“The Resistance Tourism” – From Tulip Garden to Martyrs Graveyard

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    By: Ahmad Kashmiri

With much ado cum hype of Tulip Garden in Srinagar as a tourist destination, its reality of being ‘a made-tourist destination’ can’t be hidden and ignored, atleast from the tourists with aesthetic sense. The much hype about it in vogue can’t prove as a long lasting good impression on tourists. One reason that, Kashmir, as tourists believe, being a ‘paradise on earth’ does not need such exertions for developed tourism and then too much ado for the same. Prioritizing Tulip Garden may hamper places like “Doda Pathri” for such places possesses the required aesthetic taste, which, the tourists happen to be in search of. Touring and travelling must not be the mere exercise of sightseeing only those too of the developed spots like Tulip Garden. First and foremost endeavour for a tourist must be the human knotting, that is to say to observe and analyse the psyche and collective miseries of the host tourist destination which in our case is J&K. The sceneries, meadows, mountains need not be analysed with exertions because what is naturally conveyed by themselves can’t be conveyed through words. Tourists of aesthetic sense, though are enough wise to observe and analyse much beyond what they are projected and exposed to but for lay tourists, to make them see the ground reality and the hidden things we as hosts need to explore a strategy. I remember Indian Civil society icon and HR activist, Gavtum Navlakha, once he suggested to Kashmiris to institutionalize the resistance movement (freedom struggle), simplifying his suggestion he revealed that students and shopkeepers could express the resistance through paintings and then display outside schools and shops, many people during the turbulent environs then in vogue told him that his suggestion was not workable because it would earn trouble. But with the changing times one feels that secondary resistance has its own scope and ignoring it means lacking wisdom. Kashmir harbours a potential tourist attraction not only embedded in gardens but its ‘graveyards’ do have the potential, yes the unmatched and monopolistic potential. Tourists will not spend money while bystanding near graveyards but they will definitely dwell deep into their thoughts, and it will benefit the hosts collectively in the bigger perspective. In gardens we have colour tulips to show them but in graveyards we have those tender bodies buried who sacrificed their lives beyond tulip flavour. Graveyards of ‘Kashmir like conflict ridden places’ have scope for tourism. But Sorry! This kind of specific sector of “Tourism” has neither a cash turnover nor it is promoted by ‘main-stream’. However, it is bound to pay you in kind that too collectively, provided it is ‘promoted’. On the other hand one must not agree to attribute tourist-status to any tourist who prefers to visit a garden with one lac flowers but denies to visit the graveyard harbouring one lac martyrs including numerous tender children like Sameer of Batmaloo, Tawqir of Delina, Mudasir of Zainakoot, Iqbal of Tangmag and there is no end to such list but the restriction of space here! But if a visitor or tourist is exploited for his lack of awareness, and is diverted to see Tulips alone, the fault is not his but ours. That we have not been able to explore a strategy to ‘promote’ what could be called as ‘Resistance Tourism’. Whereas we have Adventure tourism, Sports tourism, Winter tourism, Herbal tourism and what not, then why not to have Resistance Tourism which bears not less than one lac martyrs and which can be a research oriented case study for tourists. What use of such a tourism for the two parties, tourists as well as the hosts where the former come and ‘enjoy’ the flavour of short lived tulip like flowers in gardens and miss the fragrance of soul searching present in ‘graveyards of places like Kashmir’ and thus get deprived of the essence of travelling by not measuring the pulses of the human hearts of each other. And last but not the least is the thing we must ponder upon that whether we are able to support this argument with logic or not. We all know that we have religious commandments to visit the graveyards to achieve the personal divine cause that is to say to visit graveyards, stop there and have a look on the graves, ponder for a movement so that we achieve the lessons of admonition in order to get benefitted in other words. And thus a strong logic can be explored for what must be given the name “The Resistance Tourism” to use it as one of a tool to achieve the cause, the martyrs sacrificed their lives for.
(Feedback at ahmadkashmiri@gmail.com)

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