Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dulat’s dulatti!

Disclosures of manipulative actions by intelligence agencies by former spies are a universal phenomenon but sometimes these too may have a hidden purpose!

Dulat’s dulatti!
Punjabi word “Dulatti” describes a very strong kick with hind legs given by a horse while drawing a cart when its driver whips the horse violently. This may sometimes even topple the cart!

The way the disclosures about Kashmir’s leadership given in the book by Mr. Dulat, the former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief have been hyped up by the media, it is alleged that the intention is to topple not only the cart of the Kashmiri leadership but also discredit its entire society.

There is no doubt that the Kashmiri society including its leadership has many weaknesses of character due to the prolonged external oppressive rule lasting few centuries. In fact, a number of foreign authors like Sir Water Lawrence and Canon Tyndale Biscoe have pointed out these weaknesses of Kashmiri character. Lawrence had opined that the Kashmiri is not inherently bad but his oppressive rulers have made him so. In fact, he predicts that two generations of a just and strong rule will bring out the best in a Kashmiri.
So far such a rule has not been seen by Kashmiris! On the contrary, as confirmed by the disclosures of Dulat, Kashmiris have been living through the most manipulative rule for last 60 years or so. The outside masters have tried to bring out the worst in the Kashmiri character by continuous manipulation. They have left no stone unturned to bring out the worst side of a Kashmiri. 
Disclosures by a former spy are not a new thing. This happens all over the world. The most notorious agency in the world is the Central Intelligence Agency of USA. A number of its former officers have written books about all the “dirty tricks” the agency has been indulging in all over the world. CIA has a special section called the “Department of Dirty Tricks”.
The job of this section is to spread disinformation about various people especially politicians and others both within USA and all over the world. William Blum, a former spy of CIA has written a book, the “Rogue State” which describes in detail the “Dirty Tricks” indulged in by the Agency all over the world.
It says that the Central Intelligence Agency had once even contemplated about the assassination of Pandit Nehru on the similar lines as Dulat talks about Geelani! Doctored pornographic videos of Dr. Soekarno were distributed in Indonesia to discredit him. Similarly, RAW had distributed a “Red Book” about the properties of Abdullah family to keep Sheikh Abdullah on the right track. 
As regards the receipt of substantial amounts of money by leaders of all factions from the agencies of both the countries, this is common knowledge in Kashmir. In fact, all these so called disclosures have been known to common Kashmiris.
The most important information source in Kashmir traditionally has been the baker’s shop. Every morning Kashmiris in every locality gather in a baker’s shop. There is always rush in the morning and people have to wait sometime even for an hour to get their turn to collect the bread. During the waiting period people exchange information and even express their views on various issues. 
Quite often people from Delhi have descended here with trunks full of currency notes to buy peace. A typical event of that nature was the holy relic agitation of 1963/64 when Lal Bhadur Shastri came here to buy peace. He had carried along trunks full of money!
After the dethroning of 1953, money had been flowing to Sheikh Abdullah’s family and others through Jehangir Khan who was implicated in the famous conspiracy case subsequently withdrawn by the Indian government in 1964 when Sheikh was released unconditionally on Pandit Nehru’s intervention.
It has been alleged by many that Dulat’s disclosures are with the consent of the Indian government for discrediting the Kashmiri leadership and the society in general. However, it hardly makes a difference as the present leadership on its own has lost credibility by failing to provide a practical and workable vision and a road map to reach the ultimate goal.
They have not been able to go beyond the hartal (shut down) strategy. In spite of that, they may be the only generation with whom the authorities can still talk! 
The most worrisome episode at present for the Indian authorities is not the so called discredited leaders but the new leaderless generation. They are all leaders in themselves and mean business. Recently, the National Security Advisor and the Army Commander expressed serious anxiety about the Kashmiri young men joining militancy.
In fact, 21 students of the Army School in Kupwara were stopped from crossing the Line of Control. They were intending to go across for arms training. Incidentally, it is not the unemployed educated youth numbering almost a million who are joining militancy but many highly motivated employed young men.
Some personal security officers including that of a minister in the present government have run away with their arms and joined militant ranks. In such a situation, Dulat’s disclosures even though sensational and dramatic, are not going to have any appreciable impact on the simmering discontent and unrest among the youth caused by extreme alienation which may burst soon like a volcano!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Restoring Kalhana’s Kashmir?

