Kashmir: Military, Mullah, and Madrasah
JAVID AHMAD AHANGER
“Alif” for Anar (Pomegranate), “A” for Apple and “ب” for Bakri (goat) or “B” for “Boy” and “C” for “Cat” but nowadays it is replaced by “Alif” and “A” for “Azadi”, “B” for Bandooq (Gun) and “C” for “Curfew”
Woodrow Wilson once has rightly remarked that “The History of Liberty is the History of resistance” as such it makes relevance that the Militant resistance movement in Kashmir is not a new phenomenon; this has deep roots in the memories of Kashmiri people and is now completely embedded in people’s minds. The trend started right after 1989 when JKLF took up arms against the Indian state with an objective to achieve liberation for Kashmir. No doubt the armed struggle in Kashmir witnessed ups and downs from 1990’s till the emergence of modern New Age Militancy. The peoples’ movements like 2008 Uprising, 2009 ‘Shopian Rape-Murder tragedy,’ 2010 Unrest with the advent of the Hizbul Mujahedeen Commander Burhan Wani as the poster boy of the militant resistance movement and the execution of Afzal Guru in Tihar jail sparked the already present militancy in Kashmir. The subsequent increase of human rights violation, and many other small and big issues, such as Pandit and Sanik colonies to the formation of BJP-PDP government in the state added fuel to the fire. This time, the militancy, however, succeeded in engulfing the southern part of Kashmir Valley. There is a myth and misconception around the world and particularly in India that Madrasahs are the prime tool for generating the Militant ideology. Looking at the things only through the security paradigm has created this sort of policy both in intelligentsia and security agencies. That is why the present ruling establishment in New Delhi also follows the same path when it comes to the Muslims in general and Kashmir policy in particular. No doubt that Madrasahs played a vital role in spreading the teachings of Quran and Sunnah which is essential for reformation and guidance. Madrasahs are one of the leading causes of humanizations not radicalization; they provide the message of peace and prosperity, not hatred, they provide the knowledge to prepare people for life here and hereafter, they develop the sense of morality and human values not what the media propaganda and the politically motivated reports are propagating. The question arises here, who is responsible for the past and present or we can say continuous militant movement in Kashmir? The answer to this issue is straightforward and definite as it is the conflict and the nature of the dispute which has created the space for radical or we can say strong movement to achieve the cause i.e. the right to self-determination.
There were a large number of youth in the past who fought while using violent means; it needs to be understood that these youth never had a chance to educate themselves in Madrasas except for the elementary Quranic teachings. Thus the argument that the Madrasas are radicalizing youth is out of the question and out of date. One need to look into the pattern, the present militants in Kashmir are mostly as has been told by the newspapers are college and university pass outs thus having advanced degrees. These youth it seems are disillusioned by the outcome of this protracted yet unsuccessful bilateral talks and the UN unfulfilled promises. Disillusioned thus, they find themselves treading the past left by the former militants.
The recent statement and report of the home minister that we need to address and control the Madrasas and media so as to control the new wave of radicalization in Kashmir. “The Moulvis at the mosques need to be engaged that will go a long way to quell the insurgency in the valley.” Will it help in curbing the problem which the state is facing? The answer is no because we need to understand the causes and historical narratives which are responsible for the armed struggle in Kashmir. Historically, deceptive policies of India from the day one to present need to be studied when it comes to the causes of militancy in the state. In the early times, we heard “Alif” for Anar (Pomegranate) “A” for Apple and “ب” for Bakri (goat) or “B” for “Boy” and “C” for “Cat” but nowadays it is replaced by “Alif” and “A” for “Azadi”, “B” for Bandooq (Gun) and “C” for “Curfew”.AK47 (Gun) and Kalashnikov has now become part of this unfortunate land which once lauded by the poets and writers as Paradise on earth and Switzerland of Asia. This curriculum was developed when there was no space for the peaceful resolution of dispute and Kashmir’s start new slogans like (Us par mile Hai Aazadi es par bie lee gey Azadi) which can be translated as “we have achieved freedom in Azad Kashmir now it is time to liberate this part of Kashmir too”. This phenomenon can be seen an ideological and we need to look and try to understand this culture of the gun. The recent statement of General Bipin Rawat “Those who obstruct our operations during encounters and aren’t supportive will be treated as over ground workers of terrorists.” These types of statements are not new to people because people had seen the terrible days of the 90s when there were no media reporting from Kashmir and people were subjected to grave miseries, ruthlessly killed, disappeared, tortured and what not. In fact, the General have openly waged war with common masses by acknowledging that we are prepared to fight with civilians also. The need of the hour is that the statements of P. Chidambaram and Yaswat Sinha and other academicians and intellectuals about the current and ongoing movement in Kashmir should be taken seriously and a new framework should be formed to address the issues politically rather than militarily, because the more you suppress, the more you find the resistance which we have witnessed in 2016.
The unfortunate, sorry state of Kashmir has killed tens of thousands, and it continues its contested legacy and is swallowing our human resources. Mark Twain seems right when he said “the fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” The fearless youth in Kashmir who put their life at risk in stone pelting or those who have taken the arms have no fear of death. So need is to address the issue politically, not military as war brings only destruction. Former Pakistani General Pervez Musharraf is right when he addressed the Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee, “If we want to normalize relations between Pakistan and India and bring harmony to the region, the Kashmir dispute will have to be resolved peacefully through dialogue, by the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Let’s give peace a chance to prevail so that it would be better to save lives than to perish by vengeance.