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Enigma of Alienated Youth in Kashmir
11/12/2018 9:06:42 PM

Alienation of the youth of Kashmir from India is the hot topic of today. Governor Malik has spoken so have politicians cutting across the political divide. There appears to be a broad consensus on the fact of youth alienation. The perception about its causation is wide-ranging, confused .and generally motivated. Pakistan pedaled the perception that the Kashmiri Muslims were being oppressed by Hindu India. The Muslim youth picked up the gun and are fighting the war of independence against Indian occupation and atrocities of its armed forces. This position is contrary to recorded history and false and frivolous to the core. Still this preposterous Pakistan narrative has large number of takers in the world community thanks to inability and unwillingness of our political class and Establishment to mount a forceful, consistent well documented counter. Ironically, both the political class and the establishment have in essence come to treat the alienation of youth as synonymous with their option for Pakistan. Even though some half-backed politicians in power in Delhi will have us believe that Youth of Kashmir have overnight turned Indian patriots. Such simplistic wishful projections from men in power only further confuse and complicate a hugely difficult security and political situation in the sensitive border state.
That youth of Kashmir is indeed the dominant player in the terrorist onslaught and political calculus can not be denied. It is therefore of paramount importance to explore factors that impact thought processes of the educated, politically conscious and free thinking Kashmiri youth
Looking up my pile of relevant material I came across a write up by AARIF MUZZAFAR RATHER, (a student of BALLB at Central University Kashmir at that point of time) titled" I refuse to be Complacent" The piece is undated most probably published in Greater Kashmir, Srinagar. That it relates to recent times is obvious. Hence its relevance is beyond question.
The write up appears to have been triggered by comments made by the then Prime minister of Pakistan , Sahid Khakan Abbasi that the idea of independent Kashmir "was not based on reality". He was interacting with students Of the London School of Economics This, according to Rather "became a point of great debate across the Sub Continent as one could see on the social media". He was further scandalized by Ali Shah Geelanis' claim that" Jammu and Kashmir was a natural part of Pakistan". "I read these two statements from these two important people connected with Kashmir dispute with a sense of great shock." .he said and told Gellani bluntly that "He should not be doing this" Why? Here are some of reasonsadvanced by him in justification of the position he has taken..
One.. When you claim Kashmir is natural part of Pakistan because of its Muslim majority, many Muslim leaders of India contest this question as a reason for Kashmir Joining with India.
Two.. Your statement is exploitative in nature because it further alienates people of Ladakh and Jammu. It also puts an end to Kashmirs' struggle becoming peoples movement or collective struggle of Jammu and Kashmir" and asserts "My freedom of thought can not hamper some one else's freedom"
Three.. "No part of Kashmir is being ruled by its own choice. The political freedom of Azad Kashmir is yet to be seen.. When Pakistan got hold of its territory of occupied Kashmir, the first thing Mushtak Gurmani, a Pakistan envoy did was to Divide and Rule Azad Kashmir (POK) following the autocratic practices. and feudal politics. Chowdery Ghulam Abbas would often make complaint to Pakistan Administration that the decision taken by Pakistan envoy were taken without any consultation of Azad Kashmir government. Many Azad Kashmir (POK) ministers and officials were treated by Pakistan as second class citizens (Source. The untold story of the people of Azad Kashmir (POK) by Christofer Snoddaen)" If occupation on one side is a curse, the other can not be thrust upon us as a blessing. "he concluded"
Four.. When Pakistan launched its military operation in BanglaDesh (then East Pakistan ) its army killed millions of Bengalis and raped scores of women to suppress their call for freedom. This systematic violence, genocide ,genocidal rape is blot on Pakistan army". "Imagine Azad Kashmir giving a call for freedom," and wonders "how Pakistan deals with them is a matter of great debate, if I am not being judgmental"
Rather apparently belongs to the segment of youth who are emancipated, idealists, secular and democratic-an offshoot of the freedom struggle led by Sheikh Mohd Abdullah, though they may not own it publically. My impression is based on interaction with small groups of young men at the peak of terrorism.. Their broad preference appeared to be for an independent, secular, democratic Jammu & Kashmir as it existed on 14th of August 1947. They were "frustrated" with India both on account of "denial of democratic rights and excesses " by its armed forces". Their rejection of Pakistan as an option for accession is, of course primarily unequivocal and final. And they hate Pakistan army. The idea in somewhat vague form drove significant percentage of Kashmiri youth of all social persuasions.
