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Navigating The Conflict

Navigating The Conflict
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Khalid Abdullah

The history of Jammu and Kashmir is an unending saga of conflicts within and beyond its physically, ethnically and culturally demarcated boundaries that have rendered it disorganized and eventually, in its response, unpredictable as well. It, as a whole, has been dispersed into ideological, political as well as religious, and ethnic fragments that are enough repulsive and ever incorrigible to keep the nuances surviving for decades and centuries. These unfortunate events in the social and political life of the state deserted it of the lasting peace and development. We again are caught in a seemingly never-ending conflict that appetizingly is taking heavy toll on the precious lives, property and development. The unfortunate thing is that the ropes still fall short of the length in connecting the divides across the state.

Kashmir Conflict has evolved a lot and morphed with time less in dossiers but more in perception, mass acceptance and engagement. The connotations of K-Conflict have been wavy where ebbs and rises have been shared by both the camps of dissent (Expressions-Political and Armed) and mainstream politics as well. No one of these two giants seems to be winning so far. The current discourse on the ground is more that of resistance, anti-occupation and anti-government. However, there are instances that scissor the recent developments of the decade off from the political graph that snakes between peace and violence, resistance and mainstream peaceful governance eras. As the recent consecutive popular uprisings have watered the resistance sentiment to full bloom, the Conflict sensation now makes the sky of the valley. It rains resistance every moment here. But has this sky been able to nourish and sustain the life. Has it been able to shade us from harm? Is the sun it enshrines beaming rays of promising future. The drops of rain it incessantly showers- do they carry the desired panacea for the barren lands. Have we done a proper cost benefit analysis while choosing an ideology to follow or a particular path to tread? These questions if left unattended may severe us a lot.

The ever growing urge for freedom (and its different obscure connotations) is becoming more severe with time. It has become a priority second to none. We have learnt or have been made to learn to desire it unconditionally like animals. Even precious life is cozily presented as an affordable ransom available in surplus quantity here. We now take pride in deaths as never before and an exception found anywhere is looked at with raised eyebrows. The social media here has got transformed into a mourning exhibition platform. The vacuum glory hole created by the conflict has not spared even education and unbridledly yet perpetually sucks in the career of students. This euthanization of education sector speaks lot about where we are heading to. Killings have become a norm here. Known and unknown gunmen make sure to keep the count going. The killings are mourned and reacted vociferously that sets all the hell in motion. An instance of individual killing is inappropriate for the gradual death of the life of whole nation. How can the former ensure the latter or set a perpetual process for the eventual attainment of such a morbid goal. A theory appropriating the two as same or complimentary is a false lie and will make us cruise through the conflict but at a very huge cost. What price shall we set for the goal that still is covered by vague meanings? My life, your Life or the career and budding life of the whole youth? Desperately needed development, progress, education and health that we already lag behind in? Why this stereotype of self-destruction in sustaining, yes just sustaining a conflict has to be extended here as well. Is it a die-after romantic theme to write odes on or just an op-ed title to fill the blank pages of newspapers? Is it just an exclusive right of Hurriyat to diktat it according to their whims and wishes as they have done hitherto and find it impossible now to give it any meaningful direction? Or Molvi Sahab’s self-claimed right to demand Shariah to be enforced by a handful of people who are always on the run to save their lives. How cunningly Molvi Sahab is shielding his failure. He takes the opportunity to devolve the responsibility he desperately has failed in on the shoulders of armed rebels who are not and must never be meant for it. The pet “CAUSE” that we fondly but wrongly caressed has transformed into a beast lion to spare us none.

