Harris Zargar

The recent developments in the valley have put light back on certain critical aspects of Kashmir conflict. The reaction of media and Indian establishment as well as that of state government has thrown many questions. Though it appears on prime facie, that there is some change in centre rigid stance but how much is it actuality still remains to be seen. Let’s ponder and introspect certain things.

 Stone pelting, firing from CRPF personnel, deaths of youth. How does the government both state and centre, as well as media, frame these grim cycles of events and explaining its causes. The Indian Prime Minster Manmohan Singh, home minster P Chidambaram and other officials Rather than emphasizing on resolution process, reaching out and engaging the people, we have them talking about use of “non lethal weapons” to curb protests. Thus for media, “non lethal weapons” becomes centre of issue for discussions and reportage rather than deaths and protests.

Kashmir is a ‘political issue” is the recent official stand, from centre, which requires a “political solution”. Personally, I have reservations with this terminology, as they have wider connotation. It’s an established fact that Kashmir is a major “international conflict” and an “international dispute”, in which three parties are directly involved Vis-a-via J&K, India and Pakistan; a nuclear flash point on world scene. An Issue essentially undermines the whole scenario. A ‘political issue’ in the Indian perspective here, as it appears, is a problem to be solved within the ambits of Indian constitution and essentially looking into the state–centre relations and not taking the core issue. “Political solution/problem”, “non lethal weapons”, ‘stone pelters/mobs” for me are deliberate use of semantics to digress public opinions of both the international community, as well as of the Indian people, which may otherwise show their resentment towards the Indian establishment. Media plays a crucial role in all this. While the news semantics are used, media cashes on the same. A full fledged “Crusade journalism” is launched and wide scale reportage, articles and panel shows are organized to highlighting the same.


“Semantics” is a very powerful Contemporary propaganda tool widely used by western establishments and media. AF-PAK, WMD’s, talibanisation, jihad’s etc are well known terms used in western media and official language. Robert Fisk states: “the most dangerous side of our war is our use of the words of power-new semantics. In the western context, power and the media is about words – and the use of words. It is all about semantics. It is about the employment of phrases and clauses and their origins. And it is about the misuse of history; and about our ignorance of history.” India is no exception to this. Both Indian media and establishment has also followed the same operational process .Thus we have terms like, ‘Agitation terrorism’ ,‘quiet diplomacy’ ‘hardliners/moderate separatists’, ‘peace process’, ‘political problem/solutions’ , ‘allegedly’ widely used .

Leadership debate:

It has been quite a while, that various nuisances of the Kashmiri leadership, particularly the “separatists”, is now and then widely discussed and most of the times heavily criticized. There are two ‘critical’ grievances of the masses with the “separatist” leadership. The people of valley and many from outside, criticize the disunity and non-secular nature of the ‘separatist’ politics. The problem, in my view is not with the leadership but with the perception we carry about them. A decentralized leadership is an advantage in the struggle. It provides more political space for diverse thought. Let’s take an analogy from Indian freedom struggle. Subash Chander Bose was not happy with the working of congress polity and had issues with many leaders within the congress party including Nehru. Thus he left the party and choose an entirely different path to achieve his aspirations; much contrary to what he previously did. In any movement, different individuals have different opinion about a single subject even within a same group.

The non secular nature of the struggle is primarily, due to two aspects of the movement. Firstly the movement is highly centralized in the valley and it adjacent districts within Jammu division and secondly the struggle is essentially that of the Muslims of J&K if not entirely. Religion plays a critical role in any struggle. Many a times it is used as a unifying factor and sometimes otherwise. Again if we look at the Indian freedom struggle, we may find the answers. The Indian national congress was not essentially secular in its politics, as show cased .Its because of this reason we find establishment of Muslim league by Jinnah, as he understood that the congress polity was not entirely in favor of the Muslims of India.
Again for example, when Ali brothers-Showkat Ali and Muhammad Ali launched the kilafat movement against the dismemberment of Turkish caliphate by Britain and other European powers, the movement was supported by Gandhi and many other congressmen. Many believed Gandhi was wrong in trying to bring hindu-muslim unity by supporting the cause of kilafat. Leaders like Jinnah, Annie Besant and Tilak opposed the movement, as they held that such unity was based on ‘shifting stands’ and that turned out to be the case. Now that Gandhi had perceived something that was frivolous, doesn’t reflect on his overall leadership quality.

