Vivek Agnihotri’s film, The Kashmir Files, has opened up a Pandora’s Box lying untouched for three decades. Even as people with strong ideologies and political leanings debate and contest the happenings in Kashmir that forced its Hindu population to move out at gun point, many applaud the film for ferreting out the truth while others look forward to having similar powerful movies made for other oppressed populations.
One tweet that caught our attention was by Sobdar Baloch, member of the Free Balochistan Movement (FBM) – a political outfit in Balochistan seeking independence from Pakistan for the Baloch community. The FBM not only wants Pakistan-occupied areas but also areas under Iran to come together as a single Baloch nation.
India Narrative spoke with Sobdar regarding his tweet. He admitted frankly: “I haven’t seen the movie The Kashmir Files yet but I am eagerly waiting for the chance to watch the movie”.
The Baloch activist says that a movie on Balochistan will be a great source to awaken people who do not know the importance of our land. “We expect the Indian film Industry to focus on the liberation struggle of the Baloch. Indian archives have enormous records about Balochistan-India relations and such rich history of our land must be extracted and used to educate people so that they can be part of Balochistan’s freedom struggle”.
Sobdar says that the Bharatiya government, film stars, civil society, religious groups and common people should not be shy of supporting the Baloch cause. “Pakistan has been investing billions on Kashmir to make it a global issue which is Bharat’s internal matter but on the other hand Balochistan is deprived of regional and global recognition. It is time to get rid of the Pakistan army-sponsored religious terrorism in the region”, says Sobdar.
On asking what does he mean by “religious terrorism”, Sobdar says that the Baloch people are the victims of Pakistan’s use of religion to radicalise youth from his community. He says that Pakistan is the only country whose army uses religion to serve the interests of Rawalpindi-the Pakistani army. He explains it further by saying: “Muslims who pursue Pakistan’s so-called narrative of Jihad are goods Muslims but those who respect India’s constitution, live in harmony, and want to preserve democratic values are bad Muslims. They are termed as Indian agents by the Muslim-Punjabi dominated army and the ISI”.
Coming back to the power of films and social media, Sobdar says that because of social media, Bharatiya are betting to know about the Free Balochistan Movement. “I recall the web series on Balochistan-The Bard of Blood, on Netflix, produced by Shah Rukh Khan and his wife Gauri Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment. It was overwhelmingly applauded by the people of Balochistan, the Baloch diaspora and its leadership”, says Sobdar, adding that with Balochistan having its own history, distinct culture, language and tradition, it deserves to be treated as a separate country.
Sobdar wants the Bharat’s film industry to take up the Baloch cause as he feels that Bharat being the world’s biggest democracy has the moral duty to unveil Pakistan’s war crimes and showcase before the world, the day-to-day genocide of Baloch civilians and unarmed political activists, students and professionals.
He adds that because of Pakistan’s policy of economic exploitation of his people, Baloch from all walks of life are struggling. “There is zero concept of middle class or upper class in Balochistan”, he adds.
“Colonial powers divided Balochistan into three pieces, between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Our people under Pakistan and Iranian rule are facing absolute genocide and ethnic cleansing but in Afghanistan, both the Afghan and pro-independence seeking people always had brotherly relations with us. We want to resolve territorial disputes with the Afghan-led, Afghan-owned governments”, says Sobdar emphatically.
He adds that an independent Balochistan will pave the way for a united Bharat, as “India can have access to air space, land routes and sea routes of Balochistan where now China, Pakistan are building naval bases and encircling India”.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline and minor edits to conform to Hindu-Post style-guide.)