THE KASHMIR QUESTION: What Wasn’t Yours Can not Be Yours
Forced identity, bruised memory, political treachery, dilapidated history; these are a few amongst many terms that come to one’s mind while trying to undertake possibly one of the most difficult situation. If a conflict is as every day as that, why must it be difficult to write about it? Conflict that has nurtured every thought process and driven every aspiration of the people who see, feel and breathe it every day. The most difficult part of any conflict narration does not have to state different shades of truth which must rightfully find their expression but in all its likelihood, an almost given consequence of failing to measure up to the pain that entails a conflict. The conundrum which a conflict presents will have different meaning and significances for people. The prism a conflict is viewed through will not be the same for the ones who experience it and the ones outside it. For the latter, prisms being simplistic and reductionist and for us as the ones experiencing it the truth, history will always be too sacred to be put through such prisms. The packaging of a conflict and the attached disclaimers are such that make any “Peaceful breakthrough” a far-fetched dream. For the uninitiated and unversed, carefully manufactured guise of the conflict makes it easy either to bracket everything done by the state apparatus as a reaction to acts that endanger high sounding platitudes ‘Sovereignty, Security and integrity’. Or an even more reductionist approach of peddling developmental or economic narratives. Every such diversion, from the most fundamental truth amounts to surreptitiously partaking in everything required to keep a population deprived of their basic right to choose their future. This perpetual denial of identity is reminiscent of a mindset of colonial inheritance.
Politically, Historically, geographically the state never really belonged to India. Everything done to usurp the territory of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, including complete re-orientation from its principled position of holding a plebiscite is where the entire Kashmir question commences. Rooted in the understanding of Kashmir, is this fundamental truth. Every solution, therefore seeking to resolve what stands today as sub-continent longest outstanding dispute must flow from the acknowledgment of this truth. Without shedding light upon this truth,any solution seeking to create a middle ground is unacceptable to the majority. Today, India stands averse to such acknowledgment because it will necessarily serve a consequent admission of all the wrong doings, strategically inflicted upon the people over the time. A fight that manifestly is against the occupational power structure of India and its collaborative offshoots must be seen as an attempt to push the entire country iff a cliff. Which by no means is the intent of the people fighting for their basic right to self-determination.
Thus, morally as a People, who inherit a rich history of freedom struggle, of overthrowing the brit colonial rule, Indians must affect a critical distance from the power apparatus of their state. For, seeing the state as all just and fair, which by all our past experiences it never has been, would tantamount to collusion in all misdeeds, committed with impunity by the self-righteous state.
Etched in the memory of every Kashmiri are events that refuse to leave some corner of our mind. Partly because of the nature of the crimes committed. Their gravity puts all human values to shame. And partly for the reason of knowing that justice will continue to elude us. Justice amongst unequals ,they say is all that the powerful take and the weak must surrender.Your law is my jail, your order my chaos.
The year 2016 saw an uprising of unfathomable spread and magnitude. A culmination of seething discontent and anger against the Indian States systemic oppression. Naturally, the response of the state akin to its previous responses to purely civil movements was repressive and marked by such excessive use of force against unarmed protestors that left no stone of brutality unturned. Over a 100 people were slain by the Indian Armed forces, another hundred blinded by the use of “non- lethal” pellets, thousand left maimed, and a significant number of people arrested and put behind bars under archaic laws of colonial descent. While all of this was happening, everything required to keep the muck covered and truth unexposed were done. From blockade of the internet to the banning of local newspapers. Not contrary to our expectations, Indian media like true patriots on their part ensured the best misrepresentation of facts and allowed a tirade of anti-people propaganda thrive. A few days back in the backdrop of Jallikatu agitation, there was a renewed debate about the discrepancy in their metheod and manner of crowd control. It was said that similar eruptions in Kashmir were dealt more severely. Such Parallels are however erroneous to draw. Firstly, anyone versed with the Kashmir conflict would know why repression is inflicted upon the people protesting.
It is never really about the stone in the hand of the protestor. It was never about the gun in 90’s. It was always about ‘Azadi’. Self-admittedly, Repression will always be an answer to any method used as a reminder to honour all commitments made by India to which UN resolutions stand a testimony.
Author is a student of law at Kashmir University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position of Oracle Opinions.