8th July: The Day that is Etched in the Memory of Kashmiris

8th July: The Day that is Etched in the Memory of Kashmiris
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Rameez Bhat

Before discussing the role of Burhan Wani in Jammu and Kashmir’s history, it would be prudent to furnish a brief outline over the nature of Jammu & Kashmir. The region is well-nigh a mountainous region and the geo-political position of the state is at variance with the other regions of the subcontinent. It consists of three distinct geographical units: Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh. The region covers an area of about 84,471 sq. miles. As it is believed, the state was created by the British government in 1846. Till this datum Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh were separate and distinct areas reigned by different rulers. In 1819, Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab invaded Kashmir. In 1808, Jammu was annexed to the Sikh territory. In 1834, Raja Gulab Singh, the ruler of Jammu, sent Zorawar Singh with a force of about 800-1100 to conquer Ladakh and consequently Gulab Singh became Raja of Ladakh as well.

Now, let us shift our focus on the modern history of Jammu and Kashmir. It started from the signing of Instrument of Accession by Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, and at the same time, we can’t ignore the role played by the Poonch uprising that preceded the entry of tribals into the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947; otherwise it was decided by the British government that the princely state of the whole India have their rights, whether to join India, Pakistan or remain independent; and the state of Jammu and Kashmir slipped into the arms of India through the instrument of accession. But, it should be remembered that the first prime minister of India had frequently promised the plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir yet it did not happen and it is in this chief ugly betrayal that the rise of Burhan Wani could be seen.

Burhan wani was born in Dadsara village of Tral. He left his home and became a militant on 16th October in the year 2010 at the age of 15. It is widely believed that a sort of confrontation with security force where they beat him along with his brother Khalid Muzzafar Wani gave birth to this young rebel who later became a poster boy of Kashmir. Wani was martyred on the 8th July along with his two associates by forces at Kokernag, Islamabad.

He was the first rebel who utilized social networking sites to implicitly persuade the youth into joining the militant ranks. Burhan lived about 6 years after joining militant ranks but in those six years he gained a vast multitude of sympathizers. The Indian Express report along with reports from local media mentioned that he was militant without firing a single shot.Wani became the first rebel from Kashmir who was discussed in the United Nations.

The prayer in absentia for Burhan was offered not only in Kashmir valley but also in Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and many other countries.

Wani’s killing , a kind of metaphor for the state’s approach towards Kashmir has shattered many myths. The Pradhan-Mantri of the world’s largest democratic country, Narendra Modi (NAMO) is ruling the whole India without any coalition government. He introduced the concept of digital India but Kashmir hardly seems to be the part; whether of this digital world or global village. People living outside Kashmir relish the era of digital world but people living inside Kashmir still dream about new media age.

It was late Mufti Sayed who stitched a coalition with the BJP, a party deriving its sustenance from the the ideology of RSS. When Bamdoora happened, on 8th July 2016, the whole of Kashmir marched on the highways in unison. An innocent, unarmed group of civilians were mercilessly fired by the forces. From that moment till now , we again lost around 685 precious lives, with scores and thousands injured; 1000’s of civilians were blinded by using pellet guns, and many more were put behind bars and houses were destroyed.

Since the last 70-years and even during the period of the despotic Maharaja rule there hardly a year that has passed without uprising.. Now, it is a moral responsibility of our leaders (’not those who just pretend to be the leaders of Kashmir via their columns, coming in news channels but in reality they are the worst enemies of Kashmir) help resolve the conflict.

The author hails from Baramulla and can be reached at: ramizspeaks77@gmail.com