- Aijaz Wani
When the kids in the rest of the country aspire for a decent and joyful life, ours, in the Indian occupied Kashmir seem happy with the stones, although, it in no way means that they don’t wish to see a great life ahead for themselves or they are diminutive when it comes to the word ‘talent,’ but history is testimony to the fact that they are blessed with enormous abilities to conquer the world. They too have aspirations and with that they too want to be like others; screen stars, prodigious musicians, dancers, versatile authors, distinguished physicians, engineers, artists, painters, great leaders, scientists, sports persons and what not; but all these thoughts disappear once for all from their psyches like a wintry fog, since their life with its ambience around is worser than worse to be called worst.
One should not wonder how thousands of young Kashmir’s since 2010 have turned into passionate stone pelters; as this did not happen overnight and without any reason, rather it all happened gradually in a hopeless world which hardly appeals to their better senses. All those from the prime minister of India to lady chief minister, who want to see books, cricket bats, and laptops in the hands of these young ones are actually denying them the same to them because what they could have done has never happened so far.
Unfortunately, over the years, most of the government officials and think tanks both at the central and state levels have been suggesting half-hearted measure in complete negation of the ground reality. Instead of putting in place a permanent political machinery to get engaged with all the stakeholders; the dispute efforts are on to rob the state of its legal and constitutional peculiarities. Under such circumstances expecting things to turn normal is but a fools dream.
Since 1947, till now all that was promised and agreed upon over Kashmir whether in the UNO or at the Tashkent has hardly been taken care of. Even the constitutional autonomy granted to the state through article 370 has been to a large extent eroded and fresh attempts are being made By the BJP -government to completely abrogate it. When the state herself intends to do all this damage, it is natural that seeds of political instability are given a chance to sprout. Post accession Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed nothing substantial but only brutal denials of truths and step motherly treatment meted by the central government. The only thing that has been focused and prioritized since then was to conduct elections in the midst of turmoil as a showcase of people’s participation and interest in the larger political framework of the country. The state level political parties like National conference and people’s Democratic Party, have only been used as political tool to stay with the people.
So what has actually happened over time is the brutal invasion of the state’s particular historical and political character thus leaving behind enough justification for all political agitations and discords within the state. People and political parties have become more assertive in their demands for different concessions from the central government. The voices for Azadi, autonomy and self-rule have become stronger and louder but the union leadership seems to be in no mode to address them. This in a way complicates the situation further. As the government has failed to address the broader political aspirations of the people in the state, an upsurge of large scale mass protests have been reinvented as a way of expressing anger against the state. Roads and streets in the Kashmir valley are now less often travelled by vehicles but more so by the young stone pelters. The atmosphere around has been so boiled that a minor incident around can unleash terror over the people.
Since 2008, till now, we are witnessing abject images of Kashmir where bullet and pellet guns are sending countless to the graveyards and turning many more blind. All those who escape can not find a better place than ‘jail’.
However, as Kashmir is turning out to be the youngest graveyard and the blind man’s paradise, the policy makers at Nagpur seem to be in mood to help and calm down the situation in the air conditioned rooms, and the solutions they offer to the government is; banning the internet, detaining civilians, particularly young ones behind the bars on charges of sedition and blinding more and more kids who ironically know how to use laptops, and playing best cricketing shots unlike Gambhir and Sehwag.
With this the story of Kashmir conflict moves and we find no ending to this turbulent phase of violence and misery. Under such hapless, and helpless circumstances, stones are the only weapons left to make someone listen or to be heard.
The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org