The grand delusion that is Kashmir

The poor Kashmiris don’t know where they are going, and who is leading them where.

 |  5-minute read |   13-07-2016
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The death toll in the backlash of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani's killing in Kashmir is swelling with each passing day.

Irked Kashmiris take to the streets after each killing, and the cycle goes on.

Response to Burhan’s killing is spontaneous. The analysts, as usual, describe it as an eye-opener for the Indian state. Political pundits go on air, urging India to come out of denial mode and resolve the issue.

Clerics and moulvis, as usual, take to the mosques, urging the faithful to wage war against the Indian state.

Also read: India makes Kashmir poorer, not richer

TV anchors use this opportunity for Pakistan and Kashmir-bashing.

The ground is thus prepared on both sides by hatemongers for prolonged disturbance in Kashmir. Hence, the violence.

This is not new for Kashmir. We have been witnessing this since a long time. People are killed, properties destroyed.

burhanbd_071316074335.jpg Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed by security forces on July 8.

The cycle goes thus: hartal, strike, curfew, defy restrictions, stone-pelting, retaliation by the Indian or state forces, and the killings. Sermons inciting the youth following huge funeral processions, use of disproportionate force. More killings, and the vicious cycle goes on.

Some from the Indian mainland call for the independence of Kashmir. Enthused by such statements, the separatists intensify their agitation.

Political analysts in Kashmir evoke UN resolutions on plebiscite and self-determination.

The mainstream political parties invoke either Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Dr Manmohan Singh. Separatists, particularly the so-called moderates, invoke Pervez Musharraf’s "four-point formula". Hardliners oppose it, and pledge not to compromise on the UN resolution.

By this time, people start complaining of scarcity of essentials like baby food, water, daily ration, vegetables, milk and LPG.

Also read: Kashmir writhes under lockdown at gunpoint, Delhi remains in denial

Finally, people get tired, and the agitation fizzles out. Then starts the introspection.

In the ultimate analysis, those who were actually fomenting trouble through their emotive public discourse end up saying, "Kashmiris are losers!"

Loss in terms of precious human lives, property, a blooming tourist season, state GDP, education system, etc – all goes for a toss.

Then follows the blame game.

One separatist puts the blame squarely on others, and vice versa.

Senior separatists blame the people, saying "they have failed the movement". If the leaders are lucky enough, the UN secretary general or the US State Department express "concern" over the Kashmir situation.

The separatist leaders immediately issue statements that the blood of the Kashmiri martyrs has not gone to waste. As if the concern expressed by UN or US will be followed by a plebiscite under UN supervision.

Our senior journalists start analysing the situation by writing special columns and editorials. It will be on the same pages they had used earlier to arouse the passion for martyrdom.

Soon, the Election Commission of India will issue a notification for elections to panchayats and urban local bodies of Kashmir. People will come out in large numbers to elect their representatives.

The Indian State and the nationalist TV anchors will pass judgment, calling the voter turnout a huge "victory" for Indian democracy.

The voter is soon disillusioned by the non-performance of the state in improving the conditions of his daily life. The azadi sentiment will again start gaining ground.

The only difference between the past agitations and the current one is the growing radicalisation of public thinking.

In fact, in all this, "peace" will be a delusion. Participation in electoral process – delusion. Boycott the elections, if any – a delusion. Azadi – a delusion.

What is not delusional is the denial of the State to recognise the problem, whatsoever it is, on the one hand. 

And on the other hand, the growing intolerance among the youth of the state. They refuse to realise the non-achievability of the inflexible goals defined for them by the separatist leaders.

The durbar, in the meantime, will shift to the winter capital, Jammu. The people in Kashmir, who have already destroyed the working season along with many other things, will be left wanting for basic amenities.

Now, Kashmir will witness strikes of another kind. People will demand bijli, sadak, paani. With these demands, the azadi slogans will roll again.

Anyone unfamiliar with Kashmir and Kashmiris will be shocked to witness this unique pattern.

Meanwhile, senior leaders – the heroes – will fly to Delhi to avoid the chilling winter and the discomfort thereof.

The civil society groups will identify the issues of public concern. They will start building public opinion on desired lines. "Right to self-determination" will figure on the top of their agenda.

The new generation of political "in-depth analysts" will keep writing on the Kashmir imbroglio. They will invoke UN resolutions, giving the impression that they are specialised in conflict studies from Harvard or Boston.

The writings have an impact. The youth believe the wisdom of their new-generation mentors. These political commentators-turned-conflict experts have worked hard to memorise some historical developments, particularly dates from the past 70 years to impress the reader.

They have been successful in passing on the historical baggage to the younger generation. The fate and future of young boys is, however, not on their agenda.

Then comes the role of contemporary writers and poets, teaching orphans how to weep and cry all the time at the grave of their martyred father. None among them will adopt any orphan.

The pseudo-religious clergy will arouse passions again. But before doing so, they will ensure that every single teenager who's their relative is out of the state.

In 2017, a mass uprising may not take place. It will take place definitely in 2018. The state will be ignorant to the undercurrents.

The agencies, if asked to report, will furnish a two-liner, saying: "Burhan has joined armed militancy, and is the chief of operations of the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit. Rest, all is okay."

The intelligence agencies and media personalities will attach much significance to a few educated young men joining militancy.

They will totally ignore the family profile of these young men, or boys. There will be no mention of the rampant radicalisation, of which these boys may be a product.

The chief minister will start a fresh innings of holding each other’s forefathers responsible for the present predicament of Kashmir.

Senior political commentators will speak about azadi and Islam.

The poor Kashmiris don’t know where they are going, and who is leading them where. 

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