Dialogue among all the “Stakeholders” is the present refrain but one could ask who the real “Stakeholders” are and what stakes they have?
The “Burhan Uprising” has shaken not only people in the sub-continent but across the world. It is for the first time in the recent history of the Kashmir’s Movement for the right of self-determination that the people all round are making efforts to understand and attempt to solve the basic political problem which has been plaguing the sub-continent right from the time of its partition in 1947. There is universal suggestion for a dialogue among the “Stakeholders” to sort out the problem. Unfortunately, mentioning the word “Stakeholder” gives a feeling as if it is piece of the real estate which needs to be divided among various claimants. It sounds more like “Shareholders” or rather the “Booty Sharers”! That is the misfortune of Kashmiris that there are now many “Shareholders” claiming a piece of their motherland where they themselves have been living right from the birth of man! The living example is the dwelling pits of the new Stone Age in Burzahom.
Before one comes to the present set up, it would be useful to refresh the historical perspective. India is a very ancient land. It has been in existence from the earliest times. It was referred to by Arabs as the Al Hind because it was the land of the Hindus, a very ancient religion. Then Muslims came to South India as preachers especially to Kochi in Kerala but to the North they came mostly as conquerors and some settled here adopting it as their homeland. Muslims ruled over India for 800 years. However, ultimately, the British made it their colony to rule over it for 200 years. Muslims and Hindus had been living more or less peacefully till the British thought of a plan to keep their indirect presence in the area even after their departure. The result was the partition of India and creation of Pakistan. These western colonialists even after their departures have worked out such intelligent plans that all their earlier colonies remain perpetually in turmoil needing their continuous intervention. The story is same in Africa, South America, Far East, Middle East and South Asia.
For last 70 years the two newly created countries of India and Pakistan have been in a continuous state of conflict. In fact, India is not now the historical India mentioned in the ancient chronicles! It is now Bharat, the land of the Hindus which according to statement of RSS leader would be totally free of Muslims by 2021! It will again become the ancient land of Hindus which is the aim of the present ruling dispensation. Pakistan did not exist till 1947 and was created by the British to keep a hold on the sub-continent. It was then further divided in two countries by the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. The recent declassification of some secret documents of the partition days clearly establishes the existence of a western conspiracy to divide the sub-continent and create a perennial disputeamong them enabling continuous western interference in their continued existence.
Kashmir in the entire sub-continent has probably the longest history and a sizeable part of it from the earliest times recorded in writing. Many ancient chronicles of Greeks, Arabs and Chinese mention Kashmir as a Kingdom in the Himalayan Mountains. Till twelfth century it was a Hindu Kingdom. Then Islam as a religion was brought here by religious preachers and not by conquerors. The religion appealed to the local population so much that all except the 2% ruling elite converted to Islam and with the conversion of the last ruler Rincin Shah, it became a Muslim State. Rincin Shah after conversion took the name of Sadaruddin and became the first Muslim King of Kashmir. Till sixteenth century it remained an independent sovereign kingdom and then the Mughal King Akbar annexed it through treachery to the Mughal Empire. After that there was continuous slavery of Afghans, Sikhs and Dogras for the Kashmiris. A movement for the emancipation from the centuries of bondage and slavery rose in Kashmir in early thirties of the last century. In 1947 when Kashmiris were nearing their goal of freedom, because of their misfortune and the ineptitude of their leaders, they got entangled in the ideological conflict of the sub-continent. Rather they were got enmeshed by the departing British.
During the last 70 years both the countries have created their vested interests or so called “Stakeholders” to pursue their agendas of claims on the land. One side calls it the jugular vein which because of the water may be true while the other side because of its Hindu past calls it the crown of India. Unfortunately, the real “Stakeholders”, the Kashmiris are getting crushed like the grass in the arena where the two bulls have been fighting. The sufferings of Kashmiris for last 70 years and especially the last of couple of decades have not been seen by any of the dwellers in any part of the entire sub-continent. In the real sense of the word, they are the only “Stakeholders” and need to be given the basic right of living an honourable and dignified life. This right of theirs has been accepted not only by the two warring countries apparently fighting for the real estate but by the entire world through the commitments given time and again through different international and national organisations. The sooner it is restored, the better for all. Otherwise, because of the new “Burhan Generation”, there may be no stakes left for any of the “Stakeholders”!
Mohammad Ashraf, I.A.S. (Retired), Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir)