It was simply disgusting knowing what India’s noted writer, Booker Prize winner and human rights activist Arundhati Roy spoke and wrote on Kashmir. Sadly, it was inconclusive, unproductive, negative faf-speak meant to be controversial (only) without mettle.
Quoting one of the newspapers, she said, “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact”. She lashed out against India’s policy of oppressing “the people of diverse culture” and praised the Kashmiri struggle for increasing “consciousness in India about the oppression you face”.
And later she justified saying, “…what I say comes from love and pride... they (whatever she said) were a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir… for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways…”.
The worst part in this whole media hype is that the solution to the Kashmir problem is not even being discussed. Everything that happened was emotion without action veering towards negativity.
Arundhati, being a respected personality could have instead pull the strings towards a solution, could have lobbied for a particular set of action points, could have tried to bring the central government, state government, opposition political parties, and other representatives of public opinion to one table.
How it is (whatever she said) was a ‘call for justice’? How would that bring justice? How would secession bring justice to the common public of Kashmir? I have spoken to localites in Kashmiri quite extensively and I can vouch for the fact that they don’t want ‘secession’. They realize that the lack is of an effective, efficient leadership which can steer Kashmir to development and progress.
If the local leaders couldn’t run the state with abundant central Govt. funds, how would they run a separate country with no external fund?
How is Kashmir ‘one of the most brutal military occupations in the world’? You can’t call the military ‘brutal’ by the count of military personnel alone. Once I had stopped my bike at Lal Chowk to speak to one of the Jawans, when the first thing he said, “Do not stand too close to us, we are the soft targets of grenades thrown from those wooden windows”. That is the actual plight and fear of the Jawans posted in Srinagar that the media completely ignores. Even if I agree with Arundhati for a moment, then she should have instead delved into the reasons of ‘Kashmir’ becoming a military occupation. Just saying that it is ‘one of the most brutal military occupations’ is very ordinary and controversial. It is just plain copying what many others have said in the past and is a waste of effort, time and energy.
How it is (whatever she said) providing justice to the Kashmiri Pandits that were thrown out of Kashmir by the Islamist fundamental groups? Is she even bothered about the Kashmiri Pandits? How is the Indian Govt. responsible for the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits? Why is Arundhati, being the Booker Prize winner blabbering?
One of her other points was about ‘justice for Dalit Soldiers killed in Kashmir’. Who killed those Dalit Soldiers? Why she is only concerned about ‘Dalit Soldiers’? What about the other regiments? Why is she casteist? Who have killed these soldiers? It is clearly either Pakistan, or ISI or Islamist fundamentalism. So how is her statement even relevant to ‘justice for dalit soldiers’?
Dear Arundhati, the need of the hour in Kashmir is an effective political leadership that can steer Kashmir towards quick economic progress. It is also the easiest strategy to implement given the political and cross border scenario. Issues with Pakistan, communal tension would always remain, or would need a longer term solution, but time cannot wait and standard of living cannot be compromised.
We should take Mr. Modi as an example for developmental politics reducing the gap between Hindu and Muslim mindsets. Today Mr. Modi gets a sizeable chunk of votes even from the Muslim community.
With economic progress and effective local leadership, Kashmir can march ahead as a progressive state. With progress, employment and rising income, communal hatred, Pakistani interference and orthodox fundamentalism will ultimately get marginalised.