Debating Kashmir

Debates and discussions are primarily aimed at arriving at a better position to understand an issue or a thing more clearly. Debating Kashmir problem, however, seems too complex a thing and even more complicated is its understanding when annoyed youth of Kashmir enter into a debate with people from outside the state; be it in Kashmir or in the proximity of Indian parliament in Delhi.

The hint of such a trait that has grown among the youth of the, otherwise, peaceful, accommodative and harmonious valley can be traced into the recent past when the chastity of women was played with and mauled while numerous shrieks and sobs of the innocents died down into the thick of the night.

These vengeful youths of Kashmir, having witnessed and suffered brutalities, act, typically, the way any conflict ravaged youth would and no one can set things right overnight. That is probably why voices, during a debate or a discussion or even informal chat, go louder than the normal standards in a subconscious effort to vomit out the venom piled up in the form of anger and discontent deep into the hearts.

Common masses have suffered in silence and don’t get a chance to speak their hearts out quite often. But when the time comes, though it hardly does, emotions dominate the scene and the situation, thus, becomes inevitable.
The example or a practical of this theory was evident while debating Kashmir issue on 22nd March, 2012 when a group of Kashmiri students interacted with the students of Nelson Mandela Center, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

Although the faculty and students from Jamia Millia wanted to know the development processes in Kashmir and seemed interested in knowing who anti and pro people were, the questions however remained unanswered and almost untouched and emotions, as usual, dominated the scene making sure that no clear answers come out.

In Kashmir there are hundreds and thousands of untold stories which are lying untouched. Every Kashmiri has a story to share, everyone here is witness to a conspiracy against humanity and honor. People have suffered at the hands of those who claim to be the saviors and, in such a scenario; any talk regarding the process of development infuriates them to the extent of madness. 

A discussion regarding development or even development itself is something which, according to the people, tends to hide the heinous crimes committed against masses. As such, anything in this regard is something that devalues the thousands of the people who became victims of forced disappearances, custodial killings and rapes. All this and much more begins to swirl in the minds of the students when they are asked to share and this very word ‘SHARE’ brings out the tumultuous outburst of emotions which have no regard for the forum, the occasion or the event.   

Students who participated in the discussion with the students of Jamia perhaps believed in J.P. Lederach’s philosophy when he says, ‘Revealing is healing’ and in no case meant to hurt thm. They share the details of the horrific tragedies in an attempt to spread the stories across the conscious people of India who, they believe, might come in handy when it comes to resolving the issue.

The students, during the discussion, also tried to arrive at an understanding regarding the restoration of dignity and honor in Kashmir and highlighted the various facets of the two terms in all the possible connotations and denotations. ‘Honor and dignity must be restored in Kashmir’ they observed with a deep and antithetical sigh knowing the realities on the ground which is the same as it was a decade or so ago. The army still has the cover of the draconian AFSPA and, as such, is empowered to do anything to its liking. The politicians, the so called representatives, are still dictatorial and corrupt while as people continue to remain in a strange and damaging lull!     

The writer is a student of Peace and conflict studies at Islamic university of science and technology.