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25th June '2014
Pushravith Chay Wavsi Nao!

For past sometime, the people have been receiving various directives from the leaders for shutdowns and marches. Shutdowns have in the long run harmed common people more than given any nightmares to the authorities in Srinagar and Delhi. The marches as usual have been scuttled by confining people to their homes by imposing “Restrictions” or by the now notorious illegal measure, the “Undeclared Curfew”! This situation is best described by the Kashmiri proverb saying that the boat has been left at the mercy of the winds!

Any boat moving in water be it a river or a lake, needs apart from the oarsmen, someone to hold the rudder and steer it towards a particular destination. The strength and ability of a rudder man is under severe test during a storm. Such a storm has risen by the unprecedented victory of the “Saffron Brigade” in India. If the rudder man of the boat has the grit and cool he can steer it in spite of the lashing winds and take it along with its occupants to the ultimate destination. If the rudder man abandons his boat in a storm, it is then along with the passengers at the mercy of the winds. In such an event, the boat has no chance of either reaching the destination or even being saved from capsizing along with the occupants! This is precisely what is happening to the people of Kashmir at the present juncture. The boat has been left at the mercy of the lashing winds! No one knows where it will go or even whether it will float or capsize?

Before one contemplates the fate of the drifting boat of Kashmir it would be useful to first outline as to what this boat comprises of and who all are in it. Presently Kashmir all over the world is taken to be the erstwhile princely State of Jammu and Kashmir. The word Kashmir embraces all the parts of the state and the people living therein. Various parts of the state are under the administration of three countries. China holds Aksai Chin part of Ladakh through which it has taken a road to connect Tibet with Sinkiang. Pakistan administers the part of Kashmir known as Azad Kashmir and a separate area earlier called Northern Areas and now known as Gilgit-Baltistan. This area is virtually merged into Pakistan as it is directly controlled from Islamabad. India has Jammu, Ladakh and the valley of Kashmir under its administrative control. Thus Kashmir is not a single boat but a full-fledged flotilla.

Most of the individual boats in the flotilla except Kashmir are nearer their goals or have almost reached these. It is practically the valley of Kashmir with its periphery of Kashmiri speaking people, historically called the “Greater Kashmir” which is still adrift. Even though there are plenty of oarsmen ready to row the boat to a particular destination yet the boat is adrift and left on the mercy of winds because there is no one to chart a course and steer it by holding the rudder! A ship without a captain can never reach the destination. The immediate task for a real captain of the Kashmiri ship or the boat is to separate his vessel from a flotilla going in different directions. He has to then confirm the destination where his passengers want to go. After this he must chart a course to reach it and steer the boat accordingly.

Unfortunately, none of the leaders from every side is clear about the ultimate goal and the ways and the means to reach it. Confused leaders are giving confused goals. Everything is vague. The mainstream leaders give goals for good governance on one hand and at the same time claim to lead the people to the final solution of the political problem. Because of the corrupt system nurtured and headed by them, so far they have miserably failed in achieving both their professed aims. On the other hand, the leaders heading the popular movement seem to be confused about the goal as well as the road to reach it. The first task for them is to define in concrete and lucid terms the goal they want people to reach. Moreover, the goal has to be the one realistically achievable and not a utopian dream! Merely saying that this would be done once the people are given the right to decide their future dispensation is leaving the goal as something vague and shrouded in mystery! After presenting a concrete and achievable goal, one has to show the practical means to reach there and then be a guide to tread the path. A practically achievable goal given by honest and sincere leaders automatically creates an urge among the people to reach it. As the famous poet of the East, Dr. Iqbal has said in the famous couplet, in servitude the swords and strategies do not work. If one has the strength of conviction and the urge, the chains fall off on their own!

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