Moves proposed and initiated by certain quarters smell of a plan to trifurcate the State. Kashmiris may not oppose the division if it restores the historical state of Kashmir!

Restoring Kalhana’s Kashmir?
A columnist friend ZGM some time back commented on the possible trifurcation of the State of J&K being engineered by some elements from Jammu.
He wanted to start a debate on the subject. Well, in the very first place the State itself is not a natural creation by mutual consent of the constituents but has been clobbered together by the Dogra Maharaja from Jammu.
Ladakh was conquered and annexed to the Dogra Kingdom of Maharaja Ghulab Singh by General Zorawar Singh. Kashmir Valley was bought by him from the British through the Treaty of Amritsar for a paltry sum of rupees seventy five lakhs! The British sold it with its entire people and everything lock, stock and barrel for a tuppence. The deal was done to pay for the loyalty (betrayal of Sikh Empire!) Maharaja Gulab Singh showed towards the British in defeating Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Exactly after 100 years of slavery under Dogra Kings, Kashmiris had started a movement asking the Maharaja Hari Singh, the then Dogra ruler to “Quit Kashmir”.
Had the partition of the sub-continent not taken place, Kashmiris may have succeeded in regaining their independence lost to Mughals through treachery in 1586 followed by the foreign rule of Afghans, Sikhs and Dogras. 
However, the divine powers had some more trials and tribulations in store for Kashmiris. The partition and the resulting conflict changed the whole scene. The fate of the state turned into an insoluble tangle. The events and the circumstances of 1947 are recorded in umpteen books. However, there are conflicting versions of the basic situation and the happenings.
It is a well-known fact that the Jammu people wanted to get integrated with the Indian Union while as Kashmiris were in two minds. Majority of the people in the valley would have liked to join Pakistan at that time. Only some of the leaders preferred an independent status and got lured by the Indian Congress leaders assuring them total autonomy bordering on virtual freedom. 
In this situation, the Jammu people became apprehensive that after having ruled Kashmiris for a century, they may become subservient to them in the proposed set up offered by India. The result was an agitation from Jammu for total integration of the state with the Union of India under the banner of “Ek Nishan, Ek Vidhan, Ek Pradhan”! Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah under the false impression that Pandit Nehru was his “Progressive” and “Secular” friend crushed the agitation with a strong hand. Entire Indian media raised a hue and cry and accused Abdullah of being anti-Indian. This gave a mental jolt to Abdullah and the reality of India dawned on him. He thought that for years he crushed Kashmiris for just taking the name of Pakistan but no one objected.
However, in the interests of maintaining the relationship he had worked out with Indian leaders when he tried to contain the Hindu extremist from Jammu, the whole India was on its feet! He realised that he had committed a mistake and tried to retrieve the situation by claiming that the final decision about the fate of Kashmir was yet to be taken. The result was his long incarceration. 
Never mind his ultimate somersault in 1975. He had appeared as the morning star on the horizon of Kashmir but in the end fell like a meteor!  Apart from him, it is a fact that all these years Kashmir’s so called mainstream leaders have been blackmailed by Jammu people by trying to agitate for fuller and total integration of the State with India.
They do not realise that without Kashmir Jammu loses its significant status. People all over the world historically know Kashmir and Jammu is hardly known. Without Kashmir, it gets reduced to just a province of Punjab or Himachal.
The only thing which has made Jammu known to entire India or for that matter to Indians all over the world is the Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishnovdevi Ji. More than ten million Pilgrims visit the Shrine every year from all over the world. In schools one used to read the story of Jammu as established by Raja Jambulochan.
He had seen a lion and goat drink water at the same spot on the banks of River Tawi and decided to establish a city here which ultimately took the name of Jammu. Unfortunately, the external interference has evaporated that traditional and historical spirit of tolerance and brotherhood of Jammu! 
