Kashmir -- An Introspection Print
Written by Shiban Dudha   
Friday, 02 July 2010 00:00


Various upheavals have been witnessed by and inflicted on an average Kashmiri in the recent past. Applying the popular principles of social psychology, the detrimental effect of subjugation witnessed by him in the full decade of 90s’ has taken an unimaginable and non quantifiable psychological toll of him. Studies and researches conducted by Social scientists and groups have already revealed the adverse side effects of trauma undergone by him when he remained a mute spectator to the devastation during the last forty years. Besides the growth of graveyards poor Kashmiris have hardly experienced anything.


Successive Governments came and ruled Delhi. Everyone in the Central Government connected singly or jointly with Kashmir Affairs except one late MOS- Home preferred to follow his predecessors. Kashmir, by one and all has been made to look like a monster. Babus who handle Kashmir in PMO or MoS are bereft of even the basic knowledge demanded by the position they occupy to deliver on sensitive matters like Kashmir. The height of unawareness about Kashmir can be visualized by a former Prime Minister replying confusedly to a journalist’s question in valley on matters pertaining to Anantnag district of Kashmir with a rebel leader of his party in his home state.

Government of India reportedly also does not have any policy on Kashmir. Sometimes one hears of assured limits of autonomy to the extent of sky and in the very next session of Parliament, both houses meet to pass a joint resolution for enactment of POK with Indian territory and no disturbance to existing operational system, a sudden departure from the commitment made few months back. Sometimes, Kashmir affairs are handled by PMO and sometimes by MHA. On some matters and occasions, both are not clear as to who is to decide. Again in MHA, for an appreciable time, Kashmir affairs were handled by Secretary Border Management, a position held by the officer not beyond 3 to 6 months thereby throwing the continuity of policy to winds. For most of the time since 1989-90, senior police officers of IPS cadre have had dominant say and role on an otherwise political matter. This has possibly been the root cause of present imbroglio.

Ever since partition, Kashmir has never been permanently a calm place. Terrorism visited India in late 70s’ through Punjab. Prior to that, modern history of Kashmir is a witness to a permanent uneasy calm and periodical demonstrations quite akin to what we have been witnessing post January 2009. Right to Raaj Shumari (Plebiscite) promised to Kashmiris by none else than the tallest of tall leader of India- Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru used to be the slogans in demonstrations. It is the non holding of plebiscite (whether on reasonable reasons or with an element of deceit) that was used by Kashmiri leadership for political purposes. The tone and tenor of rhetoric of Kashmiri leadership on demand for plebiscite would dramatically change once they would be in power or part of governance. One can not comprehend when there were no terrorist outfits like LeT, HM, JUD etc operating in the sub continent in those days, how huge demonstrations were even then held by local Kashmiris. This point needs to be viewed seriously by GoI as possibility of LeT involvement in current demonstrations has been held out high by our Home Minister. Possibly, GoI jumped the gun with a likely aim to supplement the SAFPA to justify the unfortunate killings of teenagers.
With overall growth around, average Kashmiri also has grown, has became literate, educated, has vastly traveled all continents and has seen through the game plans played on him by politicians both at centre and at State level. This awareness coupled with what he suffered in the last twenty years has brought additional element of revolt in him. When he has asked or when he asks for fulfillment of a promise linked directly with his identity, he is branded as anti national. When he came out to demonstrate more vigorously, he witnessed his movement getting hijacked by outside forces. The system has pushed him to the wall.

Before assembly elections of November- December 2008 were contested, all political parties of the State prevailed upon Prime Minister on 10th October 2008 in SKICC to hold elections for restoration of a popular government only for three essentials Sadak, Bijlee and Panee. It was articulated in that meet that Kashmir issue is entirely a different matter and it will be deliberated and discussed by GoI not with the to be elected Government but with the entire population of J&K through a new mechanism. All parties including PDP and NC made it an ingredient of their election campaign. After installation of the local Government, there is hardly any instance when an effort has been made to reach out to cross section of the population in the manner discussed. The seriousness of intentions can be gauged by the manner in which last working group set up by Prime Minister submitted its un popular report. Since January 2009, much against what he promised in public meetings, Omar Abdullah has been often voicing his views on Kashmir issue and advisories to Pakistan.

There is also no level playing field today seen in Kashmir. Natural laws are not allowed to exist and operate. On every road and major markets, you only listen to the reverberating sirens of police escort cars of Ministers, bureaucrats, police, CRPF & Army officers, which has become a craze of depicting how powerful you are. Such experiences further alienate an emotionally hurt average Kashmiri. A true picture of this vulgar depiction can be witnessed at main arrival/ departure gate of Srinagar airport. Ministers, Army, Police officers and bureaucrats engage half a dozen Government cars ahead and back while moving on the road. People do witness it and it gets imprinted in the hurt minds. Recently, at a private dinner party at Grand Hotel, there were at least 10 Government cars with every guest. An average Kashmiri has a question. Who pays for it? Most expensive sun glasses, branded wrist watches, branded outfits by those in governance are also noticed by masses. Body language of those assisting Chief Minister and their attitude has to be humble and humane which people say is missing.
Lot of scare was created on recent two days visit by Prime Minister to valley. What purpose did it serve to an average Kashmiri if PM had come only to meet political delegations in a highly fortified SKICC. He could have met them in Delhi as well. An average Kashmiri got deprived of communication connectivity and remained under siege for two days. This has reportedly not gone down well with average Kashmiri. He argues how nice it would have been had PM prevailed upon the SPG and intelligence and driven down from Airport to Raj Bhawan, stopped at one or two places, got down from the car and interacted with passers by or cajoled a small girl child as his predecessors Nehru and Indira would do.

To conclude, present Kashmir problem has been a result of mishandling of situations and occasions by both the Central and State Governments. Let us all pray that peace prevails and Kashmir remains calm after lifting of curfew. Let there be all-round development and let Kashmir be the most favored destination for investments and tourism.

Shiban Dudha is the former general secretary of All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS), an apex body of Indian and overseas Kashmiri Pandit organizations.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 March 2011 19:21