When people are denied fundamental rights, resistance takes birth. Seeds of dissent are sown and human domination (in any form) is fought against. What people of Kashmir are undergoing today, other nations in their struggle for independence faced that too. Never in the living history of mankind has a dominant occupying force yielded to voice of conscience and offered freedom on a platter. The oppressor develops a tendency of insulation against all norms and values of humanity and this he counts as an attribute to his arrogance of power.
The British rule—though in some respects more benign and less corrupt in governance in comparison with the scandalous elected representatives of post- independent India — had to call it a day. Not because the people of pre-partition India muttered lip service to the cause, but lived for resistance that demanded price. The price they paid—and kept paying from the battle of Plasi, 1756 to the Quit India Movement of nineteen forties. The more the oppressor is drugged to bludgeon people into suppression, the more resistance spreads in reach and grows in stature and strength. Defiance is in the very DNA of the resistance and no power on the earth can eliminate it. In the First War of Independence, thousands of people, both Muslims and non-Muslims revolted against the British imperialism and had to suffer the worst. The 'rebels' in thousands were skinned off, hanged, sent to Kala Pani, tortured to death. The political leaders and grand Islamic Ulemas (religious leaders) were sent to Kala Pani, the king Bhadur Shah exiled to Rangoon. Till this day no one has demonized the ' revolt' as something like suicide. The urge of seeing their land free from foreign yoke is always supreme and waits for a provocation. That happened in 1857. British crushed it the dehumanized way, as was expected. But, in the seemingly fossilization of British rule were laid the rot-setting elements for the raj edifice. And within one hundred years the great empire, where sun would not set in, collapsed and gave way to free India. The celebration moment was not kissed by all those who lived for or died for it. But they all played their part to make it memorable. All freedom struggles extract price for breaking the shackles of slavery and walk proudly to embrace a better tomorrow. The cherished destiny keeps its own calendar, sets its own syllabus of resistance. It moves on irrespective of those who love to slid in stupor or decorate themselves as dancing hirelings of the status quo.
Resilience is part of resistance. It is the ability of the subjugated people to endure the tribulations and cruelties and never allow these to dampen the spirits. It breathes life and sustenance to the long drawn battle waged against the usurper. It is a cure to many hiccups in the struggle. Resilient people know how to survive and how to resist. They also know to die for the cause is as essential as living for the cause. All freedom struggles inhale from existence. Only a fool can be insensitive to the blessing that life is. But there comes a time when this very precious gift has to be sacrificed at the alter of something that freedom-loving people hold more precious than life.
In the colonial days imperialism would hew freedom loving people into submission. This was the time when world has not woken up to drooling slogans like, liberty, equality, justice, secular democracy and obligations under UN Charter. But still the brute in all its nudity would be challenged and from existence the resistance would get reinforced with all humanely possible resources. Today we live in what they say 'decolonized world' and even those states who have suffocated other communities/nations in slavery deny the accusation. Every year, at UN and other forums India has to come up with the fig-leaf of elections to justify its stand in Kashmir, though every popular uprising knocks down such claim, besides it being in dissonance with India's own plebiscite commitment and UN Security Council resolutions. All this crowns Kashmir a special status where India cannot denounce popular resistance as 'separatism', much less 'sedition'. It is under this holistic perception we have to take resistance in Kashmir and Delhi's response to it.
As militancy hit the political landscape, Kashmir sprung up from the cold freeze and zoomed into lime-light to axe lies told to mislead world opinion. With militancy crushed and reduced to insignificant number, non-violent mass uprising sang a dominant Kashmir main-stream discourse. And it is this peaceful resistance with overwhelming public support that has unnerved Indians. Far from succumbing to brutalities inflicted on unarmed population, the Intifada is scaling up from one phase to another. It is because of this mass resistance that we have succeeded to thwart many a plots that were designed to devour us and directed to change the demography of the state. We owe our separate identity, culture, individuality to our resilient people on streets, in particular the youth who while challenging the political, constitutional, legislative, administrative onslaught and suppression were killed, maimed and blinded, tortured and imprisoned. And this includes those who love survival first, freedom next. Our heads bow to the resistance leadership, to the political activists who are always on the forefront to foil all these sinister designs and refuse to sell us out in lieu of power and privileges. Every one wishes and strives for that our resistance should inflict less suffering on people. While the key lies in the hands of the power intoxicated, the victimized people will remain indebted to the 'genius' lot to suggest the alternative to make our struggle less painful.
The very nature of resistance –involving mass participation and being non-violent— was enough for Delhi to heed to democratic verdict and take steps to settle dispute amicably. Punch drunk it always resorts to break all records of suppression. The question is, is that kind of response compatible with the 'democratic' credentials India as a state boasts of? And does it suit to the country that claims it is a part of the 'decolonized' world. In the answer, certainly in negation coming from the India, the responsibility would have been fixed where it should have. And in that case we certainly would have been ' un-dead, un-injured, un-arrested and un-blinded'. And, we add, un-claimed as integral.
What is most worrying fall-out of this intellectual activism is that we inadvertently begin to parrot the language and view of our tormentor about us.