By Dr Fayaz Para
The recent development in the Kashmir conflict has created a history as the way events are unfolding now has no precedents in the local folklore and history. The resistance movement has not only changed its outer shape[s] but its internal dynamics has also been overhauled. Though the actors are the same but the relation between them has assumed unique shape. Besides the weapons used to fight are also an admixture of opposites.
In 1990 when the mass militancy started, both sides (state and militants) were trying to improve their weaponry and strategy. Both were bringing sophisticated weapons to outweigh the other. But the two rivers are running completely in opposite directions. The 2008-2010 intifada type mass movements brought a quite contradictory development. Now the weak are making use of weaker weapons than it used in earlier days of its present struggle. Stones are replacing the guns but conviction is stronger than those fighting with modern weaponry. One of the important dimensions of this new development is that resistance is purely indigenous with aboriginals fighting with indigenous weaponry. Linking it with Pakistan‟s aid or complicity will be a foolish joke. For the youth bidding adieu to guns and resorting to the most primitive weapons- stones, these protests have seen a paradigm shift from armed struggle to the people’s uprising.
Kashmir has turned in to bedrock of conflict owing to the resistance movement launched against the Indian state. Here, every one owes its existence to the resistance which he/she germinates, shows, manifests and believes in. It is not only the philosophy and ideology of resistance which provides individuals, communities, areas and the regions the reason of existence but it is a unique form, style and tactic of resistance which makes one to exist in conflict ridden Kashmir. This new and unique style of resistance can be termed in James Scott’s terminology as ‘’weapons of the weak’’ but it has its unique regional style. “Kane Jung” (the stone wars) as this is known in the local terminology and dialectics of resistance, it has turned ‘Kashmir’ in to Kush- mar (make a trough).
Though it is said that Kashmir also experienced this style of resistance in Srinagar first against the oppressive land lords, but the trend achieved a popular character in Kashmir since 2008-10 intifada. Not only are stone wars becoming a trend in the nooks or corners of Kashmir but the leading fighters are whom we can call the ‘children of conflict’. The teenagers are showing highest degree of fervor and they seem eager to give their hot blood for the desired aim of beloved Azadi. They love this word tied with a dream not because they are indoctrinated in what colonizer term and blame as religious fundamentalism or Taliban brand of Islam. They are watching Indian films, wear jeans and western style T-shirts, shaving their beard and some have not still grown it. They have not seen the horrors of 1990’s and are not tortured or persecuted directly, they often derive their strength from the memories and the stories which their elders are sharing in kitchens while sipping tea, at taverns and marriage parties. It hurts their head and hitches their heart. It makes them to ponder over and often force them to visit the pages of history – though they don’t like history in academics.
In their age of stress and strain they often blame their elders, I mean the elder generation for their ‘cowardice’ – for not resisting the oppressor. They want to erase this tag from their collective character which even Indian PM J L Nehru put on their elders by mocking Kashmiri’s as ease loving and cowards. This mentality of showing themselves as courageous and erasing the tag of cowards from their memory has made them tough. Not only Kashmir in general but different areas in Kashmir are trying to paint themselves in the color of Stone Wars. A stone warrior from Hajan in 2013 while explaining the reason of strong resistance in the shape of stone wars said, “we are not Indians, we are not Mukhbirs (army informers), and Ikhwanis (local name for government’s private militia). We want to erase the blood clout from our face developed during mid 1990’s due to the wrong doings of front rank Ikhwani- Kuka Parrey. We are ready to pay any prize and we are ashamed for what Kukka Parrey did. We are integral to Kashmir’s resistance movement”.
They throw stones with full courage, conviction and dedication to liberate their soil from Indian military occupation. They had a dream attached to it- the dream of beloved AZADI.
Even though the Indian nationalist media is trying every bit and employing every tactic to hoodwink Indian public by externalizing Kashmir intifada or paint it in economic color, but stone wars are becoming not only tough but are also bringing newer areas and newer generations under its influence to throw a piece of soil to liberate an inch of earth from the clutches of their colonizer.
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—Views expressed by author are personal