The last guard of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, once described Afghanistan as “a bleeding wound.” Even after Russians left Afghanistan, it is still bleeding but now due to nine years of cruel war by the world’s number one rogue state, the US and its coalition forces. Historically there are three major red spots on the world map that can unequivocally be termed as “bleeding wounds.” The firstmost and never-ending tragic saga is Palestine. While Afghanistan occupies the second place, Kashmir, once an independent royal kingdom, takes the third place. They are placed so because of how the people living there are oppressed and struggling to carry out even their daily chorus.
Like Palestine, Kashmir is geographically situated at a strategic point in terms of geo-political importance. While leaving India in 1947, the British colonial rulers divided the Indian sub-continent into two countries on religious lines. One was Muslim-dominated Pakistan and the other was Hindu-dominated India. It was part of the famous British tactic of controlling colonies, “divide and rule.” In between lay Muslim-dominated Kashmir, ruled at the time by a Hindu king (Raja Hari Singh). To the north of Kashmir there was Communist China and USSR. To the far east there was US ally Japan to be protected from communist danger. Such a strategic location prompted British colonial rulers and their future boss, the US, not to grant independent status to Kashmir. Instead they left the choice to the feudal king Hari Singh.
Meanwhile Pakistan’s mercenaries entered Kashmir from the northwest. Kashmir requested help from India to save its independent status. The Indian Prime Minister made an agreement with Kashmir that three ministries would be controlled by India, Kashmir would retain its independence status with other ministries, and a plebiscite would be held in Kashmir after Pakistan’s mercenaries were defeated to allow the Kashmiri people to choose for themselves whether to align with India or Kashmir or to remain independent. Indian forces entered Kashmir. The UN was called in and after a lot of deliberations and discussions with the mediation of the UN, a line called the Line of Control (LoC) was drawn, dividing Kashmiris and their land between India and Pakistan. While a quarter of Kashmir land went to Pakistan as “Pak-occupied Kashmir” or “Azadi Kashmir,” three quarters went to India. The plebiscite was then opposed by Pakistan but welcomed by India.
From then on Kashmir remained a problem for India, but the aspirations of Kashmiris to remain independent were conveniently forgotten by Indian rulers. When the leader of the Kashmiris, Sheik Abdullah, asked the Indian Prime Minister about plebiscite and self-rule, he was brutally jailed. The Kashmiris’ beloved leader Sheik Abdullah remained in Indian jails for 17 years for asking to implement the agreement reached between India and Kashmir.
The Indian people were and are being misinformed about Kashmir. They were never informed that Kashmiris belong to a separate race called “Kashmiri.” Kashmir is a nation. It has every right to exist as a country as per its centuries of history. This was not told to the Indian people. They were taught that Kashmir is one of the states of India. The unknown fact to Indian people is that Kashmir had a president as head of the state and a prime minister as head of the government, like India and Pakistan have, for five plus years. As per the expansionist designs of the Indian rulers all facts were buried in the pages of history.
Sheik Abdullah died in jail, but the national aspirations of the Kashmir people did not. They continued to fight. They are now branded as separatists. Whenever Kashmir people tried to cross the LoC, they were branded infiltrators or militants or now terrorists to be killed by either the Indian or Pakistan armies. Kashmir militancy reached its peak from 1989 onwards. India says now that the Kashmiri people want Pakistan. Traditional hatred towards Pakistan that is fed by the interests of Indian rulers, made Indians hate Kashmiris for being separatists. But what Kashmir people really want is independence from India and Pakistan. This fact was demonstrated several times during agitations and demonstrations of Kashmiris. It is not reported in the media. So what the government sells is believed by the Indian masses.
Now Kashmir people are not fighting with guns so as to be oppressed by the Indian army easily. They are fighting with empty hands. They are fighting with stones. They are fighting with processions, hartals, strikes, and with every means available to them, but not with guns. If there is any Indian government presence in Kashmir, it is the Indian police, CRPF, and the Indian army. During the uprising of Kashmir between 1990 and 2009, thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri youth were eliminated. The reason offered was they were militants, separatists, and now terrorists. Due to the killing of Kashmiri people by the army in the last decade of the last millennium, the demographic picture of Kashmir has changed radically. Finding a bridegroom for a Kashmiri girl has become difficult. The army has killed several youngsters under the guise of militancy. They were just disappeared.
After the last census conducted by the Indian government in 2001, the demographic statistics of all the states of India were published but Kashmir’s statistics were withheld. If they were made public the government could not have offered a satisfactory reason for the wide gap between number of males and females. The female population was found to be irrationally greater than the male population. Even now the Kashmir census for 2001 is not available publicly on any platform, such was the effect of the brutal oppression carried out by the Indian government in Kashmir.
In last two to three months, more than 60 people were killed in Kashmir by security forces. Even boys and girls under the age of 15 are not spared. The home minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram, declares that he suspects militants with guns hiding behind agitating people. But he could not show a single shot fired from people. There are only people. There are boys, girls, mothers, housewives, shop owners, businessmen, and even Kashmiri police (some are dismissed for participating in demonstrations) who took to the streets shouting, “Go India, go back!” Curfew, neverending curfew, has become the order of the day. Some security forces’ men in (fewer than 10) got killed by stone pelting, but not with guns.
Some say if Kashmir is given freedom it will become a hub of terrorists. My question is does terrorism develop by itself from the air or the universe? It has been the result of oppressive regimes. It has been the result of forgotten national aspirations of certain historical races descended from history. It has been the result of greed of a few international business cartels, syndicates, TNCs, and MNCs. It has been the result of the marginalization of people belonging to certain religions, regions, colors, races — you name it.
Historically there has been only one person who resolved the national question. He was Vladimir Lenin, who enshrined in the constitution that nationalities are free to get their own country if they do not like to be with the USSR. The Baltic republics first separated but rejoined the USSR within three years. One can only solve the nationality question by respecting the aspirations of the people but not by using force.Powered by Sidelines