This is quite distressing that the Paradise of earth has no room for cinema–an art which is popularly in India as ”Samaaj Ka Darpan” (mirror of the society).
There seems to be an unofficial ban on cinema in the valley of Kashmir. As a result, Kashmiri people are not able to watch newly released movies in cinema halls or theaters.This ban continues unabated from three decades, while terrorism had been spearing its ugly heads there. Cinema is banned because of extremely skewed and baseless statements of the radical separatists in the name of Islam and Shariah.According to Sayed Ali Shah Geelani, “Cinema is un-Islamic”. He gave this statement after Saudi Arabia has lifted the ban on cinema in the country. It is going to reopen cinemas from January 2018, and it has even started to give licenses for cinema halls.
It should be noticed that Kashmiri separatists led by Geelani have now declared cinema as un-Islamic in the Valley. But interestingly, the ‘Islamic’ Republic of Pakistan has been greatly interested in film industry and cinema production even before Independence. But, Geelani didn’t have any kind of problem with the movie-making and cinema production of Pakistan. Si why is he opposing the ban-lifting on cinema in the Valley? Clearly, his crazy bud to display cinema as “un-Islamic” is a politically motivated slugfest, rather than a genuine religious cause.
Remarkably, this is the era of 4G Internet. The Kashmiri youths who are well-educated, are having all stuff on their smartphones. They can watch every new movie on phone or television, but cinema is not available for them as other youths of the nation. Unfortunately, even govt. is silent on this crucial issue.Only a few days ago, an open letter from a young Kashmiri to Geelani has gone viral on social media. In this letter, the young Kashmiri expresses his distrust about the separatist leaders’ views and has posed hard questions to Geelani. One such question is: “If Cinema in Kashmir is un-Islamic, then how it is acceptable to Geelani in Pakistan?? Why Geelani is not opposing cinema industry in Pakistan?? The young Kashmiri also asked: if cinemas are un-Islamic, then how come shooting the movies in the Valley is ‘Islamic’?? But regret is that, the Kashmiri youths are getting threats for speaking in favour of cinema and calling spade a spade, calling Geelani a hypocrite.
It’s not difficult to understand that Hurriyat leaders are actually doing hypocrisy to further their ulterior political ends and selfish motives. They don’t want that the Kashmiri youths get mainstreamed in arts, sports, education, science and civil services, because if it continues then their religio-political shops will be shut down.
While CM Mehbooba Mufti is still silent on the key question of cinema in Kashmir, she, however, has appreciated the move of Saudi Arabia for lifting the ban on cinema. But she must generate hopes to reopen cinema in the Valley. Why should Kashmir, which has a deeply rooted culture and arts, suffer because the political greed of Geelani???