That right stands protected and guaranteed
Kashmir for Kashmiris is a lofty ideal. It represents Kashmiri urges and aspirations, whose emotional, historical and constitutional significance is duly recognized by the Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution. It’s been upheld by India’s Highest Court many a time in the past. But this ideal has been an eyesore to RSS, BJP combine.
Coming to power with a majority vote in 2014 has given them ample opportunity and strength to implement brazenly what they have been trumpeting so fiercely over the decades as their unavoidable mission i.e the Abrogation of Article 370. They have, therefore, managed through legalistic manoeuvrings its wilful murder at the altar of judiciary to " Satisfy the
Collective Conscience of India ". Its corpse is likely to be taken in a funeral procession for its final burial as : (a) vanquished enemy of India’s sovereignty, integrity and unity; (b) and a predatory spoiler of the most earnest desire of Hindu India, mischievously projected as "One India" to mislead the public.
The angry noises, public fury and disquiet and the resultant spillage of human blood, bound to occur owing to intended naked onslaught on Kashmiri identify, is perceived as a good omen for the coming elections by those ruling the roost. It is envisaged as a great stimulant for the Hindu heart to portend communal divide for electoral gains.
The propaganda that whatever percolates down through 35A–a vital ingredient of now a porous body of Article 370–is a great unprecedented concession to Kashmir, especially its Muslim population, by the Union of India is too intriguing to mislead the gullible masses of Baharat Mata. Equally vicious is to portray it as too discriminatory a law to deprive women of their citizenry rights in the event of their choosing to marry an outsider. It is pitiable indeed on the part of the propagandists to counter the Judiciary that has unequivocally upheld that it shall live to the full to protect women’s rights. Even the highly educated Indians are carried away by these ranting utterances and glaringly wicked lies that have no legs to face the scrutiny of history.
Kashmir for Kashmiris is as old a concept as the foremost Kashmiri settlement on earth. It was born in the womb of SATISAR under unique circumstances that compelled the early natives ( or so called "Nagas" ) to resist forcefully the usurpation of their land by a mean aggressor, mythically known as "Pissacas". After the eviction of the ugly usurper the natives settled down peacefully in the dale’s and vales of Kashmir with a pledge to:
(1) dissuade foreigners from seeking everlasting residential concessions in Kashmir;
(2) persuade travellers, scholars missionaries, traders, teachers, students, pilgrims to visit Kashmir to pursue their interests and jobs;
(3) and disallow them to occupy even an inch of land amidst the refreshing environs of the Valley.
Ancient Kashmiris were, thus, able to weave a belief system the sole integrating principle of which was the homogeneity of the masses and their indomitable faith in the idea of Kashmir for Kashmiris. It was, indisputably, a firm resolve that ultimately became all-encompassing expression of Kashmirian society and personality. For its profound appeal, advantage, message and dignified social bearing it spread widely to influence all and sundry to strengthen and follow it in letter and spirit. The haughtiness of bitter centuries did least divert the course of its unceasing dissemination and progression. Nor did the ferocious incursions ever dare violate its essence or significance. Its onward march was too rapid to engage an unending public attention and affection. Its unhindered movement and momentum made it conspicuously an inalienable part of Kashmiri ethos and psyche. It became the main vehicle of Kashmiri assertion and expression.
Clinging to it inveterately and religiously throughout the centuries Kashmiris never let this ancient social complex go or evaporate from their mind and milieu. In this they were immensely helped by the geography of their country. The high mountain ramparts, encircling the Valley, fully and firmly protected it against all possible threats of dissipation and degeneration. The lofty, majestic appearance of these assets was undoubtedly imposing enough to give Kashmir immunity from the fear of unwelcome ingress, incursion and onslaught. Even the birds did’nt dare fly over their peaks. The world’s earliest geographers, including Al-Masoodi and Al- Idrisi ( founding fathers of Geography) fully validate and support this contention. And unambiguously portray this unique geo-historical phenomenon in their monumental works. They clearly delineate the gigantism of Kashmir’s towering location and strategical distinction as the impelling cause of the belief that: there existed no world beyond these sky-kissing mountains; and Kashmir was only for Kashmiris. The illustrious translator of Kalhana’s Rajatarangni, Stein depicts this dominant reality in these words:
"The great ramparts which enclose Kashmir have assured the land of Sarada not only long immunity from foreign invasions, but also a historical existence of marked Individuality".
The historically predominant trait of native character so firmly entrenched itself behind all embracing soul and spirit of Kashmir that it hardly permitted its people to relent to cause any influx of unwanted elements in the Valley. Barring an exception of few hundred Sayeds in the middle ages, under most compelling conditions, they never ever inclined to transgress its bounds. And instead inspired foreign rulers to respect and recognise it as an uncompromising fixture of Kashmir’s mental makeup.
Appreciating fully the Kashmiri susceptibilities these rulers, thus, took measures to protect it against any infringement through various means:
Firstly, they revamped the old, obsolete system of "Dawarpalas" and reshaped it into an institution comprising "Maliks"; a band of people invested with the trust and responsibility of guarding the frontiers against undesirable outflow and infiltration.
Secondly, they made elaborate arrangements to plug porus boarders through "Rahdari"; the system that prevented illegal out- flux and influx into the Valley. Thirdly, they enacted State Subject laws that made it impossible for outsiders to purchase land and seek employment within the territories of JK State.
Fourthly, they incorporated these age old socio-politico complexes and laws in the Article 35A of Indian Constitution.
It is unfortunate that the original promoters of these attributes are increasingly turning into hostile critics and deadly enemies of 35-A under the devastating influence of regressive and rogue forces. They are now all set to perform the last rites of this only bridge of connectivity, between Kashmir and India, to commemorate its eventual and eventful death with all its accompanying noise and chaos. By playing the role of funeral directors of this political bonding they are unknowingly digging the grave not only for their own position, prestige and pride but also for the prerequisites of their very survival. But Kashmiri determination is doggedly hell bent to recoil upon the saboteurs to spoil their nefarious attempts even at the cost of their blood.
(Dr.Ahad is author of Kashmir to Frankfurt; Kashmir Rediscovered; Kashmir: Triumphs & Tragedies. His forthcoming publication is Legends of Unsung Heroes )