Article first published as The Bleeding Wound, Kashmir, Is Seeping Again on Blogcritics.
The last guard of USSR, Gorbachev once described ‘Afghanistan’ as a ‘bleeding wound’. Even after Russians left Afghanistan, it is still bleeding but now due to 9 years of cruel war by the world 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 first most 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, depending upon intensities 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, the British colonial rulers divided Indian sub-continent into two countries on religious lines in 1947. One was Muslim dominated Pakistan and the other was Hindus dominated India. It was part of the famous British tactic of controlling colonies, ‘divide and rule.’ In between lies Muslim dominated but Hindu king (Raja Hari Singh) ruled Kashmir by then. 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 its upcoming boss the US not to grant independence status to Kashmir. Instead they left the choice to the feudal king Hari Singh.
Meanwhile Pakistan’s mercenaries entered Kashmir from North-West side. Kashmir requested help from India to save its independence status. The then Indian Prime Minister made an agreement with Kashmir that three ministries would be controlled by India, Kashmir retains its independence status with other ministries and a plebiscite would be held in Kashmir after Pak’s mercenaries were defeated out of Kashmir to choose for Kashmiri people for themselves whether to align with India or Kashmir or to remain independent. Indian forces entered Kashmir. UN was called in and after a lot of deliberations and discussions with the mediation of the UN a line called ‘Line of Control’ (LoC) was drawn dividing Kashmiris and their land between India and Pakistan. While a quarter of Kashmir land left with Pakistan as ‘Pak Occupied Kashmir’ or ‘Azadi Kashmir’, three quarters left with India. Plebiscite was then opposed by Pakistan but welcomed by India.
From then on Kashmir remained a problem between India and Kashmir but aspirations of Kashmiris to remain independent were conveniently forgotten by Indian rulers. When the leader of the Kashmiris Sheik Abdullah asked Indian Prime Minister about plebiscite and self-rule, he was brutally jailed. Kashmiris’ beloved leader Sheik Abdullah remained in Indian jails for 17 years for asking to implement the agreement reached between India and Kashmir.
Indian people were and are being misinformed about Kashmir. They were never informed that Kashmiris belong to a separate race called ‘Kashmiri’. Kashmiri is a nation. It has every right to remain as a country as per its centuries of history. This was not informed to the Indian people. They were taught Kashmir one of the states of India. The unknown fact to Indian people is Kashmir had a President as head of the state and a Prime Minister as head of the government, like India and Pakistan have, for 5 plus years. As per the expansionist designs of the Indian rulers all facts were buried under the pages of history.
Shaik Abdullah died in jail but not national aspirations of the Kashmir people. They continued to fight. They are now branded as separatists. Whenever Kashmir people tried to cross the LoC, they were braded infiltrators or militants or now terrorists to be killed by either of Indian or Pakistan army. Kashmir militancy reached to its peak from 1989 onwards. India says now Kashmir people want Pakistan. Traditional hatred towards Pakistan that too fed by the interests of Indian rulers, made Indian people to hate Kashmiris also for ‘separatism’. 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 media. So what govt. sells is believed by Indian masses.
Now Kashmir people are not fighting with guns so as to be oppressed by Indian army easily. They are fighting with empty hands. They are fighting with stone pelting. They are fighting with processions, hartals, strikes and with every means available to them but not with guns. If there is any Indian governments’ presence in Kashmir, it is Indian police, CRPF and Indian army. During the uprising of Kashmir between 1990 and 2009 thousands if not lakhs of Kashmiri youth were eliminated. The reason offered was they were ‘militants’, ‘separatists’ and now ‘terrorists’. Due to army killings of Kashmiri people in the last decade of the last millennium demographic picture of the Kashmir was severely ruptured. Finding bridegrooms for a Kashmiri girl became a difficult one. 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 demographic statistics of all the states of India were declared but Kashmir’s statistics were withheld from declaration. If they were declared the government could not have offered a satisfactory reason for the wide gap between number of males and females. Female population was found to be irrationally greater than male population. Even now 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 2 to 3 months 60 above people are 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, business men and even Kashmiri police (some are dismissed for participating in demonstrations) who took to streets shouting “Go India, go back!” Curfew, never ending curfew has become the order of the day. Some security forces’ men in single digit 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 air or universe? It has been the result of oppressive regimes. It has been the result of forgotten national aspirations of certain historical race descended from the history. It has been the result of greed of a few international business cartels, syndicates, TNCs and MNCs. It has been the result of marginalization of people belonging to certain religion, region, color, race and you name it.
Historically there has been only one person who resolved the national question. He was V I 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. Baltic republics first separated but rejoined the USSR within 3 years. One can only solve the nationality question if he respects the aspirations of the people but not using force.