A few years ago, the Hurriyat leadership had contemplated organised political work across the Valley. One of the main steps that had been planned was to set up offices of the Hurriyat in each district of the Valley, if not the entire state. The plan didn’t go much distance. Differences within the Hurriyat ensured there were issues more pressing than such an agenda being put to practice. One of the reasons being that constituent members of the conglomerate had their own plans, agendas, and party work already going on in most of these districts. Setting up “Hurriyat” offices in these districts in place of their own would simply mean replacing them. Be that as it may, the fact remains that not much has been done, let alone achieved, by the Hurriyat so far in terms of any genuine groundwork of engaging people in a genuine resistance political movement, as its real stakeholders, something that they naturally ought to be.
Having said that, just what kind of politics is possible in a space such as Kashmir where the idea of political freedom remains limited to empty claims within the Indian state discourse? Let alone seminars and party meetings, even press conferences planned by the Hurriyat – particularly in case of the Syed Ali Geelani-led faction – have been banned by the police state that Jammu and Kashmir is. Yet this state of affairs makes it all the more pertinent that the resistance leadership be worried about grassroots politics.
Recent reports suggest that the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) has started consultations with various groups to “tackle new challenges posed by Indian rulers and their Kashmiri stooges” in order to “promote a unified approach for tackling new challenges of Israel-type separate colonies for Kashmiri Pandits and army, and East India Company-type industrial policy and shelters for outsiders”. These are grand words and strategies of course, on paper. But it is, indeed, upon a people as a whole that a nation is set upon paths that lead to a desired future — of freedom and of political free will. The political repression unleashed by the Indian state – overt or covert yet always total and unrelenting – since the end of Dogra control is throwing up yet newer unfreedoms each passing day. Yet Kashmir’s resistance continues to offer even blood for freedom. The leadership owes to its people that it shows ways of just how to live for it.