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, June 27, 2010

Multiple Conflicts of Body and Soul

Firdous is right - Kashmiris are the worst example of a split personality

(Mr. Firdous Syed, 44, was born in Bhaderwah, Doda, and had his schooling in Jammu. He is currently the Chairman of the "Kashmir Foundation for Peace and Development Studies," and associated with the J&K National Conference. Between 1989 and 1991, he led the Moslem Janbaaz Force, a militant group, and was jailed from 1991 through 1994. In 1996, he publicly renounced the gun culture, and is an active member of the Kashmir civil society.)

The Conflict of Body and Soul

Well, APHC (G) is seeking advice from “intellectuals or those opposing the strike” to suggest: “how to register the protest against the killings of innocents and represent sentiments of people.” Is this a sincere effort to reach out to thinking minds of the society--- to solicit their views--- to make resistance a fruitful exercise? Or else a mocking drill which critics lash at. They oppose repeated Hartals as meaningless moreover wastage of effort and energy. Reading between the lines, the usage of word ‘opposing’ suggests that Hurriyat (G) considers any constructive criticism [necessarily] as adversarial. It is to be their own bargain; whether they accept a suggestion made in good faith with an open mind or reject it scornfully. However the contemptuous tone “those opposing the strike” only indicate that ‘Wise men’ of Hurriyat (G) actually believe that there is no alternative to Hartali politics? This self-destructive attitude is more dangerous than any mocking behavior. Hurriyat leadership seems to be right; there is no alternative, if the options are confined only to choose between different means of death, to die with a teargas canister, by a police bullet--- or for that matter in a Grande attack. If choices are limited to death and destruction alone, bigots have a point; Hartal is the shortest as well as fastest way towards self-destruction. Creativity is boundless, if Pro-freedom leadership is really keen to reorient the movement in order to make it productive and cost-efficient; there is no dearth of alternatives.

First things first. Reality should not be lost in the din of blame game. Whether Pro-freedom leadership falters or power politicians taking advantage of the situation are busy in serving their petty interests, in all probability worst sufferer eventually is the common Kashmiri. Therefore grave situation cannot be left endlessly at the mercy of incompetent and dishonest politicians belonging to both camps. Pro-freedom and power politicians. Truth howsoever bitter has to be faced; there is no escape from facing the facts. Broadly analyzing, there are several reasons responsible for the failures in the current phase of the movement: a) absence of unity of thought, purpose and, action b) lack of cohesive [one] leadership c) wavering ideological commitment of masses d) exploitation by sovereign powers. Except the last ‘exploitation by sovereign powers’ all our other predicaments are of our own making. These are structural flaws and not superficial weaknesses. Had there been no internal contradictions, foreign exploitation would have had a less disastrous effect; disease can attack only a person having a weak immune system.

Since 2008, precisely during the Amarnath land row, Rights movement changed tracks, and entered into a new phase, it is a peaceful resistance now. During the militant phase, obviously the primary responsibility was with the militant leadership not only to shape the events but to steer the entire movement. The role of APHC was incidental that too subservient to the needs of militant movement, it was acting as the mouthpiece of militancy. At present whence militancy is much subdued, not really obliterated as few like to think, the onus is with Pro-freedom politicians, especially APHC to efficiently lead the movement towards its logical conclusion. As consensus grows and there is no denial of the fact: Pro-freedom leadership cutting across the ideological lines has proved [utterly] inadequate; it has failed to provide a sense of direction to the movement. Therefore it is not surprising that resistance is in complete disarray. Why should it not be? The movement is badly ridden with structural defects; superficial makeover will not make it dynamic. Debate on Hartal’s is secondary---- window-dressing; to reach its goal, movement is in need of complete restructuring.

