Known for his knack for promoting Kashmiri culture and language, writer Zareef Ahmad Zareef speaks at length about various aspects of Kashmir issue. Here in conversation with Kashmir Vision, Reporter Irfan Tramboo Zareef Ahmad Zareef speaks his heart out on how the present unrest has been going haywire.
KV: How do you see current situation in Kashmir?
Zareef Ahmad Zareef: The situation is grim right now. What is adding to the present chaos and confusion is the directionlessness, and not knowing what we are actually going to achieve. No particular goal is in sight. You see the youngsters are giving unflinching sacrifices, but there is no output at all. The meter of success is not going up; rather it is going down day by day. The current situation is deep rooted, and can be understood by understanding the past. We have always been made to suffer by those who were in power, or those who claimed to be the leaders of our nation, but ultimately what they did was totally opposite to what they claimed to be.
KV: Today’s youth is different and defiant in nature, given the fact they are not listening to anyone. What do you think is the reason?
Zareef Ahmad Zareef: Today’s youth is angry. In anger they do such acts that defame our struggle, internationally. Like for instance, angry youth used to wave ISIS flags, don’t you think that such acts defame our pious and genuine struggle? We have got nothing to do with such organizations. There is a need to have a deeper understanding, more patience and far sightedness among the youth. They cannot isolate themselves from rest of the world, they have to have an eye on global politics; how it works. You talked of defiance. It is natural, as the current leadership has failed to deliver. They are aimless, and goal less. They themselves don’t know where to go. Under such circumstances how can you expect them to deliver? So, there indeed is defiance on the roads, because youth want their sacrifices to lift them up, to let them have something in their hands. So far their sacrifices are in a sense, a waste.
KV: Do you think that there is a need to produce a new leadership?
Zareef Ahmad Zareef: Yes, as I said that the present leadership is directionless. They don’t know where to go. There surely is a need to produce a new leadership. This new leadership has to come from those who are on the ground, fighting for the cause. I recently happened to meet some people from pro-freedom leadership. I told them that: don’t you think that there is a need to have foolproof strategy to fight the power that is killing and blinding our youth? The hartal politics has fetched us nothing, but economic disaster.
So, to tell you, they have got no road map; there is no strategy in place. I told them that people are giving their lives—true, that to achieve something, one has to offer sacrifices—but there is totally no outcome of unflinching sacrifices that they have offered, and continue to offer.
KV: The militant organizations in Kashmir are now and then releasing videos; reaffirming that the ongoing struggle is for the establishment of Sharia in the region, and same is the mentality of the youth on the roads, how do you see all this?
Zareef Ahmad Zareef: I am not a politician. I only talk with reference to the history and after analyzing the events that occur. With reference to your question, I’d say that if our youth will keep an eye on the international politics, they will see that the country where from Islam originated, Saudi Arabia, and the king there invites Prime Minister Narendra Modi, terms him as one among the top leaders of the world. What Islam are they talking about?
Our youth should be able to able to understand this dimension of international politics. In the present scenario, invoking religion is not a good thing, and when you talk about your struggle by wrapping it around the religion, it can only prove to be counterproductive. Our youth should take note of this thing.
KV: What is civil society currently doing for the rehabilitation of pellet victims?
Zareef Ahmad Zareef: Initially we have started with the rehabilitation process of almost 27 pellet victims. We have given them 25000, 10000 and 15000 rupees, and additionally, we have decided to issue a monthly allowance of 3000 rupees to those who have been rendered disabled for rest of their lives. Civil society has taken this rehabilitation process on priority basis. I would like to make it clear here that this money has not come from any organization, we at civil society have pooled this money and have started the process. Some of the pellet victims are even undergoing treatment in Hyderabad.
KV: Your recent visit to Dubai ignited a debate in different circles regarding what was the need of spending huge money on tours? Why was not the money for used for the rehabilitation of victims?
Zareef Ahmad Zareef: I didn’t spend a penny from my pocket. There are some Kashmiris professionals, employees living in Dubai. They had decided to organize a meeting of personalities from different walks of life living in Kashmir. It was all an individual effort. Different persons living in Dubai, those who actually organized the tournament called a person of their liking living in Kashmir, and made it possible for him to travel to Dubai and be a part of the meeting that was organized. The organizers, apart from spending money on the event are generously donating the money to different charitable organizations working in Kashmir. The thing is to say that if they are spending on such endeavours, they are also generously helping those who are in need. We had to listen to a lot, but we were, and we are sincere.