Kashmir at a Crossroads

Kashmir at a Crossroads

By Aabid Rehman Pala

Kashmiris are considered as one of the most hospitable and peaceful people in the world. History is witness to the fact that they never endorsed violent intrigues This is why, right from the Kalhana’s Kashmir, they have been ruled by outsiders. Be it the Afghans, the Chakhs or the Mughals the Sikhs or the Dogras, Kashmiris’ innocence has always been used against them. They have scarcely witnessed any era of peace for which they have always yearned for.
In the present era, when the world is celebrating democracy, the people of the valley are still longing for peace. They witness unrest and turbulence on a quotidian basis. People in Kashmir have to live in an ambiance where they are uncertain of returning back home safely. They are not sure about the safety of their children that when they would indulge in stone pelting and get killed, maimed or blinded. In this ambiance where even the dignity of the women is not safe, how come Kashmiris join the world in celebrating democracy?
The need of the hour is peace- the kind that would bring back the lost glory of Kashmir, the peace that would be based on justice, not that justice, the peace where a mother is no longer left to live as a half-mother, the peace where their children would not be compelled to choose the path of violence. They want to witness the era where they no longer had to shoulder the coffins of their children. Kashmiris want an era of tranquility where they let their young ones to dream with a free and open mind.
But, alas, the people of the valley are fudged and deceived deplorably by all the political parties. Be it the NC, the PDP or the INC, all are sailing in the same boat. The NC rescinded autonomy and instead brought draconian laws as a gift to its people. They are responsible for the bloody years of 2009, 2010 and 2013. They also bear the blot of engulfing the Shopian double rape-murder case which was then cashed in on by the PDP for its political benefit. When PDP found that the people lost the faith in NC, they highlighted the killings of 2010 and also the Shopian double rape-murder case. They then protested against the NC government and shed some crocodile tears in the assembly. That was enough for them to gain the sympathy of the people and come to power. They also sought the votes of the people particularly to keep BJP out of the state. But, later on they joined the hands with the same party to form the government. In 2016, they introduced to the valley the longest curfew of around two months and were also successful in hunting down around 130 people in the same year, in the name of the so called law and order. The irony is that despite conniving wit New Delhi, the so called “mainstream” parties always vaguely keep lambasting each other.
Instead of putting end to the long lasting conflict of South Asia, they are building castles in the air. They want to hug everyone in the valley. Maybe they would be thinking that a single hug would heal all their pain. Maybe by a hug, a mother would forget her disappeared son, a father would forget the coffin of his toddler, a brother would shun the shattered dignity of his sister and a son would no longer wish to see his father of whose love and sympathy he had tantalized for years. They keep on waving their inscrutable political hands callously and blindly which doesn’t alter anything on the ground.
Kashmir would be ready for a hug gleefully only when the aspirations of its people are heard, respected and implemented. They would be happy when they would see a hope of returning peace to their homeland. But unless and until, the truth is accepted and the ground reality is addressed, nothing is going to change. The conditions and the underlying reality in the valley would remain incorrigible.

—The author is a student of English Literature at the Department of English, Aligarh Muslim University. He hails from Frisal, Kulgam Kashmir and can be reached at pala.abid@gmail.com.