Creating a ‘new Kashmiri’ – A strategy of fragmenting the dominant narrative
History is witness to the fact that occupations do not last long without collaborationism, voluntary or involuntary. Occupational regimes from the outset used to cultivate a breed of collaborators by offering them various inducements and preferential treatment for going against their own land and people. The term collaborates, as Wikipedia says, dates from 1871, and is a back-formation from a collaborator (1802), from the French collaborator as used during the Napoleonic Wars against smugglers trading with England and assisting in the escape of monarchists. The recent example of collaborationism, as some people say, have included institutions and individuals in Afghanistan who collaborated with the Soviet occupation until 1989 and individuals in Iraq and Afghanistan today who continue to work with American forces. In 2014 during the occupation of Crimea and ongoing War in Donbass, some Ukrainian citizens collaborated with the invading Russian forces. In Kashmir, the Indian state has successfully managed to cultivate a breed of collaborationists who continue to help India in holding the disputed territory. Witnessing the levels of resistance from the valley, the Indian state has in a way come to realize the relation it shares with the inhabitants of the valley – the relation that of the occupier and the occupied, where both the entities know the historical impossibility of owning one another’s existence. To hide this relation and present its subjects as something of its own, the state has gone on to create a new Kashmiri by giving him certain incentives for using a language that is closely aligned with the state narrative. This new Kashmiri is presented as representing the public opinion to legitimize the presence of alien forces and to counter the popular sentiment in the region. As a dispute having an international recognition, this new Kashmiri is further groomed to deceive the international community and to fragmentize the demand of right to self-determination under vested interests.
Kashmir has, sadly, been witnessing a certain club of lettered new Kashmiris forwarding the integrationist agenda for a long time. These well known educated people are often seen trying to belie their agenda by pretending to represent the popular sentiment and, after getting the desired promotion by this wilful pretention, they train their guns against their own people and plunge to defend the status quo for personal gains. Some among them have already joined the electoral politics and some can be seen in the fray. The development of cynical attitude towards the voices of dissent in the society as a result of the poor choices these literate collaborationists make. They somehow have created a serious confusion among the local population and people outside the valley by complicating the simple political dispute of sub-continental partition. Spreading a wave of hopelessness among people especially the concerned youth has remained their most effective tool to delight their purse-holders. The prospect that their agenda entails, indicates the fact that such clubs may be directly run by the deep state in the valley to construct and strengthen their discourses. A historicization and distortion of subaltern narratives have become their enterprise and one should not wonder if tomorrow we find them asking for their exclusive rights to our dreams, aspirations and ultimately life and death.
There is a more perilous class of new Kashmiris elected through a ‘democratic process’ in the valley who have been acting as a major obstacle in the way of the settlement of this longstanding dispute. The traits of double-speak and hypocrisy lie in their genes and Kashmiris have always been the victim of their deceptive politics from the past 70 years. They have, from the beginning, beguiled the naive Kashmiris by making lofty promises of resolving the dispute and revoking the draconian laws and have been fighting the elections by exploiting the vulnerability of common masses and showing them the counterfeit image of the reality. But, in the words of Hassan Zainagiree, “the spin doctors, marauding as ‘spokespersons’— that these crass opportunists have hired—are bold enough to interpret, even glorify, their betrayals, sell outs, traitorousness, and deceptions as excellent feats”. These ‘elected representatives’, as we are all well aware about, cannot even deliver a word without the permission of New Delhi, let alone revoke black laws like PSA, which is the crop of their own hands. On the pretext of resolving the conflict and evading the everyday massacres, these regional parties have been begging for votes as the drama of electoral process draws near. One wonders, however, that why these ‘well-wishers’ of the oppressed people do not resign and vow to not contest any ‘elections’ until the final settlement of the dispute? It is only because they have taken upon themselves a particular role of gaining power over the dead bodies of Kashmiris; by keeping deception, betrayal, double-cross and treachery as central to their politicking. Theirs is a way like none other and they steal past the already known paths and construct a dubious pattern that feeds on the flesh of the ordinary with a potential to hoodwink the general masses and promote falsity. Come the moment and they don’t hesitate to rub their shoulders with the necropolitical masters, the chief architects of deceit and manipulation. They have a long history of introducing black laws to curb the dissent and then, without an iota of shame, deceive the victims of these oppressive laws with promises of revocation, only to satiate their lust of power. Now, ignoring the facade of ‘mainstream’ in Kashmir and believing the historical lie, the addition of newer voices, no matter how different, are never going to change the nature of the dispute in any shape and form. All the formulas from the existing parties are it ‘self-rule’, ‘autonomy’, or ‘achievable nationhood’ are nothing but the ideas to hoodwink people and try to garner any possible sympathy, with the only aim being to further elongate the occupation. To cut a long tale short, the Indian state has decorated a stage of deception where these political thugs continue to dance to get their lust for power quenched.
So it is not a surprise that there are the highest levels of collaboration in the valley, for every occupied nation has a history of collaborationism. Palestine, in recent years, saw the execution of many people accused of having links with Israeli occupational forces. Three people who had helped the Zionist enemy to kill Mazen Fuqaha, a top resistance leader, were sentenced to death in a local court in 2017. To root out this disease and ask for its elimination is not possible in a literal sense, but however, what should actually worry us is that as a conscious society how much aware and prepared are we to counter this menace and stop it from corroding the minds of our treasured youth. Amid such levels of collaboration, the question should be that how much clear we need to be?
The author is a research scholar in the Department of English at International Islamic University Islamabad. He can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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