Monday, March 12, 2007

when residence is not equal to belonging

I am determined to watch Sanjay Kak's documentary "Jashn-e-Azadi" tomorrow (Insha Allah)

A couple of years ago, my sister and I were bargaining for a shawl. It was good natured bargaining that desis should be familiar with. At the end, the shawl seller told us that we should have tea. We politely declined and she asked him "Aap Kahan se Hain?"(=where are you from, sir?) to which he replied "Hum dilli ke rahnewale hain, Kashmir tho sirf Musalmanom ka he na?"(=we are residents of Delhi, Kashmir belongs only to Muslims right?). Evidently, the shawl seller thought we were Hindus too and my sister and I were silent, somehow ashamed to identify ourselves as Muslims. It was such an uncomfortable and sad moment.

3 comments:

Indyana said...

last year I went to an Indian fair here in cmb.One stall had sevral kashmiri paper mache items and i was bargaining. I said jokingly, "come on you can reduce the price for a fellow Indian". The man flared up, insisting that he was Kashmiri and not Indian, except for the passport, and was really pissed with me. Sigh! I felt really shaken by this incident.

Anonymous said...

That is indeed a difficult situation. But on the other hand, there is not much point in asserting your identity. You would never have the time there to clear prejudices.

Koonj said...

That's a nasty situation, k. I had an unpleasant encounter here in the US with an Indian who was originally from kashmir. I identified myself as having kashmiri ancestry and she started showing hatred for Kashmiri Muslims who won't let Hindus like her own land there and so on and so forth. I kept saying let's drop the subject and she kept going and going. It was very unpleasant.