The Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Tuesday said he is making efforts at the party level to achieve the goal of unity among pro-freedom leadership, even as he urged people to remain steadfast in carrying forward the ‘mission of Kashmir martyrs.’
Addressing a seminar ‘Shuhada Ka Khoon Zulm-u-Tashadud Pey Bari Hai- Ek Musalimah Hakeekat” under ‘Hafta-e-Shahadat’ programme of his party, he said: “Unity among us has foiled the designs of oppressors in the past. We will unite and fight again. Unity is the need of the hour.”
Mirwaiz said Kashmir issue is related to people’s aspirations and emotions. In a pointed reference, the Mirwaiz added, If anyone takes one step towards them, they would take 10 steps forward.
Mirwaizs initiative comes at a critical juncture in the politics and psycho-emotional state of the people of Kashmir. The politics of Kashmir is in churn and flux; from a mainstream perspective, the PDPs alliance with the BJP has alienated Kashmiris and the relationship between the governors and the governed is functional at best. A disconnect defines the people of Kashmir and the state; the state is dis-embedded from society and patronage is the defining aspect of mainstream politics. From a psycho-social perspective, while the dominant sentiment and narrative in Kashmir has and continues gyrate to separatism, a disconnect is at work in terms of separatist leadership and the sentiment of separatism too. However, the quotidian pressures of daily life and bread and butter issues render the Kashmiri political consciousness make a kind of a quasi compromise (functional) with the status quo.
This is the overview of the state of affairs in Kashmir. Now, in terms of Mirwaizs initiative, the question is will it hold? Will a genuine response be elicited by other separatist quarters to which Mirwaiz is reaching out?
The answer is unlikely.
Besides ideological divides within the separatist group(s)- the dominant ones being azadi(freedom) versus/or Pakistan- there are power political issues that might militate against separatist unity. There is also the factor of influence and influence peddling within the group by extra Kashmir actors who want to retain and propound their influence through different groupings. This is a theme that has carried on over from the days of militancy and full blown insurgency to the politicization of separatism or the articulation of separatism through/ in a political idiom. These issues and themes may be too deeply entrenched to lend themselves to resolution. The Mirwaiz initiative may then flounder.
What does the disjointed nature of both mainstream and separatist politics tell about politics in Kashmir?
It suggests that Kashmir will be fragmented politically and this will apply to both mainstream as well as separatist spectrum of politics. The fragmented nature of politics would mean that the Kashmiri voice will be crowded out or even lost amidst the din and noise of fragmented politics. This is a travesty given that it will open doors for extra Kashmir players to interject and intervene in Kashmir. The classic case is that of the mainstream spectrum; the division of the Kashmiri voice between the PDP and the National Conference opens space for a divide and rule policy with extra Kashmiri elements being in the position of king makers. The same would, in a different permutation and combination, apply in the case of separatist spectrum of politics. Amidst all this , what will be lost is Kashmir and Kashmiris? Alas!
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.