By Harun Lone
I wonder how could the ‘world’s largest democracy’ with the ‘world’s second largest military’ instituted in the ‘most densely militarized zone in the world which is Kashmir’, to rob us of our political right, ruthlessly kill people, eradicate dissent and yet call itself a democracy. Like how? But a brutal state of Indian kind in Kashmir might not have social or economic crunches to be apprehensive of. So long as its power is undamaged – that is to say, so long as there is a well-disciplined and well-fed army in the bay – it can retain its presence for an indeterminately lengthy phase and can go on intensifying its power to an undefined magnitude. A real jeopardy can come to it only from outside, through the threat of an attack or the economic sanctions by some of its bigger exporter allies or the political pressure from international community.
But these kinds of risks decrease with time, because the war potential of the authoritarian states like India is steadily mounting. Insofar as one can observe, alternatively other possibilities remain, and that are, the breakdown of power from within or state machinery turns hostile to state. In the view of existing security measures and the danger of nationalistic reactions, the outside support seems to be less effective.
India’s parochial governance of Kashmir entails the use of disciplinary forces as a method for social control. It is used on faultless individuals by those authorized to carry out violence in the name of national interest. Accepting subjugation, forgetting horror, getting into isolation, and doing depoliticization and being apolitical are recompensed here.
Segments of Kashmiri elite have aligned with India than with the idea of Kashmir that its people aspire. India has invigorated this dynamic to create a bigger collaborator class in Kashmir that weakens and undermines the will of the Kashmiri people. The collusion of this enlarged collaborator class with the Indian state garners much bigger individual benefits, provides them security and strengthens Indian national interest.
Hannah Arendt’s analogy is useful in understanding how those in power tell lies to maintain an occupation. The deliberate denial of truth – the ability to lie – and the capacity to change facts- the ability to act – are interconnected. The deliberate falsehood deals with contingent facts; that is, with matters that carry no inherent truth within, no necessity to be as they are. ‘Truths’ are never compellingly true. It is this fragility that makes deception so very easy up to a point, and so tempting too. It rarely comes into conflict with reason, because things could indeed have been as the liar maintains they were. Lies are often much more plausible, more appealing to reason, than reality, since the liar has the great advantage of knowing beforehand what the audience wishes or expects to hear. Under normal circumstances the liar is defeated by reality, for which there is no substitute; no matter how large the tissue of falsehood that an experienced liar has to offer, it will never be large enough, even if he enlists the help of computers, to cover the immensity of factuality. The liar, who may get away with any number of single falsehoods, will find it impossible to get away with lying on principle. This is one of the lessons that could be learned from the totalitarian experiments and the totalitarian rulers’ fright.
Julian Assange did a remarkable thing by bringing Wikileaks to stands and did we really learn anything new globally? I believe not much except for knowing that life is hypocritical in the sense that there are things that are going on but we allow those in power to pretend as if they don’t. Those in power can’t pretend as if it’s not going on. Liars know that they lie and listeners need to understand that.
Some teachers recently told me that one cannot fight Indian occupation without understanding it. Luckily this is not true; if it were, our case would be hopeless. Even though India has considerable industrial power and defense capability at its command, we cannot rest content with this, for we know that even the biggest guns and the heaviest industry with its relatively high living standards are not enough to put the sentiment of Azaadi to sleep. Azaadi to us is what breathing to Indians is.
A lazy and largely ignorant citizenry doesn’t make for good democracy. Indians must make an effort at self-examination, which has been too rare, with basic integrity to understand the outrage of Kashmiris and whose understanding of the conflict we ultimately see beyond any doubt. Liberal classes in India can’t wash their hands off what ‘democracy’ does in their name. The picture of the barbarities and repression is unfathomable if they chose to see it.
The resistance in Kashmir is against the Indian disciplinary regime whose apparatus is the state of J&K. This long cycle of struggle against Indian atrocity in which the human capital gets lost has reached a stage where it will eventually force the occupational structure to modify itself and undergo a paradigm shift.
Kashmiris don’t reside in the representative institutions but in the antagonism and autonomy of themselves. How is the idea of India sustained here despite its brutal defensive force? This is mostly strengthened by the people who glorify the idea of India and the repressive power tactics it entails. No doubt all this will change. But one thing has become clear in recent times: the feeble efforts of the occupational government to dodge legitimate guarantees and to intimidate those who have made up their minds not to be intimidated, fight and die than see their political liberties being nibbled away, are not enough and probably will not be enough to destroy the yearning for human freedom.
There is reason to hope.
—The writer is a student of political science in University of Kashmir.