Unfortunately, due to the belligerent temperament of the hardliners in Pakistan, Kashmir has been on the boil since the very inception of Pakistan. Both India and Pakistan have not been able to resolve the dichotomous issue with amicability thus far. Although there have been times of respite,when the guns do not blaze out the fury from both the sides. These moments of real ceasefire arevery rare to come by and can be counted the fingers of one hand. Rest of the times, the situation,more or less, in the valley just presents a grim and glum view of macabre massacres andghastly episodes of bloodsheds.
Indubitably, the pacifists from the Indian side have been making many earnest efforts to restore thelost peace and bonhomie but not even a single tree in the valley has so far witnessed the yieldingof the fruit of peace and harmony. In fact, the trees have shed their green leaves once for all. Theyhave altogether been denuded. The flowers of hope have wilted beyond the very scope of their re-blossoming. This is what a commoner peace-loving Kashmiri believes now. The intermittentskirmishes and scuffles between the Indian armed forces and the Pakistani forces (who are indeedin cahoots with their non-state actors), have derailed the bogie of life of an ordinary man inKashmir. Utterly dejected, a commoner Kashmiri is now desperate beyond measure and is therebyready to adopt any means to get peace and normalcy back. The predicament of the commoncitizens of Kashmir is too shattering to be described in any lexicons possible. Whether it is thePulwama carnage or the abrogation of the Article 370, the valley becomes a boiling cauldron withthe resultant toll on the lives of commoners living there. Now the abolishment of Article 370 hascaused a fresh controversy and capitalising on India’s internal constitutional matter, Pakistan istrying to fan the flames with its nefarious propaganda all across the world. Like a perfect predator itis always on the prowl to fish on the troubled waters. Of course, a particular political class in Indiais milking the abrogation episode to enhance its vote bank, the opposition has taken a tough standagainst it by giving it the shape of Hindutva agenda of the government. The political birds are notsinging in one melody due to their ulterior and vexed motives. Soe have glorified the movewhereas the others have minced no words and started berating the act of abolishment to thehighest possible degree. Unluckily, amidst these deafening rumbles of political brinkmanship andchicanery, no one has genuinely attempted to understand the plight and agony of the people ofKashmir, whose patience is now fully exhausted. Incarcerated in their own homes they have beenbearing the huge brunt of this bloody conflict for more than seven decades.
Particularly, the prevailing sorry state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir has been most detrimentalto its youth and one should be least astonished to see them spewing venom and pelting the armedforces with stones. Certainly, no efforts are being made here to justify their anti-lawful stances butthe bitter fact has also to be swallowed down the throats that the present generation living in thewar-ravaged Kashmir is born in the very cradle of constant gruesome struggle. It has been raisedunder the shadow of cannons and guns. Unlike the lullabies of our mothers, Kashmiri kids arelulled to a short restless sleep by the thundering sounds of heavy shelling and gunshots. Undersuch gory circumstances, it will be entirely juvenile to expect the youth of Kashmir to be resilientand stoically wait for some permanent political and diplomatic solution. Much to our chagrin, nosuch solution seems to be in the offing. The very upbringing of the youth of the valley amidstrelentless bellicosity and pugnacity brewing from both the sides at the LOC has created aperpetual war zone not only on the geography of Kashmir but in fact a ceaseless battle is alsobeing fought within every Kashmiri on the very battle-ground of his mind. This pageant of violenceand blood bath has badly bruised the psyche of the Kashmiri youth.
What else can be more perturbing than the fact that when a Kashmiri residing adjacent to the LOCin the valley plans get a new house constructed, he is not as particular about the symmetry of hisdrawing room as about the invincible strength of the in-house bunker, which becomes his onlyresort during the critical times of blitzkriegs and bombardments.The crisis is alarming as miscreantarsonists often go to the extent of setting schools on fire and vandalizing public property. There arecontinual lock-outs which foment the tension and fuel the frustration all the more. Owing to thismayhem and chaos, the economy of the entire valley is in shambles. It has plummeted abjectly asfarmers cannot afford the luxury to sow and harvest crops on time. Such situations add more insultto their already festering injuries. It is an inevitable fact that an ordinary Kashmiri has not been ableto retain his financial health in a good nick. Many are being driven to destitution. Therefore, withthe mounting desperation and seething indignation inside, their loyalties may possibly be shifting.In no way can one accuse a common Kashmiri of treason and treachery as they have been theepitome of patriotism and nationalism. But a distraught and disgruntled impressionable mind of ayouth cannot be outrightly lambasted with undue criticism if he is left with no other choice but tounleash his pent-up ire by shouting slogans and hurling stones.
Indisputably, the armed forces are performing their duty with utmost canniness by shooting everybefitting retaliatory reply whenever there is the slightest of provocation from the hostile neighbourbut simultaneously in order to set our own house right, the think tank of India must overhaul theirperspective pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir. They must chalk out a multi-pronged strategy whichsucceeds on the one hand to keep Pakistan at bay and on the other mitigate the soaringexasperation among the natives of the valley. It is not all about attaching POK back with India andcalling Kashmir an 'integral part' in a stylish rhetoric overloaded with polemics and platitudes. Letus think of the innocent common Kashmiri too.
This article was published in the print edition of Free Press Journal on November 19, 2019 with the heading Bring to light plight of J&K commoners.