Let a thousand Guns Boom!

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THE mood today is upbeat- just like it was in 1989 when we were told that ‘azadi’ was just around the corner. Even though no one is talking anything about ‘azadi’ coming our way in the foreseeable future this time, we are still euphoric as we are now being told that scores and scores of our young boys are picking up the gun. We are also being told that this time the icing on the cake is that the highly educated are joining militant ranks. Frankly speaking, I for one am unable to understand as to how will enhancement in the literacy level of militants accelerate achievement of the ‘right to self determination’. Infact, I cannot even comprehend the reasons as to why we have come to the conclusion that it is not the UN resolutions on Kashmir but the gun that will get us our ‘right to self determination’! However since others seem to believe so and are also very proud of the fact that we now have educated ‘freedom fighters’, I too have decided to join the chorus just in order to hide my ignorance!

Everyone is talking about this new trend of educated boys joining militancy and many have even come out with various hypotheses on the reasons behind this. Some attribute this to frustration amongst the educated youth due to limited job opportunities because of which many of them have not been able being able to find suitable employment. Others claim that ill-treatment and humiliation of the educated youth or their family members by security forces and police has deeply wounded their psyche and generated a deep desire for vendetta provoking them to pick up the gun. There are also others who maintain that it is the lackadaisical approach of the separatist conglomerate towards the ‘K’ issue that has disillusioned the educated youth to the extent that they feel that ‘armed struggle’ is the only way to achieve the ‘right to self determination’. However, the separatists and the United Jihad Council chief assert that it is solely the desire for ‘azadi’ that is motivating the educated youth to join militancy.

Kashmir has been witnessing an ‘armed struggle’ for more than a quarter century during which thousands have been killed. Yet, despite all these sacrifices, this ‘armed struggle’ hasn’t got us anywhere nearer our goal of achieving the ‘right to self determination.’ So, today why is everybody so ecstatic and enthused by the thought that we will now have more educated ‘freedom fighters’? Is it because we feel that with educated ‘freedom fighters’ we would be able to get the ‘azadi’ that their ‘not-so-educated’ predecessors failed to attain? Or is it that with this development we can now claim that since the educated are presently picking up the gun, there must be something really ‘right and legitimate’ about the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir! 

We are very fond of debating. Unfortunately, while doing so, we either go back into history or straight away jump into the future, avoiding any discussion on the present and there is a reason for this. It is very easy to offer ‘expert comments’ on something that has already happened as well as on what someone in the past should or shouldn’t have done. While it is also equally simple to offer ‘comprehensive advice’ on something which has yet to take shape, but discussing the present is serious stuff that requires due deliberation and good analytical abilities. Moreover, debating current issues have the inherent dangers of antagonising someone powerful who may take grave offence to some unintentional or inadvertent assertion even though it may be very minor or insignificant in nature. For example, the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir is an issue of vital importance as this is taking a heavy toll of young lives and so it becomes our moral and societal duty to ensure that its relevance and effectiveness is thoroughly debated. However, for obvious reasons this has never happened in the past and in all probability will never happen in the present or future too. 

Readers would recall that in 2007, Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farook did give out his views on the ‘armed struggle’ in J&K, stating that “Peaceful negotiations were the only way out. We have already seen the result of our fight on the political, diplomatic and military fronts which have not achieved anything other than creating more grave yards.” What the Mirwaiz said was just a frank and personal assessment. If the UJC did not agree with this point of view, then it should have logically debated the same and by highlighting the inaccuracies in the Mirwaiz’s observation, demolished his argument. Yet, instead of doing so, the UJC issued a terse statement which said -“If Mirwaiz and other leaders of his like have become tired, disenchanted or hopeless about the future of freedom struggle due to adverse circumstances, we suggest them to sit back in their homes to lead a life of comfort.” With the UJC issuing such a menacing statement against such a senior Hurriyat leader, how can one expect lesser mortals to dare debate and speak out their hearts on the futility of the ‘armed struggle’?  

Though the UJC chief has always held that “the deciding front which will compel India’s 7, 50,000 army to quit our motherland is the Jihadi front,” he has never elaborated as to how he has arrived at this conclusion. Moreover, if the “Jihadi front” has not been able to achieve anything significant even after more than two and a half decades, then how much longer will we have to wait and how many more lives will it cost us before we get our “right to self determination”? Then comes the question of legitimacy- it is pertinent to note that no nation (except Pakistan) approves of what Syed Sallaudin refers to as the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir and the international community views this as terrorism. Infact, Sallaudin also knows this very well and that is exactly why he, while addressing a rally at Rawalpindi in 2012 said that “We are fighting in Kashmir. It doesn’t matter to us if we are labeled terrorists.” While being labeled ‘terrorists’ may not matter to the UJC chief, but it certainly does so to the ongoing movement for the ‘right to self determination’ as the international community does not appreciate the idea of separatists demanding implementation of UN resolutions on Kashmir while the UJC chief is working overtime on his “jihad” to resolve the Kashmir issue! However, if it still doesn’t matter to Syed Sallahudin, then let a thousand guns boom!

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