muslims are at the receiving end. Any other views, even for the sake of discussion, are derided and blocked.

3. The Kashmir Files goes against this narrative. Its value is not in its cinematic merit, even if it is there. Its value is not even in bringing new information to light.

4. It’s value is in connecting the dots which brings out in the open the sinister elements of Islamism and one-sided narrative. The film might be faulted on several counts, yes. But it breaks a taboo.

5. The taboo that anyone hinting at the possible concerns of the majority community, even if they are misguided, is attacked ferociously to shut-up. An open dialogue is made impossible and a politically correct discourse goes on, that is in the liberal sphere.

6. Yes, this film should have talked about the killings of Muslims going on at the same points. AND SHOULD HAVE HIGHLIGHTED THE DIFFERENCE IN INTENTIONS AND NATURE OF KILLING OF HINDUS AND MUSLIMS.

7. The Muslims were killed as traitors to the creations of Islamic state, and needed to be silenced.

8. The Hindus were killed as undesirable elements on the Islamic state and were to be cleansed.

9. One to teach a lesson into submission.

10. Other as hated unbelievers to be given the choice of conversion, or leave or die. But not remain with the religion of their birth.

11. Pointing out this difference would have made the film more authentic and much more potent in challenging the narrative.

12. Not every Muslim in the valley was a party to this genocide. But at one time the powerful section of the community was. Otherwise the use of Mosques in blaring slogans of “convert, leave or die” would not have been possible. This powerful section scared the liberal Muslims into submission. The film should have shown this as well.

13. The most hurting aspect of the film for so-called liberals is the fact that they were a party to this genocide. They used some devices of narrative building that encouraged the bigotry, and they are still being used. Some of these devices are listed below.

14. WHAT ABOUT: repeated mentions of other unfortunate riots etc. like Godhara 2002 etc. It does a double job. One, re-established without going into argument that Godhara 2002 was a similar genocide of Muslims, which it was not. And two, makes a point that these killings are not the only ones, so pointing them out alone is biased.

15. THE MUSLIMS WERE ALSO KILLED: this is used to make the point that there is nothing Islamic and anti-Hindu about it. It hides the intentions of killers and nature of killing.

16. EXPLAINING AWAY: it has two prongs. One, the issue was not Islamic it was political. Hides the fact that any issue involving Muslims very quickly becomes Islamic. And two, that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes were people who faced injustice by the system or by the Hindus. Hinting without saying so that they were justified. This second one is a very specious argument used in all Islamic atrocities all over the world.

17. The real point, for me, of the film is to correct this bias in the present day so-called liberal discourse.

18. The most pernicious part of this discourse is that you can call out Hindu atrocities and criticize all that is deemed bad in Hindus, and I AGREE THAT IS HOW IT SHOULD BE. But as soon as you point out anything in Islam and Muslim politics you are attacked as a bigot.

19. If we want harmony and peace, we need to face truth and be fair. Or we will keep pitting Hindus and Muslims against each other to their mutual destruction.