Steer the boat well.


Almost for last three months life has come to halt in Kashmir. Writ of government does not run beyond the corridors of civil secretariat and a population of millions is holed up because of unending trail of curfew and endless hartals. This situation of turmoil which started as an agitation against killing of young Kashmiris turned chaotic. Occasionally, violence gripped the valley so severely that blood of innocent people got splashed on every street and lane of Kashmir. More than sixty people have got killed since young innocent Tufail Matoo was killed brutally. Hundreds got injured by the brute force of security agencies maiming and disfiguring many with lethal weapons. Situation in Kashmir has reached a flashpoint where it can be termed as unpredictable. A situation of ‘stalemate’ has gripped the valley particularly for the last more than a fortnight. This position of status quo has arrived as both administration and leadership of agitators are watching each other’s moves very closely and any fault is exploited and explored by the either side. This situation of stalemate is pushing more young people into the furnace of death and destruction without making any substantial development on human rights front and the basic vital issue of empowering and emancipation of people of Kashmir.

No authority in the world order can deny the implications of Kashmir issue on regional and international political scenario. Security aspect in the sub-continent is completely influenced by Kashmir problem which ultimately adversely effects the economic development and social harmony in the region. For the last more than six decades this vexed issue of many dimensions and facades had experienced multi-pronged approaches of settlement without any progress. Stake holders of this issue except Kashmiris desire to resolve it to their satisfaction and benefit without giving any due consideration to the aspirations of people of Kashmir. From 1947 onwards Kashmir political stage hosted much political drama. Starting with Pakistan’s military interference and subsequent Indian intervention leading to a situation where not less than the Prime Minister of India made a promise with people of Kashmir—promise of self-determination. Issue was even dragged to United Nations for intervention by one of the hostile countries. Beyond promise of self-determination and U.N intervention something else was in store for the desperate Kashmiris—historic blunder of 1953 when Sheikh Abdullah was deposed and jailed for treason.

Later on many experiments to destabilize writ and authority of Kashmiri people were put in motion.  In the year 1974 by reinstalling miniaturized Sheik Abdullah under `Kashmir accord’ the intentions of Indian establishment were loud and clear. Now, the strings of Kashmir were firmly held by Indian authorities in Delhi.  In between all these developments many other steps were taken to discredit people of Kashmir, Delhi agreement, erosion and ultimately abolition of autonomy of the state, change of nomenclature of head of government and head of the state and getting Kashmir under the purview of several legislations passed by the Indian parliament were enacted finely and with political precision.

These unprincipled efforts ensuring complete but illegitimate integration of Kashmir with Indian union created a state of mistrust between Indian establishment and the people of Kashmir. All political dispensations and authorities in India made cosmetic planning of economic packages, and doled out many other sops and amenities to woe the people of Kashmir from time to time. 1953’s political coup is the best example of sedating Kashmiris with developmental opium and other economic benefits. During this period corruption was deliberately injected into the otherwise pure psyche of Kashmiri people. This mistrust exploded many times and led to confrontation during last six decades but got brushed under the carpet with active support of many local political hypocrites and sycophants. But, no package of any sort and magnitude could completely put out the glimmer of hope for emancipation lying within each and every Kashmiri.

Kashmiris have suffered for centuries but the last six decades of mistrust and deception are more painful as it is being inflicted by a class who where companions of our elders during moment of independence in the region, who claim to be the champions of freedom and democracy. This painful suppression inflicted on Kashmiris for the last more than six decades has effected almost three generations of Kashmir. The people who are on the streets of Kashmir now, leading and vociferously asking for their legitimate rights were born during last two decades under the shadow of gun, rattling sounds of bombs and mines. They have seen and experienced their elders being subjected to torture, killing, pillage, and destruction. They have witnessed women being molested and people of their age subjected to disappearance. They are angry for many years now but the recent gruesome killing made them fuming. Yes, factors of alienation, exploitation, corruption and nepotism over the period of time leading to huge unemployment and deprivation played as catalyst in raging the present fire of anger but the ultimate reason is fraud played with people of Kashmir since 1947.

Young Kashmiris who at the moment are embracing death as against humiliation are being not really lead but steered by a bunch of leaders who otherwise are embroiled  in a vortex of conflict and ego, unable to draw their own collective strategy regarding the present resistance. Words of ‘civil disobedience’ and ‘quit Kashmir’ are doing the rounds but ultimately it is the energy and resolution of this energetic younger generation on streets that sustains the present struggle for just and genuine demand of honorable solution of Kashmir imbroglio. Young people in command on the streets are devoid of any significant leadership of their own and thus their struggle at the moment is completely dependent on traditional separatist leadership.

Mainstream political system existing in Kashmir are either trivializing this situation or trying to exploit it and encourage a situation of stalemate for their petty considerations. Majority of these mainstream political groups are either implementing their parroted agenda or work as ‘his masters voice’. Certain mainstream politicians resort to carrot and stick approach and are waiting for the opportune occasion to open their cards.

Presently people of Kashmir irrespective of social and economic class and status have invested much in the present state of resistance and civil-disobedience; younger generation has given.  Any deviation or faulty strategy leading to situation of long lasting stalemate will have its far reaching consequences with regard to the indisputable desire of emancipation. Present leadership that is not leading this struggle by choice but by compulsion should understand the mood and temper of younger generation. They should respect the sentiments, aspirations and wishes of this younger lot who work as fuel for this engine of resistance. They should chalk out a strategy which is not only practical but sustainable as well. Unless a multi-pronged strategy of resistance and necessitated negotiation will not be in place the confrontation will take over and overpower our saner efforts making the struggle of empowerment much difficult. We should fight for our legitimate rights in every peaceful manner and on every front. Present leadership should not make this movement personality centric but principle oriented. Multi-pronged strategy demands constitution of pressure groups, literary forums, economic policy groups, and further demand active involvement of social scientist and intellectuals. These saner sections of society will take care of education, economy, society and other measures of sustenance during these testing times. Just issuing programs of hartal and protest will not do. We cannot afford to proceeds on indefinite strike without keeping the doors of reconciliation and prospective negotiations ajar. Not reconciliation at the cost of martyrs blood and our honor but after due consideration and deliberation in the context of our just demand of emancipation. Our leaders have to unite and shift from position of stalemate to strategy of steering preset resistance movement towards dignified resolution of Kashmir issue without making any compromise with the basic principles and the philosophy of justice.

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