Mir Suhail Rasool
The 20th century political history of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed many uprisings, revolutions and movements followed by dialogues process but the core issue hardly witnessed any development, which the people aspire for decades together. The Kashmir conflict has evolved radically and traumatically since the hasty partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. The conflict is complex and multi-dimensional, that is historical, socio-economic, political, religious and international dimensions it is a spot where both countries –India and Pakistan-frequently face off. It is apparent that Kashmir dispute has changed from a comparatively simple territorial dispute to a far more complex and political issue having global implications.
Being one of the intractable unresolved conflicts in the world, the conflict has caught the attention of many intellectuals and writers. Eminent writers across the globe have written books, articles and discourses. The Kashmir conflict has both external and some internal factors. External sources of Kashmir conflict are generally recognized by scholars like antagonistic or rancorous relationship between India and Pakistan and incompetent or inefficient role of United Nations organization and internal factors like bad politics in the state since 1947. The political parties in Kashmir stand divided in the politics of Jammu and Kashmir. The people of Kashmir have become increasingly isolated and dissatisfied with the democratic setup of India. They have complete disillusionment with the politics and representatives, with the decisions and decision makers, all political parties have history of adopting the process of political exploitation. The response of state government towards subjugated/angry youth of valley has not been convincing and satisfactory. Both centre and state government failed to resolve the demands of youth, instead of resolving their demands, they deepened the alienation among them, the alienation among youth arises because of political disempowerment in state.
India continues its existence in Kashmir only by means of might of its military, and the force of its guns. The historical space of Kashmir’s emotional and sentimental bouts went through several phases and today’s conflict resonates some “spreading centres” after-effects like, the enduring unrest stretching from core to peripheries. It is very unfortunate and most unfair that the Kashmir freedom struggle has been be ‘projected’ in a different light globally. Countries like the USA and Russia have remained silent spectators for too long, scratching their own backs and watching Indian military-intelligence atrocities in Kashmir. On the other side China issuing a sympathetic statement in favour of Pakistan and US in some way playing the “appeasing tactic” of having both nations in their ‘best terms’
Strategically, Kashmir is besieged between three south-Asian nuclear weapons states of India, Pakistan and China. Because of its strategic geographic location and political significance, Kashmir has become embedded in the minds of both Pakistan and India and both claiming Kashmir. In this context the Kashmir valley has become important for both Pakistan and Indian in particular and world politics in general.
On the other side, the people of Jammu and Kashmir rose against cumulative injustice and have been fighting for their right of self-determination and want that they should themselves decide about their political future, as committed to them by the UN Resolutions of 1948-49 but the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and their right to struggle are being muffled not only by Indian stubbornness but, even more so, by the neo-imperial western hegemonic powers led by the US which wants to build India as a obstruction against China’s emerging power in Asia. On the other side Pakistan’s all-weather ally China also showed interest in the Kashmir region, since it provided as an excellent trading route for China to transport its products to Central Asia. The Pakistan fortified its relationship with China since then the “Sino-Pakistani alliance has been a foundation of Pakistan’s outside approach”
Kashmir problem is a consequence of the failure of democracy’s hardware. The formal political institutions of democracy have been maintained erratically in Kashmir. Realistically Human Rights Violations and democracy have no place. The so-called Armchairs of democracy like US have deliberately chosen a meaningful silence on large-scale human rights violation by the Indian Armed Forces in Kashmir. Being most militarized state in the world, the people of Kashmir are suffering under occupation. It is obvious that whenever there is a gross violation of Human Rights, the people turn to unrest and adopts the way of uprising or protest. Such violations by Indian security forces add fuel to uprisings and worsen the situation. For example the pellet guns were banned in many countries but such lethal weapons are still used in Kashmir to blind hundreds from children’s to elders. But the people of Kashmir particularly youth are no more frighten to pellet, bullet, they continue to protest against oppression and call for freedom (Azadi).
The new wave of unrest that spread out in 2016 was quite different from earlier scenarios in terms of strength, magnitude, and the nature of mobilization. The rapid mobilization in the aftermath of Burhan Wani’s killing points towards the much awaiting demands of the Kashmiri people to get a new opening to decide their own political prospect. The intensity of violence varies from time to time, at present the uprisings are because of India’s undemocratic ways within Kashmir. Kashmiris have given many sacrifices of their children, wives, sons, men etc for the slogan ‘AZADI’. The word ‘Azadi’ is gaining attractiveness among the Kashmiri youth, mobilizing them in large numbers.
The conflict is ongoing because of the enduring struggle between India and Pakistan over the region; it serves the role of establishing and maintaining group identities also In terms of domestic politics of both the nations Kashmir also came to play a prominent role like In Kashmiri dominant constituencies in Pakistan and in India also.
This historical struggle of Kashmiris is always met by the state’s barbarian acts and force. India always keeps its masses blinded about Kashmir, whose struggle for a political solution remains bewildering till another cycle of protests and ominous killings return. The youth in Kashmir are left with very little hope and see no peaceful future for them. But they have staunch belief that only free Kashmir will lead to a prosperous future for the future generation.
—The author is a Doctoral candidate at the Department of Sociology University of Kashmir. He can be reached at: [email protected]