Kashmir in contrast has a 5000 year recorded history of an independent sovereign kingdom.  The Ptolemy’s geography has preserved the references to Kashmir.
He calls the region KASPEIRA which is supposed to enclose a large portion of land including parts of Punjab, North-West Provinces, and Central India. This may be related to the period when the power of the dynasty ruling Kashmir extended much beyond its borders. After Greeks is the mention of Kashmir in Chinese records. The earliest reference to Kashmir dates back to A.D. 541.
This relates to the arrival of a Kashmiri Envoy in China during the early part of the reign of Tang dynasty. Kashmir is described as a country “enveloped on all sides like a precious jewel by the snowy mountains, with a valley in the south which leads up to it and serves as a gate of the Kingdom”.
The Annals of Tang dynasty mention the arrival of the first ambassador from Kashmir sent by Candrapida and then another sent by Muktapida (Lalitaditya) of the Karakot dynasty of the Rajtarangni. In fact, Muktapida had entered into a treaty of military alliance with the rulers of Tang dynasty of China against Tibet which he subsequently raided with a strong Kashmirian army. 
Even though the Kingdom of Kashmir had been extended much beyond its original borders during various periods of history, yet the original Kashmir has been the main valley with its surrounding principalities. We can call it the Kashmir as described in Kalhana’s Rajtarangni.
Kashmir valley with Kashtavata and Parontsa (which is present Pir Panjal and Chenab valley areas); Karnav (present Karnah); and Dardistan (present Gurez and Tilel).
Even Sir Aural Stein in his translation of Rajtarangni in the chapters on ancient geography of Kashmir gives an accurate idea of the historical and traditional Kashmir. All these areas have Kashmiri speaking population and have always been interconnected with the valley.
Ladakh has more or less remained historically isolated. Their spiritual connection was always with Lhasa, the seat of Dalai Lama in Tibet and trade was with Central Asia. They had social interaction with Baltistan. Kashmir’s last non-Muslim ruler was a Ladakhi Rin Cin Shah who finally adopted Islam and also became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir.
Their demand for Union Territory status may ultimately deprive them of the privileges they are enjoying under the special status of the State!
After 1947, the boundaries of the Indian side of Kashmir have been maintained by the Indian Army. However, within these borders, the three regions have been interacting economically and socially. These have become inter-dependent.
However, there are elements in all three regions which have been advocating the breakup of the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir for various reasons. Many leaders from different camps have been stressing on the unity of the three regions. At the present moment the campaign from the Jammu side for trifurcation or creation of two states is being led by Kanwar Bhim Singh, the leader of the Panthers Party.
According to him the creation of two states is inevitable. However, the movement does not seem to be very popular. Interestingly, most of the so called leaders of Jammu advocating such things live in Panjtirthi-Gandhi Nagar belt. They do not mind Autonomous Hill Councils for tiny populations of Leh and Kargil but are not willing to grant same status to the poor people living in Pir Panchal and Chinab Valley areas! For them Jammu means Panjthirthi to Gandhi Nagar only!
If the demand grows louder, instead of opposing it, the Kashmiris may welcome it on the condition of the restoration of the historical or the traditional State of Kashmir. That may be the first step towards ultimate emancipation they have been pinning for centuries, the “Azadi”!
However, Kalhana’s Kashmir would be incomplete without Kashmiri Pandits. They have to be rehabilitated at their traditional places of residence at all costs. This can be done only if their return and rehabilitation is undertaken on the pattern and style of Kashmir’s famous King Budshah in whose time too they had been driven out by his father. It is not the government but the people of their native areas who have to give them protection and help them in their rehabilitation.
They have to come back as a constituent of the Kashmir’s composite society and live and work as they did for centuries. Delhi Government does not seem to be really interested in bringing them back as a part of the composite society. Ultimately, it has to be a peoples’ initiative! So if Jammu people want bifurcation, Kashmiris may vote for restoration of Kalhana’s Kashmir!

