It’s been a month that the people of Kashmir have risen again against the tired and utterly exposed politics of deceit and military subjugation in which the PDP now looks like the BJP, and the NC like erstwhile PDP. And, there is no indication yet that the people are thinking of changing the mode of their protestation as areas outside the Kashmir valley are energizing to expand the realm of the present cry for political justice that is manifesting as rejection of everything done in the past. On the other hand is the intransigent Indian state. All that one has sensed so far is that it is preparing to send in more troops to crush the protest and silence the people once again into submission, and re-establish the old rules through the use of old tools.
Pakistan’s politics over Kashmir is also not changing, notwithstanding the fact that it is the only country in the world that has unfailingly stood up for the rights of Kashmir and has suffered because of the dispute over this embattled territory. Pakistan’s support for the right of self-determination is premised on the UN resolutions which do not offer the people of Kashmir the option of independence. This fact has made India and Pakistan somewhat equal stakeholders in the Kashmir dispute, but more tragically it has reduced the Kashmiri people themselves into a non-party of sorts, their role having been reduced to only protestation.
This stasis needs to break if what happens, now cyclically with unbearable costs, in Kashmir is properly acknowledged. Politics is dead if this stasis is not broken. That would perhaps mean the leadership, both inside Kashmir and in Pakistan, have to refocus their energies into transforming politics for the purposes of delivering Kashmiris their political right of self-determination. Support for something like the right of self-determination acquires real and full meaning only when it is unconditional. By that is meant support for all the people of Kashmir on both sides of the dividing line must be based on the principle that it remain there even if the people themselves want to be independent of both India and Pakistan. The primary responsibility of bringing such politics to the fore rests on the resistance leadership inside both parts of divided Kashmir. Solidarity should not be accepted only on the promise of future political compliance that suites the compassionate offering it. It must support the fundamental aspiration that has agitated in Kashmir for seven long decades. Azadi should mean freedom to be and remain independent.