Not their criminal politicians who’ve betrayed their people and the folks on the streets know that. The youth, the lower middle classes and the workers – they’ve got the idea right that the only way to fight is with your back against the wall – either you die fighting or you fight dying. The treacherous government of India has sponsored generations of local elites to do the dirty job of suppressing the people on the street.
Omar Abdullah, the Chief Minister of Kashmir and President of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference has a fine English accent albeit fake and sure knows how to make a speech prepared before one or two or many mirrors look extempore: "I don’t know why should I fear the nuclear deal. It is a deal between two countries which, I hope, will become two equals in the future" says Omar in 2008 while defending a fraud nuclear deal made by the Manmohan Singh government – in anticipation of being the head of a puppet government whose strings are pulled by a bunch of robbers in New Delhi – who themselves are puppets of a global mafia in Washington.
There are neither decent armies in the world nor decent policemen. Stanley Kubrick’s "Full Metal jacket" (1987) makes the point rather well: armies exist on this planet to kill – not to do social justice or any justice. To take a line from Che Guevara that I’m fond of quoting, the Indian army is a bunch of "wild bloodthirsty animals determined to slaughter, kill, murder and destroy the very last vestige of the revolutionary or the partisan in any regime that they crush under their boots because it fights for freedom."
The Kashmiri on the street fights for freedom – freedom from poverty, underdevelopment and humiliation of being suspected and mistreated in the land of his or her birth. The streets have turned into oracles prophesying the doom of the exploiting classes. The leaders are shaking in their pants and looking towards the government of India to send in more forces to suppress the masses. Merely with stones and infinite determination they’re able to resist a powerful army that has no qualms about murdering innocents because it is their job to do so. Though apparently leaderless these are well-organized groups who know how to turn the streets of their cities into virtual battlefields. To turn them down as angry and frustrated mobs would be cynical. They know what they’ve been through and after being lied to for decades by the leaders, the administration and the Indian government they’re prepared to fight for power ironically inspired by a sense of powerlessness.
Struggles are defined not by how they originate but how well they can be sustained. It is here contradictions manifest themselves. The worldview sustaining a prolonged struggle must be clearly understood. Religion as a matter of fact and Islam in particular that puts the justice of God above that of man cannot be the ideological framework of revolt. Islam which is essentially peaceful as a religion stands for preserving the social order and not disturbing or detracting from it. It does not encourage revolutions – after all it is the job of God to take care of the poor and the powerless. Your job is to place your trust in him and live up to what the Book says. Such an attitude is futuristic. Therefore the revolt must not be Islamized lest it lose its radical character.
Secondly, to attack Christian schools and churches – nothing is more self-defeating than that. The Christians in Kashmir have absolutely nothing to do with the intended burning of the Quran in the US; nor do the Christians in other parts of the world. It’s a political struggle for power and not a Muslim-Christian thing. If some day Kashmir must become an independent state it should know how to treat the Hindu and Christian minorities. Without their support they will never have autonomy – simply never. Kashmir – the word itself – and the region carries a sacred association to Hindus of the valley and other parts of India.
Any attempt to politically Islamise the region would be fatal not to mention unfair to its minorities. A revolt must base itself in equality and social justice along with a concept of modernity that will give women the political space to articulate themselves and the young the opportunity to make decisions with regard to their lives. If power is only for the men and the women and the young have to continue with the second fiddling – the revolt has failed in an important way.
Most importantly for a revolt to succeed in the modern world it must have an international character. While it takes local roots, to reduce the struggle to narrow ethnicity-based nationalisms does not grip the public imagination any longer. Nationalism is a dying discourse and must be finished off as quickly as possible to make the earth more inhabitable than what it is.
Revolts that happen on facebooks and twitters are not revolutions. They take too much time and kill the essence of what should be happening on the ground. A social revolt is a time for education and genuine camaraderie. Psychological and social barriers need to be broken down and a sense of sharing must prevail among individuals and groups.
Forced by relentless round-the-clock curfews to live like prisoners in their own homes and having to face a violent army with barely any weapons except their own hands – the Kashmiris on the streets have acquired the first lesson in political education which is to fight by any means necessary.
Prakash Kona is a writer, teacher and researcher who lives in Hyderabad, India. He is currently working as an Associate Professor at the Department of English Literature, The English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad.