“Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was acknowledged as the tallest leader of Kashmiri Muslims and equally tall was his political ambivalence because of his quest for unchallenged political power…”By Junaid Mir
Reported by Team RK
Originally published in the Nation UK
27 July 2020
What’s ailing Kashmir?
IT is criminal parenthood. Yes, the last thirty years can be likened to a situation where a parent agrees to put his children on the chopping block in exchange for assured grand lifestyles. The local Kashmiri Muslim (couldn’t have been a Hindu) leadership (of two kinds: mainstream and separatists) in the valley bargained with the lives of gullible Kashmiris for their (mainstream) assured grip over the highest chair in the erstwhile state and the other kind (separatists) for assured incomes and protection from both sides of the divide.
It has been an amazing transformation from being a fun loving Kashmiri to a thoroughly indoctrinated, like a well programmed robot, venom spewing inhuman and thoroughly communalized one. Indeed from being an individual who would run at the site of a CRPF cop (may be throw a few stones from a distance that would fall well short of target) to the one shouldering AK47 out to kill anybody (on orders), is a remarkable transformation in the very psyche. That those smiling innocent faces would one day be found masked and hiding in the jungles (or , under protection in some households) instead of enjoying a movie in a cinema hall or indulge in some prank on the roads as college going student is a tragic narration of how dishonest politics can dehumanize generations.
The question, however, is: how and why did a community – mostly illiterate until 1953- manage to shake the Indian Nation State out of their wits and deep slumber and dispatch the Pandits – category of a 100 % allegiance to the Indian Union- to an indefinitely long leave from the valley to reside in camps in the various parts of the country they owed (owe) allegiance to, just within 37 years of their getting educated (courtesy: education policy of Late Sri Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed)?
Politics of opportunism:
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was acknowledged as the tallest leader of Kashmiri Muslims and equally tall was his political ambivalence because of his quest for unchallenged political power. So he tirelessly strived to water the seed of separatism in Kashmir, while projecting himself as a victim of ‘Delhi politics’. His successors to the throne (from his family) also continued to blame Delhi for what they imagined to be broken promises. Sheikh had no compulsion to accept the 1974 accord, but for some political motives he chose to become a party to it.
The Congress sponsored (from Delhi) Chief Ministers like Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq and Mir Qasim were like stop gap arrangements (1964-1974) whose political affiliations too were not very much defined.
The only non-opportunistic political personality- with clear cut acceptance of the Instrument of Accession- was Sri Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad; twice PM of the erstwhile J&K state and who
brought in lot of development in the valley; created jobs in the state and more significantly made education (including university level) free for all. Free education and creation of jobs and expansion of transportation network led to the emergence of Kashmiri Muslim middle class. In addition to his unquestioned loyalty to the Indian Union, he was a truly secular person. His resignation under Kamraj Plan was accepted in 1963/64. The era of J&K having a PM literally ended with his resignation.
Post 1974, the era of dynasty politics started as also blaming Delhi for all the internal ills of the ruling elite.
In 1971 came a shocker.
Jamait-e-Islami professed the birth of Bangladesh as the deliberate and well planned political scheming of India only to decimate Pakistan, which was not only inconceivable for them, but also unacceptable. The Narrative, (in Kashmiri) when translated in to English, was “India broke Pakistan and now it’s our duty to do something”. So, the preparations began in right earnest for teaching India a lesson by planning secession of Kashmir from her possession. Jamait-e-Islami was in fact the doer (prime mover) and other designated mainstream political parties / separatists were silent approvers of its political aim.
Jamait-e-Islami had a knack for maintaining good personal relationships, while being firm on their political aim. It was quite a routine for their members to tell Pandit friends that one day, in some years to come, they will have to leave the valley and that there was expected to be bloodshed at a very large scale. Some of them would smilingly say “Pandit ji you are constructing this house, but one day it will come to our possession”. The Pandit friends could never get the message through, because the whole plan and its execution were very intelligently kept a top secret.
Pakistan came very handy for the Jamait-e-Islami and the porous border facilitated cross border movements without anybody raising an eyebrow. Never know if some money changed hands at the crossing points!
So, the insurgency in 1989 did not erupt abruptly, as some analysts would make the world believe, but its beginning was made in the year 1971.
While a serious and committed political activity was being planned very quietly, the farce of mainstream political parties was in full swing as they helped anti India sentiments grow by leaps and bounds by defacing each and every institution that left the youth bewildered and disenchanted with India. The process was started by Sheikh to help discontent grow in the valley because it was for that cause alone that he had accepted to be CM instead of PM of the erstwhile J&K state (under 1974 accord). It was a very commonly circulated reply from Sheikh’s right hand man Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg to educated unemployed,” this is not the time to look for jobs, it’s time to start preparing for the fight for Azadi against India”.
His family members continued the tradition and as if to add spice to pakodas, a new political outfit was born and christened as People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Led by rank communalist and believed to be responsible for 1988 Anantnag riots as also kidnapping of his daughter in 1990. The PDP came in to being in 1999; it’s worth remembering that its founder was the Home Minister (HM) of India when Pandits were thrown out of the valley. Even while there were allegations against him for engineering 1988 riots, he was rewarded with the post of HM. What a compromised Indian State!! So, to dismember India all local Kashmiri politicians were in league.
The incongruity of the situation was that the so called Hindutva leadership was in full praise of the PDP Chief and were busy coining ‘Kashmiriat, Insaaniyat, Jamhooriat’ thus endorsing that expulsion of the Pandits from the valley strengthened Kashmiriat and Insaaniyat! While the NC and others were busy giving certificates regarding communal brotherhood to their own selves!
Blot on leadership:
Those who claim to have led the movement for independence of Kashmir from India ended up disgracing the term ‘Leader’. They never fought from the front; never faced any hardships from the security forces; never came out in the open to challenge their imagined oppressor; never went out of their street, mosque or mohalla to address meetings in different places of the region. While the youth was getting eliminated at the hands of security forces, the leaders put forward a stone pelting gang of youngsters only to ruin their life and yet ensured no scar ever touched them or their relatives. Their only rendezvous used to be Pakistani Embassy in Delhi that inflated their sense of being while being served with Pakistani delicacies. There couldn’t have been a better way of a parent putting his child on the chopping block while he enjoyed biryani with the ‘thousand cuts’ theory instigator cum collaborator across the border.
(Mir Junaid is an alumni of law school, university of Kashmir. He’s the president of Jammu Kashmir Workers Party (JKWP).His areas of special interest being grass-root governance, gender justice and policy making. He can be reached at: email@example.com. He tweets @MirJunaidJKWP)