Anaahat Naad

The Unmade Sound

Posts Tagged ‘Kashmiri

An exercise in futility?

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The Jammu and Kashmir interlocutors’ report – “A New Compact with the People of Jammu and Kashmir”, was made public on May 24, 2012 by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). This was despite the report being submitted on October 12, 2011.

The interlocutors widely travelled the state of Jammu and Kashmir, interacted with more than 700 delegations and held three round table conferences while preparing the report. In three mass meetings, thousands of citizens turned up to express their views on wide range of issues.

The J&K state government and the Central government haven’t commented on the interlocutors’ report yet. The main opposition party of India, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has rejected the report altogether. So have the Kashmiri separatists even though they didn’t hold a dialogue with the interlocutors. Also, Kashmiri Pandit organisations have severely criticised the report, alleging that their demands hardly find a mention in it.

When the news of the participation of the two interlocutors in seminars organised by ISI-lobbyists Ghulam Nabi Fai and Abdul Majeed Tramboo emerged, I tried not to be cynical. But my cynicism was reinstated after going through the report.

The interlocutors’ report looks paradoxical many a time. The interlocutors haven’t directly confronted the right of the Indian state over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK). At the same time, they have termed“Pakistan-occupied Kashmir” as “Pakistan administered Kashmir”. It is a deviation from the official Indian stance on Jammu and Kashmir. It amounts to derision of the Indian Parliament which passed a unanimous resolution on February 22, 1994 declaring that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir (including POK) is and shall be an integral part of India. Moreover, the interlocutors have recommended the harmonisation of relations across the Line of Control (LoC) by setting up joint institutions. This implies giving legitimacy to the illegal control of Pakistan over parts of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir which acceded to India in 1947.

While the interlocutors don’t directly recommend returning to the pre-1953 situation, they do suggest a review of all the Central acts and articles post in the 1952 Delhi Agreement by a constitutional committee. In other words, they are recommendinga return to the pre-1953 status of Jammu and Kashmir. Also, the group of interlocutors have stressed upon the resumption of dialogue between the Indian Government and Hurriyat Conference – as if the Hurriyat Conference is the legitimate representative of the people of the valley.

The report suggests that the diverse aspirations of the three regions – Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh – must be addressed without giving concrete proposals. There are no proper measures suggested for redressal of grievances of the internally displaced Kashmiri Pandit refugees or West Pakistan/POK refugees. The interlocutors haven’t touched the controversial law passed by the J&K state legislature such as the ban on delimitation till 2026. Further, the suggestion of making Article 370 “special” from the present “temporary”, the gradual reduction of All India services officers in favour of State civil services and the review of Central laws post-1952 is a step towards distancing the state from the nation. The substantial point in the report is the setting up of three regional councils – one each for Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh (with Ladakh no longer a division of Kashmir).

The interlocutors’ report is far from producing any kind of consensus within the state or at the Centre. There seems to be no takers for the report. Also, it hasn’t been discussed in Parliament. While New Delhi is busy in its “Raisina Hill exercise”, Jammu and Kashmir awaits the redressal of grievances and firm resolution of the problems concerning the state.

(Originally published in Newslaundry)

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A conversation with an unknown Kashmiri

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On 17th of November 2011, I had an appointment at 1330 hours at a ‘special’ venue in New Delhi. I set out from my place at 0900 hours as the ‘special’ venue was far from my place.

 I reached the venue almost one hour early. I went to the waiting hall and took a seat. After 15-20 minutes, one of the organizing members announced in the hall that the meet was postponed by 90 minutes. Many seemed annoyed by this announcement. I was also. After all, who loves to wait? I was observing things in the waiting hall. A guy sitting adjacent to me enquired about the meet. And soon our conversation started.
Mr. S: So where is your home?
This question has always been a difficult one to answer for an exile no longer has a ‘home’.
I: At present, my place is New Delhi.
Mr. S: Do you belong to Delhi?
I: No. I am from Anantnag, Kashmir.
Mr. S: Oh Great! I am from Srinagar.
And the conversation about ‘home’ has begun…
Mr. S: Kar ousukh tormut Kasheer paetimi lyeat? (When did you go to Kashmir last time?). I haven’t been to ‘home’ for last one year due to very busy schedules.
I: We were forced to leave Kashmir 22 years ago. Bu’ha tchus bhatt’e. (I am Kashmiri Pandit.)
Then we both were silent for 10-15 minutes. May be he was thinking about gloomy 1990s and the tragic story behind it.
Mr. S: Tarun’uk tcha iraad’e? (Do you have any intention of ‘return’?)
I: Aa tarun tchu wapis. Aj, pagah, suli tcheer. Kasheer tchu panun ghar. (Yes, we will ‘return’..Today, tomorrow, sooner or later..Kashmir is our home.)
We talked about almost every ‘Kashmiri’ thing — Pheran, Tcheer Chai, Haakh, Chakker, Telwour, Sheen, Wazwan etc.
The fellow Kashmiri was a bit surprised to see me talking in Kashmiri. May be it was unusual for him to see a person brought up outside the vale speaking in mother tongue.
And how can there be no discussion about politics. Every Kashmiri is a ‘political analyst’.
I: Why majority of the majority community of the valley chant ‘Azaadi’ (secession from India)? It amazes as well as amuses me. More than two decades ago, the same wanted merger with Pakistan.
Mr. S: Yes, many say so. Neither ‘Azaadi’ nor merger with Pakistan is the way forward for Kashmir and Kashmiris. At the same time, many things need to be set right. Justice has been delayed.
I was little surprised to hear that. The fellow has studied in south India and has been to many cities of India.
We agreed on the fact that sooner the justice delivered to the people (living on both sides of the tunnel), better it is for Kashmir. Though on a community level, the majority and the minority differ on several issues. We had lunch in between. He narrated a few distressing stories and how Kashmir has become a lucrative industry.
I: Every Kashmiri has a peculiar story and a poignant one.
Mr. S: I feel sad about the exodus of Pandits. It was dark period in the history of Kashmir. Inshallah, you will return soon.
I: Amen! Return we will on our terms.
We wished each other before we departed.
The meeting was fine. The postponement was blessing in disguise because it resulted in a ‘special’ meeting with an unknown Kashmiri. Was it a mere coincidence or more than a coincidence? I came back to my place and thought of ‘home’.
(Originally published in Hindustan Times)

Written by Varad Sharma

November 20, 2011 at 8:00 am