Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Guest Column


Re-surging from the ashes of the peace process and "enforced normalcy", the resistance sentiment of Kashmir today is more vibrant than ever. 1931, 1947, 1953, the holy relic movement of 1964, 1975
accord, 1989, and election dramas of 1996 and 2002, a series of events that marked the ebb and flow of this movement has finally and irreversibly brought people of Kashmir to the present confrontation where they see only one option acceptable and i.e. AZADI. Bleeding and starving too, the wounded paradise screams to be heard but unfortunately all its pleas have felt flat on deaf ears and so far failed to draw the attention of global fora. A nation that has been sold and re-sold has always defied the bargain that was carried against its will by those donning the mask of a messiah. From huge economic packages to unethical economic blockade, every effort has met waterloo to quell the thirst of freedom in Kashmir. Nothing beguiles
them; nothing scares them, people of Kashmir are adamant to have a tryst with their AZADI. Severing the supplies is a way to force people into submission and will work in Kashmir as well, they presume so. One wonders as to see that despite 62 years of yoke, India has so far failed to understand the people of Kashmir. Or, one may pose a simple
question; has India ever seriously ventured to ascertain what people of Kashmir want and what can be done to win them over? A simple fact will serve as a good answer; out of five working groups that were constituted as a result of the so called round table conferences on Kashmir to make recommendations to the central government on various issues pertaining to Kashmir, four submitted their reports long ago here as nobody knows what happened to the fifth one that had been assigned with the job to make recommendations on " centre-state
relationship." it is already lost in oblivion. People have forgotten it (if they were bothered about it at all).
The present situation reminds us of the late eighties of the previous century. Pushed to the wall, the people of Kashmir were compelled to go for the extreme. Once in an interview with the GREATER KASHMIR, veteran resistance leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, rightly pointed out that "militancy (in Kashmir) is the creation of India. [G.K: July 25 2004]" While the above statement needs no analysis and is as vivid as the shining sun, there is a need
to understand the dynamics of the present upsurge of resistance movement and the havoc it can wreak in the whole region.
Than the series of goofs by India catalyzed it and resistance movement re-surfaced. But, by and large, it remained passive until the late eighties, particularly until the faux pas of 1989 poll rigging.
The years that followed witnessed the metamorphosis of the peaceful Kashmir into a violent battle ground. Even then, no serious effort was
made to understand and address the basic alienation. Instead, India responded by invoking Disturbed Areas Act and Armed Forces Special
Powers Act. Death and destruction became an order of the day. Young men sacrificed their lives and young women lost their chastity-more precious than the life. While the people of Kashmir, seeking their fundamental right of self determination, bore the brunt of Indian military might, the iron glove policy failed to achieve the purpose.
Guns felt silent but it failed to annihilate the sentiment that runs through the veins of every Kashmiri. A charade of development was sold
as the triumph of the "secular loyalist forces" and a defeat of the "hardliner religious secessionists." But today the movement has assumed
the position where even those who used to take up cudgels of India and lead the opposite bandwagon, feel it safe to join the chorus of separatism. They find it tantamount to the political suicide to side
with their masters by marching against the popular tide. Despite every effort, Kashmir is slipping out of Indian jaws. India's long serving minions in Kashmir too have miserably failed to turn the tide in Indian favor in India. An excerpt from Sanjay Kak's Jashn-e-Azadi unravels the puzzle for India;"from the most highly militarized zone
in the world: a lesson; that domination does not mean victory."
Years of oppression and tyranny, accompanied with cultural onslaught and manipulation of history, had bred an unprecedented exasperation and dismay against India in the people of Kashmir. Out of context interpretations of Kashmiriyat by non-Kashmir and sinister attempts of cultural assimilation had annoyed even those who sought peaceful status-quo earlier. Waiting to give vent to their mounting anger, valleyites were in search of a proper occasion. Land transfer row and the
subsequent economic blockade provided a good opportunity to them. Defying every barrier and removing every barricade, people dared the
batons and the bullets. A strange situation but not unpredictable: heavy contingents of the combat ready police and CRPF felt insufficient to crush the demonstrations as the protesters were taking
on bullets with their chests naked. 30 unarmed and peaceful protesters were killed but it only reinforced the will of people it will be a mega blunder by the Indian state to continue its imperial policies in Kashmir by ignoring the reality where the whole imbroglio is rooted. A sense of deep injustice and denial is indelibly etched to the Kashmiri psyche, particularly the young blood. If the days of 1989 are made to re-visit the valley of Kashmir, it will prove fatal for the whole region. The Crowds of protestors and their resentment speaks a lot and heralds
nothing good. Sea of angry masses and their restrain is a sign of maturity and should not be underestimated. A mere thought of the
consequences if India failed to answer the legitimate demands of Kashmir this time should send tremors down the spine of those having
even a little regard for the peace and worth of a Human life and demands their immediate and sincere attention to the solution of Kashmir issue. Kashmir problem has the potential to spill violence
through out the region if not addressed in proper context. Those talking to keep Kashmir issue on the back burner are making serious mistakes with long term consequences by undermining this very reality.
Presently peaceful and non-violent movement can take ugly turn if India replicated its conventional policy. It can mushroom extremism across the region whose aftershocks might be felt in India as well. So it is wise to accept realities.
(author is correspondent with the Kashmir Times)

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