Meaning of Azadi!
The most familiar word in Kashmir these days is “Azadi”. What would a common Kashmiri expect from it?
SLOGAN BY M ASHRAF
“Azadi” means freedom. What does freedom in real life mean to a common Kashmiri? No one has so far tried to give realistic and practical meaning to this most commonly used word. Freedom from what, freedom to do what and freedom to where? There is a general feeling that political freedom would be the ultimate emancipation for a Kashmiri from all the ills and troubles faced by him. Every human being desires to live a peaceful life with honour and dignity. The first requisite of freedom is the right to life. Under every constitution a citizen is guaranteed right to life. This fact has been very strongly emphasized by the UN special rapporteur who visited Kashmir recently. According to him AFSPA, PSA, and Disturbed Areas Act are against the international law and cannot be part of any democratic polity. However, in Kashmir the right to life has been taken away by these draconian legislations giving unbridled powers to the security forces. They can kill a Kashmiri without being held accountable. In fact, a dog’s life is more precious than a human being in Kashmir right now!
Thus the first Azadi would be the restoration of the right to life. A Kashmiri should be able to live without any fear from any quarter. Next comes the economic Azadi. The freedom to pursue any vocation a person likes or is capable of pursuing. Economic Azadi will not only apply to individuals but to the people as a whole allowing Kashmir to pursue a course for total self sufficiency in different fields. This would entail opening of all travel routes as also freedom to travel to every individual. At the moment Kashmir has only one exit/entry route and over 60,000 persons have been indexed by the security agencies for denying them facilities of free travel abroad. Kashmir needs Azadi to open up its borders to Central Asia and beyond as used to be the case till half a century back. The economic Azadi would also entail exploitation of all available resources in different fields with the best available expertise and with financial assistance from all available sources within or outside Kashmir. At the moment we can neither fully exploit on our own the abundant resources in different fields like power, agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, and tourism, nor get foreign direct investment to do so!
The Azadi to live and pursue one’s choicest vocation cannot be sustained without the Azadi of the freedom of expression. Among all Azadis, the freedom of expression is the essence of democracy. At the present moment, this right too is in virtual suspension in Kashmir. One cannot express oneself freely on any political discourse. No peaceful demonstrations are allowed. Even people cannot protest about lack of civic facilities. Every peaceful demonstration is violently broken up by the use of undue force. Authorities have an inherent fear that any protest will turn into a march for ultimate “Azadi”! Unless freedom of expression is fully restored, people will not be able to choose their rulers without fear or favour. One can achieve all “Azadis” only when he is free to choose honest and able people to govern him. This is impossible at the moment. Not only because the system of choosing is not honest but also because honest and genuine people do not like to participate in the process.
The main attributes of a nation are its language, its culture, and its history. Without a mother tongue a nation has no identity. At the moment our new generation is being deliberately deprived of all the three attributes and we are helping this depravation. We need Azadi to let our language flourish. Our culture to grow in the traditional style which is centuries old and we want our new generation to be fully acquainted with our more than 5,000 year old history. Azadi would mean that we are proud of our language. We are proud of our culture and it is not corrupted or diluted. We would also be proud of our history which would be taught freely to every Kashmiri child.
After explaining to the people the meaning of Azadi, one has to tell them how to achieve it? The present leadership claiming to lead people to ultimate Azadi is neither clear about its meaning nor has it a clear cut road map to reach the goal. They are firstly divided into conglomerates and factions. If the goal is same then why so many parties with totally different agendas? There does not seem to be any difference in the approach between the parties proposing status quo on one side and the total change on the other. The so called mainstream parties have at least a clear goal which is to maintain somehow the status quo for their own vested interests. On the other hand the parties proclaiming to achieve Azadi have only an abstract goal. Before they can motivate people to follow them they need to define in clear terms the goal and what would Kashmiris achieve once they get Azadi and what form will that Azadi have? Moreover, they have to give a clear road map right up to the goal and then stick to it themselves. For last 80 years Kashmiris have been taken round and round in an endless desert like the Israelites were taken by Moses because they had sinned in the sight of God! At least in the end after moving 40 years in the wilderness they reached the Promised Land but one is not so sure whether Kashmiris will ever reach that goal in the prevailing mess?
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Lastupdate on : Sat, 5 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 5 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 6 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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