Posts Tagged ‘Indian Media’


inputs by Feroz Rather 

The ongoing commotion in the valley is an embodiment of the fragile nature of Kashmir issue. India’s status quo approach on Kashmir issue is paving the way for disenchantment among the people of Jammu and Kashmir thereby giving rise to unrest in the valley. The land transfer issue which has generated the world wide debate over the contested land of Kashmir need to be disentangled from the approach cultivated by Indian media. Largely the Indian media has portrayed the unrest as ‘clash of faiths’, pitting Hindus of jammu and Muslims of Kashmir against each other . The grand narratives such as Democracy, liberalism have arrived at halt while Indian administration declaring ban on the regional media. The Indian coercive forces have accomplished their task by imposing the curfew, thereby alienating the people of Kashmir from knowing their own state of affairs. The regional reporters are being beaten up on daily basis by Indian security forces. Geelani, Omar Farooq, Yasin Malik and many other leaders have been put under house arrest, curfew has been imposed, shoot at sight has been ordered, people are being beaten up for chanting the slogans of azaadi (Independence). The question that arises is how far the Indian state will go in imposing its will and subjugate the peoples aspiration to see their state as independent one. The people of Kashmir are striving for freedom since one and half century, the first century in fighting against absolutism of Maharaja regime and next half century fighting against Indian oppression.

 

It was in 1980’s when Kashmiri people started challenging the very legitimacy of Indian rule, led by Jammu and Kashmir liberation front (JKLF) for separate, independent, secular and democratic united Jammu and Kashmir. The deep resentment towards Indian State. increased in the face of rising unemployment,corrupt politics, oppressive nature of Indian state. This forced JKLF to launch its militant movement for independence. The movement was supported unanimously by people of Kashmir and got deeply entrenched into the psyche of Kashmiri middle class. The approach of Delhi has always remained callous towards Kashmir, thus Kashmir was always less free and democratic than rest of India. It was largely the youth of Jammu and Kashmir which showed immense interest in Kashmiri national movement. Kashmiri nationalists stressed a separate ethnic identity called ‘Kashmiriyat’ that consolidates Kashmiris of all religions and ethnic groups. Unfortunately this pro-independence nationalistic fervor was taken over by Jihadi forces backed by Pakistan. The intrusion of Pakistan backed militants into the Kashmir was one of the greatest catastrophe for the Kashmiris and their right for self determination. Through religion, the Jihadi forces seized the opportunity and utilized the religious sentiments of the people. The intrusion of jihadi factor only helped in tarnishing the secular, dovish character of Kashmiris freedom struggle. India began to capitalize over the situation and started demonizing Pakistan, this gave India the legitimacy to carry various attrocities against Kashmiris especially Kashmiri Muslims. India tried to escape from the ground reality by holding Pakistan responsible for the Kashmiri nationalism . While the reality was to solve the Kashmiri issue in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris. Later JKLF lost its sheen when some of its leaders were found flirting with secret agencies of India and Pakistan. At present JKLF is not what it used be in terms of its ideology in 1980’s.

 

Jagmohan Malhotra, virulent RSS patron, who was the centrally appointed governor took the opportunity in blending nationalism and communalism which led to polarization of the population. Communal disturbances became frequent which till now were unheard of in the valley. The Indian army brutalized the innocent Kashmiris in a manner more severe than the prisoners face in Guantanamo. Women were raped, general civilians were harassed, humiliated and the famous “Crackdown” became the daily phenomenon. This all led deep animosity towards Indian state. It was the time when several anti- Indian slogans were framed by Kashmiris like Bharti kutto wapas Jao ( Indian dogs Go Back) implying the hatred towards the colossal presence of Indian troops installed in Kashmir. This ‘gun’ movement was crushed by the Indian troops with the aid of renegade Ikhwanis . Azaadi still was the favoutite slogan of Kashmiris, which can be emphasized by the fact that even when neighbors fight each other, hum kya chahte Azaadi ( we want freedom), unintentionally slips from their tongue.

