In Jammu and Kashmir and particularly in the Valley so much is happening these days that it is virtually impossible to focus and talk on any single issue. Making matters worse is that talking dispassionately and objectively about anything is not easy; its fraught with so many dangers. On one side is the pride and arrogance springing from power that can neither see nor hear. On the other are heartless machinations of raw and disjointed passion propelled by decades of popular miseries and frustrations. A terrible sense of asphyxiation is there plaguing not only the politics, but the religion and society as well, and its fallouts staring everybody in the face.
No wonder that right from the mosques and seminaries to the lanes of culture and society, every place presents itself as scenes from the Animal Farm, with people here, like the sheep, goat and monkeys of the popular English novel, engaged in an unending struggle, playing hide-n-seek without any sense of direction whatsoever. Those gifted with the faculties to think are also helpless or have turned into the slaves of petty selfish interests.
There is chaos and confusion all around, which doesnt seem to end, not now, or anytime soon. But prudence and honesty demands that it must be conceded that this tragedy was not born of its own within a night or two. It has been given birth and then nurtured by the sleazy and unsavory conditions and circumstances for years. So in order to move out of this imbroglio one will have to be willing to heed not only the laws of nature but also listen to the reason and logic of history. Otherwise, countless pages of the world history are replete with numerous instances wherein the protagonists even after offering huge sacrifices of life and limb and wading through the rivers of blood, ended up with nothing in their hand.
Having laid down this preface, lets now turn to one of the two competing powers involved here. Hope is that even if our request and pleas strike at the heart of some individual(s) in the corridors of power, and makes some sense there, my job is done. Isnt it true that sometimes very ordinary ideas and events too have led to some real big results both positive and negative ones?
It is my sincere belief that if the Government of India and its policy makers handling Kashmir step out of the caves of their dogma for even a while, they would realize and accept this unfortunate reality that all the traditional tricks employed in the name of politics and statecraft have not worked in Kashmir. While they have done some irreparable damage to the popular Kashmiri psyche, they have also not yielded desired results for New Delhi, certainly not the ones they were crafted and employed for. If it were not enough, these have also cost much of Indias face internationally.
Cool calculated(soulless ) interests of the states aside, it is also true that the politics hinging on winning over the hearts and minds of the recipient populations has its own stature, standing and appreciations. It can be said without any fear of contradiction that Indias economic growth has added to its importance and influence globally, making Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi a darling of many world leaders. But at the same time it is also true that both Kashmir and the treatment meted out to the religious minorities elsewhere in India, have also been a cause of attracting flak to the country as could be made out from the commentary and analysis carried by the western media.
There is no denying that West looks up to India with praise for its democracy and secularism. And on these counts its record has been far better than many a Muslim countries as well. There is no doubt that despite all the shortcomings, democracy has taken strong roots in India so much so that since its independence there has not been even a single attempt in the country to derail democratic polity even in the face of very grave political crises. Notwithstanding the flaws and faults within, internationally Mahatma Gandhi, non-violence and secularism have all along remained Indias face.
However, when it comes to democracy and principled politics on the basis of pronounced promises and agreements, in Jammu and Kashmir, right from 1953 till date New Delhi and its leadership is caught pants down. It may have been able to employ carrots and sticks policy with some deft managerial skills, but the overall record has been a big failure.
Fact of the matter is, it was not only a government that was dumped and a popular leader ousted on the night on August 09, 1953, but on this day New Delhi had itself put out that ray of light which Mahatma Gandhi had seen in Kashmir during the terrible mayhem of subcontinents partition. Geography of the boundaries and borders may not have changed much since then in Kashmir, but New Delhi has certainly lost the land on which it could have grown the crop of faith and trust.
No wonder New Delhi has been forced into an unnatural way of planting seeds inside small vases and pots, which of course limits not only the scope of its farming but also the longevity of the saplings thus grown. To cap it, Delhi has not even been able to trust its own plants here; they too have remained under continued surveillance. They are pruned and cut to size as and when needed so as to keep everything under tab. Now see the tragedy, these saplings are actually all those people who are paraded in front of the world as Indias very own in Kashmir. It is on their heads that New Delhi enacts the whole edifice of its (Controlled and tailored )democracy in international forums.
Irony is that New Delhi is not ready to accept that the leadership of the Kashmiri people, whether because of sheer naivety or for some misplaced optimism, had actually entered into a conditional relationship with India, which had acknowledged and accepted its special position and uniqueness. There was no such thing as complete assimilation or merger with India in it. Had this relationship not been staked at the altar of sleazy politics of expansionism, by now it would definitely have been turned into a massive tree whose roots would have gone past the top soil of promises and pacts to secure traction in the deep earth of trust and faith.
But the developments that preceded 1953 and then the events of the night of August 09, 1953 sealed everybodys fate for the worse. Till date, New Delhi has not only been willing to accept its follies so as to put in measures to undo them, but it has instead been engaged in cheap tactics as would justify and consolidate those mistakes. In the bargain it has reduced the whole aura of democracy to a big and equally cruel joke in Kashmir.
Going back to my initial plea — that instead of wasting time in redundant legerdemain aimed at hoodwinking the domestic and international opinions, the Indian leadership must rise above the partisan party politics and treat Kashmir as a National Responsibility. Taking break from the madness centered around Kashmirs complete merger with the Indian Union, they must understand the idea of Kashmir and then strive to take it forward together with the idea of India. This is what Kashmiriyat is all about.
It would be in place to mention here that had then the narrow minded leadership of Pakistan while riding the waves of two nation theory in 1947 realized and appreciated the idea of Kashmir, today the map of Jammu and Kashmir would have been different. Neither would have the ordinary Kashmris been forced to shout Hamla Awar Khabardaar, Hum Kashmiri Hein Taiyaar (beware raiders, we Kashmiris are ready to fight you) then, nor would they be getting incinerated in the fire of violence and instability since. Mind it we are talking of the time when Kashmirs Maharaja left Valley lock, stock and barrel in the dead of the night and sought refuge in the safety of Jammu, and when there was not a single Indian soldier here, nor were the commission agents of the hateful politics of one nation, one constitution, one symbol et al visible anywhere.
The anger and alienation of Kashmiri people needs to be seen and understood within this context with courage and magnanimity.This is what Insaniyat is all about.This is what Bapu stood through out and ultimately sacrificed his life.The way-out lies in understanding and acknowledging these realities and not in trying to suppress them using force and coercion. The politics of deceit and conspiracies can throw up governments here for the consumption of domestic and international audiences, but such machinations couldnt (wouldnt) create conditions for the flowers of Nationalism and Patriotism to bloom here. As long as this does not happen, Kashmir issue will remain there, live and ticking, in one or the other form.
Deceitful politics even at its best could only create agents and not the ones invested with conviction of thought and commitment of resolve. This was true yesterday and this is true even today. The solution lies in realizing this sooner the better.
If Liberty Is To Mean Anything At All,It Means To Tell People What They Do Not Want To Hear George Orwell)
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