Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The only hope

For past sometime there has been lot of bickering, accusations, counter-accusations going on among the leaders supposed to be leading the Kashmir’s movement for total emancipation. The people have remained by and large unconcerned about these developments. In fact, some of the leaders seem to have lost their relevance in the fast changing circumstances in the sub-continent as well as in Kashmir itself. Is there any hope for the people? Can our main problem be ever sorted out? And who will do it? These are some of the questions to which every Kashmiri is looking for an answer! The last two decades have seen the birth and growth of a new generation of Kashmiris which has come up in the worst circumstances ever witnessed during last 60 years or so. They have seen enough of bloodshed and violence. This generation fully understands that there is something basically wrong in Kashmir. They are also determined to change the situation for the better. They showed their determination and commitment in 2008 and 2010 when the traditional leaders were following them instead of leading them! A number of surveys have been conducted to gauge the mind-set and thinking of this new generation. Many initiatives have been taken to mould the thinking and outlook of this generation towards a particular school of thought. A number of youth leaders from within the state and outside have tried to address these youth with the aim of leading them towards some specific goals. It has been observed by some of the surveyors that the youth are restive for economic reasons. There are over half a million educated unemployed. If they are provided jobs and led towards developmental initiatives, the youth will stop becoming restive and their alienation will end. There are hundreds of ngo’s funded from different sources working to mould and guide these youth towards what are termed as the constructive initiatives. However, the majority of youth who took part in the upheavals of 2008 and 2010 were not there for economic reasons. In fact, quite a large number of youth who were arrested were employed and economically well off. They were not out on the streets for economic or developmental reasons. They were protesting the highhandedness of the governments at Delhi and Srinagar. In fact, during the visit of Dr. Manmohan Singh to Kashmir even Omar Abdullah in his address mentioned that the youth of Kashmir had not taken up arms in 1990 for economic reasons! The youth of early nineties were fired with the desire to realise the long pending aspirations of Kashmiris. The slogan of Azadi was everywhere. There were almost million strong marches in which people from all sections of the society participated. Unfortunately, the violence apart from taking lives of thousands of young men brutalised and criminalised the whole movement due to influx of agent provocateur from all sides. Virtually the movement was hijacked and the basic objective was lost. In comparison, the present day youth are more alert and educated. They are well aware about the role of agent provocateur. In fact, they even challenged the so called leaders if they appeared wavering or gave wrong lead. This has been possible because the new generation is not blindly following the personality cult which has been mainly responsible for the undoing of all movements in Kashmir. One of the main handicaps for the government for completely suppressing the movements in 2008 and 2010 has been the absence of any so called charismatic and tall leaders. Everybody was a leader! In spite of massive arrests, there was no let-up in the protests. In fact, the movement was not violent at all. The youth wanted to convey their feelings peacefully through protest marches. They did not initiate violence. On the contrary, they were violently and ruthlessly suppressed and prevented from marching peacefully. Government lost its nerve and indulged in totally undemocratic behaviour of suppressing the basic freedom of expression. It would have been a positive development if they had realised the paradigm shift in the behaviour of the youth of early nineties and the new generation. Peaceful expression would have automatically led to a dialogue process. At the present time the new generation is educating itself about the different aspects of the problems that plague Kashmir. They are very pro-active in various seminars and conferences held in and outside Kashmir on the subject. In order to acquaint them with the background of the problems it is imperative on the older generation to provide them unbiased and unprejudiced account of all the past happenings. There are two important requirements for reinforcing one’s convictions. Authentic and unbiased history and direct contact with the masses to know about the present ground situation. One has also to realise that the force of an argument based on truth and honesty is stronger than any lethal weapon. As the famous Kashmiri historian Kalhana has said, “The country of Kashmir may be conquered by the force of spiritual merit, but not by the force of soldiers!” If the new generation bases its moves on the true and honest convictions and the force of spiritual merit and rejects the personality cult, they will definitely lead Kashmir to its ultimate salvation. In the long run they may be the only hope for Kashmir! (Comments at ashrafmjk@gmail.com)

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