Hurriyat is sure to be blamed, but not for Hartals. It’s to be accused of something else- that we will come to, but a little later. For Hartals, they may turn back to you and say that those who ever thought hartals were meant to be a strategy to achieve freedom, they have got it all wrong and that its sole purpose is to keep the movement alive. Imagine two civilians being killed somewhere, and everything goes on normally. Wouldn’t that be a psychological acceptance of such killings, they can argue. Moreover, they may seek alternative(s) from those who object to it, and that nobody surely has, since nothing has been presented till now. Indubitably, Kashmiris have failed to move even an inch on their way of attaining Azadi. Look at it from the opposite angle though, it’s a half-truth. The other half is that the civilian sentiment here has also defeated Delhi’s designs to exterminate the sentiment completely- the Punjab way, by not moving back even an inch. And it is not easy to do so, while facing a mighty power. So, the failure and success lie on both the sides, they can counter you.
However, I find them culpable on a different front. They have not been able to position themselves in a way that scholarly youth like Dr. Rafi, Dr. Mannan and now Dr. Sabrzar would have considered Hurriyat as an option before they chose death for themselves. Why is it that when our boys cruise through different phases before they resort to the gun, that Hurriyat never crosses their minds as a viable alternative? This is Hurriyat’s failure. It is absolutely true that Delhi is not interested in giving political space to Hurriyat and scuttles their activities every now and then, but then when have you heard that a new face has been announced as the spokesperson or any such position in Hurriyat – based on his ability? From what I understand, the only eligibility to get into their top ranks is the sacrifices (in terms of jail terms and long association with the party). This alone determines the top slots. With great respect to their sacrifices, sincerity and commitment to the cause, they should do away with such a policy if they really want to do good to Kashmir.
It should all happen on the basis of abilities- meritocracy and of course sincerity. If you start a huge technology project, you are not going to appoint your retired father – a lifetime Urdu school teacher as its director, simply because he has given the highest sacrifices for you to be able to launch such an ambitious project. That would be emotional tomfoolery. Any project will crumble down that way. You may let him be a patron but you would appoint the most talented and relevant professional as its director, if you really want it to succeed. Those scholars – who are ready to give their lives away for no apparent military/strategic advantage, have no love for money, no fear of death, and no desire for fame – would not be scared of jails. They could’ve proven to be the assets for the political movement, and their lives saved. Some may say that Hurriyat has never shut doors for anyone, but that’s quite an easy way to get away with it. They have never presented themselves in a way to attract capable youth into their ranks where they can really make a difference.
After all, is it not leaders’ responsibility to create leaders and not just followers? Who have they groomed? Now, I’m not as interested in seeing random youth into Hurriyat ranks as I ’m in seeing those youth who would otherwise lose lives in encounters, with no advantage to the cause- at least in the near future. They could instead use their skills politically and diplomatically. I’m sorry but notwithstanding the sacrifices of the top leaders, many people have begun to think that they need followers chanting Zindabad Zindabad, but they feel threatened by the inclusion of charismatic youth into their ranks. And that’s where we need to question them. What’s Hurriyat’s policy for imbibing capable and conscientious youth that would infuse new life into the movement, rather than seeing them jump in front of proverbial wolves and hyenas, one after the other, just to get killed, one after the other? We can not seek political space from India which for sure is not interested, but If militancy is the solution as per the Hurriyat, why don’t them appeal all the people to join it so as to make armed struggle strong?, but if they want a peaceful solution- as they say, then they surely have a role to play, in capitalising the skills of our capable youth and to save their lives.