Friday, 30 May 2008

Kashmiri Struggle: Don't wake me up

Kashmiri Struggle: Don't wake me up
Shabir Choudhry

After lapse of the British paramountcy, on 16 August 1947, legally and constitutionally Kashmir became independent. The Maharaja of Kashmir had three possible options: Accession to India, accession to Pakistan or declare his independence. There were many influential voices who urged him to take one of the options if he was to avert serious and imminent threat to his State and rule.

Although the Maharaja wanted to become an independent ruler, but he lacked will to take a decision in favour of it, or any decision regarding the future of the State. Like a pigeon he thought if he closed his eyes the perceived imminent threat would pass by. Contrary to his wish that did not happen, and when he opened his eyes the Kashmiri freedom fighters and the tribesmen were marching towards his capital, Srinager. After realising that the threat has not passed by he requested help from India. And when he went to bed that night he said:
If the tribesmen reach Srinagar before the Indian help, don't wake me up - shoot me in my sleep.

After realising that there is a serious threat to the Kashmiri struggle for independence, I started writing a serious of articles to explain the growing danger. I wanted to shake the Kashmiri people that they get up and see what is happening to the Kashmiri struggle. I thought after understanding the factual position they would analyse the whole scenario and see what went wrong and where the struggle is being led. I thought they would soon realise what would be the ultimate outcome of it, if appropriate actions were not taken

I know how talented and dedicated the Kashmiri people are. They have the ability to understand, analyse and plan strategies which are suitable to our struggle. I thought my efforts would be appreciated. But to my surprise I was told by some ( there were many who understood the message I wanted to give in its right perspective) that I was spreading pessimism- demoralising people. I thought I was giving them a wake up call, that they do not complain afterwards that they were not warned about the fast approaching threat. But it looks that they have adopted the strategy of the Maharaja, they don't want to be disturbed.

When I gave them a few examples and explained the message I wanted to convey, some of them agreed with it and acknowledged that they did not read it like that. They agreed that it made a better sense now, but still argument was that it should not have come from me, as I was too well known and hold important positions and this coming from me could demoralise people. In other words I should not tell truth and must not tell people about the dangers to the Kashmiri peoples struggle for unification and independence, because there are certain titles attached to my name. But I am sure I can express my views in my personal capacity - as an unfortunate member of the forcibly divided and oppressed Kashmiri nation.

There are two ways of looking at the situation. From one point of view it could be disappointing to some to read about the ground reality as I saw it and explained. The other view is that I am giving them some hard facts that they realise the danger, analyse the situation and work out appropriate strategies which suit our struggle for united and independent Kashmir.

This point is best highlighted with an example. When Bangla Desh was still East Pakistan and the war was going on. There were some who, after analysing the ground realities came to a conclusion that we cannot win this war, we have to have a cease -fire and find some non military solution. Those who were in a position to take decisions told them that you are pessimists, and you are demoralising the people. We are in a winnable situation; we will fight to the last man and drive India out of East Pakistan. In any case American 6th Fleet is on the way.

If the first view was carefully listened to and people in power (generals and their advisers) had not closed their eyes and minds then they could have saved Jinnah's Pakistan, and avoided a humiliating defeat which resulted in the surrender of the biggest army in the Islamic history.

If I am a pilot of a plane which develops some technical fault or confronts a air storm. I have two options: either caution passengers that they can take appropriate steps, or at least mentally prepare them for what is likely to happen shortly; or say who cares - they will soon find out themselves when either we hit the ground or the plane is in turbulent. No matter how painful, accepting ground reality is the best policy, because that would help to make a suitable strategy to face the challenge at hand; and if nothing else it mentally prepares you to confront it.

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