Inside Kashmir: An Abattoir of Dreams?

An analysis of Kashmir from the common lens Vis a Vis its strategic position on the world map by Basil Mohammad Arjmand.

A question always keeps revolving around my head, Are Kashmiris poor customers who cannot buy expensive dreams? Or Are Kashmiris innocent people who have been cheated by the sellers? Well you might be wondering what I am talking about. Kashmir is a ‘complex case study’ which is exiting as well as disappointing. Exiting, because it is full of twists and turns and disappointing, because there is lack of common sense at all major junctures. So let us analyse the Kashmir issue in a relatively, different perspective.

If I go through the history, I find Kashmir as a victim of mistakes by individuals rather than people who trusted them blindly. But that happened in the past so I may not judge it correctly but the movement that began in late 1989 marks my childhood. I still remember the crackdowns, weapons, parades, encounters, Fidayeen attacks, Soyats (untrained militants), mukhbirs (informers) and daily interrogations. The incorporation of gun promoted a negative image of Kashmir and India capitalized the scenario well by terming it as Cross border terrorism. India had all the dossiers to justify dense army deployment in the valley by marketing Kashmir as a terrorism issue across the globe especially to USA. By safeguarding the army with Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the job of hunting militants became easy. In the mean while India succeeded in crafting a diplomatic, peaceful, liberal, stable, secular and democratic image in the minds of people across the Globe.

But one dream emerged out as nightmare for India while as a Unique Selling Preposition (USP) for Pakistan and it was the dream of Free Kashmir. Many Kashmiris bartered their personal dreams for the political dream of free Kashmir by joining the militant outfits. However militancy started to decline as some militants sold the dream of free Kashmir for dream of money or life,, many left disabled, some jailed and some fled from Kashmir. Soon Kashmiris realized that the guns on both ends have left them in middle of no where. By the end of militancy in2001 Kashmir was wounded on all fronts. ‘LAND GRAB FIGHT’ between India and Pakistan as can be understood from hilarious bollywood movies like ‘Maa tuje salaam, Jaal-the trap etc mostly starring Sunny Deol helped in shaping a strong public opinion in the country. Most of Kashmiris started chasing their educational, professional and business dreams.

The idea of free Kashmir was kept within the emotional spectrum by Kashmiris and on ground it was not visible to India and rest of world. So India’s belief that Kashmir is just a cross border terrorism issue further strengthened. India became confident in calling Kashmir as its integral part. This intention of India is well understood by Amarnath Land incident in 2008. The embedded emotions of Kashmiris were pricked in 2008 and dream of free Kashmir started picking up its sales after Amarnath land issue. But here was the brilliant opportunity for India to frame a healing policy for Kashmir which could build trust and allow India to start a new relationship with Kashmir. I mean is it so difficult to understand Kashmir and frame a policy based on common sense? The main points which according to me are to be addressed first on the basis of highest priority are:

Keep the armed forces only on strategic positions like airport and border.

Revoke the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Disturbed areas act, Public Safety Act.

Provide infrastructure and employment to youth.

Always consult people before making sensitive decisions.

Reframe the water treaties as per Kashmir’s consent.

Increase the share of electricity benefits/profits to Kashmir.

Frame a committee to monitor Kashmir situation and dialogue with leaders.

Ensure accountability on Police and other armed forces.

I respect India for its progress on global platform. India as a country is quite impressive but it adds to my pain when I see Kashmir going bad to worse. I am happy to work with the people of India but when it comes to Kashmir my Indian colleagues still blame terrorists and Pakistan for Kashmir crisis. I had a hard time in convincing them that Kashmir is not about Pakistan and tried my best to make the complex sentiments of Kashmiris simple. But when I tried to initiate a discussion with foreigners along with Indian colleagues the outcome was shocking. They insisted that insurgency in Kashmir was actually guided by extremists or radical Islamic agencies like Taliban and Al-Qaeda, Let, JeM etc. One of the foreigners pointed out the position of Kashmir on the world map. I actually woke up to the new global perspective where Kashmir has become a victim of United Islamic Front as can be seen on the world map starting from Morocco to Pakistan.

Some Indian brothers suggested that Islamic state of Kashmir is against the democratic norms and is not acceptable in modern times. After having multiple rounds of discussion I extracted one thing that every Kashmiri must understand and that is “the atrocities and injustices subjected on Kashmiris are under-hyped and India’s image as stable, secular and peaceful nation has been over-hyped”. The global communities think that whatever India is doing is Kashmir is probably the right thing as nobody including Kashmiri Pandits and Ladakhis will encourage the creation of one more Islamic country.

