Kashmiris have been under the rule of outsiders for more than four centuries now. There have been many attempts at rebellion to get rid of the foreign occupation but most were unsuccessful. Many people gave sacrifices to redeem the place of honour and dignity lost in 1586. In the recent times, the movement for emancipation started in early part of the twentieth century. Generally, 1931 is taken to be the decisive date from which the present movement started in real terms for total emancipation from the Dogra rule. In spite of the struggle of more than 72 years, they have yet to reach the goal of getting a place of honour and dignity promised by the leaders that have been heading the struggle from time to time. The most unfortunate tragedy has been that these leaders have quite often misled the people for their own personal interests. They were thrown up by the people and nourished with their innumerable sacrifices but they used these sacrifices to bargain for power and material gains instead of taking the people to their cherished goal. The tallest leader among them all proved to be what Dr. Joseph Korbel in his book, “Danger in Kashmir” calls a “shallow patriot”. According to him he rose like the morning star but ultimately fell like a meteor!
Since that time we have had a plethora of leaders vying with each other to proclaim to be the saviours of the people but in reality competing with each other to usurp the power bestowed by the masters from outside the state on two sides of the divide. They have stuck to the bodies of the common people like parasites. In fact they are virtually like the leeches sucking the blood of the common people to fatten themselves and have fallen from the body by the weight of their own greed from time to time. Unfortunately, the people have been picking up these leeches to put them back on their bodies to suck more blood.
In recent times there is a race among some of these leaders to take credit for certain measures which were in fact initiated by the sacrifice of the masses and not by the efforts of these parasitical leaders. The so called confidence building measures were instituted after people gave umpteen sacrifices and not because of these parasites. The powers that be were alarmed due to the extreme alienation of the people and were forced to initiate certain measures to win over their confidence. However, all these measures have remained very symbolic in nature and have not been initiated truly with the spirit of winning over the confidence of the people. If these leaders were truly the authors and initiators of these measures, they would not have rested till these measures had been initiated on the ground in their full measure.
On the other hand there are leaders who have been declaring like a gramophone record whose needle is stuck about giving relief to the people from the harassment of the oppressive security measures depriving people of their fundamental rights. The only quality these leaders have is the expertise in histrionics used by them to fool the people again and again. It is very interesting to watch these leaders from time to time. When they are out of power, they appear lean and frail in very ordinary outfits. However, as soon as they usurp the chair with the help of their outside masters, they really fatten both physically and materially and become totally unrecognizable. They start wearing designer clothes and put on karakul caps of different sizes, shapes and colours. Again, once they lose these chairs, they turn back into lean and frail creatures!
Similar situation prevails among some of the so called leaders of the other camp proclaiming to be continuing the original movement for total emancipation. Although many of these leaders have served long time in incarceration and some are even now in jails for more than two decades or so, yet some of them carry on like the ones fighting to maintain the status quo. Some of them too wear designer apparel and move round in expensive vehicles. Here again the movement is being led to create the perennial problem of Kashmir of the damaging personality cult! Convictions take the back seat. However, the most satisfying silver lining is that the new generation of Kashmiris does not need a symbolic or a charismatic leader. They appear to be down to earth people. They know the goal very well and know how to reach it. They are not swayed by the charisma or the histrionics of the so called leaders but follow their own convictions. The most frustrating job for the oppressors has been to identify and control the leaders of this generation. However, to their dismay there are none which can be tackled to liquidate the movement. Each young man in himself is a leader. The most difficult and frustrating job is to control a leaderless movement based on convictions and the guarantee for its success too is its being leaderless. May be this proves to be the nemesis for the Kashmir’s political parasites?