Kashmiris are used to pain and difficult times; have suffered on all accounts and experienced lack of sympathy at the hands of both aggressors and their own people for centuries. After fall of British Raja democratic fragrance and breeze of freedom blew all over the subcontinent but probably these winds were not so influential to cross over the mighty mountain ranges surrounding Kashmir and so we Kashmiri’s were left deprived of real autonomy till date. Our recorded history is testimony to the fact that we experienced bad rule for centuries. In recent past Mughals made us to submit by force or by deceit; Pathans always treated us like hordes of cattle irrespective of sharing religious bond with majority of Kashmiri population. Sikhs tried their every cruel ploy to subjugate us and ultimately passed us over to Dogras through British autocratic rule. Dogra rulers had no respite in store for us as we were destined to suffer and ultimately at the turn of twentieth century Kashmiries seriously desired for emancipation within their bleeding hearts and much harmed psyche. Angry quest for liberation from clutches of tyrannical rule shaped Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. Sheikh Abdullah’s persona was mirror image of aspirations of people of Kashmir and outlet of volcanic anger brewing within the hearts of Kashmirie people. What was in store for Kashmiries and late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah later on I need not to mention that here as it will be out of context and amount to intrusion in the mandate of learned historians?
Omar Sahib, I am not tutoring history but just summing up Kashmir’s turbulent political happenings and unkind turn of events before you. But yes it will be relevant to remind you of post 1947 political happenings in particular as you are about to take reins of power with the support of politicians whom once your grandfather described as social outcasts. Kashmir is facing worst political crisis since 1947 where it is squeezed between two egoistic states and an unreceptive international community. Kashmiries were pushed to be under the illusion of freedom and emancipation by successive political orders through deceptive political manipulation from time to time. Opium of materialistic glitter and bouts of illusory authority were pumped to alienate people from their legitimate and genuine aspiration of autonomy (the real autonomy) but no one could put out the flame of emancipation and empowerment always alight in the hearts of people of Kashmir. 1947 onwards much water has flown down the river Jhelum so has the sovereignty of people of Kashmir. Political opportunism, exploitation, and materialistic urge made people in power to resort to ploys of deceit and abuse. Situation was dragged to a flashpoint where people of Kashmir turned to ‘tang amad-b-jang amad’ (enough is enough) and thus situation of turmoil and anarchy gripped Kashmir. Massacre, plunder, molestations, and every manoeuvring of subjugation are what two decades of turmoil in Kashmir were all about. This shaping of events was not abrupt but gradual abuse of people’s liberty manifesting to a situation of uncertainty created chaotic atmosphere. During these testing years people suffered a lot and the perpetuators of these sufferings were their own people. A new generation of widows, orphans, and exploited lot became part of our already crumbling social system. These orphans and widows were used as fodder for unending urge of materialistic adventurism, even the shroud of slain was not spared. Every mean soul with polluted mindset made hay while the sun of butchery and uncertainty was shining. Many skeletons are yet to come out of cupboards of brutality. Omar Sahib, without any preconceived notion you smell any inch of soil in Kashmir it smells of blood and flesh covered with mounds of deceit and mistrust. A section of Kashmirie people’s tears have dried up so even their sobs appear like smiles and medical experts call them lunatics.
You are privileged to be the descendent of late Sheikh Sahib and you should be proud of it. I need not to exalt or down play the role and contribution of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in liberation of Kashmir and its people from the clutches of Dogra rulers as much learned historians have documented it all in black and white. Some with touches of partiality and others in most justified manner. Sheikh Sahib was one of the most charismatic leaders who evolved out of the subjugated masses of Kashmir but as a human being he could not rightly differentiate between silly friends and wise enemies and thus a big chain of political opportunists dominated the post 1947 political scenario of Kashmir making people of Kashmir to suffer many hardships, exploitation and reverses. No doubt late Sheikh Mohammad Abdulla’s manipulated and decimated political party National Conference was part of it at later stage. How people of Kashmir were exploited and their aspirations were bulldozed during these many decades will reveal on you when you will smell rot within the system and mechanism of governance in place? Nepotism was order of the day in every rule and those nepots adopted and groomed by every political leader and party have grown many folds and are further strengthening and spreading this menace with impunity at the cost of eligible people. Just turn your head and have a sincere look around your system of governance; majority of sycophant nepots will be flourishing in close proximity of your power centre. Corruption! A monster with many dimensions and great magnitude was considered an evil and stigma in our society till mid fifties but now it is legitimised and we are proud to be the flagship owners of this menace. Who allowed this nuisance to creep into our social system and get an honourable place? All those politicians (one and all) and their masters who were shouting at top of their voice to down play each other since 1953 for petty political gains are the real perpetuators and patrons of corruption. These are few challenges faced by Kashmirie’s at present due to deceptive vote bank politics leading to a chain of deprivation, depression, and ultimate unrest. Resent reasonable turnout of voters in Kashmir gave a clear verdict and pinpoint mandate for honest and justified local governance to ensure honourable sustenance and dignified survival. Kindly read this mandate in isolation with the real issue of Kashmir problem. Democratic leaning and political consideration has swung the pendulum of power in your favour and people of Kashmir have related great expectations with your governance not because you are Late Sheikh Sahib’s grandson but you are young, energetic and with a comparatively fresh and un-dotted personal political canvas to paint with aspirations of honesty and impartiality. You have a herculean task ahead if you really intend to tread with sincerity, honesty and impartially, on the bumpy but indisputable road of prosperity and development otherwise you will become a meagre addition to existing brigade of deceivers and plunderers. Choice is yours. Political power and leadership in Kashmir has attracted more sycophants to generate core groups of exploitation and oligarchies of powerbrokers. Young politicians with authority like you are more susceptible to the invasion of these sycophants, so coming days will be real test of your leadership traits and capabilities; your integrity, dedication towards the cause and above all immunity against sycophancy and nepotism.
While marching on the path of electioneering and subsequent promise making your party has accumulated a huge baggage ranging from unemployment allowance and highly subsidised electricity to all-round development and autonomy but people of Kashmir know you are now riding a collation cart with its bullocks moving in different directions till yesterday so every promised dream cannot come true with ease. But essentials of honest and good governance can be achieved with commitment and dedication; zeal and zest to assist underprivileged and to provide justice to all. How far you can prove your worth as sincere head of the present government, saviour of masses particularly the younger generation only time will tell? Wish you luck!