There once was a beautiful vale called Kashmir. Its beauty was so mesmerising that people from far came to visit it. The people living in this vale considered themselves the luckiest and beamed with pride for being the inhabitants of what was known as the paradise on earth. They lived in harmony and their brotherhood collectively transformed this beautiful vale into a magical place, a place where everyone wished to live. As time passed and man became greedy, a dark cloud began appearing over this beautiful vale. This dark cloud spread confusion and chaos everywhere and the people who once lived happily as one, started fighting. These fights consumed generations and permanently marred the beauty of Kashmir.
If we look closely, the destruction of Kashmir falls roughly on four shoulders. First, we have the clueless Kashmiris who even though they yearn and fight for freedom, don’t know or understand what freedom is or how it can be achieved. Some of them see freedom as independence from India, some as merger with Pakistan and some as self-rule. A few of them even contest elections as they claim that freedom can only be achieved through participating in the decision making. Some of these people talk of harsh measures against India while others believe in the Gandhian philosophy of non-violence.
Then we have the politicians or what we precisely refer to as mainstream politicians. Among them, Mr Omar Abdullah salutes veer Jawans killed on the border while claiming that Kashmir deserves to be independent. Mehbooba Mufti, another one of these supposedly charismatic politicians, calls for talks and meaningful dialogue for one moment and the very next moment, justifies the recent killing of innocents by saying that those who were killed in the current uprising had not gone to buy bread and butter. Yet another one of them, Mr Sajad Lone, talks of achievable Nationhood and then goes on to say that only 5% of Kashmiris are protesting on the roads. A new party, which has very recently been born, comprises of the various Panchs and Sarpanchs which meet the interlocutors to discuss about the Kashmir issue but when put in lime light, assure the PM that all is well in Kashmir.
Besides these, there are also the two arch rivals which have largely contributed to the destruction of our lovely vale. On one hand we have Pakistan whose Government has always been flexible on Kashmir, yet at times, talks about UN resolutions and a nuclear war with India. Some in Pakistan accuse India of fomenting trouble in their country and some foment trouble in India. Some call for Emergency and some for dialogue. A few even take Kashmiri tea with butter in presence of Mr Modi perhaps to give the impression that Kashmir is being discussed. Some claim that surgical strikes never took place while others engage in back-channel diplomacy with India. Some call Kashmir, Pakistan's jugular vein, while others put Kashmir on the back-burner.
On the other hand, we have India. Its government sometimes forces people to vote in order to create a government and at other times funds Kashmiri politicians to destabilise an elected government. India opposes AFSPA revocation at times and at times claims that it is for the political leadership to decide. The Indian army sometimes resorts to mass raping like in Kunan Poshpora and at other times helps Kashmiris in distress. The CRPF sometimes shower bullets and pellets on Kashmiris and sometimes take stones on their legs. Their ruling party, sometimes meets Hurriyat leaders and at other times calls them brokers and thugs. The Indian politicians have no problem if Hurriyat leaders meet any Indian leaders but create ruckus when Hurriyat leaders meet Pakistani leaders. Some in India, like Ajit Doval and G. Parthasarthy, insist on using coercive force of the Indian state against Kashmiris and some, like N.K. Narayanan, propose to engage sociologists and psychologists to win over Kashmiris.
All these above mentioned have their respective roles in devastating Kashmir and the Kashmiri youth. While India has gifted Kashmiris with lakhs of its Veer Jawans and AFSPA, Kashmiris have gifted Kashmir with hartals and PSA and Pakistan has gifted Kashmir with the gun. Collectively they have gifted Kashmir with Insha, the girl who lost her eyesight to pellets, and hundreds like her.