The essence of Kashmiriyat


In 1985 after completion of my bachelor’s in Agriculture sciences, I had the honor to teach for a couple of months. The experience of teaching is interesting and challenging by all means and more interesting when your own learning procedure is fresh on your mind. This brief stint with teaching made me go through much of a grind and awkward situations, but of course, there were some nice and lighter moments as well. On one occasion a bright but mischievous student posed a typical question related to general knowledge. He asked. “Sir, name the city shared by two states as their capital and the state with two capitals”? Thank God! With little effort I managed to regain my composure and mentioned about Chandigarh and J&K with some details about the history and political background of this distinctive situation of organization of states and selection of their capitals. In both these positions political considerations and regional appeasement were preferred over logic and strategic administrative considerations. In case of Chandigarh, it caters to both Haryana and Punjab but belongs to none, while in Jammu and Kashmir an age-old tradition of royalty ‘Darbaar move’ retained its position into the administrative system as legacy merely for political appeasement of both Kashmir and Jammu regions.

If we look into the pages of history the integration of Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir had never been a marriage of convenience. Maharaja Gulab Singh, ruler of small princely state of Jammu got control of Kashmir and its adjoining areas simply by purchasing it for rupees seventy five lacks (Nanak Shahi) from British under historic treaty of Amritsar drawn on 16th of March 1846. This alliance was against the wishes of people of Kashmir in particular and may be then the population of Jammu may have not taken it in their stride as there was no semblance on linguistic, cultural and many other fronts between the two aligning regions. Secondly the alliance was forged by an autocrat and an agency of invading suppressers that has crossed many waters to loot the treasures of ‘Bharat’. By all means, hundred years after treaty of Amritsar when India got out from the clutches of British on 15th of August 1947, this sale deed of millions of exploited souls should have rendered null and void and any allegiance and alliance resulting out of it declared irrelevant. However, both Kashmir and Jammu people should feel privileged, to face the brunt of autocracy in each others company for more than a century. Our elders have faced every ploy and trick of exploitation at the hands of our autocratic rulers; they not only suffered together but created means and ways to live an honorable life even after having complete variance in language, culture, tradition and other affairs of life. Surely, credit should go to our forefathers who explored ways of harmonious living and stuck to ‘forced unity in diversity’, so willingly!

Since 1947, when fate of people and state of Jammu and Kashmir was again made to be decided by the heirs of Gulab Singh and was ambiguously but duly accepted by the most valued democrats of that time as legal and binding, the feature of oneness is missing at all levels. It appears that the pain and misery prior to independence bound us to live in harmony. For the last six decades both regions are beating the drum of discrimination and at occasions the drum beats across the Peerpanchal range turn louder and more severe. Why, this ugly face-off after sharing the sufferings for more than a century, collectively? Answer is as simple as anything, pushing people into an alliance of exploitation against their wishes and aspirations do not long last. Since 1947, every political dispensation in the state is complacent with this situation of strife within the two regions and is exploring ways to safeguard their own political interests and constituencies. This factor of complacency has not only seduced the mainstream politicians but of late the separatists have become victim of this hazy idea of nationality. Collation politics has raised the appeasement levels to much height, making the existing fluid state of affairs between the two regions worse with every passing day and each unfolding event.

If I am not biased, people of Kashmir with big brother tag have displayed higher levels of magnanimity while dealing this sensitive subject of discrimination and other regional differences. But, now several voices of discord and discontent are making rounds much severely within the psyche of people of Kashmir. A pressure group is gaining momentum within the young Kashmiri people, suggesting a leveled playing field for allocation of developmental funds, job opportunities and other fields of overall development and welfare of the state as a whole. Secondly, the much hyped discrimination theory propounded by our brothers on the other side of tunnel and in the cold deserts is no more being taken so well by the present generation in the valley. To strengthen my point I quote few young, saner and credible voices.

“MLA Sangrama Syed Basharat Bukhari has called upon all political parties to work for the interests of people of Kashmir. He said that any discrimination in plan fund allocations and recruitments should be fought with tooth and nail”————–“We do not lack talent and competence, but the right people face tough times in getting their due”———– “Bukhari asked the political parties to shun their complacency and come forward to fight against the discrimination with people of Kashmir————–  “It is the merit which should prevail and not the political considerations” (Daily Rising Kashmir 29thNov.2010).


“If Hurriyat, National Conference, People’s Democratic Party and others are sincere to end the sufferings of Kashmiris, then they should shun their negative politics and identify a common ground to work together for the lasting peace in the State,” MLA Langate, Er Rasheed (Greater Kashmir 6th Dec.2010).

We all know many voices within other political setups in Kashmir silently think on lines of identical opportunities and approach to resources without any frills attached to the process of sharing for any particular section or region. Logic and reasoning are indispensable assets of right thinking people, so both enduring and meting out discrimination is unrealistic. Sincerity demands unity within all political dispensations to advocate true ‘Kashmiriyat’ based on justice and equal opportunity without any bias.  We as true Kashmiris will cherish to live in harmony with people of Jammu and Ladakh for generations, but surely in absence of any distasteful stance and postures of indistinct discrimination. Illustrious and esteemed Kashmiri leadership irrespective of their political affiliations should join hands for creating a harmonious but justified system of regional coexistence and should strive for tearing down all demons of appeasement or other evil manifestation of ‘collation dharma’. Otherwise, situations will lead to point of anarchy as transpired by the following news item.

“Kashmir region has remained disturbed since long. The people there are demanding Azadi, indulging in violence and also raising voices against the nation. Centre is providing massive funding to them. Despite concessions, packages and massive funding, they have continued to raise voice against the country. The nationalist people of Jammu region are being crushed and their aspirations ignored. The discrimination has continued, regional imbalances were at galore and Kashmir was being pumped with funding at the cost of Jammu people. People of Jammu region can not be made to suffer for long. Time has come that Jammu should be separated from Kashmir, Ladakhis be granted UT status and Kashmir be given Azadi,” Minister for Health, Sham Lal Sharma (Greater Kashmir 7th Dec 2010.).


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