The identity politics
Amid all these sub-identities where is a Kashmiri?
VIEWPOINT BY SYED MOHSIN
The monolithic Kashmiri identity is now a dwindling legacy. It has literally imploded and finally wilted under relentless pressure put on it by inimical elements within and outside the state. Kashmiri identity once a source of pride and oneness and unique by virtue of a vast geographical spread across J & K state, straddling Pir Panchal and the Kashmir valley, stands fragmented into minute multiple strands. Sub identities have come to the fore and through a series of orchestrated processes, have been made to assume importance thereby diluting the content and relevance of a larger pan Kashmir identity. The Kashmiri has been incited to think along the various strands that it has been fragmented into. Urban Kashmiri, Rural Kashmir,, Shia Kashmiri, Sunni Kashmir, Gujjar Kashmiri, Pahari Kashmiri, Doda Kashmiri, North Kashmiri, South Kashmiri etc is how the Kashmiri is defined in the new era of identity polemics. The Kashmiri identity has literally been brought down to the wire. So a South Kashmiri or a North Kashmiri is encouraged to think even beyond. Economics has been confined to a village or a Tehsil. Take Wagoora and Kreeri. These valiant people were together in the hardships of last twenty years. And today they are willing to slit each other’s throats if the Tehsil goes to the other village. So their Tehsil identity has assumed importance over the macro Kashmiri identity. This is one example. The list is endless. This whole redefinition of identity has been scripted in order to enervate the Kashmiris and contain them and their interests through division. While non Kashmiri actors, state and non state actors have certainly scripted the demise of Kashmiri identity, the Kashmiri actors have as usual done the maximum damage, in operating the script. The mainstream parties cultivated a culture of linking economic largesse to halqas, Mohallas, Tehsils. So carving out new districts, tehsils became a new game of confining identity to smaller geographical spreads and playing one area against the other. The damage has been done by all mainstream parties and made non Kashmiri bosses happy. But Mufti Saayed took the cake. During his tenure as Chief Minister it was very common to see delegations from different areas calling on him in pursuit of demand for a district or a Tehsil status and Mufti would audaciously ask them to join the party and get the demanded status, thereby pitting one area against another. Another contentious issue exploited by Congress and National Conference is the ST status demanded by Paharis and opposed by Gujjars. The same politicians who promise paharis that they will help them get the ST status are the same politicians promise the Gujjars that they will never get it. In 2002 PDP suggested that Ghulam Nabi Azad was a non Kashmiri because he hailed from Doda. It is a sad state of affairs that for electoral gains people of Doda who are core ethnic Kashmir stock were dubbed as non Kashmiris. The votes piled in for the mainstream parties at the cost of the fragmentation of our historical legacy- a relic- the desecration of our monolithic Kashmiri identity. The separatists confined all their amalgams to Kashmir valley with token presence if any from areas inhabited by Kashmiris, like Doda or Poonch but outside the Kashmir valley. The people have not helped either. While the Kashmiris are all too keen, to agitate on issues across the world, they have hardly ever bothered to agitate on issues pertaining to these areas. The Kashmiri identity is a relic of the past and its strength is important for the future generations. It is very important that pro active steps are taken to stop and reverse the process of fragmentation.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 26 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 26 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST
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