Kashmir: Show Me The Progress Report?
By Ummer Wani
20 April, 2015
Yet again, the valley is at the political crossroads—with the return of summer—the summers of crises, curfews and crackdowns, the stage is set for another spell of Hartals and ‘Chalo calls’ and not to mention the deaths. The killing of a youth in Tral few days ago and the planned proposal to establish composite townships for Kashmiri Pandits living in self-imposed-exile, are the latest incidents which are likely to galvanize the valley into a trance of action and defection.
Reading from the history, Kashmir is fraught with dreadful nights and curfew(ed) days. Hartals, strikes, processions, curfews, deaths, and encounters are some of the elements that go on identifying Kashmir in the outside world. The outer world no more knows Kashmir because of its snow-clad mountains and green gardens, but knows it because of its political ‘sturm und Drang’. For last two and a half decades the valley’s dew-laden green meadows have turned into blood-soaked red. The smiles have gone off the faces, leaving the room for anger and frustration. Slogans after slogans have been invented by Kashmiri rank and file to express their dissent and dissatisfaction with the ruling-politicians, irrespective of their political affiliations. More than a hundred thousand residents have lost their lives, and scores have disappeared leaving their relatives blind.
Kashmiris are free only on the election days; it slips into slavery as soon as the elections end. Although participation, by the people of valley, in Indian administered elections macadamize the Indian claim to have created democratic atmosphere in the valley, yet the populace consider the election as mere means to elected a group who can meet their needs of BIJLI, PANI, AND ROTI on temporary basis.
Since 1947 Kashmir is like a football kicked and smashed by Indian and Pakistan, each side trying to push the ball in his own court…crushing the dignity of the populace under their diplomatic feet. Although India has a stronger position to have their jackboot almost-permanently stationed in the Valley, yet its legality is, time and again, challenged by the rank and file. On the other hand Pakistan is on a weaker side of the game, hence trying to keep the game going as long as possible. Neither side is ready to compromise a inch which could pave way for a lasting solution to the decades-old conflict.
The separatists, claiming representation of the masses are fragmented and diverse in their approach. Each party has an agenda which is different from the other. They have sections within sections, each sectionclaiming to be the true representatives of the people. Some are hardliners and some are moderates. Nevertheless, they have been active for decades, they have been facing the brunt of oppression, and they have been languishing behind bars for years and frequently released just to be arrested again later. They are in the limelight, off and on, to criticize and castigate the policies and programme of the government that is dictated from Delhi and their‘Hartal calanders & Chalo Calls’ have toppled government but just to bring another party on the throne. No one can say exactly how much influence these leaders have upon the denizens of Kashmir but we know they almost ran a parallel government in 2010 when their ‘Shutdown calanders’ were followed by heart and soul. The valley shuts whenever these leaders give a Hartal call. Often, they have been successful to break the political and administrative barricades to mobilize thousands of people to shake the mainstream governmental settings.
However, if government is answerable to public so are separatists? We may ask them, separatists to give us a figure--- a ball park figure of their achievements so far;we may ask how many lives we will have to feed to keep the resistance movement going, we may ask a rough estimate of how many years of blood-shed we will have to continue to achieve what they want to achieve.
Hurriyat leaders may be darling of the masses but of course there is a section within the society who may disagree with their tactics and means they are practicing to achieve their ends. Verily, separatist are accountable and answerably to them, because it’s their future and the future of their future generation which is at stake. We cannot afford to keep the resistance movement going forever; there should be a visible end, an end which will end the killings and imbroglio forever, be it a solution of any form.
The meat has been boiling for two and half decades, even the pot is about to crack, so we may have the liberty to see what our separatist leaders have been cooking, as the fuel required to cook it is human-blood, hence you cannot run the risk of carrying on with cooking forever.
Some of our separatist leaders, when asked about the time frame, give an example of centauries of freedom movement by Indian’s to drive away the British. However, Comparing Kashmiri resistance movement, in terms of its longevity, to British-India resistance movement is a flawed one. The two movements are earth and sky apart. First, the British rule in India was a part of almost global-phenomena of colonialism; the Raj wasn’t confined just to India, it had to end one day or the other. Second, the geographic location was disadvantages to British Raj…India was governed from England which was seas apart from India. Third, British Raj in India was mainly for economic gains to British, they were not concerned with development of their colony.
Our resistance movement shows that we don’t progress; we just start anew every season. I am a common Kashmiri who just happens to be concerned about our collective future. I simply want our separatist leader to enlighten us on their future course of action and the consequences and sequels of their action, Let them at least give us a report in quantitative terms of their performance so far, it high time we see the progress report, so let us have it?
The author is a management graduate from a British university, currently travelling Kashmir…gathering material for his forthcoming debut novel ‘the frustrated youth of the conflict’. He hails from District Pulwama, Kashmir.
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