Discourse of Discontent

Harris zargar

It has been Five months, since the death of Tufail Matoo and the advent of current unrest against the Indian establishment. There is a general discourse on what Kashmiri’s have achieved in all this time. Many believe that the current uprising is yet another series of events in the struggle which is undergoing a rapid transition, while most people around regard it as a useless waste of Kashmir’s human-economic resources and energy. Have people of Kashmir really achieved something in all this or not, is a million dollar question. But, no one actually may have clear answer to this.

During any political discourse, we find many people often point fingers to Kashmiri’s unfaithful and untrustworthy nature as a primary reason for failure. Are they really untrustworthy? Is it just because they haven’t gained anything so substantial yet? Or are they really like that? I always wonder, how come?

 Many times, it becomes hard for me to understand how a society which reacts en-masse to any unjust and for the cause they believe in, are suddenly engulfed in cynicism and hopelessness. After months and months of continuous hartals and curfew, is it not natural for any community to get physically and mentally drained in that after all. And of course, loss of 115 precious lives can’t also be ignored. Four months by any stretch is a long duration for any protest or uprising to sustain and with such heavy body toll- after all they are lives not mere numbers. Still we ask ourselves, did we do enough?

Well introspecting and asking question continuously is good and healthy but isn’t finding the answer equally important too. During my quest of finding answers, I found an interesting analogy to these recent protests. The fundamental aspect in it, was the use of ‘PSY-OPS’, as a potent tool by establishment to undermine a mass discontent and disowning the same, as in Kashmir’s case too.

In March 2008, there were a series of demonstrations in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa and in other adjacent areas of Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu. Tibetans in Lhasa were angered by inflation that has caused the prices of food and consumer goods to increase. Residents were worried that a railway built to link Lhasa to other areas of China would increase the number of migrants in the city, but they accepted it because the government assured them that cheaper transportation would keep prices lower. However, as in other parts of the country, prices continued to rise, creating resentment amongst the residents of Lhasa. The Tibetan youth complain about not having equal access to jobs and education.

What originally began as protests against inflation degenerated into rioting, burning, looting, and killing? The violence was mostly directed at Han and Hui Chinese civilians by Tibetan mobs. The protests and demonstrations, mostly led by Tibetan monks, then suddenly channelized into uprising against the Chinese totalitarian regime. At the same time but also in response, protests mostly supporting the Tibetans erupted in cities in North America and Europe. Around 18 Chinese embassies and consulates were attacked.

As per the Tibet provincial government, the unrest was motivated by separatism and orchestrated by the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama denied the accusation and said that the situation was caused by wide discontent in Tibet. The Chinese authorities’ clamped down heavily on the protestors. Army was bought in to control the situation. Tibetan exile groups claimed a brutal crackdown and confirmed at least 80 deaths. The Authorities didn’t not allowed any foreign and Hong Kong media to enter the region. Domestic media downplayed the uprising.

When the foreign media, was finally granted access to the region, three months after the demonstration; the situation on the ground had completely changed .No one was ready to talk about the situation of human rights and separatism. Those who had participated in the demonstrations would suggest their actions unwanted and inappropriate. They would, in fact praise the Chinese regime at Beijing for their actions.BBC carried a series of reports even after two years since the event and found the discontent prevailing against the Chinese regime but Tibetans’ were still afraid to talk about it, even in private.

This is not strikingly unusual but obvious. The state has many tools including coercive methods to respond to any treat that it faces from any section. But also the use of most effective methodology is PSYOPS. “Psychological operations (PSYOPS) are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behaviour of foreign governments, organisations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of psychological operations (PSYOP) is to induce or reinforce behaviour favourable to state objectives”.

 It’s actually a part of this on going PSYOPS process of undermining the Kashmiri’s that they call themselves untrustworthy and unresponsive. Which in actuality is not the case? It’s similar to “give dog a bad name and kill him”.

Moreover, if many believed that at the end of the current uprising they were to attain independence or right to self determination that will be naïve on their part. However, it reflects how high the expectations were. There is a need to understand that it is the process and not an event which can lead them to what they want.


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...

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