By NJ Thakuria
Guwahati: A vivid followers of various religions, linguistic communities, tribes etc, India can be a natural ally to the Kurdish nation as it also supports various religious faiths including Islam (both Shia and Sunni sects), Christianity, Judaism, Yazdanism, Yazidi, Bahabism, Zoroastrianism etc with different racial groups. Moreover, as Hindustan is a concept of nationalism (not necessary an entity of Sanatan religion), Kurdish people also prefer to categorize everyone on the basis of a nation and not necessary the religion. Kurds never have prioritized religion issues and they are still fighting for their ethnicity.
Interacting with a group of scribes at Guwahati Press ClubI in northeast India through videoconferencing from Vancouver last evening (30 November 2019), Kurdish activist Diary Khalid Marif categorically stated that New Delhi should come forward supporting the cause of freedom-loving Kurdish people scattered in different countries. “Kurds are the world’s largest ethnic group with over 40 people but without a State and we are divided mostly in four countries (Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria). Unlike the common believe that every Muslim supports ISIS, we donot do that, rather Kurdish people have successfully resisted the Islamist terrorists I many occasions,” said Marif adding that every nation, which expresses concern over the religious terrorism, should come forward supporting Kurds.
A regular contributor of media columns in ThePasewan, Awene Weekly, Daily Hawlati, Lvin, KNN TV etc, Marif also pointed out that unlike ISIS, Muslim Kurds also maintain respects to the minorities and women. The young political analyst revealed that Kurdish movement is enriched with the active participation of their women even in armed struggles. There are over 20 million Kurds in Turkey and even it is around 20 percent population of the country, they are denied their identity. Torturing, imprisonment and killings of Kurds are regular happenings where they cannot speak Kurdish language.
Similarly Iranian Kurdistan supports nearly 12 million Kurds (around 17 percent population of Iran) who always suffer discrimination from the Islamic Republic in Tehran. Arbitrary evictions of Kurdish families, restricted access to housing, education and health are primary issues for Kurds in Iran. In fact, an independent State for Kurdish people (Republic of Mahabad) existed inside Iran for some time in 1946, but soon Tehran crushed it.
Iraqi Kurdistan gives shelter to around 6 million Kurds (around 17 percent of its population) where they initially enjoyed no rights. By Sixties only, rights for Kurds were included in the Iraqi constitution. Millions of Kurdish people were killed by various regimes in Baghdad, where Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain took the lead in massacring the Kurds.
In Syrian Kurdistan, there are over 3 million Kurds (around 10 percent of Syrian population) who also face difficulties in various political aspects. However, Kurdish national there enjoy the right to citizenship, study in mother tongue and speak their language. Humiliated by the concerned governments of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria etc for decades, Kurdish people have to fight for their ethnic identity. Kurdush names & costumes are banned in most of these countries, where their language has also been restricted. But facing all challenges, Kurds are running their struggle for a greater independent Kurdistan and thousands have sacrificed their lives for the cause.
Himself a Pune University pass-out, Marif termed India as a favourite destination of Kurdish students for higher studies. He also admitted that he learned many things in India like democratic values, tolerance, dignity to minority communities and finally the unity in diversities. Marif still misses typical Indians foods, people with warm hearts amidst the greenery of landscape.