Saturday, April 21, 2012

Brainwashing a generation!

The Institute of Research on Indian and International Studies survey report on the topic of “Media impact on Kashmiri youth” apparently creates a very scary feeling about the recommendations made to change the social milieu in Kashmir. It is about changing the entire outlook of the youth by virtually brainwashing them. However, one need not be panicky about the report and the recommendations therein. It is not the first ever attempt to change the Kashmiri mind. In fact, in 1948 itself Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru had started the process by engaging some communists through BPL Bedi. Rajinder Singh Bedi was appointed as in charge counter propaganda cell. He started Radio Kashmir in Jammu. Listening to radio Pakistan was banned. Community Radio System tuned to one station was started. Scores of writers were engaged and paid hefty sums to convert them to the official thinking. Huge budget was kept at the disposal of Dehat Sudhar. Incidentally, Nehru used to keep Kautaliya’s Arthshashtra by his bedside! There is no better guide for manipulating people in a colonized territory than the Arthshashtra. Nehru made his best efforts to win over Sheikh Abdullah which he initially succeeded in doing. In fact, his repeated declarations to hold plebiscite were based on the assurance that Sheikh Abdullah would be able to carry all Kashmiris with him in favour of India. However, this change of mind did not hold even in case of Sheikh Abdullah. The tallest Kashmiri leader turned against Nehru and he had to be jailed for over 22 years. Towards his last days Sheikh Abdullah is reported to have been repentant of his role in bringing Kashmir closer to India. So much for changing the mind of a Kashmiri! There were many other attempts at winning over and controlling the Kashmiri mind. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad introduced the permit and subsidy raj. Money flowed in to buy Kashmiri loyalty. He introduced the Jashan-e-Kashmir, the festival of Kashmir. There was apparent peace for almost 10 years!But lo and behold, everything turned upside down during the holy relic agitation of 1963-64. Shashtri came with trunk loads of notes and bought temporary peace but they had to release Sheikh Abdullah from incarceration. A youth movement ensued but it was drowned in the massive infiltration of regulars from the other part which resulted in 1965 Indo-Pak war. There were many other attempts at changing the mind of the Kashmiri youth. However, the youth also learnt the rules of these games and decided to go for “Azadi” through the ballot. They fought 1987 elections under the banner of Muslim United Front. The Front was virtually sweeping the polls in the valley but Delhi committed the blunder of rigging and the result was 1990 upheaval which was a true Kashmiri uprising and might have delivered something had not the other side hijacked it! The movement was brutally crushed. However, in spite of the militancy being virtually wiped out, the underlying unrest simmers and bursts out from time to time. The examples are the massive agitations of 2008 and 2010 which were led by the youth all over the valley. In fact, even the traditional leaders were following the youth and not leading them! These two decades have alienated the Kashmiri youth to an extreme level. It is a generation born and bred in the midst of conflict. During last few years attempts have been made to make the youth forget their history and also deprive them of their basic identity which for every nation is the mother tongue. Unfortunately, leaders from both sides refer to a limited period of history. For pro-movement people the history starts in 1931 and for the mainstream followers it starts in 1947. Both need to go back centuries to really understand the Kashmiri mind. A Kashmiri has never in the heart accepted external rule. He has only kept quiet for his own survival. For quite some time now there have been continuous attempts at winning over this generation through Sadbhavana programmes. Hundreds of non-governmental organisations have been set up to involve the youth in varied activities and programmes. The main aim is to wean away the youth from the “Azadi” syndrome. The people who are proposing such programmes and the ones who implement these are either unaware about the character of a Kashmiri or have forgotten the history especially what a Kashmiri has gone through during last few centuries. They are probably unaware that the concept of “Azadi” is in the DNA of a Kashmiri. In order to change his mind they would have to undertake genetic engineering rather than go in for the methods described in George Orwell’s 1984! Thus one need not be scary or panicky about what is being proposed to be done to change the mind of the Kashmiri youth. In spite of all efforts, in the end he will again ask for “Azadi”!

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