WALKING THE ROAD ALONE
Walking the road alone
We rejoice when we are told that the Kashmir problem has received world attention. We are euphoric when non-entities and maverick support our cause; we are ecstatic when Amnesty International acknowledges that atrocities have been committed on innocents Kashmiris; we are elated when the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) refers to Kashmir as "Indian-occupied Kashmir." We believe that international pressure will help us get ‘azadi.’
While it is good to be optimistic, we have unfortunately pinned a hope too many on others coming to our rescue.
Our cause is just and so is our demand. Yet, since 1948, not even one resolution has been passed by the UN in our favour! Yes, we do have UN observers still present. Yet, this is no more than a sham because the Indian Government refuses to recognise their mandate and the UN does not seem to mind this blatant defiance of its resolution. So, any expectation of active international involvement in resolution of the Kashmir problem seems rather remote. Various theories for this sorry state of affairs have been fed to us from time to time.
Today, the issue of human rights and liberty is an important ingredient of international policy. It is also a serious matter of concern for civilised society worldwide. So, why is it that all those cases of arbitrary confinement, inhuman treatment, ‘enforced’ disappearances and unmarked graves in Kashmir only draw occasional criticism from the international community? Why does it fail to fructify into any concrete measures? What has made the world so indifferent to our sufferings? The answer is in front of us and though we all know it, we continue to feign ignorance-and it is this that has hurt our struggle the most. So, we must introspect honestly and attempt to remove any anomalies or impediments which are retarding our movement.
Presently, our movement is being spearheaded by three distinctly divergent groups- one espouses the cause of ‘complete independence’, the second advocates ‘merger’ with Pakistan, while the third comprises a host of armed outfits propagating ‘jihad’ or the use of violence to achieve goals ranging from ‘ending illegal occupation of Kashmir by India’ to the more complex objective of ‘creating an Islamic space.’ Though every group publically professes solidarity with the other, in reality, there is virtually no meeting ground and the fissures are evident to even a casual observer.
It may sound odd to many, but the fact remains that we have today, ‘too many players in the field’. While difference of opinion as regards the future of Kashmir may be acceptable, the position adopted and role being played by those who seek resolution of the problem through violence is considered ‘repulsive’ by the world community at large. Today, justification of violence as a means to achieve the desired objective has virtually no takers. Even many of those who in the past accepted that violence was ‘justified’ when all other means of re-dress had been exhausted, now feel otherwise. The case of Norway, which has one of the most emancipated, tolerant and traditionally accommodative society being subjected to an unprecedented massacre of innocents by a person inspired by religious fervour, serves as a warning to the international community of the inherent dangers of religious ‘extremism.’ Some of the issues which have blurred the perceptions of the international community are:
• The migration of the Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir Valley has been viewed by the international community as the subversion of the secular struggle for self determination into a communal movement. The ‘quit’ notice purportedly issued by outfits in the nineties has been widely accepted as evidence that the Kashmir problem is communal in nature and not ideological in character. Though the exodus of Pandits may well have been orchestrated by New Delhi, failure of this militant group to deny issuing such a warning has reinforced this belief.
• The introduction of violence into the Kashmir struggle has alienated the influential nations as none want to be associated with supporting a cause in which the aims are sought to be gained through the force of arms. In addition, the fact that a Pakistan based terrorist group which is active in Kashmir stands implicated for its role in the Mumbai attacks (in which some foreigners were also killed) has seriously undermined the image of Kashmir struggle.
• While those leading the Kashmir movement may have impeccable credentials, they have unfortunately exhibited a discernable lack of authority and assertiveness. Their insistence on using Pakistan as a mediator or facilitator in negotiations with New Delhi, as well as their muted reactions to violent acts perpetuated by militants on innocent civilians has given the international community the impression that they are the ‘puppets’ of Pakistan and ‘subservient’ to militants, not the people. This has eroded their credibility and they are seen as opportunistic individuals, with whom no responsible government would officially wish to associate. (The recent visit of Senator McCain to Srinagar during which he avoided meeting the Hurriyat leaders and the ‘Wikileaks’ cables are but two of the many examples).
So, in case we wish to accelerate the pace of our movement, then it may be prudent to build up the courage and explore the option of ‘walking the road’ alone. It may not be an easy task but with confidence in our hearts and determination in our minds, I am sure we can do it. And for inspiration, we could use the couplet which Shaheed Maqbool Bhat quoted in his letter written to Azra Mir from Camp Prison in Lahore, Pakistan in 1973:
“Kudda Ney Aaj Takk Uss Qaoum Ki Hallat Nahein Baddlee
Naa Ho Jiss Ko Khiaal Aap Appni Hallat Kay Baddlane Ka.”
Feedback at email@example.com
Tags: Kashmir , UN Resolution On Kashmir , Azadi , Jihad , Freedom Struggle , Kashmiri Pandits , Self Determination
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.