After almost three decades the Kashmir Freedom Movement stands no further than where it started. Every passing year is a mix of mass agitations, protests, hartals and then accepting the failure, only to rise again the next year. The surge of untamed energy of the youth goes down the gutter every year. Rather, the only outcome at the end is the addition to the death toll, damage to public infrastructure, serious loss of human resource in terms of education and economic stability.
But with every rising sun, the energy is refilled and a new protest is in the building.
First of all, we need to answer this most prevalent question. “What is wrong, as no positive outcome seems to develop?”
‘History is the best teacher’, it is said. But the only thing one needs to learn from history is “that no one learns from history.”
The Kashmir Freedom movement is a poignant reflection of the Indian national movement. India as a vast nation took two centuries to become independent. But that was a time when all the present modern day inventions were not at their behest.
Furthermore, the Nationalist Movements in India were organized as mass movements foregrounding and raising questions concerning the interests of the people of India. In most of these movements, people were themselves encouraged to take action. The most noteworthy fact is that the Indian National Movement comprised of several sub-movements like Swadeshi, Non-cooperation, Home-rule, Khilafat and many others along with protests and violent clashes is a statement that no one formula was efficient enough for the purpose of Independence.
Kashmir is on the same line, having the same flaws and problems. In addition to that, the biggest irony is, it ignores the examples in front of it. It still wants to walk down the path that leads to failure. Also, contemporary research about the Indian movement has highlighted its positives and negative.
Let’s explore a few similarities between The Kashmir Freedom Movement and The Indian National Movement (INM)
Concentrating On One Technique and Abandoning the Other One
Like the INM, Kashmir lacks a full social-political-constitutional approach. It either emphasizes on talks wholly or on extremism alone. The Moderates of Indian National Congress (INC) were petition seeker who did not achieve much and so was the extremists’ total militant who was met with severe governmental repressions. Same, happens in Kashmir. Fighting at one front against a budding superpower like India, Kashmir movement is doomed to fail.
So much like the INM, the Internal squabbles among the main political organization and the fight for leadership and manifestos among the Hurriyat and other prevalent parties echoes Congress split of Surat 1907. Eventually, Kashmir is deficit of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi who inspired to bring about unity, harmony, and prosperity in the nation covering the moderates and the extremists, the poor and the rich, the Hindus and the Muslims, the employed and the unemployed confined to one class of people.
Boycott on one level and total obedience on the other.
A mass movement needs to boycott or protest against everything they feel alien and not selective things. If you boycott or protest against the army but buy food and clothes of the imperials, go to their created services, listen to their laws, and go to their courts for justice then you are close to hypocrisy. Who are the enforcers; the same social base who protest? Kashmiri police, Kashmiri politicians, Kashmiri administration and law enforcement against the Kashmiris!
History argues that it is difficult to sustain a mass-based movement at a high pitch for too long. Rather, the leadership should know that the time is influencing power in keeping a protest energetic. Outcomes inspire! while, Failure drains morals! This statement is especially relevant & apt for the youth who have drained the sense of direction which ultimately needs a broader outlook.
No Holistic Future Aspirations
Finally, what after Azadi? Will Kashmir be self-sufficient to avert the military might of China or Pakistan or any other Nation? Or they will again resort to stone-pelting? Will the economy be sufficient to cater to the needs of Imports and domestic needs? Most of all, is there a constitution which will be enforced, any set of laws and regulations in place?
And will the tourism be the same? Will the human resource development avenues be in place to cater to a large number of people who will be rendered jobless after withdrawal of Imperial Services? There are a lot of social-political questions that need to be answered. And probably without these answers, more questions are bound to arise.
Kashmir needs to follow this mindset & see the broader yet clear picture. And consequently, make peace with what they have and move towards a more developed and a prosperous state. Or they are destined to fail.