With all the happenings in the political corridors of Jammu and Kashmir, there are some issues which the citizens of the state should be clear about: our struggle. We all are aware that the discourses flaunted in the market about the Kashmir crisis have their own agendas behind them, their own self-proclaimed goals. It is evident that within our struggle – for whatever cause, since there are varied aspects of it – we seem to be going nowhere. Each day the killings are intensified, and so is the divide in the people. There are also civilian killings, killings of local policemen, and of political workers, which further alienate the common people. With the commencement of differences within the religion and the emergence of new groups, the sore seems to deepen. In an attempt to cure this sore a good portion of the population have given their lives, and many youngsters are in line, waiting for their turn to die for this cause. But they could only be used as forage to the fire engulfing each and every citizen, of course for some it is their source of living. The divide is not in the militant groups alone; obviously, it has its roots in the Resistance camps and the religious groups themselves. Any naïve Kashmiri, or for that matter anyone who could think and feel for the people burning in the fire of ‘Azadi’, could ask the simple question: How is it possible to achieve goals [of the nation’s struggle] when there is a divide in the Resistance groups – political, as well as in armed groups – let alone the people of the state. Obviously the people, the followers, are influenced by their so called ‘leaders’. For example, the municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir: militants threaten the people not to vote, most leaders asked for a boycott, even some mainstream parties boycotted to contest, but there were some Resistance leaders who urged the people to vote. I am not trying to criticise the role of different Resistance camps, but their divide. Sometimes, I wonder if they communicate with each other before issuing a statement. Instead of counting your sacrifices and what you did for the people to counter the narratives of your failures, there must be a will to do well; and above all a will to shed your egos for the people you represent.
We have seen how all the leaders, whether political or other, have a unified stand and fought over Article 370, which gives autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and hopefully will continue to defend the Article, which must be appreciated, for it is how they show their concern for the state. Don’t you think there is an opportunity to clear and minimise the objectives of our collective struggle? This could prove the right situation, if used carefully. There must be a consensus over some main objectives that the state demands. And, those demands should be put forth to the Center. I’m sure if there could be a consensus on some defined objectives between everyone and anyone, be it the mainstream political groups of the state, resistance leaders, civil society, religious or any other who at some level or the other represents the state. This challenge – of how it will happen, how the different leaders would sit together and deliberate over the main issues of the state when there are obvious differences between them and would finally reach to some concluding objectives – will create its way if the leaders are sincere about bringing stability in the state. There must be a dialogue within: for that, there must be efforts by the conscious members of the society.
With his involvement in active politics, the 13th Governor of J&K, Satya Pal Malik, in his recent interviews was vocal about challenges in the state. Malik, who took charge as the governor in August this year was earlier the governor of Bihar, views that politicians of all hues and ideologies have peddled unrealistic dreams like ‘Aazadi’, ‘merger with Pakistan’, ‘Autonomy’ and ‘Self-Rule’ to the people of the state. He says he is all set to bring peace to the Valley by way of dialogue, and the involvement of the youngsters. Upon hearing this many people would have laughed, because they have been hearing this from every new minister or leader. He accepted that India mishandled Kashmir. Can he actually initiate a dialogue? And, before the ritual of dialogues with the Centre can take place, and before it is dismissed as an exercise in futility, there must be a consensus on some points between all the ‘leaders’ of the state. For the points which we can fight together, we all would agree to die, like the issue of fighting Article 370. Otherwise, prolonging the basic issue of the state would actually be encouraging more killings and injustices – which, unfortunately, some people believe is the first step to get freedom.
Muddasir Ramzan is an aspiring writer and a PhD candidate at the Aligarh Muslim University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.