(Wel)Come 2013

Will this year be any different for Kashmiris?

Impressions

BINOO JOSHI

Purely from the point of  view  the residents of  Jammu and Kashmir, let it be said that despite certain changes in the  mood  in the year gone by, not much has changed in the state in terms of the  situation that exists in our minds. The fear of the past should have given way to the optimism that Kashmir  was looking forward to.  It has not happened till date.
The measurement of the  situation through statistics  never shows complete picture.  Unfortunately, that’s the way our politicians and security forces  view their successes. But when, it comes to failures, they have a lot many excuses to offer. This is  not an attempt to sketch a gloomy picture of Kashmir, because those who view that the cycle of the change has turned full circle, have failed to realize that  the ground situation is still volatile.
Three generations have been badly affected by the   turmoil that the Valley has seen during the past 22 years. One was the generation of the middle aged  people in 1990s,  who had seen  a beautiful  childhood and  listened to the  fairly tales from their grand parents, enjoyed picnics  with family or their schoolmates in different parts of the Valley.
Second generation  was that was in its childhood in  1990s, who had  not experienced   full pleasures of the  childhood. Their childhood was cut short by the violence that swept the Valley, and  their grandparents and parents , instead of telling the fairy tale stories only  cautioned them against  venturing out in the open. They were restricted to the four walls of their homes, and what they say was  horrible, midnight knocks, guns of militants and the security forces. It grew up with the  bombs and grenades and bullets. They developed their instincts to distinguish between a bomb and  sonic boom.  They could easily tell you what  was the difference between a  bullet from pistol and that of the AK47s.
Third generation was born during the turmoil, fearless of grenades and bullets. They  have  their own vocabulary of the  situation. At the time when the electoral politics  was returning  to the Valley,  this generation  saw what was happening in the rest of the world.  This generation  is fearless and active, reactive to the things that land  before them. Now, this generation inspired by Arab Spring, has  developed its  own individual leadership. They trust their  abilities to connect to the  rest of the world. It’s  Facebook and Twitter and Youtube generation, which is using this medium to put across their point of view  to the world.
Where do we go from here? That’s the question. There are three generations whose concerns  will have to be addressed. Some problems are common and others different from  one generation and the other. That would bring a change, not the numbers as to  how many militants were killed or how many of them have been arrested.   For this, a genuine leadership  has to emerge.  There is a need for the leadership to grow and there is a complete vacuum  at the moment. It is despite the fact that the leaders of various political groups  claim that they represent the genuine aspirations of the people. But when it comes to pushing a cause or  translating their words into action, they are found stranded  in their tracks. This is where they have lost the credibility  with the masses.  The youth of  Kashmir feels further alienated by the fact that Pakistan, the country mired in its own troubles, not knowing where to move and how to survive, where sectarian  killings and the bombs killing people in dozens, is no longer a greener pasture for them.
Within the country, the Kashmiri youth (Jammu and Kashmir)  are suspects.. They are suspects  as if they were human bombs.  Their vehicles are stopped and searched. That’s what is  making them feel alienated. They find Delhi, Mumbai,  and other cities  good for shopping and studies, but  hardly  they feel comfortable  there. That comfort level is missing  there.  This is a perfect recipe to  make them feel that they are unwanted.
A collective assault of sorts on them from within and outside their own state  on their  identity is a  big threat to them, and   still bigger for  those who want Kashmiris to fully integrate  with rest of the country.  Will this change in 2013?

Lastupdate on : Mon, 31 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 31 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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