Newspapermen can’t afford to ignore whatever nonsense is produced in the name of journalism in the Indian media, especially news channels that can, on any given day, replace the intelligence, propaganda and sabotage wing of the Deep State. And one can safely prescribe watching these to Kashmiri masses because these can be enlightening about the state of affairs in J&K in myriad ways. Is there a better proof of the Indian state’s failure in Kashmir than a permanent panel comprising Maroof Raza, General Bakshi, Rashneek Kher, Ashok Pandit and Shabnam Lone, with Tarek Fatah thrown in once in a while, representing the Indian viewpoint on Kashmir? Is there better proof of the hollowness of pro-India politicians than listening to Waheed-ur-Rahman Parra being asked by Anupam Kher to spell ‘theatre’? What better proof of the so-called sane voices like Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai and Shekhar Gupta, et al, clamouring that they have been ‘nuanced’ about Kashmir and then trying to outdo each other in establishing the strength of their patriotic sentiment?
Whether we like it or not, these channels and these individuals are the face of the Indian mainstream. And they have been consistent in their position on Kashmir to various degrees of bigotry. One section might shed a tear or two about human rights abuses, but it has always termed the freedom struggle as ‘cross-border terrorism’ from the day the struggle started. Meaning, the Indian state and its appendages have been consistent about defending a monstrous untruth, which is that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Contrast this consistency with the demands being made on the victims by an assortment of opportunists and apologists within Kashmiri society. Consistency is not preferable to the change that is necessary, but when demands for surrender to power are couched as change and pragmatism, one needs to be wary.
At a time when people are facing brute state power, when the avenues for debate and dissent have been shrunk, it is cruel to tell the victim that his resistance is doomed to fail because it is not perfect. A man whose world has been reduced to navigating life through the maze of the structures of militarised governance can’t be asked to work economic wonders and also remain faithful to the resistance. Often, the ones who make these demands on the victims have themselves gone through an evolutionary process. From advocating arms at one stage, they are now articulating sophisticated methods of revolutionary change. Alas, these people are not willing to let others evolve the way they have evolved over the years.