Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Kashmir burns. But well, there is nothing new about it. Since the valley acceded to the Union of India in 1947, violence and bloodshed have been a routinised ritual in and around the vicinity. As happens always in the case of a "state versus anti-state" debate, a range of polyphonous voices struggle to supercede the tonal pitch of parallel others. Kashmir, undoubtedly, has emerged as an albatross around the Indian government's neck. This blog is written to ascertain my own position regarding the issue which has till date travelled from being a militant Indian patriot to an extremely sceptic subject of the Indian state. This is definitely not to launch into a 'liberal' or 'neutral' stance because such claims, per se, are attempts seeped in overambition and self delusion.

First things first, Kashmir became a part of the Union of India as a temporarily placatory measure to contain the unrest in the valley owing to the rebellion against Hari singh's rule in 1947. Temporary, precisely because the invited intervention of the United Nations declared a need for plebscite in due course of time. However, the refusal of the Pakistani army to vacate the valley served as a major impediment to carry out the 'non-binding' 1948 Resolution proposed by the UN. The two neighbours have fought bloody battles in 1965, 1971 and 1999 over the disputed terrain. But much to add to the woes, the matter still stands still, seized in the ravages of time past and present.

It is worth noting that in the official and governmental discourses on Kashmir, the focus is, more often than not, on the condition and fate of the coveted geographical, strategic, economic, political, sometimes cultural(though it is majorly a constucted entity) importance of the state. What these discourses have done and tend to do is to dessicate the inhabitants of Kashmir entirely from the interactions. Today when the myriad bandwagons with all sorts of political colours appropriate themselves as custodians and guardians to protect the interests of the people of Kashmir, one is left wondering as to which is the "kashmiri" voice? Was there any to begin with? When official handshakes and documents define peoples' faith and fate, is it not absurd to even think of using such a language of cajole and appeal infront of the masses settled there? Getting back to the Kashmir question specifically, who are the Kasmiris whose interests are claimed to be defended? And against whom? Those protesting voices against Hari Singh's economic policies who were left aghast at his decision to accede the land of Kashmir and its governance to India? Or those millions who migrated from the valley to settle abroad within and outside India? Or those who are at the mercy and beckon of the Indian Army's special powers? Or those who are forced to feed the clandestine guests and proprieters of their 'well being'?

The situation has been made increasingly complex and convulated with the wheels of time traversed from the state lived then in 1947 and now. Therefore, to arrive at an all or none solution by any group might be convenient to ease the burden of history but definitely not the 'correct' position to espouse. For affirmed believers like me, who invest unwavering respect in democratic credentials, self determination by the Kashmiri populace is an ideal position one dreams of. However, this idealism is well suited to air seemingly revolutionary, intellectually sound and politically concerned statements in a magazine or conference once in a while to grab sensational limelight for a requsite time period. To be able to meet the logistical and ethical requirements of the 'solution' proposed is an exercise laced with myriad defeats and rival antithetical concerns at the same time.

The question is when the Kashmiri self, per se, is divided, how can one allow self determination? It is a disgraceful but unfortunately an indisputable, given fact that Kashmir is an integral part of the Indian Union at present. Hence, one can not possibly isolate the burden of the technicalities of a working and existing nation state, India, to go for a toss and allow poetic diction to decide a future. At the same time, an emotional rhetoric which is often pornographically appealing and surrounds the 'touchy' issue of the Kashmir question, needs to be replaced by a much open and more sensitive outlook to discuss the same. Therefore, Arundhati Roy's views aired some time ago are as appaling as BJP's mission to unfurl the tricolour on Lal Chowk today. The individual weight of both the ideologically conceptualised positions are flawless in their own right, but given the politically unstable and volatile situation in the valley today, they are extremely callous and irresponsible responses.

As one among the many Indians who has sadly not even visited the valley once till date, i confess that i am sentimental about Kashmir in my patriotic zeal. However, also, as one among the many who is not blind to accept all that the states manufacture with a glutton's appetite, i am concerned about the fate and future of the millions of Kashmiri brethren alike. Within the annals of history and the winding corridors of the present (French Revolution, Ivory Coast etc..), it is apparent that a coercive regime of political repression- be it in the face of misuse of AFSPA or cross border terrorism or state sponsered atrocities-that peoples' voices and concerns cannot be contained for long. It would not be extravagant to presume that the professionally qualified and educated youth (as against malleable mass of humanity) who can pelt stones and throw shoes at the leaders can resort to infinite other creative modes to channelise their dissent. Let us not allow the vast pool of this intellectual capital to get lost in the mires of gun toting politics.

Through this blog i propose multilogues as against dialogues on the Kashmir issue to successfully resolve the dispute at hand. The reference to dialogue that assumes the right of the two 'mights' of the Government of India and Government of Pakistan needs to be modified for a comprehensive assessment. On the prior eve of this republic day, i retire for this day with a faint glimmer of hope that chosen words like cautiously implemented actions can perhaps help heal the bleeding wound of the white valley. If only the world was a little more sensitive..........

Jai Hind!

Should and can-when they meet.....

Should one erase all to begin anew?
Can one do that?
Isn't the idea itself absurd?
How will the first syllables one spoke
possibly drown in the umpteen words one speaks today?
How will the earlier lisp in the words
not echo again-
somewhere, somehow-
when i speak of you?
Is it not too much to demand from the bird-
to leave that nest
where she could not live
but was fed from?
What about her desire to stick the olive leaf
she holds in her beak today
to the dry, withering twigs in the nest-
that she left once
dreaming to come back again?
Is it not too much to ask of her?
Is it not too much to snatch from her?
Is it not too much to claim against her?