Kashmir during the past few years has lost its art andcraft. The Kashmiri handicrafts are fast losing their sheen so are the othercrafts, for which Kashmir was famous across the globe.
The craftsmen associated with various arts and crafts areslowly becoming rare as most of the craftsmen haven't encouraged their futuregenerations to carry forward the legacy of their fore fathers as they didn'twant their children to suffer like them.
The successive regimes which came into power in Jammu andKashmir especially during the past three decades ignored the handicrafts andother crafts of the Valley.
The focus of the mainstream politicians since 1996 has beenjust on politics. During all these years they have raised slogans and have solddreams to people. The politicians, who ruled the state, have been telling thepeople that Kashmir is an issue and it needs to be resolved. During all theseyears they have tried to make people believe that they are their truerepresentatives and they only can act as a bridge between India and Pakistan.They have just thrived on lies and have never made an attempt to tell peoplethe truth.
It's unfortunate that Kashmiri leaders have remained busy inplaying politics over the conflict. Since 1996, National Conference and PDPhave formed the governments twice. The NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah ruledthe state from 1996 to 2002, while PDP shared power with Congress from 2002 to2008. In 2008 NC snatched power from PDP and ruled Jammu and Kashmir along withthe Congress till 2014. In 2015 PDP joined hand with BJP and remained in powertill 2018. During all these years boththe traditional parties have had everything at their disposal. But someoneneeds to ask them what stopped them from promoting the skills of Kashmiris?What stopped them from empowering the people of Kashmir?
Today Kashmir and the people of this land are on crossroads.They don't know what to do. Mostly theskilled and unskilled people present in Kashmir are from other states.Kashmiris have been left with no jobs even in their own homeland. They arestruggling to survive and have no idea about what future has got in store forthem.
It's high time for us to wake up and decide our own destinyrather than getting carried away by the rhetoric which our leaders have beenfeeding us during all these years. It's a known fact that people of Kashmirhave been living under constant fear during the past three decades, while thepoliticians have been thriving and living a luxurious lives. There are manyinstances which prove that people who have joined politics have grown tallerthan their size and have amassed huge wealth at the cost of a common Kashmiri.
We as a nation have to wake up. We need to sit back andintrospect, what all we have lost during the past three decades. Introspectionwould make us realize that Kashmir is at the brink and if we keep on gettingcarried away we will lose whatever we are left with.
It's not mainstream camp only that is responsible forKashmir being in the mess. The separatist camp is equally to be blamed forpushing people of Kashmir to an edge. The separatist camp since 1990 has beentelling the people that Azadi is achievable. But time has proved them wrong.They have been dancing to the tunes of the people sitting across the Line ofControl (LoC). It's unfortunate that for them appeasing Pakistan has been apriority. Someone needs to ask them why Kashmir and Kashmiris have not been apriority for them?
If we have to save ourselves from getting ruined fully wehave to accept the ground reality that for New Delhi Kashmir is a settledissue. The people who talk about its settlement are hoodwinking the masses.Mainstream politicians cannot force Delhi to enter into any sort of deal withIslamabad. Nor can separatists bring Azadi.
The biggest blunder which we Kashmiris have committed isthat we have deserted the skills through which our ancestors used to earn theirlivelihood. We need to go back to basics to put the things at their right place. If we fail to do so we may end uplosing much more in coming years.
The writer is former Journalist and member of JK YouthAlliance