Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti alleged ‘Government of India wants to turn Kashmir into an open-air prison and convert actual jails into Guantanamo” (Business Standard April 17, 2019, and Greater Kashmir April 16, 2019). AG Noorani also called Kashmir a prison (Kashmir, a prison, Dawn, January 12, 2019). The Kashmiri are, currently, in the slough of despond. They do not know how to extricate from the current morass. If anything they are growing more and more apathetic to fate under the Indian military jackboots.
The Kashmiri’s current predicament is an upshot of their own leaders’ myopic decision to align their fate with perfidious India. Instead of weeping over split milk, the Kashmiri need to analyze their past mistakes with a view to evolving innovative tactics to deal with treacherous India.
Sandwiched between Pakistan and China, India’s obduracy will prove to be a warrant for Kashmir’s freedom and its disintegration.
They need to shun bickering against one another. For their own survival, they need to strengthen asabiya (Ibn-e-Khaldoon) in view of the hostile environment.
It is natural to become apathetic when faced with a challenge too severe. But, Toynbee’s Challenge and Response Theory holds light at the end of the tunnel. It advises that instead of being apathetic and resigned to one’s fate, people under oppression should evolve an ideal, and develop innovative tools and techniques to achieve it.
Biden-Harris unlikely to ignore human rights violations in Kashmir
The international environment is changing. And the Kashmiri also should dovetail their reactions in accordance with it. With Joe-Kamala hopefully at the helm of affairs in Washington D.C. on January 20, 2020, it would be difficult for India to continue human-rights violations in the disputed state. The new team is unlikely to ignore the reign of terror in Kashmir. Joe Biden has a temperament to call a spade a spade _ ‘when America sneezes, the world catches a cold’. Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris’ views on Kashmir are well known.
‘ Biden’s open condemnation of Indian actions in occupied Kashmir post-August 5, 2019, the passage of discriminatory citizenship Amendment Act and Treatment meted out to the Muslim population has probably annoyed India…In August, Biden Campaign’s foreign policy advisor Antony Blinken had said that the Democratic nominee will raise the Kashmir issue with India’ (The next US President, Dawn).
Kashmiri could not see through India’s ruses
It is unfortunate that the Kashmiri have forgotten their primary goal of Azadi (freedom) and are striving for a petty goal of restoration of special status only. From the first proclamation introducing ‘special status’ to the last, abrogating it, the so-called ‘special status’ has already been reduced to a fig leaf. The gullible Kashmiri preferred to remain a silent spectator to malafide legislation. The Kashmiri are the Atlantic Ocean of latent and manifest talent. Yet they could not see through India’s ruses. Heretofore are a few bitter truths.
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the Kashmiri’s charismatic leader, a fiery orator, was a gullible person. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru made a fool of him with his wily.
The Kashmiri’s current predicament is upshot of their own leaders’ myopic decision to align their fate with perfidious India.
Genesis of insurgency
The RAW’s chief controverts the view that Abdullah had begun to harbor thoughts of independence. He thinks that Abdullah’s imprisonment coupled with his son’s dismissal as chief minister and rigging of state assembly elections in 1987 engendered insurgency. Thousands of Kashmiri freedom fighters crossed over the LoC to get receive military training in Azad Kashmir.
Dulat says, ‘There is a school of thought that believed that Sheikh Abdullah was secretly pursuing independence, but the fact is that he was walking a fine line and could have been handled with more subtlety. For instance, in October 1948, the National Conference held a special convention in which it unanimously passed a resolution affirming J&K’s accession to India. While moving the resolution, Sheikh Abdullah said: So far as I’m concerned, the political, economic, social and cultural interests of Kashmir demand an immediate and final accession to India and to India alone’. And speaking at an Eid gathering after the convention, he said, ‘the pledge I gave to Pandit Nehru that Kashmir will be a part of India has now become an eternal bond…Our decision to accede to India is based on the fact that our programs and policy are more akin to those followed by India. Politics followed a different trajectory and Sheikh was arrested’ (Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years.).
Barkha Dutt recalls (This Unquiet Land) ‘In a 1948 speech to the United Nations, Sheikh Abdullah, the most formidable political leader the state of Jammu and Kashmir had ever seen, made a blistering defense of the accession to India. Sher-e-Kashmir (Lion of Kashmir) roared, I had thought all along that the world had got rid of Hitlers…but what is happening in my poor country I am convinced that they have transmigrated their souls into Pakistan…I refuse to accept Pakistan as a party in the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir’.
RAW chief contends that it was wrong to jail Abdullah in 1953 as ‘right-hand man Afzal Baig set up the Plebiscite Front’ in reaction. Again dismissing Farooq Abdullah was in 1984 was a ‘terrible mistake’.
How the RAW scuttled the Kashmiri freedom movement
AS Dulat’s job was to sow seeds of discord among the freedom fighters. He claims that Pakistani ISI’s ‘arrogance helped him wean away disgruntled freedom fighters. His office was on Gupkar Road where other notable politicians including Farooq Abdullah lived.
His efforts were so fruitful that multifarious factions of the Hurriyat continued to be at daggers drawn despite Pakistan’s alleged efforts to unify them. He recalls, ‘during an escalating spat in April 2014, the Mirwaiz bravely asked a press: “who the hell is Geelani?” Mirwaiz impudence was published in several newspapers including Kashmir Times dated April 20, 2014.
It is unfortunate that the Kashmiri have forgotten their primary goal of azadi (freedom) and are striving for a petty goal of restoration of special status only.
Despite aspersions about the Kashmiri’s mistrust of one another, Dulat appreciates the Kashmiri’s “remarkable adjustability”. . He reminisces, ‘An old Kashmiri woman will tell you whom she voted but she will not give up on azadi. The Kashmiris will not accept defeat in a hurry.
Points to ponder for the Kashmiri
Societies tide over the existential challenges through struggle to achieve an ideal and adopting an innovative modus operandi. The Kashmiri could learn from the Jews and Christians who survived persecution through their steadfast resilience.
In early days of Christianity, a Christian could not dare tell a fellow Christian that he had converted. For the fear of being persecuted, he used to write on sand a symbol akin to Cross to show his faith. Christ was hounded by droves of Jews wherever he went to preach… Under intense pressure of the complainants, the Roman governor crucified him. But, Christianity still lives on (Fernand Braudel, A History of Civilizations).
The Kashmiri could evolve an azadi symbol and engrave it on handicrafts (wood works), and emboss it on shawls. The Kashmiri Diaspora should raise their voice for freedom in get-togethers and seminars. They should excel in education, particularly sciences, and even go abroad for higher education.
They should learn the art of peaceful protests from the Occupy and Precariat movements (free downloads). They should abandon their fifty shades of political grey and agree on one demand azadi.
India would itself break up while facing the Kashmiri’s resistance. Pakistan broke up due to inflexibility with regard to the East Pakistan. India, a fragile artificial union created by the British at gunpoint, remained afloat owing to resilience. India’s visionary leaders, through tact or trickery, muzzled insurgencies in East Punjab and the eastern states besides the Dravidian movement.
The Indian Union bowed to insurgents’ demands for the creation of new states. And, insurgency leaders became chief ministers! Sandwiched between Pakistan and China, India’s obduracy will prove to be a warrant for Kashmir’s freedom and its disintegration.
Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been writing free-lance for over five decades. He has served federal and provincial governments of Pakistan for 39 years. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies and magazines at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is author of eight e-books including The Myth of Accession. He knows many languages including French and Arabic. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.