A Divided House and Wounded Masses

We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What seems to be a house in order is all split up and in pieces. An amalgam which has diverse opinions within lacks decision-making capability and is truly a divided house. Some have stakes for Aazadi, some for accession with Pakistan and some brains inside the divided house have reached to a cul de sac. The house often stays in headlines due to varied reasons to stay alive. Recently Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who heads Hurriyat (M) said that they haven’t decided whether the amalgam will launch an election boycott campaign or not. They are on tender hooks as always and like a doctor check the pulse of the masses. This is how they catch headlines on and off and stay alive in public domain.

Undecided on boycott campaign, Prof. Bhat said that Hurriyat is not keen to contest 2014 elections because elections never provide an answer to real Kashmir issue. His answer was somewhat confusing to me because their stance as an amalgam is very hazy. For him Kashmir is not Kosovo, so need to be resolved carefully with a lasting solution and not just a quick fix cure. 

In May 2012, the amalgam was again cynosure of media when Prof Ab.Gani Bhat, founder of Muslim Conference said that the UN Resolutions are inapplicable in present situations. His remarks which were his personal views shook the Hurriyat house and baffled the masses because UN Resolutions form a corner stone of Hurriyat’s foundation. The intensity of the tremble was so huge that everyone from outside could see the fissures. Thus, everyone inside the house tried to show their muscle power just to show they aren’t lesser to anyone in any case. This was the second time that the amalgam felt the jolt. It had already felt the tremble in 2007 and in both times Prof Bhat was the hub of criticism. 

Second time the criticism was severe. Prof Bhat had spoken out his heart by saying the UN Resolutions are practically inapplicable. He was quoted by Greater Kashmir (6 May, 2012) as, “(UN) Resolutions constitute the legal base of dispute of Kashmir. These resolutions cannot practically be implemented with reference to the language of the resolutions which in my opinion is complex. That means probably these resolutions may not be implemented in Kashmir at all. Therefore we have to explore the possibilities of finding a solution to the problem through dialogue”. 

Further, Bhat had asked separatists to build a ‘Common Minimum Agenda’ with other mainstream parties. This led to huge anger inside Muslim Conference. His close aide, Shabir Ahmad Dar in consequences of his fiery speech expelled him from the party on 21st May, 2012. How ridiculous that the founder was thrown out by his own disciple!

When Prof Bhat said the UN Resolutions are impracticable, he doesn’t mean that the resolutions have gone obsolete rather when he said resolutions are inapplicable in present scenario, he had has a base to back his argument. His inference supports the conclusion which he has drawn since years, working on a practicable solution to a thorny issue like Kashmir. 

I quote Bhat as, “UN Resolutions are impracticable but not obsolete and when I said impracticable I have a reason to justify it. Neither India nor Pakistan will agree to withdraw their forces”. He added that according to UN Resolutions, both India and Pakistan need to restore peace and India needs to prepare for a plebiscite to decide the fate of Kashmir. 

The resolution was passed by United Nations Security Council under chapter VI of UN Charter. Resolutions passed under Chapter VI of UN charter are considered non binding and have no mandatory enforceability as opposed to the resolutions passed under Chapter VII. Had UN been honest then why haven’t they implemented UN Resolution since past 67 years quizzed Prof. Bhat? “I suspect implementations of UN Resolutions are impossible because they haven’t done anything in this regard so far,” said Prof. Bhat.

He said he can’t hide facts; he can’t turn blind to the real life situations. “I don’t mount on blind horses and that is why in May 2012, I said we all need to explore other possibilities,” said Prof. Bhat. He said one has to be practical and one shouldn’t be adamant and hard like a stone on anything as change is the law of nature. What if one solution doesn’t work, will the caravan stay still and cry over the age old solutions, he enquired. 

“Why can’t we think out of box and find out the other way out. Why rely on situations which have no practicability,” he asked. 
He is right in a way, had UN been keen and firm on its Resolutions then why they appointed UN representative (UNRIP, Dec 17, 1949) Sir Owen Dixon when the fate of Kashmir was already written in UN Resolutions. Instead of Plebiscite, Dixon plan focussed division of Kashmir between India and Pakistan. 

Dixon Plan proposes the division of Jammu & Kashmir into three entities on communal lines. The proposal says that Ladakh should become a centrally administered territory (Union Territory) while Jammu and Kashmir should become separate state. The proposed Jammu state should be like any other state in the Indian Federation while Kashmir should have more internal autonomy. 

“So in the above context if I am saying to look for middle ground what is wrong in that,” said Prof. Bhat. 

Sir Owen Dixon’s proposal of demilitarization was rejected both by India and Pakistan. 

For him the middle path is to engage in dialogue. In his views it is good to converse, share ideas rather than stay mute and stagnant, though years of dialogue process has yield nothing. “Dialogue has yielded us benefits in other ways. We got to know how both countries (India and Pakistan) feel about Kashmir and we have found that both countries have the realization that Kashmir is a flashpoint and it needs to be solved,” said Prof. Bhat.

Countries falling in South Asia are emerging economies and they need to be more focused on economic growth, Social stability and sustained peace, so in this regard it is imperative for both India and Pakistan to resolve all conflict including Kashmir for the overall prosperity of the region, maintained Prof. Bhat.
“Economic growth creates political instability within countries and between countries, altering the balance of power among countries & regions. Economic exchange brings people into contact; it does not bring them into agreement”. (The Clash of Civilizations, Samuel P. Huntington 1996; 218). When economic exchange doesn’t bring people into agreement, then how can economic stability lead to peace in Kashmir or in the sub-continent? The sub-continent needs more than economic stability for sustained peace. 

But what if India and Pakistan shun their animosity and focus of economic growth for the general good of the people of both the countries; will Hurriyat play the innings with maturity? It is unlikely for Hurriyat which is in shambles and in complete disarray to stay as a major player for sustained peace. The biggest question before the masses is that why Hurrriyat isn’t getting united if they claim they work for a common cause? Prof. Bhat rationalized Hurriyat’s dismay as: 

“Well there could be difference of opinion in Hurriyat house because we are different individuals and all of us think differently and there is no ideal unity anywhere in the world.”
He was very honest in accepting that the house might be lacking unity, which according to him existed nowhere in the ideal world. Everything and everyone is divided either on ethnic basis, cultural basis, colour, creed or religion. “Disagreement is the law of nature and conflict a part of life. “ We aren’t united as a one entity but ideal unity is nowhere in this world,” admitted Prof. Bhat.

According to Prof. Bhat, the amalgam was united for 10 long years but they moved nowhere and did nothing. “We fell out with each other and did nothing,” said Prof Bhat. 

Hurriyat (M) is undecided on boycott campaign and Hurriyat (G) is all set to boycott 2014 polls. This opposite axis will provide extra mileage and ample space for mainstream parties to stump masses this time as well. That is why is has been rightly said that Kashmiris are walking wounded a la Zombies. “We are walking but working. There have been lapses on my part as well but if one has the will to correct ones lacunae, one can. Lapses will cause no harm and gaps can be bridged if one wishes to,” said Prof Bhat. 

Where are we heading to and who heads this herd, is unheard and unknown to every Kashmiri. Then can we say we are walking towards some goal as said by Prof. Bhat or are we really wounded to an extent that we are unaware of anything going on before our eyes? The answer to this question lies neither with Prof. Bhat or any think tank but lies with future.