Boycott the Only Way

A broadcaster retires and then circulates a series of self-righteous rants in newspapers on how she is being benevolent by bestowing upon Kashmiris the privilege of her royal highness’ presence in the political arena. At the same time, she writes, in quasi-metaphysical tone, how despite joining a political party, she is being ‘apolitical’. She could very well have said that she had been divinely assigned to pull the suffering Kashmiri nation out of the quagmire. That would have created a better effect than peevish complaints.

And she is being apolitical by joining a party one of whose founding members is none other than Ghulam Hassan Mir (yes the same, about whom former Indian army chief revealed something very telling).

Ms Nayeema Mehjoor has the irritable ferocity of a neo-convert to electoral politics. That is why, short of revealing her inner desire to flog the people who don’t vote, or more precisely, don’t vote for the PDP, or those who call for boycotting elections, she tries everything in her lengthy rhetorical scripts.

But compared to the rawness of her rants, there is a clique of people who have been penning down sophisticated write-ups urging Kashmiris to vote. They also try to keep their preference for PDP veiled in these articles and facebook/twitter posts, albeit unsuccessfully.

The thrust of this propaganda is to show, first, that boycotting elections is a sin and if you vote, then not voting for PDP is a cardinal sin.

In reality, however, in the militarized electoral mechanisms of contemporary Kashmir, both parties have thrived on the boycott. If Kashmiris were to choose freely in a normal atmosphere, one that is bereft of Indian control, who in his right mind would vote for Farooq Abdullah or Mufti Sayeed, who have collaborated in inflicting miseries on them?

And boycott is no stranger to Kashmir history or the wretched electoral politics played out here. It was the National Conference that boycotted elections for the longest period of time in the past: from 1953 to 1971, apparently fighting for Kashmir’s freedom. As recently as 1996, the NC boycotted the Indian parliamentary polls, leaving the field open for a horde of barbaric government gunmen called Ikhwanis and the Congress, though, both have been indistinguishable at times.  The Congress – the Muftis were Congress-worshipers then – won four seats in 1996.  Do you remember what they said in the Indian parliament?

Despite passionate appeals for participating in elections, in particular participating to vote for the PDP, the condition of boycott will probably remain. So will the acrimonious debates over it. In the meanwhile, some blunt questions will probably help us decide on voting or not voting.

Should people vote for Omar Abdullah who has presided over murders of young boys on the streets and not bothered to investigate whether the police and Indian troops had used disproportionate force and who has proved his impotence before the Deep State so many times that we have lost  count?

Should people vote for Farooq Abdullah who partnered with the Congress in 1987 despite knowing that the same party had toppled his government with the help of his brother-in-law and Mufti Sayeed?

Here is what an avowed PDP supporter and senior journalist Sayeed Malik wrote in 2002:

“Egged on by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, Mufti brought about the downfall of the Farooq-led National Conference government in July 1984.” Should we vote for this fulltime saboteur of Kashmiri aspirations?

Should people vote for Mufti Sayeed who, as home minister of India, oversaw massacres and deputed Jagmohan to rule for most part of the diffused genocide of Kashmiris?

We have no way to check whether or not the PDP is the creation of intelligence agencies. Or whether it is in the NC’s DNA to harm Kashmiris. But based on whatever little we know, let us try to assess whether these parties deserve our vote.

The Indian army’s inquest proved Hassan Mir, one of the PDP’s founders, took money for sabotage in Kashmir. What gives an average Kashmiri the confidence that Mufti and another PDP co-founder Muzaffar Baig are not in Hassan Mir’s league? It could be said that people have displayed that confidence by voting for Mufti. By that reasoning they have also voted for Hassan Mir and Farooq Abdullah. People have also voted for GA Mir, who spent six months in jail for his role in the infamous sex scandal. They have voted for Akbar Lone, who will give any clown a run for his money.

Throughout Kashmir’s entire existence under military occupation, it is the Congress which has represented the imperial face of India. In fact, it has been in power in Kashmir all along. It allied with Bakhshi and the rest of the collaborators when the NC boycotted electoral politics. Since 1977, it has partnered with whoever is in power in Kashmir, be it the PDP or the NC. Out of power, both NC and PDP blame the Congress for all ills – erosion of so-called autonomy, sabotage of democracy, etc.  But they don’t miss any chance to sleep with the same treacherous partner if they fall short of numbers.

Now the people canvassing for the PDP – Drabu et al – never tire of complaining about the Congress’ long litany of mischief. But what they never tell people is what role Mufti Sayeed played in planting this party of tyranny in Kashmir.

 Malik again:

“Mufti amply vindicated her (Indira Gandhi’s) confidence in him by virtually raising brick-by-brick the edifice of the Congress and building it up as a potent force, against very heavy odds.

It was no easy task to survive — and give a fight — to the mighty Sher-e-Kashmir who was a ruthless opponent known for his autocratic temper. Sheikh Abdullah used to describe Congressmen as gandi nali ke keeday (worms in the gutter).’ Mufti-led the Congress in Kashmir from the front and saw it striking roots in inhospitable terrain dominated by a vicious political circle of secessionism and isolationism.”

Is voting for a monolithic collaborator like Mufti or two generations of the Abdullahs who have called Kashmiris chor a choice at all? Isn’t boycott the only way?