Monday, July 13, 2015

“Orphaned” Kashmir!

Establishing a world record by holding the longest Iftar party for “orphans” truly conveys the present “orphaned” status of Kashmir

“Orphaned” Kashmir! 
An event management group in collaboration with the State Tourism Department organised the longest Iftar party for Kashmiri orphans on the Boulevard along the famous Dal Lake which is practically in throes of death!
Apart from the fact that the event highlighted the orphans of conflict in Kashmir which at present according to some estimates number more than two hundred thousand because of the upheaval of nineties, it also demonstrated numerous other “orphaned” aspects of the once so called “Paradise on Earth”! To begin with, one can take the Dal Lake around which the event was held. The famous Lake is not only the main attraction of the capital city of Srinagar but is in reality the heart of Kashmir.
The Lake is totally orphaned. It is dying and may not last long. No one is really concerned. There is lot of pinning about the state of the Lake but no substantial productive work. The efforts so far are keeping it on a ventilator and not curing its real disease which is the encroachment by one and all, within and all round it!
Asia’s second largest sweet water lake, Wular, is in a worse condition. All other water bodies are dying and virtually orphaned. Same status is of the River Jhelum, the historical lifeline of Kashmir. It has been continuously washing the sins of the perpetrators of Kashmir and the last disastrous flood was its angry outburst. It has been vandalised and encroached all along its embankments.
The rulers have not had the time to cleanse it of the silt and mud for almost a year now. They are still debating and discussing the proposals but the River is not going to wait and may strike once more with deadly ferocity!
In fact, the entire environment of the state is facing the worst kind of degradation witnessed ever during its long history. The forest cover has been denuded at an alarming rate. Unscrupulous timber smugglers with the connivance of authorities have massacred the young and budding forests of Kashmir.
One of the causes of the last year’s flood has been massive soil erosion in the catchment areas. The rains have a quick run off giving rise to flash floods. Soil is not in a position to fully absorb the water due to its denuding.
Going beyond environment, all other aspects also appear “orphaned”! Be it the rehabilitation of the last year’s flood sufferers or the restoration of infrastructure.
A contradictory ruling set up which is an unnatural combination of the North and the South Pole has not been so far fully successful in getting the grip of the situation at the ground level. They seem to be suffering from a paralysis induced by the political and ideological contradictions.
Same is the situation on the larger political canvass regarding the future political set up of the “Disputed” State. United Nations which had taken upon itself the resolution of the more than half a century old political problem has virtually washed off its hands from any future intervention.
The western powers which were so much clamouring about Kashmir and Kashmiris few decades back too have withdrawn and left the fate of the territory and the “Orphaned” people inhabiting it to the whims and fancies of its two warring neighbours. The height of irony is the role of the World Bank which brokered a treaty between the two countries over the waters of a “Disputed” territory without even bothering about its inhabitants and leaving them perennially in an “Orphaned” state of total darkness!
The organisers of the event would have inadvertently done a good turn if their global media coverage draws the attention of the world to the totally “Orphaned” state of Kashmir and its people!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

“Mercy Missions”!

