We stumbled but never saw
It may peeve many but let me say it. I may be blamed of tilt towards one and biased against another but let me say it- and say it boldly. Let the pulpit get annoyed and let podium feel shaky but I may say it. I may say it honestly.
Over centuries Kashmiris have learnt to suffer together but they are yet to learn how to redeem themselves together of this suffering. Is it a genetic disorder? Why cannot two Kashmiris move hand in hand beyond a distance? Why cannot two Kashmiri learn the art of rafting through turbulent waters together and fight swift tides carrying them away like drifts in River Sindh? Why cannot two Kashmir think of crossing a hump in their ways one after another instead of jostling each other and stumbling? Defeating even Shakespearean adage: ‘I stumbled and saw’ by denying learning out of adversity.
It is a sad story. We stumbled- stumbled again and again but never saw. I am not a religious scholar but religious scholars may know better how to pronounce a leadership that does not learn out of stumbling and falling down with thuds.
It is history. History of recent past that holds a mirror before us and poses many questions. It is not destiny that has knocked us down at every juncture but our inability to move hand in hand. The struggle against feudal autocracy- which in real sense was a struggle of Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir for restoration of their authority and rights manifested itself boldly on July 13, 1931 held a promise that 112 years alien and brutal will end up. The July 13, 1931 mayhem outside Srinagar jail brought recognition to Kashmir Struggle against feudal autocracy or freedom struggle not only in the sub-continent only but it found its echoes in Europe also.
It stirred conscience of some British imperialists who had committed one of most obnoxious acts in human history by selling a nation and its land like slaves in the barbarian times. The world did move the Muslims in particular were shell shocked by the incident they took to streets. Should I say travesty or tragedy was that two Kashmiri as perhaps ingrained in their genes could hardly move together for one year? The Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference which was seen quintessence of more than hundred and fifty years struggle against worst apartheid, religious bigotry, communalism, worst ever tax system of Maharajas and oppression of feudal lords got fractured. The question arises why two Kashmiri could not tread together beyond a few hundred yards in their struggle – why they parted ways when they had just started their journey towards their destiny. Many believe that the haves were not ready to accept the have-nots rubbing shoulders with them in the newly undertaken voyage. Some blame that the division was a result of conflict between tradition and modernity. Some attribute the division to a conspiracy that was hatched simultaneously by three different groups with diverse motives one group of intelligentsia from other community, two, rulers of the State and third, a group in Lahore that felt that it would not be in position to retain its influence if it comes under the influence of Deoband school of thought. It may be a matter of research but fact of the matter is that it is this division that took a toll of Kashmir struggle- which after this continued to suffer both mitosis’ and mutations. Seen in strict sense this binate authored the tragedy that was born in 1947 and for which generation has paid the penance with out reprieve.
This political mitosis that started in 1932 has now turned malignant it did not take toll of politics only but entire society. This political malignancy of Kashmir is vividly obvious just across the old Zero Bridge. Some weeks back I wrote in this column that if people with divergent political ideas and areas could arrive at a consensus why it was not possible for Kashmir leaders to agree upon broader lines, it had ruffled some feathers and irked some who perhaps thought that I was encroaching upon their interests.
‘It is not possible. It is miracle that you dream of- come out of this hallucination there is no possibility of uniting Kashmir leaders’ was a phone call from a top political leader, ‘how can you evolve a broader consensus when there are many ‘circus master’- have you an idea about the number of “political shops” you have in Kashmir- visit Raj Bagh area’ he suggested. “It is fruit- mandi of politics”. I took a tour of this once posh locality and started counting the number of sign boards of political parties. I lost the count when a friend pointed towards a dingy lane and said the bigger number is in this lane. To me the sign boards were symbolic- the letters of many had weathered away and many had rusted. Office of some was latched and in some one or two persons were inside. I could not make out that whether they were on their lost breaths and about to vanish from the scene. Names of some organization and groups were familiar to my ears notwithstanding fact that I am a working journalist many names sounded alien to me.
They are not all my guide to the area told me there are many more and number of units of New Delhi based organization almost equals the organizations in Raj Bagh locality.
I did not dare to enter the offices of two factions of Hurriyat which are at a distance of but counted number of vehicles outside these offices and took them not indicators of their popularity but as pointers towards their affluence and financial health. Let may not say which one is wealthier and which one is less wealthy. I wish them to be financially sound as I do not wish them to meet fate of the Plebiscite Front. I was reminded of last day of the Plebiscite Front after Pakistan had dismembered and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was commanded to lead a defeated and bruised nation and how wilted resources resulted creating epitaph writers out of creators of this organization. I left this grand political bazaar of Kashmir with many questions knocking like hammers on my head that if we can ever learn a lesson out of stumbling.
The remarks about on my article “consensus was possible” that I suffered from hallucination by a top political leader reminded me of a lesson that I very recently learned after watching an award winning film March of the Penguins as told by Morgan Freeman Directed by Luc Jacquet in home theatre of relation of mine at Maryland that you can beat harsh cold waves by remaining steadfastly together and live up to coming spring. I wish all my leaders to watch this move and perhaps they can learn a lesson.
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