Kashmir: A Sorry State

Javid Ahmad Ahanger/Shafat Maqbool

Jammu and Kashmir, as a geopolitical entity and along with its people, has since 1947 been controlled by both India and Pakistan. One part is known to the people of Pakistan and Kashmir as “Azad Kashmir” while the Indian government refers to it as “Pakistan Occupied Kashmir”. The other part is under the control of India and Pakistan calls it “Indian Occupied Kashmir”. Both, however, prefer using the word ‘administered’ for their respective controlled areas. The grand narrative of Kashmir politics in the south Asian subcontinent has been divided into two concepts i.e., Pakistan recognizes Kashmir as its jugular vein (sheh-rag) and India as its integral part (atoot ang). The Kashmir conflict can be well understood by the statement of former Indian home minister P. Chidambaram who once said: “It’s all about broken promises which New Delhi from time to time had made with Kashmiri’s.” The statement has historical as well as logical power to understand the problem of Kashmir conflict. Clearly, the accession of Kashmir to India had been an issue as early as the time of independence and partition. As Alastair Lamb records, included in the instrument of accession itself was a special clause requiring plebiscite to determine the wishes of the people once law and order had been reestablished.  Unlike other princely states, Kashmir had acceded to India conditionally and that conditional integration was accepted by India’s post-independence leadership. So there seems to be no other choice for the leadership in Delhi but to come to terms with the historical legacy of Kashmir conflict. Yet they have for decades over ruled that choice and instead preferred to experiment with their own versions of what they call a ‘solution’ but to no avail.

When both the countries i.e. India and Pakistan could not find any solution to Kashmir conflict, people of the state revolted during early 1990s the people of the State came out to protest against the regime peacefully but the nature and behavior of the state was too brutal that it killed hundreds of civilians and hundreds have been disappeared and there are countless unmarked graves , which lead to the deep alienation of Kashmiris from the rest of India. Denial of such rights as civil liberties, fair trial, peaceful demonstration, freedom of press and speech, exercising of torture, disappearances, sexual assault on women and excessive force used by Indian security agencies led to the breakdown of democratic principles and people of Kashmir became aliens in their own land. It’s a matter of great concern that the India forces have been given a free hand to kill any person they choose. The killing of innocent civilians in 2008 Amarnath Land Row agitation and Kashmir Unrest 2010, in which more than 230 civilians were killed, changed the nature of Kashmir politics.


People protest during 2016 Uprising


The term 3rd civil Uprising often being used to describe the current phase of Kashmir Unrest, that has been witnessed from last five months and continued apace, witnessed from July 8 and  about 100 people have being killed by the state forces in the last five months so for. This popular uprising leading not only to the breakdown of law and order, but also the collapse of political authority of the state. An Azzadi sentiment has swayed every section and part of the valley, rather than bringing a peace and order in the state, the current regime has been using coercive power at its disposable contributing to the public anger and defiance which results in more deaths and injured. People have been openly defying the curfew and sanctions and the only law prevails is the protest calendar by joint resistant leadership headed by veteran leader Syed Ali Geelani. The current unrest has been the anger of people especially youths against the atrocities by the India for their birth right i.e. right to self determination.

    The nightmares for people of Kashmir starts from 1586 when Mughals came to Kashmir, afterward  Afghans, Sikhs, Dogra’s and now India is holding the birth right of  Kashmir. It begins right from Mughals, these shadows which are still hovering over the state. The people of Kashmir have been scarifying everything for their noble cause i.e. the Azzadi. Whenever time demands people came out unifyingly beyond political, social and religious classes. Consequently, 2016 is no way different, people presented a strong representation to give a strong message to India, we are enough courageous to stand for their right. The participation of young minds has given separatist politics and more aggressive and radical form. There is a renewed assertion of the goal right to self-determination. This summer, India came with every kind of tactics right from active forces to the propaganda machinery to derail the motivation of people. In this unrest around, more than 100 young boys were killed, more than 10000 injured and same numbers are languishing in different jails. The uprising of   2016 should not be taken as last in the arrow. These periods will come in this high-end movement and people have to respond strongly. These small patches are mileages to transform and signalling of their strength to the opponent.

Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan.

    Kashmir is an undisputed issue accepted by the world community. To succeed, people need to be patient with their sacrifice and emotions. India is a big country to fight them you need both internal courage and favourable geopolitical conditions. World’s changes and changes the destination of others. To be realistic, Small patches will never be powerful to cross the line; they have their own benefits to be reaped, apart from final the push for Azzadi and our leaders need to understand on these lines, to use hartals aptly. They are the tactics to show your strength to your invaders, and people of Kashmir have always stood on those grounds. Your opponent always checks your consciousness, courage and zeal for your Azzadi; we have been stalwarts to be defeated. When things are inaptly connects. Things are bound to be seen as a failure and people blame the leadership accordingly, which is altogether a wrong preposition. Our leaders are not divine they can be criticized, but with factual and realistic mind setup. To quote Chris Hadfield who has once said “Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.”

Rajmohan Gandhi, a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and a historian, rightly summarized the Kashmir situation in his article: “A de facto plebiscite already seems to have taken place there. Kashmiris appear to have voted with untiring throats, with eyes destroyed or deformed by pellets, and with bodies willing to fall to the ground for what the heart desires. And the vote seems to be for Azzadi.” The separatist leadership across the ideological divide represents a major political community in J&K, which will likely remain relevant for as long as the issue is not resolved. As, A.S. Dulat puts it as: The government in New Delhi has managed Kashmir poorly. There is a lot of anger on the streets and we need to pay attention to this. The current situation is worse than the earlier upheavals in 2008 or 2010, when there was also large-scale violence. This pent-up anger was waiting to explode and the killing of the separatist leader Burhan Wani proved the perfect trigger. In the absence of legitimate political forums, such sentiment increases unrest which builds until circumstances provide a martyr such as Burhan Wani, the young rebel whose killing by Indian security forces has ignited the protests in Kashmir. While the Kashmiris are fighting for their right to live with dignity, the powers around them are using them as pawns in the Great Game which is being played by India, Pakistan, Russia, America and China. The predicament of the Kashmir has been seized by a Kashmiri poet’s dreadful written in the 1940s: From all sides I am assaulted, The English, the Indians, the Afghans, the Pakistanis, To whom should I complain, to whom should I tell my fate? Capitalists, tyrants, oppressors, and friends, all want me To become their accomplice, With whom should I agree, with whom should I disagree? To whom should I complain, to whom should I tell my fate?

So there is a need to disengage hartals and curfew, militarization and militancy, extremism and human rights violations. Let people inhale normal air and let open our minds. Demands for Pro Self-determination, Pro India or Pro Pakistan, these all are political discourses and need to be dealt through political apparatuses of negotiations, discussions, meetings, dialogue and constant engagements of mutual prosperity to bring a constructive output. What Gandhi once said that Kashmir has all the capability to be known as ‘ray of hope’?



Javid Ahmad Ahanger, PhD Research scholar department of political science Aligarh Muslim University, email id:  Ahanger.javid786@gmail.com

Shafat Maqbool, PhD Research scholar department of commerce Aligarh Muslim University

Email id:-  shafatd8@gmail.com