Ball in Delhi's court
By exercising force, you are pushing it from bad to worse
WORDS WITHIN BY FIRDOUS SYED
The conditions that obtain at present in Kashmir are simply stifling. Maintaining this status quo equals to perpetuating injustice, endlessly. For more than six decades now, people of Kashmir are engaged in a resistance movement with tens of thousands sacrificing their lives. In the present phase of the struggle heroic sacrifice of our youth has resurrected the sentiment for Azadi once again. It is the moment of great satisfaction as well as regret also. Looking at the deep sense of responsibility along with the spirit of sacrifice prevalent among the new generation, indeed it is moment of immense satisfaction that boys are really determined to change the destiny of the suppressed Nation. At the same time it is regrettable that generation after generation had to commit itself to the cause of Azadi, yet goal of Independent Kashmir remains as unattained as ever. Time has come; Kashmir has to break the cycle of failure, in order to throw the yoke of slavery once for all. Cyclic misfortune of rise and fall cannot go on and on, incessantly.
Even in ordinary situations ideological confusions may prove to be disastrous. We are passing through extra-ordinary times. At such critical juncture absence of ideological clarity may prove to be real difference between triumph and defeat. What we are aiming at, for what we are struggling? Is this not absurd, a silly question to be asked after six seven decades of continued struggle and thousands of lives been sacrificed, yet it is being asked what do we want? Yes it sounds to be a ridiculous question, particularly when entire Kashmir is vociferously chanting the slogan of Azadi. Moreover it may look to be disrespectful and for some an insensitive question, especially when more than sixty persons have died and hundreds are still nursing their injuries with few becoming permanently crippled, merely for participating in the protests. Still it needs to be asked, what we mean by Azadi. Is Azadi a sentiment driven by repression or sense of injustice? Do we believe in different way of life hence we want Azadi. Or else we believe in clash of civilization, we reject present world order and want ours to prevail, therefore we want Azadi?
Naturally, the answer to these questions is as easy as it could be, we are a repressed people and repression has unleashed hell thereby breeding a perennial sense of injustice within us. Driven by deep sense of injustice we want Azadi. This can be put in more candid way. India has denied us our basic rights. While we demand restoration of our basic rights, state responds with extensive force to crush the people’s aspirations; it’s both sense of injustice and repression which defines our cry for Azadi. Furthermore, why be apologetic. Islam is the religion of majority here. It defines the life of many in one way or other. However we are not aiming to force our way of life on others. We are committed moreover ordained by our faith to provide equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities to all the citizens irrespective of their religious background. India claims to be a secular democracy, yet its culture and way of life is inspired even defined by the faith of its majority which happens to be Hinduism. If India is not ashamed of cherishing its cultural values, why Kashmir should be? So far so good, these legitimate reasons, offer our movement an indigenous character, which can only be described as a struggle for Right of Self Determination.
Now we come to the critical question, how to achieve Right of Self Determination guaranteed by the charter of Human Rights. Through waging another armed struggle? Armed struggle to seek Right of Self Determination under international law with strict regulations is indeed permitted. It is not the place to debate the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the armed struggle. As a matter of fact we did try militancy option but in the end had to face disastrous consequences. Why to shy away from the truth, is it not fact that despite thousands of sacrifices rendered, our armed struggle was touted to be a Pak-sponsored military operation--- a proxy war against India which subsequently got labeled as terrorism. While we were busy offering supreme sacrifices of men and materiel, international opinion regarded our movement as a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. During that period, struggle in Kashmir was hard-pressed between the two warring nuclear-armed neighbors and world interested only in avoiding a nuclear flashpoint, rather finding a solution to the Kashmir dispute. Who can deny Pakistan is not sympathetic to Kashmir’s cause but its more than active involvement had killed the indigenous character of the freedom struggle.
Since 2008 some semblance of sanity has been restored to the Kashmir’s freedom struggle. Slowly benefits of non-violent indigenous freedom movement are dawning on us. Virtues of non-violent movement are plenty. Unlike an armed struggle, in a peaceful movement it is easy for the world to draw a distinction between suppressed and suppressor, which is exactly happening now. Steadily, death of sixty civilians so far including children women and teenagers has galvanized world opinion in favor of Kashmir; presently more and more knowledgeable circles the world over view Kashmir’s freedom struggle as a popular indigenous movement. It has become very difficult for India to justify use of unbridled force against peaceful civilian protestors; it is being called a fight between David and Goliath. Even in India itself people with fair conscience have started questioning repressive policies of their own government on Kashmir. If we remain persistent and steadfast eventually growing world opinion will force India to change its hegemonic policy on Kashmir, sooner or latter Kashmir will be free from repression. What is required now is to build on the gains and work for institutionalizing the movement, without proper support structures it is very difficult to sustain a peaceful struggle for a prolonged time. But that is not the real worry; this movement was able to sustain the onslaught of Sheikh Abdullah in 1975. Few unknown young men in comparison to Sheikh’s colossal stature were able to keep the flame of Azadi alive. Same has happened again contrary to popular but misconceived notion that this or that leader has kept the movement alive. It is the blood of the boys which has rejuvenated the sagging moral again.
For boys busy in action above discussed ideas howsoever relevant remains to be an academic exercise. All the cold calculations, after-all are part of intellectual discourse. It is not necessary that boys engaged in the pitched battles on the street will be taking cue from these cost analysis and discussions about the supposedly benefits of non-violent indigenous mode of agitation. Their course of action primarily is conditioned by the objective conditions prevailing on the street, and conditions on the street are quiet strangulating. The repressive regime has virtually choked all the means of freedom of expression. Whence unarmed civilian protestors are being killed at will, it is but natural for the street to seethe with anger. Repression is pushing boys towards vengeance; more and more protests are now driven by blind passions of rage and revenge. It can be ominous.
Fearlessness is understatement. Boys on the street are emboldened to the extent that they have even crossed the limits of recklessness. Today boys are prepared to die only, tomorrow they might be prepared to kill also. Let’s hope not, but if this generation commits to an armed struggle, the second generation of militancy is going to be much more disastrous. It seems New Delhi is pushing boys deliberately towards a blind alley. An armed struggle kills the prospects of a negotiated settlement, which apparently suits Delhi’s colonial mindset. However an armed struggle without any state control having an international outreach will not prove disastrous for Kashmir alone. Militancy assuming the enormity of clash of civilization has the potential to destroy not only India but entire Sub-continent. Emotional linkages (within a fringe group) between Kashmir to Kandahar already exist, Delhi’s colonial mindset is hell bent to transform this psychological relationship into a physical one.
Dispute on Kashmir eventually will get resolved only through a process of dialogue whether. Tripartite, triangular or bilateral. U.N sponsored plebiscite seems to be a distant possibility at present. But due to Delhi’s deceptive approach dialogue has become most abused term in Kashmir. Still overwhelming majority in Kashmir is in favor of a negotiated settlement. But they are not ready to concede to their legitimate rights in the name of a superficial dialogue. Real key to sustainable peace is conflict resolution, with honor and dignity. It is now up to New Delhi, whether to engage overwhelming silent majority through a purposeful dialogue or a fringe group believing in extremist ways, nevertheless capable of occupying entire space. Ball is in New Delhi’s court, it has to decide between war and the peace.
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Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 21 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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