Sunday, August 31, 2008

Kashmir and commoner's voice

Do you have a stand on the Kashmir issue? Everyone has. At least after 61 years of independence one is expected to have some take on this issue as an Indian. Though, this may have its own shortcomings. Like for an instance, if you support Kashmiris, you’ll be named a terrorist or a Muslim League supporter. Or if you stand against Kashmir, people of Jammu will see you as their ally. This may be ironical, but that’s the reality. Also, there may be a large sect of people who have made the Govt.’s view, their own view, without any exception.

Nonetheless, ours is a system in which each and every party has once in its lifetime enjoyed the taste of power in the centre. If not in majority, definitely in coalition, all the major parties have got a fair chance to rule the nation. At the time when Kashmir started raising its voice for independence, why didn’t any of the parties then come up and solve the issue? There were parties who supported it and there were parties who didn’t, but why wasn’t the matter resolved there and then? These questions would obviously go unanswered. So what if the parties did no good to the whole issue? Wasn’t that an obvious thing? Nobody can escape the wrath of politics in India.

However, I think that even if the conditions in any state, Kashmir for that matter, become worse like this, then curbing the media is no solution. Withholding media means Democracy at stake. It’s outrageous on the part of the State to curtail the freedom of expression.

How about visiting Kashmir first and then commenting on it? On this, anyone would say that, instead a visit should be paid to have a glimpse at the lives of the kashmiri pandits, living in agony. But this cannot be a feasible option definitely. When one is in the valley, during the evening hours, no one is sure of his life. You never know when you will be asked your identity. And worst will happen if you are a Muslim. Also, if your vehicle carries a number plate of any other state, you’d be safe, but what if it says Kashmir? Your life will be in a big trouble. Every torture owes to the Indian Army in Kashmir. Hence, a demand for independence becomes critical here. No one would want to live in such a condition.

I got a chance to visit POK. I was with the Kashmir reporter, Ashraf. When people got to know that Ashraf was a Kashmiri, they wanted to know if he was married or not. They wanted to marry off their daughters to him so that she could lead a better life in Kashmir. This shows sheer desperation among the Kashmiris in POK, to migrate to India.

POK is a procreated hell, unlike Kashmir, which is supposed to be a ‘heaven’. POK has negligible vegetation and is in the state of abandonment. According to the citizens, Pakistan fears to lose POK; hence exploits and over-exploits POK’s resources. POK has no industry and cutting trees and mining are the only means of livelihood. No one is oblivious to the fact that POK is a living hell.

The whole question isn't that what will happen if Kashmir continues to demand independence, or what can be done to solve that. Ours is not a nation that would want the Hindus and Muslims to live separately. Whatsoever people may say about India being a communal nation, this is not true to an extent. Or at least the evidences make that clear. Mahatma Gandhi's assassination being an example. As a matter of fact, he was killed by a Hindu and not a Muslim.

The Govt. has always mirrored the issues as a threat to the nation and hence never justified them. It's high time we should realize that we are the ones who will break this and make this nation a better place to live.

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