Kashmiris change their demands quite often. Thus goes a perception amongst a section of people. It's not what we think about ourselves, it's what others too think about us. In the wake of cooking gas crisis, the debate is reborn. Kashmiris, they say, don't want freedom. Instead, they want LPG.
It is surprising to see some Delhi-based analysts making a bizarre comparison between an instant workaday need and a long held political aspiration. As if the two are mutually replaceable. It's like making a choice between water and air and asking us which one of the two do we need? Political demands are always the outcome of a situation rooted in the history of a people. They sometimes get suppressed and some other times spring up with an unexpected force. Nations do fight for their political rights against all odds, but that never means they forget to live. Extracting huge conclusions from something that is indisputably mundane makes the very thinking of an analyst even less than ordinary. If LPG attracts more clientele than any other slogan of the time, it's simply because life needs it. Once done with it, life will need more. Pitting this practical need against emotional, cultural or ideological desires of people makes the very premise fundamentally fallacious. An ailing man sure needs medicine first. We can't feed him with emotions of liberation to get him back to life. But once he does, he reclaims his right. Regaining life doesn't mean for him restoration of senses only, but restoration of sensibilities and sentiments too. The political in him (which seems to be dead with a dying body) is reborn. So to finally finish the whole story of a people by making wishful interpretations has always been misleading. It holds good on both sides. One successful shutdown call must not make us divert the whole traffic of emotions towards us. Or one protest taken out in my faovur is certainly not an `evidence' in favour of my ideology and vindication of my stand.
The problem with us is a convenient classification of things into `ours' and `theirs'. We tend to make our own stories forgetting that no story is complete, no plot finished.
Asked as to what does he want. LPG or Azaadi, my cousin replied pat. `Both'. Then added a third one. To him LPG means three things, Liberation, Petroleum and Gas. The first for my soul, the second for my car and the third for my home.