Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Bible of Resistance that the Hurriyat Conference wants us to follow is apocryphal

Mehmood: If the resistance-calendar framed for us by Geelani Sahib constitutes the Genesis of this book, then sorry to say, it is not about creation; it is about annihilation

(Mr. Mehmood-ur-Rashid, mid-30's, lives and works in Srinagar.)

Reverse the order of things

Geelani SahIb walks down the Mount Resistance and hands over to his people the commandments for protest. It enjoins on us to carry forward the programme of protest; succinctly put, it includes Just a few days of routine work, interspersed by programmes of protest, punctuated (punctured!) by the strike calls and half-strike calls (Fridays) and concluded with the call to assemble at Lal Chowk.


Not encouraged to undertake any detailed analysis or critique of this programme of protest, one can terminate the topic only by saying this much; this programme is disappointing, if not ridiculous. And that is to say the least. There cannot be any better and easier way to burn the resources of resistance than the continued disruption of life that was announced by Hurriyat Conference. To buy from Orwellian improvements on language, it is an un-programme, rather than a programme. It is like switching off an entire nation.

It never means that disruption and protest has no significance in any Resistance movement. What it means is that exclusive reliance on cessation-of-routine and disruption-of-life is an indication of resistance movement being shorn of vision and bereft of purpose. It uncovers the dark and nasty side of resistance; one that has always paved the way for chaos and bloodshed. It also speaks of how tentative this leadership is and also reveals their inability to think long term and positive. It casts a shadow of doubt on the very outcome of this Resistance.

An easier way of keeping the unwilling and questioning people at bay is to ask for alternatives. If people don't protest, go on strike, pelt stones, and shout slogans, then what shall they do? (Really what shall they do? That is the question to be answered.) It is a readily available stone that can be hurled on the cynic's head. Geelani Sahab can very well shout back on all those who disagree with his programme, and ask for an alternative course of action. It may not be, making an honest confession, all that easy to produce one; and this too is a fact that one who leads a people amidst crisis of this magnitude knows the situation better. He has also the advantage of being in the thick of it. His is the first hand experience. An armchair analyst is ensconced far away from the heat of things to comment on how to negotiate with the situation, not to speak of questioning the pioneers and leaders of the Resistance. But does that mean we should stop questioning? Does that entail an unlimited, unhindered, and on the nod acceptance of whatever is revealed from Mount Resistance? Geelani Sahab must not have forgotten the basics of his ideological manual that anybody, except God and His Prophet (SAW), can be questioned about his word and deed; so all of us reserve the right to question. And there are a good number of people who, not just for the considerations of material loss and gain, find the recently issued periodic table of resistance highly wanting in any constructive scheme of empowering the people, so that they can better resist the onslaught of power.

Real problem with Kashmiri Resistance is the wrong order of things. We are being forced to believe that first freedom will dawn on us and then we have to work on the making of this nation. Essentially it is a suicidal thought. It makes resistance not only costlier but also prone to failure. It may require a detailed discourse to explain this idea but off hand one can point out that the inverted pyramid style of revolutionary change through resistance is potentially a dangerous idea. It is because of this that chaos sets in the very matrix of resistance- society. One of its characteristic features is the devaluation of human life. Gallons of blood flow painting the ground red, but everyone convinces himself that this is the cost of change. Another hideous truth about it is that such movements succeed only to fail. As it gives rise to an extremely fascist system of power that breeds on suspicion and complete disregard of peopel's aspirations it concludes in a state of endless strife. The above thoughts don't emanate from cynicism or paranoia but are very well borne by historical facts. The reason for India being a success and Pakistan a failure is that Pakistan was a product of haste while as India was the outcome of decades of toil and hardwork by Congress. The roots of democracy were deeply embedded in the scheme of things when it comes to India. In case of Pakistan it was contrary. Result of all this is in front of us. In the not so remote past mankind has witnessed many bloody revolutions that occurred without the required amount of ground work having been done. Bolshevik Revolution of Russia and even before that French revolution, are some of the glaring examples. Why go in the back of beyond, Afghanistan is right in front of us. The failure of Mujahideen leadership in consolidating the gains in battlefield, once the Russian forces withdrew, was the direct fall out of not having established a democratic leadership that could put the people of Afghanistan on the path of reconstruction. All these examples stare us in the face. Do we still need any clarifications? If we are still stand convinced that unless India leaves our land nothing constructive can be done, then let us for a while presume that India was scheduled to pack off the very next day. Just imagine what will follow? What will hold us as a single people and who will manage the land, its people and recourses? The thought only sends a chill down the spine.

Here Hurriyat Leadership, more importantly Geelani Sahab, need to do a rethinking. They are under an obligation to reverse the order of things. A gradual, calibrated and measured ways of bringing about any grand change, need to be explored. Instead of making a roster of sorts for the people to follow, Hurriyat should chalk down a course for its leaders following which they can lay the foundation of a capable, democratic and enlightened political force that can negotiate with the State; while it stays here and also when it agrees to dissolve the status quo. If this is not done, it will not only cost us more lives, but in case we make it through it will ensure the emergence of an authoritarian regime, that will justify itself either in the name of religion or national security. That day we will realise that we had only been fighting for failure.

So the first thing to be done is to democratise Hurriyat Conference. Up till now it constitutes of many close associations, mistaken for parties, and people hardly know who is who in this conglomerate. A ring of mysterious darkness surrounds this political platform; and to begin with the rings needs to be lifted

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