Moment to think

Has the movement really lost its steam?

RESPONSE

SHAFI AHMAD

   During mid nineties on way to Ladakh, sipping tea at Drass, I entered into a dialogue with two English co passengers. The militancy was at its peak and Kashmir issue was ripe at international level. The English duo wanted to know the background of the conflict and the majority view about the solution. To the extent of my knowledge, I apprised them. My view about a possible solution was the complete freedom for the whole area of pre-1947 Jammu and Kashmir. Digging deeper, they wanted to know whether Kashmir will survive as an economically viable independent state. To the best of my knowledge and analysis, I conveyed my thoughts to them. However, I don't know whether they were satisfied with my replies or not. Subsequently, I discussed the question with one of the senior most editors of an Urdu daily. India those days was not economically as strong and so youth of Kashmir getting overwhelmed by the economic glitter of India was out of question.
 The question haunted me for many years  till one day as editor of Urdu news magazine Takbeer, I landed at Yasin malik's office for an interview. Naturally, I asked the same question rather extending the contours of same.
 `It is alleged that you have not been able to explain the contours of economic viability of an independent Kashmir to the think tanks in Europe'. I enquired.
Beaming with confidence, Yasin quickly responded ‘no we have explained the pros and cons of economics that Kashmir may face after independence. I had myself gone to US and even we explained to them that Kashmir will be better off economically than many Asian countries.’(Takbeer, December 2002)
 Ten years  after, Kashmir issue has taken many twists and turns. The militant attacks  escalated and the response from forces has been extreme during these years. The people have participated in peaceful demonstrations braving bullets. The resistance leadership has at times been rendered helpless rather useless. But one fact remains, it has more often proved itself clueless. However, this is not any sort of drawback because in the long durations, that resistance movements have remained spread, such moments come when leadership gropes in  dark and the general public either seethes in anger or gloomy clouds engulf their thoughts and expectations.
 History teaches us lessons. If we look just around three decades back on our own history we meet a dark patch which had its shadows on the most powerful and influential leadership. Many would accept that Malik himself is a product of that patch which forced youth of this nation to come forward and take the reins of politics in their own hands. What followed can be termed a barrage of follies or inability to read the  writing on the wall. Yasin, during a recent seminar said ‘the struggle has lost its steam as it is orphaned'. The man brimming with confidence  ten years ago seems to have turned a pessimist. Orphaned! Is it that the political leadership of resistance camp has lost hold or a path to attain what they came out to accomplish two decades ago. Are they not able to comprehend their  own  relevance in today's geo political scenario. If so, then they have to learn a few lessons from history.
 Governance is not an antonym or alternative to the political aspirations of the masses. Education, roads, drinking water, healthcare and job opportunities are the essentials without which a population can't move forward. The people, as such, have a right to demand these things side by side to the  aspiration for the political solution to the long pending, vexed issue. The resistance camp needs to strike a balance between the two. Is it not that the governance issues were mingled with the cry for Azadi by the leaders like Yasin. How could  Panchayat members undermine the Azadi sentiment or take sheen out of the struggle?
 History, both old and contemporary, bears testimony to the fact that struggles have not borne fruit overnight. Supposed transitions between cry for Azadi, proposals based on four points or the self rule can't force a nation to surrender to the unimaginable. Gandhi, Jinnah, Mandela, Arafat, Mujib, did not get Azadi in a jiffy. However, the leadership has to remain optimistic. They need to have faith in themselves and their goal first. Only then can they hold the beacon of light aloft guiding the human force behind. See Kashmir through the prism of Kashmir and not through the eyes of neighbours. One has strategic importance attached to our land other has water resources flowing through our territory. Whether solution to our problem comes through Kabul, Kandhar  or Mulki Kashmir, three Hurriyats can be better for Delhi or Islamabad not for us. There is  always a lesson between the lines. Leaders who were till yesteryears forerunners for aspirations can't make us hopeless.
The struggle has not lost steam but the leadership seems to have !!        

(Writer is the author of  “The Half Widow” and can be e- mailed at writersgr@rocketmail.com)

Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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