The strike has entered its fourth month and the shadow of war between two postcolonial nations, namely India and Pakistan, continues to overshadow the struggle of Kashmiris for their long pending resolution. The growing hatred between the two countries has even led to the cancellation of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation meeting. While Pakistan is trying its best to internationalise the Kashmir issue, the Indian media is busy showing the tyrannies of Pakistan in Balochistan.
Watching two sovereign nations verbally duel on TV shows while there are actual displays of tension across border lines is gripping Kashmiris, with the news channels make the situation more intense. In an effort to gain votes both countries play politics over the Kashmir issue. India and Pakistan have each created their own stereotypes of Kashmiris – monolithic projections regarding the realities of Kashmir. In reality no one cares to know what the anger of the Kashmiris is about. The cry for freedom for a sovereign state is the ultimate goal, but the immediate significance is freedom from oppressive regimes, from draconian laws, the false representations of their cries and sacrifices, and from everything that demean local people.
Meanwhile the mainstream leaders continue to try new tricks to stabilise the situation, which is prolonged by new strike calendars from the joint Hurriyat leadership. One of the new cards the authorities play is the importance of education. School children, who have been mostly affected by the current crisis and come out in large processions to demand flexibility in exams, are asked to sit their annual examinations on time by authorities. Most students covered only 40 percent of their prescribed syllabus and they are asked to appear in annual examinations without any flexibility. Maybe the government thinks that this way they will curb the ongoing unrest because it is generally these youngsters who are seen protesting for freedom. It is true that their education has suffered though, lately, there are some volunteers providing tuition in local places. But that is not enough. Most of the pellet victims are students and many institutions are occupied by forces. And many of them are detained. The Government says that they could hold exams in jails. The irony is that the people who worry for the young generation of Kashmir are the same people who have put them behind bars for protesting about their rights, without knowing how much they will suffer both physically as well as psychologically. The student community is in limbo – there are rumours that the government is only acting hard and will postpone their exams – so their interest in preparation doesn’t stay long.
While talking to a local cab driver in Delhi, I was astonished by his remarks about Kashmir. He, with his colleagues, thinks of Kashmir as a place where everything is not cheap, except violence. For him Kashmir is their dream-place but the people there are fools. He says they are throwing axes on their own feet; they too should make money and stop getting being exploited by their leaders and should instead protest in winter when there is natural shut-down due to snow. The same kind of thing was repeated when an interviewer didn’t wanted to hear about the realities of Kashmir, she said ‘she knows enough about Kashmir. In fact the world knows about Kashmir.’ Does the world really know what is happening in Kashmir? If so, then why are they silent?
Central Government thinks they are addressing the problems of Kashmiris, but the Kashmiris feel alienated as they are not being truly represented. The politicians representing them are the ones who are blocking peace in the valley. Even if we have more than 5000 years of civilisation the current crisis and tribulations have darkened the future of Kashmir. The key to a prosperous Kashmir is the need for a hero who can light the candles of peace. But then, power corrupts.
Muddasir Ramzan was born in 1990 in Kashmir, India, where he resides. He studied English Literature and is a budding writer. His writings have been published in various national and international journals in India, Pakistan and the UK and he regularly writes blogs for the Muslim Institute. He can be contacted at muddasirramzan[at]gmail[dot]com.