Protecting the composite culture of Kashmir

Tough times, tough challenges

COMMENT

Whether by chance or by will, the three Hurriyat leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq shared stage at Narbal where they addressed a gathering of mourners. A 16 year school boy Sohail was killed by the trigger-happy forces during the peaceful demonstration against the killing of Tral student by armed forces some days before. The tale of horror that seemingly ended with Omar Abdullah is haunting back. With barely two months three youths have been done to death in the Mufti-led government. 

Though the Hurriyat leaders have gone separately to express sympathy and solidarity with the bereaved family of Sohail, the chance meeting culminated in unity demonstration. It was seven years after their shoulders touched each other, they straightened up to greet each other and shrugged off the alienation. 

Sohail has been snatched out from the affectionate arms of his family. His loss is irreparable like those thousands others killed before same brutal way. Yet if Sohail’s mourning can prove instrumental in melting the clashed egos in the disarrayed and fractured resistance leadership, his grief struck parents will derive some consolation in the loss. The mourning tent memories the family will preserve something as auspicious. And simultaneously, a moment of pride. 

Tough times come with tough challenges. Extra-ordinary situations demand extra-ordinary responses. Perhaps that might have weighted high in the minds of the leaders to dust their acrimonious past and dig themselves out from the touch-me-not revered world. The world where they positioned themselves as warriors strong enough to turn the tide against, solely and separately. After waging the lone battles, which inevitably consumed a significant part of their energies against each other, it has dawned on them that save a unified and disciplined approach, predicated on sincerity and holistic commitment, it is pretty difficult at this time to sail through the turbulent waters. 

With sovereignty of the goal remaining sacrosanct and uncompromising, as asserted by the leaders time and again and reaffirmed at the Narbal as well, it is no time to reopen the wounds by accusing other on where he defiled the trust. Leave it to the history and analysts. We, at now, are in the crosshairs of extremely adverse times where our weakness against belligerently strong is too revealing. To wrestle our tomorrow to safety we have only one redemption route, unity. If, we let the opportunity evade that carelessly and frigidly, there will be no second chance to awaken us. Palestinians missed that and are reaping the bitter. 

The goal we have set on though is a panacea for all our sufferings but it can wait till we are through and our survival ensured. We are completely besieged from all corners. The danger is fast creeping close to our hearths. The most unfortunate part of this unfolding tragedy is that those who were mandated to power and supposed to pledge their commitments have become accomplices of the agenda of geographical segregation of JK state on religious lines. Should we sink in stupor we will dissolve like ‘ salt’ in the tempest heading to us. Moment sinned pushes generations in the frying pan. 

It is not too late . We can still retrieve the situation. There are sensible voices from India who have voiced their anger on the proposed setting up of separate colonies for the displaced Pandit community, so have some Pandit organizations as well. The local seven thousand Pandits are living comfortably in their homes in their Muslim neighborhood. Hundreds of Pandits have returned and settled at their native places. They all have fulsome praise for their Muslim brethren. 

Despite all that there are no indications that the forces hell bent to rob Kashmir off its ethos and identity have given up their sinister designs. Shocking enough the collaborators at local level have fully committed themselves to this agenda in a quid pro quo to enjoy stability in power. It should have made them circumspect and anticipate the ramifications of the “collateral damages” when blind religio-nationalism, fuelled on hate and muscle power, sweeps clean and throws lesser weak in the inferno after framing them as the other. 

Our number and land which sustains our Kashmir nationhood and gives the state international character protects our future and status. That defensive wall demolished, we end in assimilation. The immediate task for Hurriyat, on one hand, is to mobilize people on the threat and, on the other, initiate steps themselves in helping KPs settle at their ancestral places. 

Forum politics is a failure, we know. Even on demands of minimum basics the resistance requires, many of them are ambivalent. But this is the time those who remained active on the resistance front and commanded people’s confidence rally together to defeat the forces out to engulf us.