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Question of a common Kashmiri

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 10, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009 (Srinagar)

http://www.risingka shmir.com

Question of a common Kashmiri

Hurriyat Conference needs to end the 19 year long politics of Hartal in the realm of political wisdom

Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

The struggle of common Kashmiri, in particular Kashmiri Muslim, against social injustice and religious intolerance would be 132 year old, October this year. Kashmiri Muslims lodged their first formal complaint against social injustice in October 1877. It is alleged that to meet the food shortage the Maharaja administration drowned boat loads of Kashmiri Muslims in Wular Lake. It may not constitute genocide but comes very close to an attempt to depopulate a community.

It is unfortunate that the substantive character of Kashmiri politics has changed since the present phase of political and militant struggle started in 1990. The politician and the militant does not seem to have done as much home work as our elders continued to do from October 1877 to 1931 and from 1931 to August 1947. Our elders had very little to survive on and held heads as high as the oak tree. Their lives and programmes associated with them were transparent and in the collective best interests of the people.

Our elders during the first 54 years from 1877 – 1931 of their valiant struggle for social justice (idea of self-determination was nowhere in the political phrase) prosecuted with success a substantive political agenda, namely, State for the State’s people, and a responsible government. It forced the Maharaja to promulgate a Constitution in 1939. These may not have been all satisfactory achievements but remain in all manner a creditable effort of our elders. If it were not for the State Subject Law of 1927 the people of Kashmir would have been either assimilated into a broader Indian or Pakistani legal frame work or the rich of the two sovereign countries, with a number of disturbing cultural dissimilarities would have turned Gulliver in the Lilluput of Kashmir.

The recorded loss of life for this achievement does not disappoint in any manner. The total loss of life in 54 years stands at 23. Second phase of struggle from 1931 to 1947 is marked by two sovereign decisions by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. These include the conclusion of two bilateral agreements, namely Stand Still Agreement and Accession in August and October 1947 respectively with the sovereign Governments of Pakistan and India. It is also marked by the address of Sheikh Abdullah at the UN Security Council.

The third phase of struggle from 1990 to date does not bear any assuring similarity in substance and character to the first two phases. It is characterised by an unprecedented and irreparable loss of life in the history of Kashmir. More so the civil society has passed through an unprecedented suffering and violation of human rights. Common Kashmiri, man and woman have been humiliated and rendered helpless for the first time in the history of Kashmir. In fact this phase has killed the right of self-determination as a reality, by causing the loss of numericals required for a count. Right of self-determination may exist as a principle but it is dead for a long time to come as an achievable reality on the basis of a number count.

For the last 19 years common man and woman are made to pay in life and limb, in honour and dignity, in kind and property without an end in sight. The social set up in Kashmir, in particular among Muslims, has thrown up a two tier class system. Our politicians are physically secure and financially well resourced. They are paid according to the number of political activities and according to the number of photos that appear in the press.
They have elaborate arrangements to route the details of their activities to various quarters within and outside the State. Politics in Kashmir, more so, domiciled in Srinagar is appraised and it keeps them in competition to throw new slogans and keep on incrementing the miseries of the common Kashmiri. They fail to realise the fact that majority lives away from Raj Bagh, Maisuma, Hyderpora and Nagin. There is no match between the life of a Kashmiri domiciled in Srinagar and the one domiciled in Shahdara, Uri near the border.

The circumstances that surround the fate of our politician cause him to turn insensitive to the plight and needs of the common man. Therefore, our politicians continue to exact a pound of flesh on a regular basis. The unionist politicians have in recent elections categorically admitted that the resolution of Kashmir dispute is pending. They have taken a bold step and yielded to admit that it has to be resolved by restarting the dialogue with the Government of Pakistan. India has a case pending at the UN which makes Kashmir eternally disputed. She also admits that there is need for a dialogue with Pakistan to resolve the dispute.

UN resolutions on Kashmir have caused a title of self-determination in favour of the people of Kashmir. People of Kashmir have time and again made declaration in word, manner and in life that they wish to exercise their right to self-determination as equal people. Therefore, putting people through a drill of regular ‘HARTAL’ calls continuously for the last 19 years warrants an urgent rethink. Hartal calls do not hurt our leaders or their interests at all. Their arrest is royal and their indoor lives are grandiose. They can afford to occupy a space in the press and on the TV by introducing a concept of Hamas type parallel welfare system in Kashmir.

I would be the first Kashmiri to match any amount that the pioneers of this parallel welfare system are going to donate from their private resources. Our leaders have not voluntarily contributed in life during the last 19 years. Any loss of life in their families has been caused in a different and non voluntary atmosphere. Therefore, it is time for them to match up the sacrifices given in life by rest of common Kashmiris by donating part of their wealth to set up a “Hamas type welfare’ system in Kashmir. We are already late by 19 years and first donations/contribut ions should have been made by the top leadership of the camp which has espoused this idea.

Hartal politics and non serious political announcements have reached their expiry date and would not be attractive on the shelves any more. Our politicians need to admit that their market price is collateral and lacks durability. Accidents may cause a person into a leadership but it is the substantive merit of his political agenda that would sustain him beyond tomorrow. They are a poor minority as well. We need to cross over to the enduring majority of the common man and woman in Kashmir.

Unless the politicians who are fully resourced for the number of their activities decide to respect the common man and his day to day basic human needs and find alternative means to resource him, they shall continue to misdirect themselves in their own and in the alien interests. They shall continue to incur a long term criminal liability for misleading their own people and for abusing their trust. It is high time that our leaders sit together and examine the life as it was pre 1990 and as it has turned into post 1990. Even prophets have submitted themselves for examination and accountability. Department of politics in Kashmir can’t claim an immunity.

(Author is London based Secretary General of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. He can be contacted at dr-nazirgilani@ jkchr.com


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