 

After a decade same situation has been arised where Kashmir issue has again garnered international attention. But the present situation differs from the last one in the fact that this time the voice has been raised in the form of peaceful mass protests. The 100 acre land grant to Shri amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) acted merely as a stimulus for Kashmiris, and their continous supression has erupted in the form of volcano. Even the the children are daring to face the ammunition loaded Indian Army personnel as depicted in a picture taken by local journalist. The land was transferred to SASB to set up shelters for Hindu pilgrims. 1980’s despite being period of gun in Kashmir, everything was assured for the safety for the Amarnath Yatris by kashmiri locals. So the protests by kashmiris over the land tranfer has nothing to do with any kind of hatredness towards Hindu Community. It was the love for land and the seduction of nationalism that took the masses to streets.The faith in azaadi came to forefront when kashmiris dared to face the bullets of Indian army resulting death of several proteters. The state government accepted the demands of kashmiris by revoking land transfer.

 

Communal Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), known for its opportunist character inculcated in the Hindus of jammu a profound sense of insecurity over the State Governments decision by surrendering to demands by Kashmiris. The people of jammu got trapped into BJP’s politics and with support of VHP and Bajrang Dal started protesting in support of the land transfer. The BJP believes in India as a Hindu Rashtra and has no symtapthy for Indian muslims except than Indianizing them. RSS believes that “Hindu coincides with rashtra or nationality and therefore Hindus are automatically true nationals. Members of other religions, if they denied they are indus were also denying they are Indian.” These are the words of Hedgewar, RSS’s first leader. So it is not a problem for Hindus in Jammu to support BJP as they have that previlege of being Hindu.

 

Economic blockade of the Kashmir Valley was enforced by stopping traffic on national highway, the only route connecting Indian plains to kashmir valley. Two and half districts of jammu caught the eye of media in unprecendented manner and the issue was portrayed as communal , pitting hindus and muslims against each other which is far from true. Separatists, who have the mass support called for a march to Muzaffarabad, in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The economic blockade almost reduced the fruit cultivators of valley to tears as they were unable to export their fruit to other states of India. The current unrest in Kashmir part of valley is the symbolic of emergence of the idea of nationalism. The educated younger generation are the staunch beleivers of the idea called Greater Kashmir ( Indian occupied Jammu and kashmir plus pakistan Occupied Kashmir). People like Syed ali Shah Geelani are ideologically confused who sometimes believe nation as Allah’s Concept and sometimes dream for Kashmir as an islamic state. Geelani has a belief that people of Kashmir believe him because of their belief in Islam. If it would have been the case why it is that Kashmiri people don’t regard Indian Cinema as mediocre or a potent threat to Geelan’s islamic traditions. It is rather the Kashmiris love for their homeland that hepls Geelani to control people in Kashmir. Geelani has a vision of a state which will be based on shariat, islamic law. Geelani has wrong notion when he considers pakistan as Muslims homeland and symbol of islamic state. The idea of Geelani’s pro- Pakistan will never allow to accommodate differences which otherwise is the basic tenet of kashmiri nationalism. There is always a political choice, essential to be exercized and Geelani is a part of that choice. People choose Geelani because he is better choice for kashmiris than India. There is rich tradition of kashmiriyat, a composite cultural identity with glorious traditions of communal amity, tolerance and compassion. The consequences will be devastating if political leaders continue in framing this isuue as communal. Kashmiris always believe in azaadi of kashmir and kashmir’s azaadi doesn’t mean to them la ilaha illalla ( There is no god only allah). Azaadi for kashmiris is the symbolic of the love for freedom, peace and desire for nation called kashmir.

The idea of India in Kashmiris imaginary is abhorrent, non democratic and tyrannical and diabolical nation. India has cunningly tried to invent terrorism links in kashmiris aspiration for azaad Kashmir. The problem lies in the fact that there is mistrust among the people of jammu and Kashmir due to painful experiences experienced by them. Kashmiris confidently define themselves as kashmiris but not Indians. The sacrifices made by kashmiris has not reaped any fruit only because they lack charismatic leaders having proper vision. Kashmiris have always experienced corrupt, insufficient leaders who never empathised with the common peoples aspirations.The responsibilty for reducing kashmir to dangerous location lies only on the shoulders of Pakistan, India, United states and United Nations. The way media is presently portraying Kashmir issue as communal one arised due to land transfer is far from true and strongly needed to be disentagled. The current protests in Kashmir are only the symbolic of the emergence of Kashmiri nationalism and Kashmiris right for self determination.

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