Thursday, 31 October 2013

Struggle to Disempowerment, Sahil Mushtaq

Struggle to Disempowerment, Sahil Mushtaq
October 31, 2013 by Team SAISA 
Article “Absence of Structured Response “ by Firdous Syed published in Greater Kashmir on 25 October very aptly explains as to why the direction taken by the Kashmir struggle has resulted in dis-empowerment of the people, brought about through constitutional erosion. While the writer has very nicely diagnosed the disease, he did not touch upon the causative systemic failures of the struggle that brought about the mess in the struggle.

Firstly, for any struggle to succeed, there is a need for an “ideology” to be based on certain ideals and realistic goals. This could have helped in emergence of the leadership based on defined roles and end state of the struggle. The stakeholders were not aiming for the empowerment of the people, rather at each stage of the struggle they were struggling for their own supremacy.  This led to fractured goals and struggles within the struggle. Scares of collective destiny of the people of Kashmir are just the façade created by our revered separatist leaders. Large Indian state with hugely superior military and economic might found it too easy to design the counters to such individualistic aspirations of leadership. When fracturing was inherent to the struggle New Delhi had to simply keep the divides intact.

Secondly, the Kashmir struggle could never get woven around the unique character  of Kashmir that is kashmiriyat and secular frame, which have acted as the spine of Kashmir for hundreds and thousands of years. Involvement of Pakistan, a society characterized by hardcore Islamic fundamentals, eroded the very strength of Kashmir. Militancy, leading to the displacement of kashmiri pandits and numerous forms of trauma, kept the kashmiris confused about the way the struggle was heading. Sources of national pride were systematically eroded through 25 years of violence and we the Kashmiris, either for fear of life or due to true personal gains allowed all this to happen. Leadership of struggle never worked for constitutional supremacy, they were simply fighting a turf war for personal fiefdom, relegating interest of the people to infinity.

Thirdly, only those struggles have been successful that have realistic goals and are based on stage wise realization of sub goals. This itself is dependent on the consolidation of the society and ideals, which pose a sustained threat to the adversary’s ideology. In my own assessment, Kashmir struggle did not have realistic objectives. A realistic objective is the one that is achievable and sustainable. By this definition, can “azadi” be termed as a realistic objectives of the struggle. More over, the stakeholders, particularly the separatists, do not want the struggle to end, even when the end is a successful one.

Let us assume that Kashmir gets azadi. Then what? If it retains its democratic character post azadi, it will be some Abdullahs or Muftis who will be ruling. The façade that Geelani’s, Mirwaiz’s and Mallicks have created will come crumbling down because they lack the real mass base. So, what will ultimately happen to the kingship enjoyed by them now? The importance, the voice (though due to nuisance value), their business empire, the media presence and even the Government attention that they are enjoying will vanish. So, why will they ever want to give up all this. Had this not been the prime reason, our struggle would not have drifted between the north and south poles all these years.
From plebiscite, the objectives of the struggle moved on to autonomy, azadi, self determination, and what not. As of now the people are confused about the objective itself. Had we simply concentrated on one simple objective of internal constitutional autonomy we would have enjoyed the “azadi” as well as development. Seeing purely through the prism of kashmiri interest, let india take care of defence, foreign affairs, economy and whetever else that does not concern our real empowerment and the state government focus on the real issues affecting the lives of the masses.
If we continue to follow the mirage, we will continue getting disempowered.
Sahil Mushtaq is a social worker in Kashmir.
E mail Views expressed are personal.

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