True that the atrocities committed by India and its armed forces find no parallel in the world and in the whole history. Whether it is mass killings, mass rapes or other worst human rights violations that India has willingly resorted to, the fire these gruesome incidents have kindled in us will never douse. But are not we burning ourselves under the same flame instead of using it to cautiously tread through the dark night towards the goal? Are not we doing enough to ensure even the future generations be burnt likewise? Thronging encounter sites is a trend that needs to be discouraged and denounced instead of announcing a shut down call the other day. The way students have got involved in and are flooding the streets day in and day out is a big concern. The puppet Govt can do no better than shutting down the whole education system. But where do we stand? Is it not our collective responsibility to act promptly and rein in situation? We need to pursue our cause in a peaceful manner. Let’s do away with the idea that only violence ensures presence of conflict and gives feel of the so called ‘K-Issue’. Likewise resorting to media singing emotional lullabies shall gain us nothing. Lavishing social media with emotional stuff is synonymous to beating our chest while facing each other. There is no meaningful sound coming out just distressing noise everywhere. The Tunisian revolution incited by the self immolation of Bouazizi that precedes the long going Arab Spring is said to be accelerated through the use of social media. Many call it as “Media led revolution”. The results were quite positive even under the hawkish siege of President Ben Ali. But in our case only emotions lead the front. There is no place left for reason. There have been peaceful plebiscites and relatively calm secessions in other parts of the world. The bargaining between the relevant parties in our case is set unattainable by the emotional lot at the back. We need to provide a chink to vent out some reason as well. Going berserk without using brains shall only break our horns.

With leadership comes responsibility. Although the prowess of Hurriyat is somewhat diluted now to the extent of only owning a spontaneous “arbitrary-collective-public” reaction and adjusting itself with the unpredictable waves, it still may do a lot to ensure peaceful protests and streamline and organize in one direction the jaga-jaga narratives, as it still enjoys the mass popularity. It may strengthen its cadre and deeply infiltrate into the society. Because at grass root levels the leadership of Hurriyat has not even born yet. This leads to the rudderless uprisings and harboring of dangerous narratives as well. The Hurriyat amalgam has also to purge itself of the mixed yet contrary facets. A protest with stones in hand is never a peaceful protest yet Hurriyat is hardly ever heard to denounce stone pelting. Meanwhile it never misses the word “Peaceful” in its protest calls that have become now the ideal identity of Hurriyat. The open support that resistance leaders show to militancy and armed struggle is all about playing it by ear and making us pay through the nose. When decided to shun the gun and follow the journey through a political conduit, then better mind own business and ask people not throng the encounter sites. Are we expecting the cruel Infantry of India to hold the trigger provided the solid shield of impunity they enjoy in the name of AFSPA? Then decision lies completely with us. If we now hesitate to accept the positive role that we have to play on our side we are simply then felo-de-se and murderers. We have reduced all the options to stones and guns. We have normalized the deaths to such an extent that a peaceful day here seems to be an odd one. This has to stop and be reversed. We need to find other possibilities that lie in our domain. It may need loin’s courage to come forward and fight. Once rigged shall not make us believe it is a taboo and never attainable. Diplomatic channels and direct political engagement is where we need to focus on now. The political structure of the world encourages this route prominently. It saved Iran and Us from taking to war with courageous intervention of EU (European Union). It ensured a calm exit from Cuban Missile Crisis. The Koreans did find it fruitful and the excited twitter warriors Kim Jon Un and Trump may soon shake their hands now. There are many other instances where political engagement promises a peaceful and prosperous future. But India and Pakistan are far away from tasting its fruits only because religious zealots and the emotional freaks abound here. Same is the story with local actors in the valley. They too have massively relied on invoking religion to gain mass momentum. There was nothing wrong in it provided they talked about it in right perspective. Our religion is never bereft of solutions to any problems and challenges that we face. But it has wrongly been traded for personal gains and self-centric interpretations. We are issuing certificates to Heaven at such a rate that companions in Jannah must be wondering about such a huge flow from Kashmir. Oh people! What has befallen us? Why are we obsessed with dying so early? Why believe living for it is a shame and defeat? Why don’t we get it that we are caught in a death trap with no exit and are fighting no one but ourselves. Amid this stampede and furor, rise a step up and look around. Does not it look like a hell? Are not we self-annihilating ourselves? Then why not stop and take a breath. Lets calm down for a while and look for other viable possibilities. Stones must be spared and militancy must take a back seat and not dominate the discourse here. We need to stop supporting the bloodshed the way we are subtly doing it. Let’s accept that the way it goes is definitely not the way it must be going.

Bottomline: The state may have pushed us to violence as the only alternative and may be because we are lukewarm to other options that it offers. But the standstill in bargaining shall never mean that we let violence be our only weapon to fight. Although nothing good can be expected from callous opponents who are always blood thirsty and shamelessly submissive to Delhi, we need to revisit our policy and strategy to ensure we peacefully tread the path and there is less loss of life and property.

Author can be mailed at khalid459abdullah@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.

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