The needs of a militant movement vary from those of a peaceful resistance. Militancy is a flash in the pan; idea is to achieve the goal in the shortest possible time. On the contrary peaceful resistance is a time-consuming process. Militancy is like a speedboat; it has a faster engine but can accommodate few. Peaceful resistance is like a huge ship; its motions are slow but steady, it has to insure that every segment of the society is onboard. In a popular armed struggle, indeed ownership is with the people but initiative rests with a very few. In a peaceful struggle not only ownership has to be with the people, but each and every member of the society should act as responsibly as the proponents of the movement. Moreover a movement cannot be run in a Mafia style, clique of few strong men, forcing there ill-conceived programs on the people. In the absence of a consensus behind, even well though-out decisions could prove to be quiet unpopular.

The peaceful movements waged for political and civil rights operate on the lines of disobedience---bare minimum cooperation with the system, if not complete non-cooperation. Non-cooperation with the system is not possible without the active cooperation and participation of overwhelming majority of the struggling people. The idea is to make everybody part of struggle, off course some participate more actively than the majority. Self reliance is critical to a movement of non-cooperation. Honour, self-esteem and identity consciousness is the defining characteristic of a people, desirous of national independence. Repeated Hartals have given rise to a bad work culture, no body anymore in the society is inclined for a hard work. Clubbed with our perennial lethargy, we have turned out to be parasites. What an irony, we seek Azadi from India yet we are dependent even for, potatoes, chicken, egg and milk supply from Punjab, Haryana and UP.

Let there be a differentiation between movement for Azadi and a hate campaign. If Pro-freedom leadership actually aspires Azadi, and is not engaged in a violent reactionary movement, it is required to work for self-reliance. Instead of asking for Hartal’s every second day, it should have asked farmers, artisans, students, teachers, doctors, engineers, preachers to work honestly to make this nation really self-reliant in every aspect. Struggle should also have had stimulated poets writers and artists to inspire the masses with their creative work. Self reliance is the real key for non-cooperation. Instead of accusing people for participating in elections why leadership has failed all these years to inculcate the virtues of honour and self-respect; a self-respecting society will always despise feeding from its tormentor. No power on earth howsoever powerful can keep subjugated a people endlessly, determined not to cooperate with an unjust system. Let us ask ourselves a question, are we all collaborators or rebels against an imposing system.

Kashmiri is the worst example of a spilt personality; he is suffering from ‘multiple personality disorder.’ Kashmiri----from Syed Ali Geelani at one end of the spectrum and Dr. Farooq Abdullah at the other which includes all shades of color and ideology, emotionally and sentimentally is driven by profound desire for Azadi. Barring very few extreme exceptions, Kashmiri deep in his heart has not accepted Indian control on Kashmir; he considers it as a foreign yoke. Moral turpitude, materiel pursuits, and lately effects of globalization have posed many challenges for a common Kashmir. Kashmiri’s heart is hooked to idealism, his mind is somewhere else. Emotionally he is not an Indian; physically he is closer to India. It is a mess of his own making, Kashmiri has made huge sacrifices, and still he is not able to reach his cherished destiny. His sentimental attachment with idea of Azadi has disallowed India to have complete sway on Kashmir, yet his materiel worship has allowed India to control practically all aspects of his life. He is neither here nor there; he is not part of the movement, yet he cannot disassociate himself from the movement.

This dichotomy has created huge problems for a Kashmiri. He cannot abandon idea of Azadi and live peacefully with India, and at the sometime he is not fully prepared to show an exemplary ideological commitment with the cause of Azadi. The conflict between body and soul has mutilated his personality; it is a curse, source of his all tribulations. Peace in Kashmir is not possible, unless and until Kashmiri is not able to achieve complete harmony between his inner and outer self. Awakening of self will lead to a spiritual transformation. From this transformation only, a social revolution and subsequently a political one is going to take place. Are we ready to rise above our self? Preaching is easy; can I for that matter get rid of my indulgences and rise above myself? Main Bhalla to Jag Bhalla---true to my feelings, world will be truer.

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