Views from Srinagar
S Mudawar Shams
MUSSOLINI and Hitler were the champions of nationalism, but today the world which is divided into nation states rejects the whole idea of the doctrines they propagated. If nationalism defeats the cause of humanism, such national feeling is to be condemned and the reaction of Kashmir to similar democratic fascism that the Government of India is employing in Kashmir is quite genuine and full of reason. Every wrong doing can’t be justified in the name of national integrity. Given the lure of development that India claims to witness, the root cause of the frustration of a Kashmiri is this slogan. We see schemes of education & employment for Kashmiris providing education & employment outside the state as an effort of integration of Kashmiri youth to Indian Union while the tag of a “disturbed state” rests on the face of this heaven called Kashmir. The failure of such projects of integration is quite evident from the ongoing agitation and protests the valley is witnessing. Taking youth out of their homes shall only hamper the process as going out & witnessing real freedom & development makes them crave for independence more as they start questioning why is their sate so backward why do they have leave their homes to witness freedom? Just as was the case in pre independent India. Their leaders got disgusted with the Britishers on witnessing the double standards of the Government. And they started demanding independence though the course was indirect. But for Kashmir the case is quite direct as may be said incorrect for the Indian Government but absolutely apt if observed closely with reason. What is Azadi? The answer shall come as the essay ends.
Given the original constitutional setting of Kashmir with India, the erosion of the state’s autonomy is one of the basic reasons for this unrest if not the only reason. Having the economic independence snatched from the state of J&K, the centre hasn’t been able to boost the economy of J&K the reason to which i will give later. The second reason is the deployment of huge number of forces in the valley for the so called protection of the people. If they are to protect their own people why do they need the immunity of a draconian law like the AFSPA against their own people? Just casting votes & participation in elections does not make people accept their real rulers. The people who justify Kashmir elections as an acceptance of the Indian rule in its present form must recall the pre independent India where the elections were held& people participated & had the imperial power considered them as the will of the people India would never be an independent country. Although independence is not the agenda of this essay, but the ground situation needs to be understood. And don’t mix Azadi with independence at this point in the essay.
Given the nature of Indian Constitution, it is predominantly a unitary constitution with centre having more powers and states enjoying limited federal powers. This is apt for the nature of Indian polity but J&K is an exception to it. Let us understand it a bit further. The parliamentary seats allocated to states are based on population & since the states have varied population their representation in parliament is not uniform. And since democracy is a game of numbers there is clear non uniform distribution of justice by this parliamentary system of allocation of seats. State of J&K has 6 representatives in the house of 545 parliamentary seats, which is 1% according to population but very unfit given the importance of the state. The centralised planning is another flaw which makes the reach of policies to grass-root level only a plan & not a result especially in the case of J&K. Kashmir is geographically & economically different to suit the general system of planning. This is the reason why J&K although has got the highest amount of central grants but due to the reason of unsuitability of the schemes the benefit could not reach the common man.
Unknowingly and unconsciously the Azadi for Kashmir is economic development but not as the laymen in the ministries would take it, but in a way the valley of Kashmir reaches its full economic potential in a force free atmosphere. No civilised community likes to live bound by the fear of force and Kashmiris are facing it, not just from 1947 but from the time of Afghan rule this tyranny on a Kashmiri has continued. Kashmir wants true democracy & not absolutism in the name of democracy which becomes democratic fascism.
This is possible through the restoration of the autonomy which has been eroded by various presidential orders & amendments. This freedom is in absolute conformity with the constitution & law of the original constitutions of India & J&K. Kashmir needs a purely federal setting with the union whereby its resources & economic planning becomes a state subject. The tag of a disturbed area needs to be done away with and the forces need to be sent to safeguard the borders and not haunt the people of the state.
Now the question is that is India willing to give its proclaimed head (J&K), the freedom to think for itself? Can our state legislators start a constitutional agitation demanding, the right of self government according to the Instrument of Accession & the original Article 370 of the Indian Constitution or just like past 70 years they are willing to sacrifice the blood of this youth for maintaining their power? Have they given up every ethic of people’s rule? If they believe Kashmir to be a political issue, why are they not standing for it strongly? Why are they not willing to let go of their power? If they call themselves Kashmiris then why aren’t they joining their people and demanding a solution?
The main people responsible for Kashmir problem are these so called main stream leaders who fool the people for governance but act as agents of a fascist regime. If they believe that there is an immediate need to solve the Kashmir issue why are they not taking a stand? Why are they not quitting their seats in the state legislature to pressurise the centre for a solution and making the will of their people more comprehensive for the world? They have drafted their solutions to the problem but why are they not even taking a stand for it? Kashmir issue needs an immediate solution and rather than looking for a substitute to pellets why are they not asking for a solution to the problem?
If the main streamers don’t play the desired role, they do not deserve their chairs in the legislature. The people must understand the need of a political revolution where if the mainstream doesn’t act according to the will of the people they are to be displaced for sure. Kashmir can’t afford to be caught up in the governance rhetoric these people propagate because their presence on the representative stage demands from them to make efforts to look for a solution to Kashmir and not fake dramas just to make political gains.
Kashmir needs the youth in politics which has become a monopoly of these silver spoon babies who know only power and nothing about authority and responsibility. It is high time for the youth to look beyond the careers of medicine and engineering because our state needs honest politicians who are genuinely concerned about people. Gun & stones wouldn’t be required if the youth get acquainted with political education and counter the tyrants through their own tactics.
Till this revolution doesn’t occur a meaningful solution will not be allowed to reach by these main streamers whose interest lies in keeping Kashmir an unsolved issue. Educated youth must come together to tackle the problem politically through political agitation as well. Sitting at homes and having mere sympathies for the protesters is not enough. It is just a shame for us. A new political party or a front is required from the youth of this state to counter the evil and giving it the taste of its own medicine.
Hopefully I live to see a day when Abdullahs & Muftis won’t be consulted but real democratic leaders will be called upon to discuss a genuine solution to the problem which is only possible through the involvement of our educated cream which for once will leave their personal interests for the country called Kashmir. I pray for that day!
—Courtesy: Greater Kashmir