If anything, the surgical strikes have effectively put Kashmir on the backburner. The killing of 19 soldiers in a fidayeen attack at Uri, its political fallout and the culmination into an attack at the militant launch pads across the Line of Control has taken the attention away from Kashmir. Ironiically, the world which largely looked the other way at over 90 killings, several hundred blindings and the thousands of injuries in Kashmir over the past three months has been alarmed at the latest developments. All major powers have expressed concern at the deteriorating situation and counselled the two countries to exercise restraint. However, the great powers, excepting China, have exhibited a partiality towards India and more or less winked at its decision to strike back at Pakistan, even while the authenticity of the attack is being questioned in India. Even for that matter Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Kashmir centric speech at United Nations, his sharing of dossiers on the human rights in Kashmir with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the demand for a fact finding mission to the state have hardly made a dent into the longstanding indifference to Kashmir at the international level. And now the India, Pakistan brinkmanship has pushed Kashmir further into the background.
Though this state of affairs is depressing, it should be a source of reflection for all of us. More so, for the leaders spearheading the current uprising. If anything, it should give them an idea of the existing geopolitical situation and and a reason to hone their strategy accordingly. But as it is, this hasn’t happened so far. Hurriyat doesn’t seem to have anything in its resistance arsenal beyond the protest rosters, whose chief achievement has been the decimation of the Valley’s economy. The amalgam has shown little political imagination to take the struggle to the next level, something that people now desperately want. Leadership is not about mechanically issuing a protest schedule and thinking the job has been done, it is about thinking in the long term, gauging the consequences of a strategy by using little more than some common sense and being adaptable to the evolving situation. But if the past three months are anything to go by, Hurriyat has shown a patent lack of the ideas to give a direction to the current upsurge, which is unprecedented in many of its aspects.
One thing that the global indifference has done to us is that we have become petulant and plaintive. We wallow in self-pity with all the cloying accoutrements of victimhood. For Kashmir’s pro-freedom discourse, it is a sulk that has become strategy. And static thinking as a virtue and a sign of steadfastness. What is more, sufferings and sacrifices are pursued for their own sake rather than tied to a pre-meditated, long range plan of action. More tragically, once the sacrifices are made, victims are forgotten and fresh suffering is sought and encouraged. But we hope that we emerge from this another bruising round of uprising with some learning to guide us in future. Without that we are bound to repeat the same mistakes time and again and end up only destroying ourselves.
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