O stranger, afraid in a world I never made,
Prisoned heart, guilty of fear,
As flocks feareth the wolf,
the crops the storm, and the trees the wind
I crouch in agony, fearing fear, devoid of life
O, how vain and vile a passion,
Kaiser of hell, master of a wraith
What maketh me you do?
The concessions of the week the ordain of fear,
Chiseling strangers of blood, from the yarning of kin
Thy can’t hurt me more than a dream
Shall take your council no more
Thou can’t kill me from the fear of thee
In a vacuous life, lies there no hope
Vanquish fear, for there is not anything to hope
Flowers bloom at the edge of darkness
With the smell of love, free from you
Lieth in the womb of my imagination
You shall lead my life no more
O, the fire of icarian wings, Burn me not, and let me free
A Day of introspection….
I was going through Rediff chat with Mirwaiz Umer Farooq chairman of the moderate faction of the All Party Hurriyat Conference. I wanted to understand the rationale of a separatist faction leader and their cry for Azzadi. (check the link above for the same).While this particular read did not give me the insight into the rationale it helped clear my thought about Kashmir
As people of India we are absolutely uninformed of the ground reality of Kashmir. While we feel wretched to see, Kashmir bleed and debate on national television, about the plight of Kashmir and blame Pakistan and Foreign terrorists for all the chaos, the truth is, the average Kashmiri does not believe they are part of India, they never did. They hold the Indian political juggernaut responsible for every ill that is there in the state of Kashmir. The aam Kashmiri feel he is subjugated by the Indian government deprived off all freedom and his only salvation is when he is part of a Kashmir governed by Kashmiris.
There is a cleft on the map of India, a divide that we are very familiar with; we fought the British for nearly 200 on the edge of the cleft. It is the fissure that separates a persecutor and persecuted – a psychological state of mind that fails to reason and comprehends logic. No amount of talks can close that gap. From a Kashmiri viewpoint, India swapped places with Britain post 1947. Nothing has changed. The chaos of the 1900 has moved from Delhi, Calcutta and Bombay to the streets of Srinagar. Pelting the security forces is but a natural progression – a show of dissent, a foolhardy notion of trying to fight the army with stones. The consequences are always the same, someone will shoot and lives will be lost, the cleft grows into a gorge and keeps growing.
That brings us to question that has been disturbing me from the morning. Did we actually swap places with Britain? Are we really the oppressor in Kashmir? Are people really dying because of atrocities of sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic of India? Or am I just being naïve and got muddle up reading the propaganda of a terrorist.
After a long thought I believe India could not have replaced the imperialist Britain. We do not have the political clout or the aggression that is required to be an imperialist. To hold the flag of a conqueror requires strong political leadership, unnerving guts, clear strategy, cunning tactics and supportive public opinion. If I gave you a questionnaire and asked choose the qualities of the Indian political from the above? I am sure the answer would be “None of the above”. For the last fifty-five years our leaders have been elected based on the same philosophy. Roti Kapda and Makaan, and the world largest democracy continue to elect the same leaders even when they continue to fail them. Our political system has a five year focus from an election to an election and they cannot think beyond that. A political and government system that cannot even conduct a simple CWG I am not sure has the clout or the ability to annex a country and rule it like a despot. History reads that India as a country never annexed any other country, we spent more than a millennia fighting among over selves. We never had the time to think beyond.
Kashmir is just a result of failed foreign policy of one man…Nehru. I am not a political analyst to evaluate why Nehru did what he did but I agree that going to UN was a blunder. By agreeing that we will give people of Kashmir the right to determine if they want to part of Indian Union is same like asking the Marathis if they want to be part of India. By agreeing to that in the UN we have politically divided the country into India and occupied India read Kashmir. Reading our history we also come to know Hyderabad was annexed so was Goa by the Indian union, but we do not see such disturbances there because these were integrated into the union and then there was an amalgamation of cultures and finally there was an integrated India. But with Kashmir we maintained the divide. The divide was exploited well by all those who had vested interests.
Digressing a little if we see Punjab in the same light the unrest in 80’s and 90’s in Punjab was a similar situation. The fight for Khalisthan was again a result of a failed internal policy of the daughter of the man who failed in Kashmir. While i am awed by the strength and willpower of the Iron lady I fail to admire her for everything else. But the reason why Khalisthan never became reality is that people of Punjab never felt they were not part of India. They were like the disgruntled teenager who got upset vented her anger; the result was the parent paying for a new dinner set. It was an expensive, wasteful and a lost decade for Punjab and India. But Kashmir seems to be different. The Average Kashmiri does not feel like a son but feels he is a kid in a foster home held against his will. While the foster parent does what is good for him the kid always finds a reason to disapprove of the same. I guess the same is with Kashmir. We failed to make an average Kashmiri feel part of the family. We also failed to communicate that we are on the same side of the river bank and look forward to crossing the river together. I have not seen the govt. initiate anything towards that. We have elections and corruptions but that beyond that I am not sure if there was anything that was done systematically over the period to integrate Kashmir with it brothers.
I cannot dwell on what should be done or what can be done; I guess I do not have the expertise in public administration or political science. I am just a proud Indian and who will not accept anything but a completely integrated Kashmir with the Union of India. I am just an Indian who want to see people of Kashmir happy and reap the benefits of an emerging India. I am just an Indian who loves his country and his people and want to see my country prosper and grow. But I assume this can only happen when the people on the streets of Kashmir feel they are part of India. While I hope my people in Kashmir find the right path back to home and stop wandering in the forest, I wish my government sends a search party to bring them back.