There has been a universal trend to present Kashmir as a complicated issue and it is invariably tied to situations and crises both in the neighbouring areas and sometimes in the distant places. The most unfortunate part is that some of the so called popular leaders professing to stand for the basic rights of the people also get carried away by these global diplomatic moves. The most dangerous place on Earth, the nuclear flashpoint, South Asia’s hot spot and so on are the names given to Kashmir in recent times, mostly by western powers who have very strong strategic and economic interests in the countries surrounding the state. Many countries express their support and sympathy to the Kashmiri cause but this apparent sympathy has more to it than meets the eye. Kashmir has in fact become an easy handle for all sorts of players to further their own vested interests. No one is at all interested in Kashmiris. Everyone talks of Kashmir!
The first knot was tied in 1947 itself when Kashmiris because of their misfortune and ineptitude of their so called leaders got entangled in the ideological war of the two newly created countries. Both countries have failed to live up to their professed ideologies but have, in the meantime, reduced Kashmiris to virtual wretches by using them as guinea pigs! Had their leaders not tied themselves to one or the other ideology and instead pleaded for their usurped basic rights, they may have been totally emancipated by now.
What is the present situation of these countries? Kashmiris especially the Muslim majority had a soft corner for Pakistan. They had felt that the land of the pure will give them the true emancipation. In fact, there are stories that some old people while dying had willed that whenever Kashmir becomes a part of Pakistan, someone should come to their graves and declare it there! In fact, in spite of all that has happened and is happening in that country, the Kashmiris still have a sentimental attachment to that country which is evident from their expression of joy when the Pakistani cricket team wins a match against India. It is debatable whether it is out of love for Pakistan or out of hatred for India? Unfortunately, the land of the pure has now been turned into violent hell. Suicide bomber has come to be the new logo of this state. Even female teachers have been brutally massacred.
The Prophet(PBUH) had declared during the battle of Badar that any non-Muslim prisoner, who would teach five Muslims to read and write, would go free. Now they are killing even the female teachers and community workers! Corruption and violence have become the hall marks of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Would Kashmiris still like to get tied up to such a set up?The latest video released by the Taliban stating that after Afghanistan, they have to liberate Kashmir is quite disturbing. It is not very soothing or comfortable to imagine what would Kashmir look like if it is liberated by the Taliban? Let us hope our leaders find a solution before that!
On the Indian side the “secular” and “democratic” India has turned into what Arundhiti Roy calls an “Upper caste Hindu corporate republic”! As far as the future of secularism is concerned, one has only to read the statements of the RSS chief Bhagat and visualise the sword wielding Narindra Modi as the next Prime Minister of India. Regarding the status of Muslims, one has to only go through the report of Justice Rajinder Sachar which says that the Muslims in India are the worst off enjoying something even below the second class citizen status? The media uproar and the belligerent attitude of the Hindutva followers on the recent incident on the Line of Control in Poonch show that the Indo-Pak bonhomie about the visa agreement is only superficial. The Indian Hindu right is gunning for Pakistan and if one goes by the Times Now tirade, the Government should have declared war on Pakistan immediately.
Even the top functionaries of the Government including the service chiefs are issuing open threats to that country on a border incident likes of which keep on happening off and on. Main reason for this out of proportion noise especially by BJP is the forthcoming election. They want to show that the Congress has failed to protect the sovereignty of the state and they are the only true and nationalist Indians! Well, to stall this Congress may be forced to take some precipitate action. Already the meek Prime Minister is speaking threatening language. All “options” are being considered. Meantime, the visa agreement has been kept on hold. Unfortunately, we have got unnecessarily tied up in this knot too! The reason being the fact that the base of the incident is the infamous Line of Control in the most unlucky Kashmir!
One fails to understand why the so called leaders of the supposed popular movement try always to tie Kashmir in knots by attempting to connect it with the conflict situations whether physical, political or ideological outside Kashmir? Why can’t they simply put forth the primary demand of peoples’ basic rights regardless of what is happening elsewhere? They should have been truly saying to all the players to leave Kashmiris alone to their own fate and not use them as a football or guinea pigs. Kashmiris are not the third party but the main party as regards the fate of Kashmir. All other players are concerned with what happens to Kashmir and not with what happens to Kashmiris. This situation can only come up when Kashmiris develop independent thinking about their own condition regardless of other players whether actually involved for genuine reasons or just for their own vested interests. They need to work out an independent path which would allow them to realise their aspirations in the most practical and positive way.