The aftermath of the last year’s flood should be an eye opener for Kashmiris

There is a very strong and extensive debate going on in the media and on social networks about the Rs. 500 crore bills presented to J&K Government for the rescue operations conducted by various Defence related organisations during the flood of September, 2014.
Normally, such lifesaving operations are termed as “Mercy Missions” in defence parlance and are paid for by the agencies conducting these. The concerned agencies get reimbursed by the central government for all expenditure on this account. It is the first and foremost duty of the state to safeguard the lives of all the citizens irrespective of caste, creed, colour or religion. Taxes collected by the government are for providing various services to the citizen as also to guarantee the security of life. All citizens are to be treated on par in this regard no matter which part of the country they live in.
Globally, there are umpteen organisations involved in assisting people during natural disasters. International Red Cross goes immediately to any site where a natural calamity has taken place and human lives are to be saved. Similarly, there are so many similar organisations rendering scour to the suffering people.
However, none of these humanitarian organisations presents bills to the country or the people rescued and helped. India has been rendering similar assistance to all over the world not only to its own nationals in distress but to the nationals of all other countries requiring any humanitarian assistance.
The most recent example is the earthquake in Nepal. Probably no bills have been preferred to the Nepalese Government? Within the country, some time back Uttrakhand faced massive devastation due to rains and flood. They too were not presented with any rescue bills!
The case of Kashmir is different. It has a special status governed by Article 370. Usually Defence authorities raise bills for their services when sought under, “Aid to Civil Authorities”. At the time of the Kashmir flood the government had vanished into thin air. The aid rendered was spontaneous and timely and a central initiative.
The Chief Executive of the State was throwing bananas from his State helicopter. If Kashmir is considered an integral part and all Kashmiris are Indian nationals, then the September flood was a national calamity. It is beside the point that the Central Government dithered and did not declare it as a national calamity. There seem to be some reservations in considering Kashmiris as full-fledged Indian nationals. 
All these years, it has been quite often demonstrated that the Kashmir’s warring neighbours are after Kashmir and not Kashmiris! While this side considers Kashmir an integral part and the crown of India, the other side calls it the jugular vein and unfinished agenda of partition.
Both don’t give a damn about Kashmiris! Had the other side been so concerned about Kashmiris, they would have raised global hue and cry and even approached UN for allowing international assistance in rendering succour to the people of what they claim to be a “disputed” territory whose future according to them is still undecided. In their own case, during 2005 earthquake they opened all gates for flow of international assistance to the part under their administrative control.
On the contrary, the Central Government while dithering in rendering succour on one hand has refused all International assistance on the other stating they are “capable” of doing it themselves. As an anti-climax, instead of coming out with a reasonably sound aid package for relief, rehabilitation and future flood prevention, they have presented a bill for Rs. 500 crores to the state government for the “Mercy Missions” undertaken during the flood! There cannot be anything crueller than that!
Just for hypothetical reasons if one considers case of Kashmir, as an independent sovereign country, what would have been the response of international community?
Direct assistance with all the relief material and equipment may have been flowing into Kashmir round the clock. By now Kashmiris would not only have been fully rehabilitated but massive efforts through resourceful international companies would have been under way for prevention of future floods.
On the contrary nothing seems to have moved. Forget the relief and restoration; the Kashmiris are on their toes just after a couple of days of rainfall. We have just missed two possible floods and one is not sure what would happen with a longer duration rainfall? The continued dithering is hiding a possible disaster of a greater magnitude!
The recent actions of the Central Government having a partnership in the State Government have alienated Kashmiris further.
A feeling is growing that in spite of tall claims, Delhi does not consider Kashmiris to be Indian nationals at par with others in different parts of the country. Everything is taken up here with a different yard stick. Be it security concerns, human rights, power projects or aid for restoration and so on. Even the present set up has started shaking up.
Top leaders are advising for breaking up the alliance. If Delhi really cares for Kashmiris and considers them Indian nationals, they should immediately take up on war footing the flood prevention measures through resourceful global agencies on a turnkey basis within a definite time frame regardless of the state government’s own administrative lethargy. Other programmes can wait! Kashmiris are very resilient and patient. But there is a saying “Beware of the fury of a patient man”!