Amarnath Yatra has been a shining example of communal harmony, sufism in Kashmir and the composite culture of the state. So really what was it all about? If things were so simple , no land was being transfer ed to anyone permanently,no permanent structures were being planned,the local populations depend on this yatra for economic reasons, what was the hullabaloo about. I am grappling with this fundamental question and am debating between which of the conspiracy theories to choose from. The theories in question are:
1. PDP decided that it was not winning any big battles read seats in the 2009 elections and needed something to lean on for a decent show in the upcoming elections. What better than Hindu vs Muslim, us vs them ploy which never fails to disappoint. I have no doubts that PDP and Mehbooba Mufti are to blame for starting this mess. What Ms. Mufti did not expect I guess was a resounding response from the Jammu region which has no history (in the last 61 yrs) of any kind of political activism. The situation quickly spiralled out of control with separatists in Kashmir finding new vigor and voice. This separatist angle does not suit the PDP too. Hence as a saving face gimmick Ms. Mehbooba has been calling for starting trade between POK and Kashmir and the opening the Muzzafarabad Road. Unfortunately for her and funnily for the rest of us, many PDP ministers have been beaten and their cars stoned by the local Kashmiri Muslims, during this entire land drama. I do not see them winning too many seats after all.
2. Mr. Prem Shankar Jha who is called an expert on Kashmir and is just that in my opinion. He is not an expert in the history and psyche of the people of the Jammu region. Mr. Jha has mentioned a land scam, where land was going to be sold for ridiculous prices and it was a big racket which went bust. Well if we were to believe that then it is quite likely that the some of the parties involved wanted a bigger portion in the scheme of things and when that did not happen like a bad player decided to ruin things for the rest of the players. Again I have a feeling they did expect or were prepared for the game to be completely hijacked by the separatist voices in Kashmir and by the suddenly awake, alive and kicking Jammuites.
3. What was glaringly absent was Mr. Prime minister's direct and intense involvement in the issue. All the cry about economic blockade, could the Center not have air lifted the 'baby food'which was scarce amongst other things in the valley and shut the separatists up. The Home Minister of course has proved he is not suited for the job. This whole things reeks of the opportunistic politics Congress excels in. It did not want to get its hands dirty just before the upcoming elections. It played safe at the cost of a troubled state becoming more divided.
4. The hostage crisis left the separatists labelling it as a staged encounter by the Indian Government. If true it only reflects the sorry state of the region's politics. Though the recent build up of militants on the border should put things in a different perspective.
5. Pakistan would have had marathon parties to celebrate what was happening in J&K if it was not too busy cleaning up its own internal mess. From the impeachment of Musharraf to the recent US attacks on its soil against its innocent civilians, it should really focus on things ailing them. Though the state of affairs in J&K was an excellent opportunity for Pakistan to add to the activities of its Department of Kashmir, The Unfinished Agenda. It made grand statements about protecting the Human Rights of the Kashmiris and appealing for international intervention, all the while breaching the cease fire and allowing militant build up n the border and aiding their infiltration.
The State of Things as they are now:
1. An awakened Jammu which has found its lost voice finally. Such a large scale people's movement has not been witnessed in the country in the recent past. We will see more political activism from this region in future. BJP by supporting this people's movement stands a good chance of winning the maximum seats if not all in this region. If tomorrow the Sangharsh Samiti decides to contest the elections, undoubtedly they will be the winners hands down.
2. An awakened and renewed demand for freedom in the valley. There will be debates and discussions and maybe the freedom movement in Kashmir will take a new direction, under new leadership.
3. The Amarnath issue has brought to sharp focus once again the HR violations in the valley. There is a need for de militantization and de militarization for a return to normalcy. It is a must for winning the trust of the people and giving peace a serious chance.
At the end of the day I am thankful for the political awakening of the people of Jammu. That is how I see it irrespective of the communal labels applied to this movement by the so called experts. As far as I am concerned no real experts on the Jammu region were interviewed in any of the TV debates or interviews.
The cries of Bum Bum Bhole and Nizame Mustafa reiterates the fact that the line between religion and the civil society are very hazy and easily overlap at times.
The burning of the Indian flags and cries of Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan throws light to the nature of separatist leadership and the separatist voices in the valley.
I am grateful that Human Rights violations have been thrown up for discussion once again and hopefully measures will be taken to correct and improve the conditions in the valley.
I am thankful that questions about the return of Kashmiri Pandits have been raised once again and maybe the new blood in the valley who say that they want their Pandit brothers back will march to Delhi/Jammu/ Muzzaffarabad or a place of their choice to demand a return of the KPs.
All the economic losses suffered by the state is a terrible waste.
I am also sorry for all the innocent lives lost and the lingering bitterness between Jammu and Kashmir.
I am hopeful that the state known for its natural beauty, will witness a revival of Sufi Kashmiriyat and communal harmony and bounce back to its full glory.