The fact is most of Kashmiris are hyper emotional about dream of freedom from India. The need of the hour is innovation in all old systems. What will be our reply to our kids when they wouldn’t be able to adjust in the ever improving global space? For those who believe that 2010 is now or never then my reply is never. Instead we must talk about steps that are practical at this point. Revocation of AFSPA, demilitarization and removal of family politics are achievable if we focus on these right now. It is not a cake walk for Kashmir to stay as an independent country with China, India and Pakistan peeping into our bed rooms. And if free Kashmir has a tag of Islamic nation then we must consider position of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I ask all the people of Kashmir to justify their strength as a nation. A SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis points out that we have not been able to build any major hospital after SKIMS & SMHS because we lack organization. We can shout slogans for high end dreams but we can’t speak out for small dreams of progress and prosperity. We talk about teachings of Islam but forget it when with mixing of genders in the public transport. When will Kashmiris understand that this closed end attitude of non productive egoism and laziness will shatter all the dreams of valley?

We need to rebuild Kashmir, educate our children, comfort the families, welcome the investments and make Kashmir so strong that it posts a stable and liberal image on the global platform. It is common sense that if UN can identify small UN tags on the helmets of RAF they can also intervene to stop killings in Kashmir. But the silence of UN and other nations speaks a lot.

If India has gun don’t give it the reason to shoot. I know it is very difficult to join hands with India at this point but at least we can give India a chance. Let us use the passport of India to reach to the world. We have the power to make our lives beautiful. All that is required is the ability to simplify. Let us not think that Kashmiris are dinosaurs who will be wiped out by India. If we show some positive signals to Indian I believe India will listen to us. I hope to see my playground blooming with flowers rather than trials of violence. It is common sense that only if the people of Kashmir maintain a peaceful environment, India can demilitarize Kashmir.

I pray that Kashmir does not become the abattoir of dreams.

Kashmir:  Forgive if you can’t forget.
India:  Extend a hand if you can’t give a hug.

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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...

3 Responses to Inside Kashmir: An Abattoir of Dreams?

  1. shuja says:

    Mr.Basil most of the recent erruptions in Kashmir have been to the provocations either from the security establishment.Do you mean to say we must not protest against rapes and fake encounters? The uproar of last two years had their epicenter in these events.So who is to be blamed for spoiling things?We Kashmiris or the military.I regret having wasted my time in reading all this. The last sentence is totally offending.You owe an apology to your conscience if you are a true Kashmiri.Bless u and guide u.

  2. Gowhar says:

    Dear Author,
    “Those who prefer privileges more than principles are bound to loose both..” I thank my LORD for WE still have a bit of Conscience in us..
    Nonetheless if you can motivate anybody with your ideology I will be glad to see him/her…
    Peace…

  3. Naveed says:

    Mr Basil either you seem to be ignorant of history or you are too obsessed with future ‘India 2020’.When Indian state is not ready to forget the document of accession which an autocratic ruler,who never bothered about his subjects,signed and keep beating the drum of integral part even though Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed territory,how can we forget all the political deceptions,killings,custodial disappearance,rapes and molestations and join ‘Shining India’.How can we trust the nation whose Ist Prime minister promised us right to self determination but covertly galloping my motherland? Mr Basil man doesnt live by bread alone-calculating everything in monetary terms wont solve everyones wounds.Ask a mother whose son was killed or her daughter raped in front of her eyes that Indian govt is ready to take her on world tour on ‘indian passport’ what would be her feelings about that.And yes brother we can take some examples from our neighbouring Islamic states of Pakistan and Afghanistan,how the gallant people of Afghanistan have fought occupation after occupation be it USSR or USA and thus earned the respect even of their enemies.We can take a cue from them and do not fall in the trap of short term bubble dreams but continue our resistance because ‘TO Exist Is To Resist’.What will be your reply to our next young generation when even after merging with Indian state(worst dream of an ordinary Kashmiri) on a simple bursting of a cycle tyre he or his any countryman is arrested in our ‘newly adopted country’?And lastly Mr Basil if you think by moving army to ‘strategic’ positions like airport or even borders is going to solve the problem,can you please explain how the feeling of independence from Indian rule came into the minds of Kashmiri people before 1990 when the army had not penetrated into street life,there was on AFSPA?

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