Every time a confrontation breaks out between the people of Kashmir and the Indian state, the political will of the people themselves finds expression only by their blood spilled on the streets. That is the one-line description of the seven decades of their political history under Indian rule. Those who seek and get the votes of the people of Kashmir do so only as the representatives of New Delhi in Kashmir. So, they do not advocate the best interests of the people. And then there are the resistance leaders who represent the political sentiment of the people but are no part of any formal structures where political destiny of the people is decided and debated, or remains frozen. In this manner, the people themselves in reality go absolutely unrepresented. Their protestations find no resonance anywhere in the world. It appears like a situation of stasis, and the people are locked up inside an echo chamber, a prison where they hear only themselves.
This situation speaks as much of the struggling, stateless people of Kashmir as much as it exposes to them the state of the world. At the same time protest and self-healing is all that is available to them as tools of political survival and change. This past month has been unprecedented. After so much death and maiming inflicted on the people by the state forces and incalculable economic loss suffered by them, the situation seems still intensifying, the peoples’ resolve as strong as the force of life itself. The Indian parliament debated but only to deny the truth of the prevailing situation and the history of New Delhi reneging on commitments that it had given to the people of Kashmir and to the world. Pakistan’s support for the struggle for Kashmir’s right to self-determination gets reiterated once again. But nothing in the Kashmiri’s world is moving to change anything. Only more platitude is sent their way, as if that were also some force with which to batter the struggling people.
This state of stasis needs to break. If New Delhi is the uninterested party, Pakistan can throw up an idea that the world cannot ignore and the people of Kashmir on both sides of the dividing line can own up. This needs not just creative courage but should also mirror the Kashmiri resolve repeatedly on display for decades. The politics of repeating stated positions would never be enough to bring about any change. Only a sense of purpose to break the stasis will. Otherwise the existing state of denial and posturing is already a working formula for annihilation of an identity.