The elitist journalists use false narratives to build a name for themselves burying a just cause under the debris of narcissism. The elitist journalists can never protect an occupied populace from the propaganda of the political class. In situations like this, our foremost duty is to tell to truth, not only to ourselves or our people, but also to those who blatantly lie. We must all be capable of spitting it on the faces of these arrogant and politically neutralized beings.
In her recent piece for The Washington Post, Indian journalist Barkha Dutt claimed that "the recent terror attack on Hindu pilgrims could change everything for Kashmir". She also said that the attack had brought Kashmir's "27-year-old insurgency" to critical crossroads. There are some stark realities in the statement which cannot be denied. The recent attack alone should not wake us up, but the post 9/11 realities and global shifts of politics cannot be overlooked too. In a world marred by wars and dangerous diplomacies, opportunistic policies of nation-states are never there to resolve longstanding disputes. Their businesses are running as long as the disputes remain unresolved.
However, the arguments she raises further in her piece are unfounded and have been written in a manner of looking down on the people of Kashmir intellectually. She pretends to be the messiah of people (I don't know whose) while writing narratives that build up the current Hindutva myth. These lies destroy every credibility she may have with the people. This is not a curious Barkha Dutt case. Many Indian journalists and "Kashmir experts" have a habit of glorifying their political setup and aggressive policies in Kashmir because they cannot survive without appeasing their masters. Perhaps, they will get jobless if peace returns, who knows!
She asks, "In the land of Mahatma Gandhi, why is there not one non-violent icon in the valley?" She has forgotten the dialogue offered by Yasin Malik to the government of India. What happened to JKLF in 1994 must serve as a reminder to all the peace loving people. They were backstabbed and ignored by the Government of India and its consequences are well in front of us. In 1996, the Jammu and Kashmir government set up the State Autonomy Committee and recommended the restoration of autonomy in 1999, the NDA government rejected the resolution passed by the J&K assembly. Dr Farooq Abdullah was not trusted. Even the People's Democratic Party was formed just days after the Kargil War had ended. Although it had been an old dream of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, it was formed to bring peace between India and Pakistan at that point of time. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is called a moderate in Delhi, in fact. Advocate Jalil Andrabi was killed by Army for his zeal to bring peace in Kashmir. We have the father of Tufail Mattoo, who has has shown exemplary valour and his fight against the state apparatus is an inspiration to all of us. Therefore, there is no dearth of non-violent icons in Kashmir, but the truth is that they are not recognized.
She mentions Irom Sharmila and tells people of Kashmir to get inspired from her. No doubt Irom Sharmila is an inspiration for the whole human race, but exactly like the Indian state, she did not recognize Parveena Ahanger, the Iron Lady of Kashmir. After the disappearance of her son during 90s, she championed the cause of all those subjected to enforced disappearance. She was nominated for the prestigious Nobel Prize for Peace in the year 2005 but she never got any recognition from the state. Do you expect dialogues to happen in the atmosphere of arrogance? People deserve justice, equality and freedom while activists are busy proving their worth.
It is, therefore, humbly argued that the learned journalist needs to present the view of the people, their struggle, instead of a state focused perspective. By presenting a state perspective, you betray your own people. The liberals in India badly need to organize protests for the violence committed in Kashmir. They must ask for forgiveness from the people of Kashmir.
Aarif Muzafar Rather is pursuing a bachelor's in Law from the Central University of Kashmir.