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Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Riddle of Kashmir And Its Never Ending Solution

The landslide victory of BJP in the parliamentary elections of 2014 shattered many myths and beliefs about the capability of BJP to win elections. The victory in 2014 Parliament elections was followed by an impressive performance in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections. This new-found ability of BJP to win elections was celebrated by millions of Hindus across the country as they hoped that BJP would do things differently if it comes to power in J&K.

It is with these expectations, people did not mind coming together of ideologically opposite parties such as PDP and BJP. Skeptics and opposition parties such as National Conference and Congress discredited the PDP-BJP alliance as an unholy alliance, but no matter what these parties say, it was the only way forward for both PDP and BJP at that time.

However, as impressive was BJP’s march to office, as unimpressive were its moves when in office. BJP kept tying itself in knots for the past three years by being too generous with PDP and it is this lenient attitude that made things difficult to handle for the BJP. Hence, it was left with no choice, but to walk out of the alliance that was denting the party’s image in the country.

BJP may have outsmarted PDP in making the first move to walk out of the alliance, but the way it handled things in J&K has established a fact that it too is incapable of comprehending the Muslim mind in Kashmir. When it comes to Kashmir, BJP has no achievements to showcase and this supports the argument.

Like earlier regimes, it tried to win hearts & minds by reiterating the failed slogans of  ‘Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jamhooriat.‘ These slogans have no place in the valley except that these are used by Kashmir based political parties to hoodwink people in the rest of Bharat. BJP also tried to make inroads in Kashmir through development packages, but Kashmir problem is not due to lack of economic prosperity.

The state has been receiving massive economic packages (more than what is its due) for the past 50 years, yet it remains a headache for Bharat. People were eager to see a new blueprint in Kashmir, but unfortunately there was no fresh thinking over Kashmir and BJP went through the tried and tested methods of failure in Kashmir.

This article is about the complexity of the ground situation in Kashmir and not a review about the performance of PDP-BJP coalition, so it is best not to delve further into the realm of PDP-BJP rule. A small reference to BJP could not be avoided as it was the only party left that people believed could find a solution to the vexed problem of Kashmir.

Ground Situation in Kashmir

Now, let us rewind back and go back to 1950s. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad was second in command in the National Conference and was popularly known as Khalid-I-Kashmir, after Khalid-bin-Walid, the great Muslim general.  In 1953, he became Prime Minister of Kashmir, through a coup, which still remains controversial.

It is said that during his tenure as Prime Minister, he was once asked by a journalist, as to how many people supported him. He remarked 40 lacs. The journalist then asked him as to how many supported Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad replied 40 lacs. The total population of the valley then was 40 lacs. Knowing the population of Kashmir was only 40 lacs, the journalist argued with Bakshi that how could it be possible that both leaders enjoy the support of 40 lac Kashmiris. To this Bakshi smiled and said that they are with all.

It seems that Baskhi Ghulam Mohammad had a correct assessment of the people and situation in Kashmir. The statement of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad sounds truer than ever today in Kashmir. The only change that Kashmir has witnessed since then is that the people today are with everyone, and also against everyone and everything. Earlier, they could conveniently shift from the National Conference to Congress, now with many players competing for attention, people have acquired the skills to change gears in a multi-corner contest.

For instance, the trade unions who put their shutters down as a mark of protest against Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Kashmir after the floods, were seen in queues trying to meet the Prime Minster and seek special financial packages for the losses incurred due to floods.

Similarly, Maulvis were the first to make a beeline for ration and other facilities that were provided by the government after the floods. Yet, these Maulvis spare no time in instigating the public in the name of Islam and spreading hatred against the union of Bharat.

Just sample this: Jab tak Musalman Azab mein rahega, duniya azab mein rahegi. Kyonki Musalman Allahtala ki sabse pyari kaum hai. Means as along as Muslims suffer, the world will suffer, because Muslims are a favorite race of Allah.

Most of the fiery speeches against Kaffirs and Non-Muslim lands are delivered on Fridays. These Maulvis who are direct and greater beneficiaries of government subsidies also have a greater role in fanning anti-India protest marches. The same sort of hypocritical approach has been adopted by a vast section of society in Kashmir.

The so-called mainstream political parties speak in double tongues. In power, they speak in support of Bharat and when out of power, they speak in support of Pakistan. Even when in power, they do nothing to quell anti-India feelings.

Similarly, separatists have displayed a hypocritical attitude umpteen times. They send their own kith and kin to study abroad, seek government jobs for their children, draw salaries from Bharatiya exchequer, and yet instigate children of other Kashmiris to pelt stones on Army personnel. Separatists are enjoying the facilities and currencies of both Bharat and Pakistan.

Taking a cue from separatists, the people too have learned to swing in various directions. 

When separatists give a shutdown call for protest against elections, it receives a thumping response from people. But when elections are held, there is a thumping response to elections too.

There are people who participate in elections on day one, shut shutters on day 2, pelt stones on Army personnel on day 3 and talk about Insaaniyat, Kashmiryat, etc. on day 4.

Similarly, whenever forces launch a medical camp or recruitment drive, the grounds would be full. There are many Kashmiris who are working in Army and yet are uncomfortable about the presence of the Army in valley.

It seems terrorists too have now learned the art of propaganda and as such would issue statements in the media that Amarnath pilgrims are our guests and no harm would visit them. And then they would attack Yatris. Similarly, there are people who curse and hurl choicest abuses on Yatris for coming to Kashmir, while they themselves visit or are living outside Kashmir most of the time.

The ground signs from Kashmir have always been misleading and confusing and Bharat has so far failed to read the signs properly.

The people who offer prayers in various mosques are not misguided and illiterate people. These are the people who hold degrees in modern sciences and are having well established careers. In one breath they talk about humanism, kashmiryat, development, jobs, and in another breath, they talk about Pakistan, azaadi, resistance, and intifada.

In Kashmir, today, children as young as 10-year-old can be seen throwing stones, hurling abuses on Army men walking on the streets. Hiding behind buildings, trees, they could be seen throwing stones on police vans and then escaping from the scene.

How does an eight-year-old dare to attack a fully grown up, well-trained, gun-holding man in uniform? It is not the time to lament lost innocence. It is not the time to issue statements such as misguided youth indulge in such attacks. It is time to ask ourselves why we have reached such a sorry state in the valley.

When adult stone-pelters are treated with kid gloves, children know they would be treated with diapers. If adults are put in place, children would not dare to carry out such attacks. It is as simple as this.

Intellectuals make it complicated. When young children are brainwashed in mosques, schools, and the Indian state does nothing to ban such activities, the Indian state too becomes complicit in crime.

(Featured Image Source)

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