It’s now for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to retrieve situation in Kashmir. He is aware of the problem and also the solution, the only thing that he needs to do is to act. It is true that he was not fed with the real situation on the ground. But that no longer is the case. For long, he and the Home Minister P Chidambaram were made to believe that everything was fine in Kashmir, barring few disgruntled elements, instigated from across the border and separatists,were pelting stones. Nothing else. But the Manmohan Singh Government is now having a clear sense of the situation which is becoming more and more difficult with every passing day.
Prime Minister’s own credibility is at risk. Therefore, he must act. He has seen a series of double standards in the Kashmir politics, but what’s worse is that there was a complete distortion of facts about the obtaining situation in Kashmir by the people whose task was to keep the Centre informed about exact developments, and why there were protests. Anger on the streets of Kashmir has surpassed all limits. There is no parallel of this in the history of Kashmir.
The blame is being shifted from one quarter to the other. There is a complete chaos, the thinking is muddled, ways are blocked by while suggesting the ways out of the crisis. The direction is lost and those who wanted to gain access to a direction of reaching out to the people, were being fed with a self suiting an elusive solutions.
These people still believe that they can retrieve the situation. But neither they have the capacity nor the will to do so. In fact, they are having no connect with any of the generation in Kashmir, old or new, young or teenagers. The only thing that seems to have been happening with a frightening frequency is that the blood of the young is being spilled on the streets of the Valley, and each home has become a jail for the people have lost their sense of walking with confidence and dignity in the streets. Either they are seen as protestors with stones hiding in their fists or they are signs of once –a-week sign of normalcy. They have been reduced to shadows.
When shadows thicken or widen they only add to fear and scare. They are afraid of themselves. They don’t know whose stone would hit whom and whose bullets in response would kill whom. It is a new generation - not in their teens, but of less than 10s – whose mind is getting impacted, when they see their age group in the protests or sit back home, warned by their parents, only to watch gory scenes of clashes, with stones, tear smoke, bullets and they cry out: “ it’s my neighbhourhood” and they start recognizing faces in the streets- those of their uncles next door or the class fellow or play mate. Even when this generation is sitting home, it is evolving an empathy with the people on streets.
Prime Minister is aware of the fact that most of the protestors are of his grand children’s age or even younger. When they are told by their parents to switch off TVs, they start questioning: “ what should we watch,?” Cartoon network, they refuse.
Before they refuse and reject each and everything in their real life, they should be adopted, given a lap of comfort and promise, which should have a meaning for them in Kashmir, not outside the Valley. They don’t need toys, they need real future where they become the people of a land of peace and just settlement. Kashmiri children are used to playing with balls of snow, throwing snow at each other, not the rocks. But they are becoming aware of the fact that there is a problem, a serious one. They want to have a sense of that, rather they are grasping the problem in their own way, where stone throwing offers them a solution.
Let there be a tomorrow for the children of Kashmir. Prime Minister should respond to their feelings and save them. If they are there, there would be Kashmir – not just the land but also the people.
How to do it?, Prime Minister may ask. Let him talk to his grand children, tell them the real story of Kashmir as it has unfolded before him since 1947, when he himself was a child, the real-time images that he has seen. He should also tell them that Kashmiri children, in the words of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, is a generation that has seen violence and has been brutalized.
Alternative is: view all the children of Kashmir as the grandsons and grand daughters, look at them, hear them, then decide what needs to be done and how to confer dignity on them, their parents, and grandparents, the answers would not be difficult to find. Please try it, Sir. Otherwise, there is a clear danger that these shadows will get larger both in space and time.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 24 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST