This Blog provides an insight on the Kashmir-issue, India and Pakistan. The articles on this Blog can be best described as thought-provoking. The articles thrive to trigger debate about the miseries enslaved Kashmiris are facing and discuss also possible solutions to this long standing conflict. It also aims to convince readers why Independent Kashmir is the best solution for all parties involved.



Monday, December 19, 2011

Reality or illusion: A visit to Europe

Can we have a medical treatment in Kashmir like we have in Europe? 

I am back with my readers after a gap of about two months and half. I travelled in Europe for eight weeks and also spent four days with my daughter in Dubai. I was unwell and my sugar level had increased. Medicines prescribed by European doctors became ineffective. I had to seek permission of the Sessions Court in Srinagar for going abroad for treatment because I cannot go out of India without court permission. I was allowed eight weeks of absence abroad.

Readers might ask why I make my sickness a subject for this article. Actually I want to narrate for our readers the difference between European and Indian systems of treatment.  Cleanliness is the first problem with our hospitals. They stink like hell. Toilets are obnoxious stinking holes; water pipes are invariably broken and leaking, and if not broken, they are dry. Bedding, mattresses, sheets and pillows all are a plethora of dirt and filth. Patients needing even minor medication like headache pills, glucose and injections, have to buy these from market. When complaints are lodged with the doctors the reply is that the government does not supply them.

We find private medical clinics flourishing in Kashmir. They abound in streets wherever you go. Pharmacies like semi-hospital dispensaries are to be seen all around. These vendors loot the helpless patients. Most of these medicine shops sell spurious medicines. It is said that our State is the biggest market of spurious drugs.

Keeping this in mind, when I compare how I am being treated in Europe I can say that it is only a dream. In European countries there is the insurance system for medical treatment. People have to deposit a monthly amount in accordance with their income. Minimum insurance is 110 Euros, which is approximately eight thousand rupees. If one’s income is less, one receives 70 per cent of insurance fee from the government. With this insurance, a man has not to worry about his treatment. A medical centre is created in the locality where such a man lives; the centre caters to a population of 20 to 25 thousand souls.  8 to 10 family doctors are deputed in each centre. There are separate doctors for ENT and Physio- therapy and also for blood, urine and other tests. On falling sick, a person goes to family doctor. If a person has bad cold the doctor will suggest Parestamol and advise him to take rest. Doctors avoid giving antibiotics to children as long as possible. If the family doctor feels necessary, he can refer his patient to the specialists.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

After long thinking and deliberations, I could not find a better fitting title to describe the corruption, rampage and shameful behaviour in J&K by the government, supported by the Centre, than John Dalberg-Acton’s above mentioned quote.

The whole of India has united under the leadership of Anna Hazare against corruption. Crowds coming on the streets raise cries of implementing Jana Lokpal Bill. Indian government seems to be on the horns of dilemma. Reverberations of this movement are felt in the State also. Bribery is rampant in the State. Forests are destroyeed and capitalists have built hotel complexes and tourist huts illegally on forest land. Sections of bureaucracy vested interest and a general loot of state property is perpetrated.

We have been able to collect some facts about this depredation. Since many cases of corruption that we bring under purview are subjudice, therefore, we desist from disclosing relevant names. But these people are well connected with some high placed bureaucrats, mainstream-politicians and separatist-politicians. A few cases are mentioned here.

(1) One capitalist who owns a couple of hotels, managed to inject poisonous injections into pine trees in Pahalgam forest. The injections were imported from Australia . It kills the trees by the poison it contains. As the trees become dead, he got them inspected by forest authorities and got the orders issued for felling the diseased trees. Forest department functionaries are part of this conspiracy.

(2) Despite stay order from the High Court, this capitalist has illegally built 21 huts during six months in the past. The grapevine has that in connivance with the Police and some functionaries of Pahalgam Development Authority; concoction material for the sites is transported in the trucks of these two departments.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Time to change !

A host of themes surface in my mind to write upon. Some of these are Wiki Leaks about Kashmir, police harassment of youth, the story of Afzal Guru’s sentence of execution, Omar Abdullah’s hassles for facilitating Sardar Atique and his colleagues’ visit to Srinagar, Sardar Atique recognizing the state government as elected one, Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, disconnecting Gilani Sahib’s telephone link etc. are some of the topics making rounds in my head.  Any organization or community with high objectives demands that the nation should be enjoying enviable character. It should nurse love for the people, hate falsehood and fraud. Without adapting the righteous path the objective cannot be reached.

Unfortunately we have become insincere and faithless about our day to day affairs of life. We have become insensitive. Any conscientious person can easily analyse our destruction. For example we upset traffic system by making a number of queues instead of one. By disrupting order we waste lot of time. And this causes delay to essential services like medical, education, and business enterprises. Disrespecting womenfolk in public transport has become a regular norm. Patients are crying out of pain in hospitals and they have to purchase medicines from private vendors while government provides them these. Testing machines are generally dysfunctional in hospitals. It is reported that doctors in government hospitals have formed nexus with private practitioners and owners of diagnostic laboratories. Hospitals are stuffed with filth and there is every danger of patients getting infected. Toilets and washing rooms in hospitals are filthy and stinking.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Making Kashmir a theocracy

Kashmir dispute is sixty-four years old. Three wars, 1947, 1965 and Kargil have been fought. Simultaneously there surfaced armed insurgencies and political movements. This affair consumed two generations and next two also seem to be meeting the same fate. The question repeatedly asked is why despite such sacrifices neither the world opinion is supporting the demand of Kashmiris for self-determination nor is the question re-introduced in the UN with full force?

Curiously most of the members of the UN lent their full weight in favour of self-determination and freedom of many countries in the world like Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, East Timor and some more in the African and Asian continents. Many countries established diplomatic and political relations with the nascent independent countries and in some cases the armed struggle of East Timor, Bosnia and now South Sudan are before us.

Despite sixty Muslim countries being the members of the UN, they have not been able to play any practical role to win self-determination for the people of Kashmir. At best some resolutions have been passed at OIC platform in which Pakistan with a few more member countries jointly asked for the resolution of Kashmir problem by the two countries.

The question is what are the reasons that Kashmir issue could not surface in any shape like the issue of self-determination other than a just bilateral issue? Let us study in depth the reasons for Kashmir movement not to have succeeded in garnering support from world body. Disinterested analysis will show that on ideological level the J&K movement remained divisive. There has been slogan mongering either for accession to Pakistan or for freedom for the sake of Islam. Even in both ideologies local organizations lacked sincerity. Protagonist groups and leaders of accession to Pakistan managed to extract huge monies from different governments in Pakistan. But notwithstanding that these henchmen or surrogate organizations or Pakistani managers or policy planning institutions were able to forge any policy regarding Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan with sincere intentions. Is accession to Pakistan possible in these circumstances? Of course slogan mongering and unleashing armed insurgency are there. Accession to Pakistan on theoretical basis and on international level that would keep the ground situation in sight has never been attempted. Such efforts lacked sincerity.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kashmir dispute: Need for new approach

One more round of Indo-Pak foreign ministerial meet took place in July last.  Indian media was swayed by the youthful and boisterous Hina Rabbani Khar. No immediate and positive results emerged from the meeting but the two countries agreed to widen the scope of CBMs as well as expand cross-LoC trade besides extending the date of visa.

The only positive outcome of this round of talks was that both the countries agreed in a joint announcement to continue the process of dialogue. India did try to create bitterness in the Indian media on Hina Khar agreeing to meet with such Kashmir leaders as uphold the manifesto of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. Nevertheless, India did not carry the complaint further. Evidently had not India liked it, these Kashmiri leaders would not have been able to meet with Hina. House arrest orders are something too frequent for Gilani Sahib and Shabbir Shah. People are making a joke of it now by saying that even for ablution Gilani Sahib will have to put up an application to lift the order of his house arrest.

Therefore India’s acceptance of a meeting between Hina Khar and Kashmir separatists was a foregone conclusion. Knowledgeable circles believe that Hina Khar implored both the factions of Hurriyat not to disrupt Indo-Pak dialogue and no violence allowed in the State. She added that Kashmiri leadership could not be included in the talks for the time being.

Pakistan’s internal situation is uncertain. Pakistan-US relations are on the downslide. Subsequent to Osama bin Laden’s killing, US leadership exerted pressure on Pakistan. The US did not accept Pakistan’s stand that her Army and intelligence establishment were uninformed about Osama. The US has withheld about 800 million dollars of aid to Pakistan Army. Further to it, pressure is being brought on Pakistan in regard to her nuclear arsenal. Under this pressure, Pakistanis arrested a Brigadier for allegedly supporting the militants.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Why female infanticide?

Currently social activists express concern on girl infanticide. Sermons on social and moral reform made through print and electronic media make little impact. History tells us the initial matriarchal society gradually passed into patriarchal society sidelining the woman from all family affairs. Woman was to bear children and do home chores only.

History tells us that the practice of girl infanticide prevailed around 200 BC in Greece. Only one per cent out of six thousand families had two girl kids. Greek philosophers had their own views about women. Aristotle said that a woman in her nature does not enjoy full human person. Woman could not be trusted. Except for a few high class families, generally women were treated like beasts and slaves in Greece. Catholic Church borrowed the views of Aristotle as Christian tradition. St. Thomas Aquinas in his initial works called woman a net of Satan. Thus all satanic actions were attributed to woman. Priests in Middle Ages harboured same views. It was the Reformation in Europe which forced a change in this attitude. But French philosophers like Voltaire and Rousseau thought woman a burden on men who were supposed to take care of them. However, in his work Emile, Rousseau laid stress on educating women and recommended new ways of educating them.

With the onset of industrial revolution in England, women were forced to work in coal mines but were paid less than men labourers. In 18th century there appeared the Feminist Movement in Europe and some rights were conceded to the women which they did not enjoy previously. Previous and present centuries witnessed a revolution in the status of women who now have equal rights with men with whom they work side by side.  It gave exposure to their talent: they became pilots to fly planes and landed on moon. In all walks of life they proved their worth.

Now that the phase of their advancement and equality with men has been ushered in, there has cropped up the question of girl infanticide. Not only in India, even in China as well was female feticide practiced. A 1997 WHO report speaks of disappearance of 50 million girls. China has imposed ban on second child.  Birth of a girl child meant its infanticide. Nearly a million girls are killed each year in China and boy is considered a support of old age. Although a ban is imposed on ultrasound tests but in rural areas people pay hefty sums to get the sex determination by ultrasound. There is no woman for 111 million Chinese males.

Friday, July 1, 2011

This is Srinagar!

 As the aircraft began landing, the captain announced from the cockpit “This is Srinagar Airport and the temperature outside is 17 degrees C.” Our tour of Srinagar and some more scenic places of the valley began.

Out from the airport, we were to haggle with the taxi and Somo stand. Each proposed arbitrary rent to ferry us to the city. The first impression after leaving the airport was that CRP and police are spread out thickly. However, like previous years, the CRP does not stop vehicles at every place for checking. But surely government functionaries and security staff seemed to be the prisoners of some inexplicable fear.

At Haiderpora, we found a large police force crowded around a particular house by the side of the road. This was the residence of Sayyed Ali Shah Geelani, usually house arrested at least for five days in a week by Omar Abdullah government. We parked our vehicle by roadside, convinced the security guards and obtained permission to meet with Geelani Sahib.

Geelani’s attendants treated us with respect and offered us qahwa. The fragile leader came in. His eyes were bright though his face reflected the long and arduous political struggle through which he has gone. He was polite to know who we were and gave us the permission to put some questions to him.

Q: You fought election for an Indian State legislature thrice and won, took oath according to Indian constitution and were made interim Speaker of the assembly. How come you suddenly made an about turn and initiated a fierce struggle against India’s illegal occupation of Kashmir.
A: A principled man like Gandhi ji is called Bapu in and outside India. I had joined the assembly believing that I would make the Indian leadership and the Indian civil society understand that injustice and highhandedness were perpetrated on Kashmiris. But I found that most of the Indian leaders, institutions and agencies, army and other organizations, all had a fossilized view that Kashmir can be kept in possession through deceit, oppression, murder, loot, black laws and military muscle.
Q: Please reflect on the unity among the separatist organizations and the split in the Hurriyat.
A: I will remain in unison with only such forces as will not enter into any dialogue unless India agrees that Kashmir is a disputed land. I cannot unite with such forces as meet with the Indians covertly or overtly.
Q: Despite sacrifices we make, we are humiliated. Despite going through enormous financial losses we are not clear what is our destination and what do we want. And what you say, does it not depress freedom loving people?
A: Our movement was initiated by ISI. We do not know our destination because the movement is not in our hands. We are just carrying out the orders without knowing where we are headed to.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

America, Osama and Kashmir.........

Many people are disgusted and angry with the US dropping Osma’s dead body into the sea. They rubbish the US claim that the body was submerged according to Islamic rites. Does it mean that it is the US that should interpret Islamic traditions? The tradition is that if anybody on voyage passes away during the voyage his dead body is given the burial wash and dropped into the sea. Islam treats living organism. A corpse can peter if kept during voyage. Hence watery burial is recommended.

But why to be cross with the US? It has always been oppressive to freedom loving but subjugated nations. Its policy is to enslave countries politically and economically in modern age.  Americans dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 20th century taking a toll of the lives of more than three hundred thousand men, women and children. The soil there cannot grow any greenery even today. Kids are born with various debilities and disabilities. Thousands of people were massacred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in carpet bombing by the Americans. Rusted bombs are still recovered occasionally from the farms there. A scare of communism was created in Latin America, especially Chile. Widespread killings were done in African and Muslim countries.

Desecrating a dead body is such an insignificant event in face of these atrocities. US would not care for the living beings, leave aside the dead. But those who created the US did it on the basis of the principles of freedom and self-determination for the nations. Naturally the souls of those founding fathers must be turning in their graves on finding the US converting to a colonial country.

Innumerable write ups have been produced on the life and death of Osama bin Laden. From publicity point of view his death is the third biggest news of the  21 century. According to a conservative estimate the US spent tens of billions of dollars to locate him. Osama is the Frankenstein of the US being its creation. They used him against the Soviet Union in Afghan war. He was privy to many secrets of the US and its CIA. After the Afghan war was over, the US left Afghanistan leaving Afghans in lurch. When the Afghans realized that not Russia but the US and its colonialism were the real enemy of Muslims, they pledged to seek revenge from the US. They did all that cut at the roots of the American interests.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Plagued by apathy?

We as a people need to be more serious about our individual and collective lives. 

Our society is not sensitive to writings based on facts.  At the most the shortest response one is able to elicit from one’s readers is that it is a good article.

We have read in books of history that in olden days, kings, rulers and administrative authorities would move about incognito at night to look for themselves the condition of the people and find out their problems so that attempts would be made to solve them. Today we have highly advanced information technology, the print and electronic media. But despite knowing about the problems of the people through the media and other dependable sources our rulers are loathe to address the problems. Not only that, they express resentment and anger on such sections of media as expose them and bring to light corruption and bribery rampant in the administrative departments. The authorities would even embark on subjecting their critics to punitive measures by stopping paid advertisements to them.

Unfortunately even the educated people in the society are bereft of moral values. I happened to meet with a youth who was a law graduate. He told me that he was running some business and would like to amass something about five hundred crores of rupees and then fight election. He added that his maternal uncle lived in Nowhatta and he would fight election from that constituency because he could easily register the support of stone throwing youth in that locality.
This blurred my vision. What would be the thinking level of an illiterate of this society if educated persons thought in these terms? What is the result of this callousness? Food grains and other eatable items provided for the people living below poverty line are being black-marketed openly. An ordinary store keeper has become a millionaire. Recently in the course of a police swoop on the residences of some people in Budgam, 200 to 300 sterling gold coins were recovered from their possession. In one case, sugar worth 36 crores was seized by the police. But at the end of the day the enforcement authorities receive bribes commensurate with the amount of seizure. The culprits escape scot-free and not only that they are reinstated at their posts and in many cases they are even rewarded with promotions.

The police and vigilance establishment have the record of one store keeper of being the owner of 120 trucks and these are deployed to carry the food grains of the same department where he is employed and thus huge carriage amount is earned from the department. There seems a big nexus of officials from top to bottom in the Food Department and this encompasses even the bureaucrats to the level of directors and secretaries. This is the reason that there is no vigilance over the food grains meant for the people BPL but sold in open black market. Promotion and social recognition is usually commensurate with the size of bribery and corruption.
A new form of bribery has been devised lately. People are picked up on the pretext of involvement in hawala. Enforcement personnel claim to have picked them up with cash ranging from five to fifteen lakh rupees. But the actual amount seized from them is much higher and a good chunk is embezzled. After all why should we expect honesty only from the police department while the entire society has fallen a prey to corrupt practices?

A religion-abiding friend told me “that the Imam of the mosque in his locality was pilfering electric power. Despite admonishment the Imam would not rectify his behavior and finally the matter was raised in the mosque and my friend argued that if the Imam did not stop pilfering power, he had no right to continue to be the Imam of the mosque. Two days later he had stopped preaching in the mosque and leading the prayers.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

WE, the people!

The story of Kashmir is full of pain and apathy. All we need is to have a deeper look into what plagues us as a people.

Centre for Policy Analysis has organized a Round Table discussion of Kashmir situation.  It is a positive step. I find that most of the discussions held anywhere in the world are on Kashmir issue. Despite that, Kashmiris continue to be the worst victimized people.

I need not recount the history of the dispute, and hopefully, despite different ideologies you are wedded to, most of you are aware of historical facts about Kashmir. My assessment of Kashmir situation is rather simplistic. I believe three nuclear powers are illegally occupying the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and have divided it into four parts. Therefore I am of opinion that before seeking a way for the freedom of Kashmir, we need to address the question of its unification.

All the three occupational countries are at great variance in terms of ethnicity, language, religion and geography. But when Kashmir question is dragged for discussion, we find ourselves divided into various factions, like Gujjars, Jammuites, Dogras, Kashmiris, Paharis, Gilgitis, Ladakhis, Bodhs, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Shias, and Sunnis.

I am running 44th year of my life in politics. You may try to circumvent Kashmir issue, but the very nature of this issue is so much complex that it shall have to be resolved if we are seeking lasting peace and stability in South Asian region. If there happens a nuclear flare up in the region, the worst affected would be India, Pakistan and China. Kashmiris will be harmed less because they have not as yet come out of 16th century life style.

Black Laws
Indians are not tired of repeating the rhetoric of J&K being an integral part of the Indian Union and that Kashmiris are Indian nationals.  In reality India has treated J&K as its colony for last 63 years. Kashmir has always been oppressed by black and tyrannical laws like Enemy Ordinance No. 3 promulgated by Maharaja Hari Singh at the time of incursion by the tribesmen. It remains valid today and cases against nearly 200 persons have been filed under this law. I am one of its victims. Under this law an accused is prosecuted in a special court of law. The decision of this court cannot be challenged in any higher court as appeal is not allowed.

American interest and South Asian politics

Time to realize that America is no one's friend........
The US Ambassador in India Mr. Timothy J Reumer was on two days visit to Srinagar on 17 March. Replying to a question, he said “he met with Omar Abdullah because he is the elected representative of the people.” Many separatists were unhappy with his statement. But the separatists should feel ashamed for being divided into many small groups. They cannot lead the people rather they divide them further.  Whether Omar Abdullah is or is not their representative is a different thing.  But the world saw that after 2008 “ragdo ragdo” movement, large numbers of people participated in elections and cast their vote. Mainstream parties were clever enough to trumpet the elections for roads, water and electricity, and under cover of that managed to garner votes.

People proved cleverer; they cast vote saying they voted for power, water, roads, and jobs. They forgot that these mainstream parties had been making same promises for last six decades and hoodwinking unsuspecting masses. We are unable to prove to the world outside that elections in Kashmir are mostly management elections. They cannot be faulted if they consider Omar as an elected representative of the people.

The US has been usually adopting a policy on Kashmir that blackmails India. Except for lip service, the US never supported the freedom and self determination struggle of Kashmiris. But if the US occasionally needs Pakistan, she has been issuing statements which Pakistan interprets as something favouring her on Kashmir stand. In this way they make a fool of the people of Pakistan. Actually, the US keeps its interests foremost and blackmails India. Kashmir and Pakistan both had high expectations from the visit of President Obama to India. All that he said about Kashmir in reply to a question from a reporter was that “it was an old dispute and the two countries should resolve it bilaterally” Precisely, Obama administration made it clear that there is no issue of freedom and self determination of Kashmiris though there is an issue between India and Pakistan. In other words he considered it a regional and not a freedom struggle.

The reason for all this is that Kashmiris launched the movement in the name of religion while the US is fighting religious extremists all over the world especially in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Second thing that needs to be understood clearly is that the US or the western powers establish or disrupt relations with another country only in the context of their national interests. They have turned the UN into an organization to foster their interests. When they have to use this organization against Iran, Iraq and Libya, it takes them just a couple of days to get resolutions passed. On the other hand the UN has passed no fewer than 250 resolutions against Israel on Palestinian issue since 1948 but the US never let these get translated into practice. Masses in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia also raised voice against their rulers. But since the ruler of Yemen is an ally of the US in fight against Al Qaeda and the US has wide interests in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, no resolution was introduced against these two countries. What is happening in Libya is also happening in these countries, yet the US, mindful of her national interests, does not take identical action.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Of Falling Empires ......

Thrones and crowns will tumble down and that is where people matter

Mass movements have erupted in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman and Algeria against the dictators and autocratic monarchs. Some pseudo-intellectuals and self-styled political leaders are trying to link up Egyptian revolution with Kashmir issue.

Among Arab countries, Egypt claims five thousand year old civilization and culture. She has influenced not only the African countries in her neighbourhood but the Arab countries also have largely imbibed her contribution. The struggle for Arab nationalism under the leadership of Colonel Nasser not only pulled Egypt out of monarchical rule, but also helped her wriggle out of the nauseating influence of Great Britain and France. He liberated Suez Canal from the grip of these two countries after fighting it out. Other Arab countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Yemen also met with revolution under Ba’ath Party but those were hijacked by their ruling junta. Thus dictatorship of the junta was established in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak held power for last thirty years during which he suppressed all opposition. The leaders of Ikhwanul Muslimeen were hunted down or sent to gallows and many people contributing to their ideology were sent behind the bars. It was an era of nepotism and corruption in Egypt. Economic and social conditions did not change for ordinary people. However one thing did happen. Economic imbalance among the Middle Class and Lower Middle Class gave rise to Egyptian rule. Despotism and single party system created unrest among the people.

A close analysis of the current turmoil in Egypt and other Arab countries shows that at the root lies the oppression of Israel on Palestinians. Not resolving the Palestinian issue through dialogue seems to be the main cause of these uprisings. Israel and the US both are largely responsible for upsurge in Egypt. Her assassinated President Anwar Sadaat had signed an agreement with Israel . Later on, Hosni Mubarak made Egypt a strong defense line for Israel. This had exacerbated unrest among the people. Despite all this, Israel showed no relent in its animus against Palestinians because the US lent full support to Israel. Only recently the US vetoed a UN resolution opposing Israel making new settlements in Eastern part of Baitul Muqaddas. This created a wave of resentment not only in Egypt but in all Arab countries against the ruling apparatus and there were massive demonstrations on streets. The main reason of all this turmoil is the secret support given by some Arab rulers to the Israel. They have become the stooges of the US and are only protecting American interests besides allowing American military bases in Arab countries.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Talks a ploy to bid time

History helps us learn lessons from past events and gain experience for future guidance. We do study history but, unfortunately we refuse to learn lesson from what we read. Therefore we often repeat our previous mistakes.

Kashmir remains a dispute between India and Pakistan and India and Kashmir since 1947. Many rounds of talks have been held on this subject among stakeholders from time to time. Kashmir question was debated at the United Nations, and apart from that, we also know of Nehru-Liaqat and Nehru-Muhammad Ali Bogra and Nehru-Noon talks with several rounds. In the aftermath of 1965 Indo-Pak war, Shastri and Ayub Khan talked about it in Tashkent and six rounds of talks between the foreign ministers namely Swaran Singh and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto were also held. Before the war of 1965, Nehru had sent Sheikh Abdullah to General Ayub Khan for talks on Kashmir. In the run up to Shimla talks and agreement, open and secret talks about Kashmir were also held.  Rajiv Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto also talked in their capacity as Prime Ministers. Vajpayee claimed to resolve the issue in the name of humanism and talked to Nawaz Sharif in Lahore. Widening the scope of interaction, India opened up talks on Prime Minister’s level with one faction of Hurriyat. In the current tenure of Indian prime minister, three rounds of round table conference were held. Recommendations made by various committees and approved in the Round Table conference were ultimately consigned to the dust bin. This conference was not held under the chairmanship of the prime minister of Pakistan but under the Indian prime minister in which Indian home minister, defence minister and other ministers of mainstream parties were also present. Earlier after Kargil war, Track II and Agra Summit were held with the government of Pervez Musharraf and it was given out that Kashmir issue had been almost resolved.

But despite all these long and short talks and interaction, Kashmir issue became more and more complicated. The only thing that happened in the course of these long and tortuous deliberations was that during the tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the present prime minister, the canvas of talks was expanded to include Kashmir leadership in negotiations. Prior to that, Kashmir issue had remained confined to the limits of two countries only.

This issue did not come up for much discussion after 1964 or Tashkent Agreement. Kashmiri leadership did not succeed in extracting any concrete advantage from the governments of Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. All this makes us believe that India is only bidding time and is not interested in any result oriented talks with Kashmir leadership. The hindsight shows that Kashmir did not get anything out of the talks between the tallest of Kashmir leadership viz. Sheikh Abdullah and Indira Gandhi.  Delhi made loud noise that it was talking to the Hurriyat but the faction with which it initiated talks is part of all those organizations which cannot make any commitment without the permission from Pakistani establishment. Indian policy planners and official representative had also been talking to the militant organizations despite full knowledge that these organizations receive full support from Pakistan. The purpose of all these inconsequential deliberations has been to spread confusion among the organizations and people in Jammu and Kashmir. It is a ploy to divide people and bid time. Indian policy framers and rulers have never been sincere in their talks on Kashmir issue. After all they are not prepared to revive their promises and the facts of history.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Maqbool Butt. Glory of Humanity!

Remembering Shaheed Maqbool Butt. February 11 is the anniversary of his Martyrdom. His example is the beacon light of the Kashmiri freedom struggle.

The passing of eleventh February is a normal and routine day for the world, but for the Kashmiri nation and those human beings who love freedom, determined struggle, and human values February 11 is a very auspicious occasion. 11th Feb1984, anti-human worshipers of darkness hanged Maqbool Butt with a well-conspired and calculated plan in an attempt to extinguish and destroy the spirit of freedom, he (Maqbool Butt) had instilled in the minds and hearts of the Kashmiris. India thought that by killing Maqbool Butt they could silence the voice of freedom and justice.

But that same morning when Maqbool Butt was executed, the cause of Maqbool Butt was immortalized and his martyrdom became a beacon-tower for Kashmiri freedom fighters who firmly continue their struggle against the tyranny of foreign occupation. The sacred blood of Maqbool Butt, which the oppressor wanted to bury behind the high walls of Tehar jail, has taken rebirth in the form of slogan, stones and swords in every corner of the sub-continent.

“The Fatimi blood became more pure and holy and
It has become a beacon-tower in dark and barren valleys."

Maqbool Butt- the cold chains of tyranny could not fetter your will to defy the evil that oppressed your people.

O my leader - you not only sacrificed your life but was also tormented and crucified every moment of your life. You boldly waited for 15 years in the jail cell to enlighten, educate, and awaken your oppressed countrymen and show them the way to national freedom. You stood up and battled the culture of silence created by the fascism of the occupiers. You broke the silence and spoke out boldly for freedom.

Great Leader! Man has always been obsessed to fulfill his desires but you are amongst the few great men who preferred to struggle and risk death for the cause of Kashmir.You sacrificed your life to fail conspiracies aimed at usurping the national freedom of Kashmiri people. The blood-line meant to divide Kashmir, the injustice, illiteracy, poverty and ever-increasing atrocities and oppression in all parts of Jammu & Kashmir where the ills you wanted to fight out and for that you underwent brutalities, cruelties, mental and physical torture, solitary confinement and all kinds of inhuman methods of oppression by the barbarians at different times and places.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The question of war and peace

Is war the only solution to Kashmir dispute
Kashmir issue has become the source of heartbreak for the people of the state for last sixty-three years. During this period more than a hundred thousand people were killed, thousands were maimed and thousands more are suffering incarceration. The number of those who met with their end on the border or were buried under avalanches or kidnapped also runs into thousands. In terms of economy, Kashmiris are living in the 16th century. It has turned into a consumer state where people are deprived of basic necessities. Unemployment is widespread and elementary industry is lacking.

Today’s world has become fully sensitive to the ecological imperative and states are conserving their water resources by allocating sufficient funds to this head. But we in Kashmir are destroying our water resources, and, besides, are looking for land to dispose off the garbage. We don’t have even the modern garbage disposing mechanism and recycling plants. Are we not the victims of incompetent and imbecile governance?

Next to Palestine, Kashmir has become the most publicized issue today. India and Pakistan fought two wars in the name of Kashmir. Subsequent to the two countries becoming nuclear power, this issue became more complicated and threatening.

What are the reasons that make the situation so alarming in South Asia as to imagine of a possible war in the subcontinent. Despite suffering the violation of human rights on large scale and despite facing oppression and suppression, the people of Kashmir are not the object of the attention of world community. Very few nations are fully aware of their past history. Kashmir is a state that can boast of five thousand year old history. Lalitaditya and other rajas during the Hindu period, and Shihab-ud Din and Zainul Abidin in Muslim period the boundaries of the Kashmir kingdom touched Sirhind to the south and Multan to the Southwest. For long, Kashmir kingdom did not encompass only Peshawar and Punjab but Kabul, Kashghar and Tibet also fell within its suzerainty.

Zainul Abidin recalled the emigrated Kashmir Pandits. He called the assembly of learned Islamic scholars and asked them whether Islam could be forcibly thrust on anybody. When they said it was not allowed and issued decrees to that effect, he then issued an order that nobody would be converted under force. Those who had converted were allowed to re-embrace their original religions. Bud Shah order that damaged temples should be repaired. Don’t we need a Bud Shah today because after many centuries the Pandits have once again adopted migration? We all put together have not become one Bud Shah.? It was in the times of Bud Shah that the ruler of Delhi Feroz Shah Tughlaq accepted Kashmir Kingdom's borders at Sirhind. We not only forgot the history of our ancestors but we also allowed their graves to turn into desolate places. We stole the stones and bricks from their graves. This is major reason whey we cold not achieve our goal as a nation.

The valley cries

Where do stand the promises you made. These distraught and frustrated people need an answer

As election fever ran high in Kashmir, mainstream political parties used their rallies, meetings, media etc. to repeatedly convey to the people that they would take care of their basic needs and day to day requirements if returned to power. This was their election plank. They meant to say that necessities like drinking water, electric power, roads, jobs and medical health etc. would be improved although the fundamental issue of the state remained where it was. Unfortunately, sentimentality is the bane of our people. They believed in these commitments and promise of the mainstream, parties and cast their votes in full strength.

But only a few months back the ”ragda movement” resulted in the martyrdom of no fewer than seventy-five youth. People forgot that only a few months ago martyrs had sacrificed their precious lives. However, the separatists, too, have to share the blame in the sense that they carried forward the movement out of sheer sentimentality and without closing their ranks and without forging unity among themselves. The result of this type of miss-management is that despite making precious sacrifices, people get exhausted and prefer to stay indoors.

People never asked the mainstream parties that while they were promising to fulfill all the basic requirement of day to day life within the next tenure of six years, what happened during the past six decades when they had been enjoying power. When nothing could be achieved in this regard during six decades, what magic wand is in their hands to accomplish the job in six years?

In any case, under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi, a coalition government of National Conference and Congress was formed and Omar Abdullah was installed the Chief Minister. Many persons against whom allegations of corruption and nepotism had come to light were re-inducted into the new coalition ministry. About the chief minister, there was media hype that as a young and energetic political leader he would no doubt solve all outstanding problems of the people. Intense propaganda created a ray of hope in all the three regions of the state that things would change for better. But gradually all those expectations evaporated in thin air because just after one year the longest ever strike took place in Kashmir which consumed nearly 111 precious lives including innocent children. State economy suffered nearly 84 thousand crores. Since the state has been deliberately made a consumer state, therefore it is the common man in Kashmir who had to suffer this loss. This brought a fatal blow to the state’s commercial health. Employees in private sector have been shunted out; services of salesmen have been dispensed with. According to one estimate, nearly a hundred thousand employees have been rendered jobless. This is the reason why in the absence of any considered planning by political parties and politicians, people have resorted to full scale and long term strikes in schools, workshops, business centers and all other institutions thereby bringing severe damage to their own economic life.And strange to say that these very people themselves put a halt to the strikes voluntarily. At that time I had said in very clear terms that by asking for the strikes in schools for a long time, it would put a heavy burden on society, which it may not be able to carry. Then there was durbar move and the valley and Ladakh regions were left in lurch. Now people fail to understand whether there is anybody representing the government and its administrative institutions here. All that exists here is the presence of the police and security forces, their tyranny, and their brutal attacks. In other words nothing exists in the valley except the police and security forces. For example, in the matter of supply of cooking gas, we have repeated official announcements that there is no shortage of gas.  But the reality is that people keep standing in queues for hours at end in the cold weather awaiting their turn to replace the cylinders. Retail shops of various gas agencies usually remain closed. The gossip is that liquid gas is not supplied only to commercial institutions, hotels and various state offices but some gas agencies have appointed vegetable venders, general stores and petty shop keepers also as their sales agents thus opening the scope for black marketing of gas cylinders. It is alarming to note that in absence of necessary safety precautions, a tragedy can happen at any of these vending sites for liquid gas which would endanger human lives. In black market a cylinder is sold for anything between 400 and 460 rupees. Food and Supplies Director has switched off his telephone so that he is not pestered by calls from consumers seeking redress of their grievances. This writer made scores of futile attempts to reach him. But once when he lifted the receiver, he did not like my asking why gas was not available in Bren, Nishat and Shalimar localities. He shot back saying how come I had suddenly developed care for the masses of the people? Was this the promise made by the political parties at the time of election?