It is never an easy task to reflect on the situation in Kashmir. It is ever-changing phenomenon because of the inherent uncertainties in its history and also the ever-changing political discourse guided by the sentiment, that, in itself is connected to some known and other unknown dimensions.
The current phase of the situation in Kashmir is known primarily by the nature of things prevailing in the Valley. It is inscrutable; hence it is very difficult to spell it out. The sentiment has been wrapped in several layers of secrecy by Kashmiris who were once known as the ones to burst out and take to streets at the slightest provocation. This mystery of secrecy is biggest mystery of the times.
Politicians, scholars and observers sitting hundreds of miles away see forebodings in this atmosphere. They have their pre-set notions and their thinking is frozen in 1940s and 1990s and some of them had written books at a time when they had not visited the Valley even once. Theories are going around that the “brewing anger” is going to erupt. This all is being attributed to August 5, 2019 decisions. This is there, but the larger picture is quite wide and deep.
By keeping quiet over August 5 decisions, they have shown their silent anger. By any stretch of imagination, it is not a reconciliation to what happened over a year ago. They have not acquiesced to the decisions, and if they have not hit streets, doesn’t mean that they have accepted what was done last year. This question haunts them. But they are not waiting and watching, instead they are strengthening their survival instincts that will combat the double depression caused by the Corona virus and the overall conflict that has become their tagline.
It is because they know that there is no easy road available to them to lead to something in the grand old days in which they enjoyed their unique identity, which most of the interpreters have referred to as Muslim and Kashmiri way of living. This being true to a large extent, but if studied through other prism, Kashmiri Muslims were aspiring for something more. That more has its own story and slogans around which they rallied and at the the end of the day found themselves frustrated.
Look at it through other prism: Kashmiris were always proud of their handicraft, fruit, saffron, houseboats, gardens and lakes and countless other things which were pure and pure Kashmiri. They had devoted everything of theirs in toiling in fields, orchards and “karkhanas” to bring their inner beauty to the world through art and culture. There was a sense of exclusiveness in all these things, but they also knew that they would be appreciated only when they share it with others – outside the world or the visitors visiting them.
They are good hosts because they know that sharing things with others is paramount in their culture, upbringing and an essential part of their heritage. They nurture a nostalgia about their heritage, which they want to keep it preserved for eternity. That was at the root of their seeking a particular and Kashmir-oriented political system that understood them psychologically better than anything else.
This psychology-dominated political system was seen as a guarantee of their identity. This politics was closely knit with their culture where their “pheran” or loose cloak that they wear as a protection against severe winter would be respected and the space their “kangri” (indigenous heating system) close to their body occupied, and radiated and resonated message of oneness among Kashmiris.
If the Muslim identity has come under real or perceived threat, this would require a study of the things that happened years ahead of August 5th.. Now there is no need to qualify the calendar year because certain dates automatically spell the year.
The history of Kashmir has been rewritten. Spare a thought how it all transpired and reached the stage – there, too, is momentous history. The fact checkers, like the veterans like Saif-ud-Din Soz, can shed better light on it. He would know it better that when leaders in any group, not necessarily political, it could be social or some other organisation, suffer from a complex, they decimate the institutions to secure themselves. Insecure leaders are the most incompetent. They ruin the institutions. That is what has brought Kashmir to crossroads.
It is time to reflect .