As the Lok Sabha elections have ended the biggest question which everyone seems to be asking is who would be the next Prime Minister of India? Will it be Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi or someone else? It can be anyone among them.
It seems that all of us have forgotten when Kashmir acceded to India, late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, preferred India over Pakistan at that point of time also Jawahar Lal Nehru was the Prime Minister of India and Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the Prime Minister of Pakistan. In 1947 itself Kashmir chose Nehru over Jinnah then why there is so much of hue and cry about who would be the next Prime Minister of India? It can be Modi, Gandhi, Yadav, Gowda or someone else. So it should hardly make any difference for the people of Kashmir and the mainstream leaders in the Valley. Kashmiris long ago have chosen a secular country over a Muslim nation.
Separatists in the Valley are of the opinion that late Sheikh Abdullah committed a “mistake” by going with India rather than Pakistan and this “wrong should be undone” by holding plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. The developments which have taken place during the past 30-years have proved that separatists have pushed Kashmir towards the path of destruction as the gun culture has consumed innumerable lives and has led to Kashmir turning into a graveyard. New Delhi has completely ruled out the plebiscite as an option as people sitting there are of the opinion that Kashmir has been settled long back and no further talks can be held over it with anyone. Delhi has been pursuing this policy for a longtime and it has not changed despite Prime Ministers changing after every five years.
Kashmir leaders and the civil society need to sit back and introspect what they have achieved during the past 30-years. During all these years discourse in Kashmir has revolved around India and Pakistan. No one has even thought about Kashmir and its people. It’s high time for the leaders to put their act at place and put Kashmir first.
The ones who have been advocating Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan should open their eyes and think responsibly. They need to ask themselves what they have achieved by preaching separatism and by raising green flags in Kashmir. We are all aware about the fact that Kashmir is lagging behind in every field and the three decade long conflict has taken a heavy toll on our younger generation. We need to spare our youngsters and should allow them to achieve their dreams rather than pushing them towards the quagmire of uncertainty. If we keep on harping about Kashmir being an issue we will end up pushing yet another generation towards the wall.
Kashmiri mainstream leaders during all these years have just looked towards New Delhi and today also they are looking towards the national capital. They are anxiously waiting for the results of the Lok Sabha elections. They need to take a cue from the leaders like Mamta Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu and others. They have never looked towards Delhi and have worked relentlessly for their people. These leaders despite having no support from the Centre have ensured that progress and development doesn’t stop in their states and they carry forward their agenda. History stands testimony to the fact that people in India don’t vote for caste, colour of religion. They vote for the person, who delivers and resolves the issues confronting them.
However, in Kashmir the leaders seek votes on the name of Azadi and Pakistan. They believe that by showing green flags and repeating that Kashmir has to be resolved they can befool the people forever. Another wrong notion which Kashmiri politicians have is that no government in Jammu and Kashmir could be formed without the ashirwaad of New Delhi. Had these leaders tried to be independent they could have challenged anyone. How many times they need to be told that power lies with the people, whom they claim to represent, and not the ones who sit in the national capital. Our leaders need to be strong and should start believing in themselves rather than waiting for external help either from Islamabad or New Delhi. It has to be Kashmir first and nothing else.
(The writer is a Former Journalist & member of JK Youth Alliance)