A small but noisy segment either belonging to or under the influence of Jammat-e-Islami and Ahal-E Hadith were pro-Pak primarily committed to Whahabi/Salfi brand of militarist Islam. As of today they were small in numbers but hog lime light because of their terrorist onslaught and brutal atrocities.. They also draw strength from their global connection and regular flow of funds from foreign sources. In absence of any contest from the Sufi/Rishyat Islam that the vast majority of Kashmiri Muslims have faith in and practice there was huge potential for mischief in their ascendency. They were reinforced by paid agents of Pak ISI, the youth fed on Drugs by Pak handlers and odd hangers on. Their ranks could, however swell with the spread of Whabbi, Salfi Ahal-I-Haidth cult which wass currently making waves in Kashmir Its spill have begun to be felt in Doda area.
Herein lies the greatest danger as well as challenge to national security, a challenge, which the political, class and the establishment has miserably failed to appropriately and accurately perceive . As a consequence they have been criminally negligent in ,crafting and mounting preventive and punitive measures aimed at destroying the ideological roots, neutralizing the motivators and promoters and eliminating their terrorist foot soldiers on the ground. Mere killing of the terrorists and hitting those gathering on the scenes of conflict to facilitate the terrorist operations amounted to chopping of branches of Salfi/ whabbi tree while its roots get regular irrigation and fertilizer. Obviously, an exercise in futility. It will obviously be wrong to treat them as alienated youth. They are sworn enemies of Indian and all that it stands for. They are driven by a militarized Islamist, anti-civilization destructive ideology or are agents of an enemy state "waging a proxy war aimed at bleeding India by thousand cuts.' They must be relentlessly hounded and neutralized'.
On the positive side, we have youth who are committed to moving on in the modern world, determined to, brighten their prospects, improve the quality of life and benefit from the enormous and hugely lucrative openings in government as well as corporate sectors. They concentrate on their studies and dedicatedly prepare for competitive examinations or whatever tests the Corporates in both national and international arena prescribe. Their performance has been laudable and should be a source of inspiration to others. Obviously, everything possible should be done to facilitate their endeavors.
Then there was the largest percentage of youth who accept their being Indians by birth or fall in the politically grey area. They mostly seek jobs preferably in Police, and other uniformed forces or Education department/universities.
Kashmiri Muslim youth have a somewhat compelling fascination for uniformed services. This yearning was rooted in history and drove the ambition of young men/women, some consciously but most sub- consciously. This explain the pride with which men in uniform carry their weapons or new recruits to terrorism flaunt their uniforms and weapons on the social Media.
The tragedy was that most of Kashmir experts, official as well as non-official chose to define Kashmiri psyche and character in terms of period dating from Mughal occupation when Akbar finally succeeded in over running Kashmir after number of failed invasions. He was determined to break their morale for good by de-martial sing the "nation". They refused to listen to the pleas that Kashmiri society, culture and exalted institution of scholarship and theology were thousands of years old. Andthere was enough incontrovertible evidence that they were a martial race. They disregarded these please and stubbornly fashioned Anti-terrorist policy to deal with "a community of cowards". This erroneous premise resulted in fashioning policies and strategies which predictably proved mostly inadequate and at times disastrous. And yet despite unprecedented huge loss of life and limbs , the resistance endured, Should this not compel a radical and realistic change in fundamental thinking. of the Indian government?
As for as the segment of youth represented by Rather was concerned, we need to engage them in serious dialogue. There was so much common between them and the attributes of Indian state like faith in democracy, secularism, composite culture and commitment to preserve the status of J&K state as it existed on 14th of August 1047. AS it is,the dream of an independent Kashmir stands shattered by Pakistan itself. The emergence of Wahabbis wedded to Jihad for Allah, Islam and a Global Caliphate and the inroads they are were making further enhances their difficulties in pursuing their objective.
The patriots and those in the politically grey area need to be protected, promoted and preserved through a holistically crafted strategy that addresses both the educational. Societal and ideological fronts. The situation demands that the Strategists, commanders of security forces as well as ideological Pundits rush to the drawing Board put their heads together and come up with well conceived, pro -active, thoroughly professional preventive and operation responses both at the ops and ideological fronts before lot more damage was done to us as well as the Kashmir Muslim society. The Wahabbi/Salfi Ahil-i-Hadth storm was gathering momentum by the day.
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