Today I write with a heavy heart, when my apprehensions are shaping into reality. The dread of violence, which I would always wish to forget in some dark corner of my mind, has returned and ignited my eyes with skepticism. Kashmir is once again burning. Any possibility of peace or stability is short lived as the tulips. Over a certain period of time does violence become an addiction? Only yesterday we had emerged over a spell of tremendous economic loss and casualty, and here we are, opening another innings of bloodshed.
After all, stone is not a weapon, not anymore a metaphor – that credibility is lost. The political scenario that has advanced in due course of time, so far can’t be critiqued with archaic policies of extremism or separatism. Even any kind of guerrilla tactics become irrelevant and hazardous. Our aspirations need to be thought over once again. In the present context of digital space and globalization, ‘state’ isn’t only land and its people. Kashmiri identity itself is a little integral of the overall body that constitutes our existence. In fact negligible; when our daily entertainment is Bollywood transmitted through a satellite developed by ISRO; our communication harnessed by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited; our medicines as well as the rice that we admire over potatoes and corn, and thousands of other essential commodities directly or indirectly come from India. We almost speak in a language that is Kashmiri in words but Indian in voice.
Where is the failure?
Recurrence of turmoil and the collateral damage involved has overcome our rationality with sentiments. The approach to Kashmir dispute requires, reconstruction of thought and contextualization, the time we live in, even though it may lead us to differ from those who have left before us. Our issues of underdevelopment and unemployment shall remain irrelevant unless we move beyond historic grievances and phantasms of a utopian state. Rather than imagining peace we have to pursue peace and that is only possible once Kashmir unites as a process towards stability. The separatist leaderships has stitched to a monolog of ‘free Kashmir’ leaving no scope for reconciliations or a pact with India. In fact the separatist front, throughout history has failed as a leadership, it could not even take a political initiative and give voice to the people.
The trauma of past memories have dispersed the idea of Kashmir into several clusters. Thus creating an abstract that leads to confusion and stagnation of dialog. The victimhood has to leave and opportunities should be welcomed. A reunion with the past leaves no trace of progression and at a time when we have already lost most of our belongings, the stakes are higher. Our children need to be citizens, respect sovereignty and aspire for a novel beginning that looms into a common good. Having gone through a stretch of mass uprising that led to sufficient deprivation and impoverishment, this is a time to get up and make way for a better morrow. Peace is an invention and rather than spending time in discovering its genesis over cups of salted tea, it is time to act. The youth should recourse to schools, colleges and universities, neither on streets. Vengeance or revenge perpetuate hate. Possibilities of peace can be only found through discourse and for that we first need to invest in education - in fields like literature, history, law and political sciences. This is not time for adventure. Let this carnage end.
What is the solution?
Neither in the past nor today, the solution was never with the people of Jammu & Kashmir. What so ever it was, or is - has to come from the incumbent central government. People who are synonymous with suffering and hopelessness need attention, care as well as protection. The pelter needs attention, as he is in a mode of protest which is part and parcel of any citizenship. Protest as a critique of the authorities should be listened and accepted and worked on. Rather than jailing somebody who protests, the mind behind it needs to be dysfunctioned. The state should develop a mechanism to cradle these children rather than lock them in jail with the hardliners. The process can be initiated by allowing free spaces in the state by the revocation of AFSPA in moderate towns of the valley. A categorical revocation of FIR’s and PSA’s on children below the age of 25 years can build hope in the mind of people who have been dejected from ages.
This is time for the present government to move beyond restraint in valley and involve youth as legitimate heir to a peaceful and stable Kashmir. Only then the deficit of trust shall get replaced with confidence and support. Rather than objectifying the problem the authorities have to get involved within the problem and lead for catharsis. Those meadows of Kashmir that have witnessed the unfortunate event of insurgency, were never meant for this catastrophe. We hold no history of warfare neither our kings have fought for other peoples land. The soil holds great poets and mystics in its heart and that is our reality. History may have its flaws however at the crossroads we choose our destiny.
The author has done Masters in International Affairs from OP Jindal Global University