When any leader or a party enters into the public scene; they carry certain fundamental principles and ideologies. It is natural on their part to work as per these norms or ideologies for that matter. Although leaders should have same goals but they necessarily need not to be homogeneous in their approach of pursuing the same.

Viability of Kashmir as an independent state:

We now and then hear how Kashmir would survive as an individual entity?  We don’t have enough resources to survive on our own. Geopolitically, we happen to be between three nuclear states. If that is fortunate or unfortunate, that I honestly don’t know. But this for me it is the most vague and absurd observation or cynical vision/perception about Kashmir and at the same time undermining its potential.

East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste is a country in Southeast Asia. East Timor was colonized by Portugal in the 16th century, and was known as Portuguese Timor until Portugal’s decolonization of the country. In late 1975, East Timor declared its independence, but later that year was invaded and occupied by Indonesia and was declared Indonesia’s 27th province the following year. Following a UN-sponsored agreement between Indonesia, Portugal and the United States and a surprise decision by the Indonesian President B. J. Habibie, a UN-supervised popular referendum was held in the year 1999, “to choose between Special Autonomy within Indonesia and independence”. 78.5% of voters chose independence. East Timor became the first new sovereign state of the 21st century in the year 2002.

Timor was best known for its sandalwood , petroleum and natural gas resources in the waters southeast of Timor. The nation essentially doesn’t have any other resource other than these. It is placed 158th by Human Development Index (HDI) among the world’s states, the lowest in Asia. How come such nation is granted independence when it has least chances of survival? Thus if we take a comparison, Kashmir is far better placed as per its resource potential. Our water is our wealth. Now many would argue we have lost its control Vis a via Indus water treaty of 1972.similar was the case with Timor. The resources were divided between Indonesia and Australia with the Timor Gap Treaty in 1989. Revenues from the “joint” area were to be divided 50%-50%.the treaty was nullified as per international laws. Similarly once Kashmir becomes independent it becomes the de-facto master of its waters. Then it can bargain not only on water but also on electricity it has been providing to both India and Pakistan. Now again how’s that, one would argue. Ukraine holds gas pipelines of Russia to central Europe. Just that it holds the pipelines it bargains for its demands in EU. This was quite evident we it stopped gas to Europe in Year 2009 and not even Russia could do anything.

Moreover a country like morocco which has its 95% economy based on tourism provides us a prime example how a country even with one potential resource can thrive entirely on it. There are many other aspects which go into making a state but are essentially overlooked by masses. Thus rather being cynical lets aspire and think of a nation where we are the maters of our destiny and live freely.

-The end


About theparallelpost
The language of words is more heavenly than the language of tongues and lips. The Parallel Post is a forum to offer a space for people who dare to speak through their words. The intention is to create an environment to share in words what we perceive in our minds...

One Response to Re-Introspection

  1. shams imran says:

    Dear Zargar,

    I found some of the things in your article interesting, like your likeness for what you call a “decentralized leadership”. i only hope that this is not merely rhetorical and you are not a closed khilafatist who would any day trade his “decentralized leadership” for a so-called Ameer-ul-Mumineen.

    I also found it heartening that, in spite of what Geelani sb thinks, our people believe in the viability of an independent Kashmir.

    However i found your defense of the religious nature of our struggle little struggling. The comparison with Gandhi is far fetched and to suggest that the mere fact that Jinnah formed Muslim League (which is not factually correct any way) is proof enough of INC’s non-secular nature demonstrates a shallow understanding of history. It’s time we graduate to Level Two in our arguments and say only what we really really know.

    But all in all if found this article worth reading. Best of luck in the future.

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