By Syed Suhail Yaqoob
Kashmir conflict is now more than fifty years old. Over the years it got murkier, more intense and bloodier.T housands lost lives, many more injured; infrastructure and institutions, both of social and government, crippled. As of today, no solution seems to be in proximity which is acceptable to India, Pakistan and Kashmir. India and Pakistan have gone for three wars over this strategic territory. It is only by chance that Kashmir issue has not triggered a nuclear war yet. International opinion is deeply worried over the prospects of nuclear war between these nuclear countries. Kashmir is supposed to work as trigger, in addition to whole lot of other issues which include rise of fascist forces in India and the world. After BJP’s landslide victory in India, the country is in euphoria, and is drowning in undue and extreme Hindu Nationalism.BJP government has largely been hugely successful in bridging gap between Indian Nationalism and Hindu Nationalism, thus making it difficult for the secular forces to criticise the present government’s policies and theories.
Paid media has made things worse. It has played its role in the creation of “Modi wave” which is nothing but RSS backed ‘Hinduvata” sentiment. There now occur very few constructive debates on Indian New channels. Every debate is restricted between “you versus us”. It is between nationalism versus anti-nationals. How much Indian media is influenced by the forces of Hindutva and fascism could be seen how they justify government’s actions in Kashmir valley and it’s animus towards Pakistan. Media even went to the extent of justifying human shield in the valley. Farooq Ahmad Dar was tied to the bonnet of the military vehicle and paraded through many villages in defiance of human rights. Any voice defending this poor fellow was being dubbed as “Anti-National”. It was to humiliate not only this very person but entire Kashmiri population. Farooq had gone to vote but was caught and tied. To add salt to the injury, Indian media justified the actions of Major. Gogoi by portraying him as being “Innovative” and “Brave”.
It was a new low in ethics and morality of Indian media which is financed by fascist forces in and around India. Many more commendations came from Indian Army Chief for this innovative major. The political class jumped to portray the major as being “truly Indian” and gave army its green signal to adopt more “innovative” approaches to solve it once for all. In its approach to Pakistan, it seems Indian media is pushing public opinion towards war with Pakistan without regards to its consequences. In these times of media control of public opinion, the Indian government will come under pressure to confront Pakistan militarily.
This chauvinistic and macho approach is leading India to a deadly face-off in Kashmir. Indian forces are directly confronting Kashmiri unarmed civilians. The recent cases of young boys moving close to encounter sites are a chilling reminder of things to come. Future is looking dark with no ray of light. Over the past years, young boys have continued to show defiance by moving close to encounter sites; many protestors were killed or directly fired on. This has bred vicious cycle of violence which refuses to ebb out. Politicians have jumped in the fray only to make situation worse.
With the coming of PDP-BJP alliance Kashmir has gone further backwards. Kashmiris are defining PDP-BJP alliance as illegal as PDP garnered votes to keep BJP out but instead brought it into Kashmir. From the day one, the alliance has not worked well and governance is not visible in the streets of the valley.
It is supposed that BJP at the centre deliberately undermined the alliance to use Kashmir issue in the next general elections. Kashmir is becoming next “Babri Masjid issue” for BJP. It may suffice here to mention that peace in Kashmir will be detrimental to BJP’s policy for 2019 general elections. The party at the centre seems to have made its mind to allow situation to worsen and exploit the sentiments of Indian people in the elections. The “lack of policy” is actually a “policy of the government”. Kashmir has been an extremely sensitive and emotional issue for the local population of India after cow and Babri Masjid. Since Cow and Babri Masjid issue have almost laid the eggs for the BJP, it is now Kashmir which is seen highly potential “vote garnering machine”. It is exactly due to this very notion that the powers that be at the Centre refuses to have a clear stand on its policy towards Kashmir.BJP and RSS have, perhaps, learned from its past mistakes. With the demolition of Babri Masjid, the sentiments around Hindu Nationalism seemed to have faded out. They killed the very hen that laid eggs for them. So present government will turn Kashmir into another “Babri Masjid” but will continue to exploit it for their political gains instead helping it to solve it.Crisis in Kashmir not only keeps Indian and Hindu nationalism in contact but helps India to divert attention of public from other pressing issues like lack of governance, poverty and health crisis. Any solution to Kashmir crisis will bring other faultiness (issue of Dalit rights, control of bania’s over economy, low growth rate in Indian economy etc.)in India into open which the country cannot afford to have especially when India is expected to be new super power ,at least , in Asia. Kashmir is made a scapegoat and it is the “deliberate policy failure” to allow it to lay as much eggs as it can. Neither BJP nor any government in India will like to kill this golden hen. Crisis in Kashmir is beneficial, peace is deadly. George Orwell once said “War is Peace”.
—The author teaches at the Department of Economics in Kashmir University. He can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org