Kashmir saga: an age of deceptions

Since the invasion of Kashmir some century and half ago, people have been living life full of miseries and sorrows. In the year 1841 Gulab Singh of Dogra family plotted and hatched a conspiracy that brought the extermination of Sikh kingdom of Punjab. The conspiracy matured in February 1845 and he wrote to Governor General not to lose time and position to brush down the Sikhs. In November 1845 the Anglo-Sikh war broke out and British emerged victorious in the war and Sikh Kingdom was grounded. The treaty of Lahore on 9 March 1846 made an end to Sikh Kingdom of Punjab. The British took the control of Punjab with the betrayal of Gulab Singh. As a result of services rendered by him to British, he wanted something in return and his eyes were on poor Kashmiris. The British did not disappoint him and entered into a sales deed with him. Kashmir was sold to him for £1500,000 (75 Lakh INR) without taking into view what people of Kashmir wanted. Both Kashmir and Kashmiris were sold. Such shameful business was carried out by British. Kashmir neither belonged to British nor to Gulab Singh, but still they were to decide their future. This is the biggest tragedy in the history of Kashmir. During Dogra regime Kashmiris passed through terrible times. Everything except air was taxed. The Dogra regime continued with Hari Singh taking control, who ruled with terror.

In 1947, partition of India took place. Blood was spilled on both the sides. India and Pakistan became two separate countries. Both the sides tried to take control of Kashmir. In October 1947, Indian Army landed in Kashmir. By that time there was enough political awakening to stand up against the illegal occupation. Sheikh Abdullah was the local leader with a party whose base was in Kashmir. When Indian Army was called in there was nothing he did. At that point of time he had no idea of the consequences of the presence of India in Kashmir. People of Kashmir blindly trusted the leader despite his past. To appease one section he had converted Muslim Conference into National conference.  That was due to the influence of Pandit Nehru.  In his speech at Lal Chowk, Pandit Nehru announced Kashmiris will be given the chance to determine their future, till date that didn’t happen. Sheikh Abdullah started few movements for the liberation of Kashmir from India.

Till 1975 there was no change in status quo and the struggle had somehow succeeded. Then in that year, 1975, came the accord, the Indira-Sheikh accord. This was the betrayal of Sheikh to its people who had chosen him the leader. People before that used to see a hope in Sheikh but that perished gradually. Kashmiris were betrayed by none other than their tallest leader. To cut the story short Kashmiris were forced back to be slaves and seems that slavery is their destiny. Many movements to break free have come to fore from time to time but everything has failed.

In the present scenario of electoral politics, some have survived but only to gain votes and support, like right to self-determination, autonomy. Mainstream parties are busy in campaigning for themselves while separatists gear up for the poll boycott. The battle is on and in between, the common man is crushed, confused and stressed, unable to know where it is all going. Neither mainstream politician nor the separatist leaders are able to deliver on the issues which they claim to be champions of.

Every time elections approach it is strictly maintained that elections have nothing to do with the known Kashmir imbroglio. These elections are claimed to be for administrative issues like Sadak, Pani and Bijli. Some say it is simply a battle between heater and meter. Once the elections are over and voter turnout is ascertained, it is regarded as referendum in favor of India and it is maintained that the election provides enough evidence that majority of people want India. So a common man is confused before elections and becomes frustrated after the elections. This politics of deception is played by none other than mainstream players of the state. Regarding the separatist camp they too fail to deliver as they fail to convince the people. Their recent failures were in 2008 and 2010. These leaders fail to act and they only know how to react and their reaction as usual is hartal.

In conclusion the history that is full of deceptions is food for thought for a common man in Kashmir. This history doesn’t matter for the leaders as they enjoy the leadership. One feels solace and sorrow at the same time. Although the place is famous for nature and beauty but you will find heaven and hell just adjacent to one another. We Kashmiris have got used to slavery. Many generations of ours have been bred and brought up in slavery and we prefer to remain slaves and think that slavery is our birth right. It seems that we are comfortable with slavery.  Now we have surrendered. But for this surrender we are paying heavily.

India and Pakistan, international organisations like UN and OIC need to be very sincere and play their role to solve the vexed issue of Kashmir.

Author can be mailed at nissarulashraf@gmail.com