By Sher Ilyas
Freedom, undoubtedly, is the greatest of blessings. Every being, be it living or non-living, equally cherishes the bounties of freedom, and human beings by nature have this propensity to be free and sour high like a free bird. But, freedom is mostly a result of hard-fought toil that at times requires the very clot of blood in your veins and because its priceless that’s why even human blood is shed remorselessly.
Almost seventy-two years back, on this day the sun of Ist November 1947, dawned on the horizon of Gilgit Baltistan with hope-aspiring rays amid long-pervasive Cimmerian darkness of slavery under Dogra Raj. The day that witnessed the pent-up gallantry, suppressed bravery and inherent velour of our ancestors guided by the unparalleled boon of freedom that peaked to indomitability making the Dogra Army and their lackeys take to their heels. Few hundred awe-inspiringly velour sons of Gilgit Baltistan Scouts with the help of inadequately meagre resources of domestically-made rusted out rifles, axes and sticks made an enemy, comparatively, of great might equipped with modern war stuff bite the dust, setting an indelible account of velour to be gloriously remembered in the annals of Army anywhere.
Amid the stark era of hopelessness and utter depravity, what really needed to be obliterated in order to notch up the long-sought liberty, transgressing the boundaries of believe, was the endless coercion, oppression, and brutality of Dogra Raj. The totalitarian tactics of payment of exorbitant taxes and unconditional acquiescence to the state were the only guarantee of survival. Slightest digression would cause to blow out the candle of life for good without a faintest qualm and with an absolute impunity. The people of Gilgit Baltistan under the Dogra Raj struggled under the unconscientiousness of being free citizens enjoying universal human right laws but every cloud has a silver lining, finally they realized and on dint of their pertinacious will and unwavering determinism secured the hard-fought emancipation being celebrated today. Nevertheless, servitude of our own ones is yet to be grappled with in order to attain the real quintessence of freedom. As they say mental servitude is the mother of all servitudes. That servitude for its riddance asks for more than corner meeting pledges and social media yowling on part of GBians.
Today is the day to pay rich tribute to the invaluable sacrifices of those martyrs and living legends who bare footed on snow belts fought the war of our survival and carved out our luminous today from their despair-ridden yesterday.
What is more saddening is the fact that despite our voluntary accession to Pakistan back then has hitherto resulted in constitutional, political and socio-economic depravity. Several plights of masses of this unconstitutional land in regard of provision of due rights have mostly been turned deaf ear to and often been procrastinated linking it with Kashmir dispute by the occupants of power corridor adding to the agony of already antagonized masses. Currently, having embraced in its lap mega projects, like CPEC (how GB itself benefiting from it is another debate) and Bhasha Diamer Dam which are projects of survival for Pakistan, Gilgit Baltistan has become ever more important geographically and resource-wise.
Order 2018 which legitimized the ownership of land by non-native Gilgit Baltistanis has unimaginably serious repercussions to confront with in future which barely grasp our attention. Needless to say, that we seriously lack far-sightedness but this ominously impending “Chinese Colonial Gazes” direly need our attention. Ignorance or noncognizance to the seriousness of this matter might make our future generation curse and vituperate us. Allow me to say, I see Chinese colonization in GB.
Intoxicants of high echelons direly need to summon up the sagacity to gauge the exasperation among the people of Gilgit Baltistan caused by their engineered procrastination in solving the constitutional limbo and provision of due rights. As they say stitch in time saves nine. The sooner they realize, the better it is.
Marcus Garvey once said, “emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds”. our ancestors manifested their fair bit of velour in breaking the shackles of Dogra slavery, what we have done thereafter? what are we doing currently is what earnestly needs to be pondered upon. This brings me the lingering question, which I am leaving for you to cogitate about, ‘Are we really liberated today? Is this the freedom we need to content with or there is more to it?’
The contributor is a student of English Literature and Linguistics at National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.