Lets agree that it's not just a failure of the state government in Kashmir rather a collective failure of the society at large. We failed as Indians. Kashmir accession was a typical of all other princely states that decided to merge with India & accepted to abide by the Indian constitution in the offing. For a Indian like me, I only think J&K is part of India & at no cost can it be left as a fodder for others / outsiders. But that is only as an Indian. sitting miles apart, the best statement I can make is that. Not just me rather most of us. For us, something that is part of India's geographical territory is just ours. It is just like someone trying to snatch your piece of land that you may have been cultivating for years.
2007 saw a decrease in militancy, 2008 had one of the best elections in J&K with atleast 60% voting & the democratic process began, yet again. If 60% of the people vote & become part of the democratic process, it tells you that people have faith in the process. It means that people have now starting to expect that the elected government would start looking into their issues & would help them guide to prosperity. It indicates that people know who can lead them & that they have faith in what they do for them. Today the situation is that most of the same elected leaders won't have the guts to stand out in front of the public. When the Chief minister himself has to use the chopper to visit a hospital in Kashmir, what can you say of an ordinary leader. what has happened then?
Army has not entered the valley for any insurgency related activity in the past decade except for marching at the outer areas during the current clashes. So no point talking of AFSPA for now (we can talk later).
Separatists can fume these things but to an extent. I would not believe that they will have so much of power to do it at such a scale. Why? Because had that been the case, these things would have happened in the past too. You can buy few people by giving them some money for some time, not for such a long period of time. Looking at the magnitude as well, it doesn't suggest the same. Separatists can't just buy everyone, 60% voting is conflicting to that.
By all means, I could just think of one thing, it may be that eventually everyone is asking for "Azadi" but that may be so on the ground that people have got really fed up with the fact that even after going thru the democratic process, people didn't get to see what they really expected to see. I don't know how would you react to this but I would think that's the fact & I have reasons to believe that. Had it been really a matter of real Azadi, the youth would have gone back to guns. They would not want to get killed like this in the name of Azadi (Gone are Mahatma's & Mandela's days) - Maoists are the best example. Why are Maoists raising the alarm because they are fed up of the Indian state machinery. They could still take up the guns because they knew that will never be called as Militants. They always hided behind the Naxal paradigm. They knew that eventually they had few eminent people with soft corners for them specially the highly educated leftists zamat. For the Kashmiri youth, this was definitely not the solution. The moment he would take the gun, he would be branded as a militant & killed the next day in an encounter. Additionally, when he takes up the gun, he equally puts his family at risk too. It is beyond doubt to understand that this Kashmiri youth is not also impressed by the so called "Jihadis". A part of the population who support the separatists may be so but I have no reason to believe that majority of them do. These youth internally have also been supported a lot by the younger Kashmiri youth who are in other parts of India or the World. For them it was not difficult to spread this as they stillhad a good living outside but they forgot what would it mean for the peole on the ground. Web has become a very good means to spread the agenda too like Facebook. This is not the same youth of yesteryears. This is well educated youth who knows what is the best way to take on the Indian state.
If we boil down just to the fact that it was nothing but inept governance, I would go back to the report in NDTV which suggested that the corruption in the state has grown much. Rajiv Gandhi once said that only 15 paisa of a rupee reaches to the people. In case of Kashmir, I can vouch it won't even be a full of penny. Industrialization has gone down tremendously & the the state government is the biggest employer. Do you feel why our villages are like villages for ages & only the urban areas are developing. You have the answer now. Go to an Indian village & you find only a collecterate in the name of a BIG building. For them, the only way people can grow is by becoming a babu or a policeman or a Collector. It is exactly the same situation that has multiplied in J&K too. I wouldn't have been too surprised to see the same situation in Bihar too had it been a majority muslim state & I do believe that with so many religious preachings being given by muslims across the world, it's easy to catch & confine into. When you don't get to see development, it's the religion that calls you the most. VHP & Bajrang Dal are the best examples. For them Ram temple is more important than the development of other temples in Ayodhya. (See Ravish ki Report)
Anyways, coming back to Kashmir, I wonder then what did Omar Abdullah & the Congressmen did in the last couple of years that they had. The time they really had to make a change in the society. For a person like Omar it was a chance that he could snatched from all political parties to create a mandate for himself that he could have been a undebated king of Kashmir. He just lost it. He is even loosing it today. WIth so many things still happening, I still feel that he sould have visited all of the hospitals & that too by road & not just one hospital by Chopper. He should have invited all of the people to celebrate Eid with him. He should have devised some package & concrete plan for the people of the state who have lost their loved ones in Kashmir.
You may be wondering how come is the "Azadi" ka nara then so Bulland. Well, that is one thing that the separatists have been definitely able to capitalize on. It started with a different Azadi & now has become a Azadi for the whole state. They found this issue to spread a different message & I don't think it was so difficult for a Kashmiri to come under the separatists agenda after all this applies to all. Even you & me. Dushman ka Dushman dost he hota hai janab & moreover, what's wrong to believe that eventually when nothing is moving even after an independent state government, what is the point is continuing. For a Kashmiri, the only message that would have gone is that like any other Indian state government, this is also a democratically elected state government. If other state governments are doing so much, why not ours? It is definitely that the Centre (so called Indian government to them) is not letting anything good happen to us.
One might wonder how easy it is to write such a story without knowing the ground reality but I think the vibes tell you more than the ground story. One of my bosses always used to say, "while you are so engrossed within the process itself, you would never be able to improve it. Come out of think & see from outside". Shayad isiliye pavilion main baithkar game dekhne walon ko har ball chauke ya chaake wali lagti hai. Beech maindan main Kelegne to batting demag se gayab ho jayegi.
I follow a lot of guys on twitter too who from Kashmir but I really don't always agree to their theory of Azadi. I am sure they are equally outside the game as much as I am. Like although a Bihari, I don't know what drive the Bihar politics?
Categories: Politics, Critique & Activism