T h e

K a s h m i r

T  e  l  e  g  r  a  p  h

Sixth Edition

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

Oct 2002

I N S I D E


Spotlight 

Romeet K WATT

 

Editorial     

K T says....

 

SpecialReport   

Staff Reporter

 

InsideTrack    

Praveen Swami

 

Periscope           

B Raman

 

Table Talk         

Romeet K WATT

 

Ground Zero

Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed

 

Black & White

Romeet K WATT

 

Statecraft

T V R Shenoy

 

FactsnFigure     

Staff Reporter

 

 


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 T A B L E  T A L K

Kashmir dairy: Truth, love and malice

Romeet K WATT


Kashmir has been pertinently described as a ‘quarter per cent conflict’ not long ago by a political analyst on Kashmir affairs; accounting for one quarter of one per cent of the combined territory, economy and population of India and Pakistan. And still it looms large on our minds. We sit everyday tracking down the day’s events; put our mathematical instincts into practice and try and sum up the events and happenings. We have been undertaking this exercise for years and feel ourselves being dragged into a whirlpool with a black hole at the centre; darkness looming large in our  faces from all sides and no light at the end of the channel. This mind-boggling problem has the makings of one of the most complex yarn of events stretching beyond our wildest of imaginations.

 

The optimists are having a field day in Kashmir;  perception being that Vale is limping back to normal after a decade long militancy and unrest. An overwhelming response to the electoral process, they say will remove the miseries and that the elected representatives will address their genuine grievances. This school of thought consists of able and competent men, who sing merrily to the tunes of the state’s manifestations; everything is rosy, you need not worry, we will take care of those hawks who are hand-in-glove with Mush after we are Inshalla voted back to power with a thumping majority!

 

Should the circumstance have been normal and not extraordinary, one wouldn’t have been surprised to see the back of the Abdulla regime – after all factor “anti-incumbency” is widely regarded as an instrument by which unpopular governments are shown the door. However, alas, such a realism seems to be a far-away daydream; lack of pluralistic dimension in the political spectrum in Kashmir says it all.

 

A divided opposition was the very last thing one would have sought. BJP have been hand-in-glove with the ruling National Conference; Congress has just woken from slumber; and the local entrant Peoples’ Democratic Party has unable to unshackle its downbeat image thanks to Mufti Sayeed, the founder-president. They together constitute half the opposition, other half being the separatists – still a further divided lot.

 

All Party Hurriyat Conference and Company have finally come to terms with the reality but after voting themselves out of reckoning by assuming an unyielding stance. By not participating, they have promised themselves five more years of political seclusion; each passing day taking them further away from the people who they assert to represent.

 

Permit me to go a step further; should the APHC and company have taken part in the forthcoming elections and assumed numero uno position in the legislative assembly, they could have held New Delhi to ransom and had the latter not acceded to their genuine and legitimate wishes, resigned amass from their positions and created a spectacle that New Delhi and Uncle Sam and Company would have been flabbergasted. However, no, they have decided come what may, we are too many cooks who have to spoil the broth!

 

At the helm of affairs in the Vale are three young men – Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, Omar Abdulla, and Sajjad Lone with whom I share a distinction (if I may call it that); all have gone to the same school in Kashmir and learnt  essential and fundamental lessons of life from the same lot of able and proficient academicians. Yet, the irony of the destiny is that they are poles apart and are more or less at loggerheads with one another.

 

I happen to meet Sajjad recently during his recent visit to Mumbai, and the discussion slowly but naively slithered from Kashmir to our schooling days and we took time out to invigorate our memories of our school days. Abdulla, I recall meeting at the tennis courts in Gulmarg way back in the second half of 80’s. I still vividly recall him hitting the tennis ball with great ferocity one would have expected from a teenager. Mirwaiz, I am sure must have bumped into me at school though my memory does not permit to bring to mind whether I have met him formally or not (he was my senior at school by a couple of years).

 

I have over the period of time encountered a sea change in the mind sets of the majority community – an alteration which is more than welcome. They abhor the gun culture and though they don’t say it in as many words but taking to gun was a gaffe – a reflection they admit in private if not in public. But then let us not be a spoil sport and rake up the past.

 

Abdulla after all these years strikes to me as an honest and upright gentleman against whom we should hold nothing; however having said that how can one forget or overlook that his esteemed father heads a very unpopular establishment, which should be voted out of power for its laxity in governance and inability to mitigate the sufferings of the common masses. Omar, I have fondly seen competently counter the likes of Barkha Dutta, and others on the electronic media. However, is he a popular figure among his own people is a fundamental question which we will come back with in the due course of time.

 

On the other hand his arch rival Mirwaiz is again a man of talents and on a sunny day I am sure the two Omar’s would like to sit and chat over a cup of “Kahva”. But akin to a Bollywood motion picture, their families are jani dushvan [SHER – Abdulla’s vs. BAKRA – Mirwaiz feud is a common knowledge]. I am surprised and yet extremely happy that Mirwaiz is alive and didn’t fall prey to the bullets of the same assassin(s) who claimed the life of Prof Lone; after all both shared the same vision of bringing peace back to the strife-torn Valley, and to facilitate all concerned parties to the negotiating table.

 

Mirwaiz if my instincts are right will play an instrumental role in the years to come, to end the ugly reign of gun culture from the Vale and thereby ensure peace and prosperity for the years to come. He along with Sajjad Lone and Bilal Lone are the two main constituents of the APHC who have mass popular bases across the length and the breadth of the Vale and can fill the void should Abdulla’s be voted out of power.

 

We as of now are not sure whether Sajjad fielded dummy candidates or not, however that his party Peoples Conference will play a major role in the political play field is anybody’s guess. Sajjad, with the untimely demise of father has stepped up into his shoes, and has taken the mantle of bringing about peace and tranquillity to the state, a step which should be welcomed by one and all.

 

The trio in their respective roles as the torch bearers of peace, I am sure, will do everything within their power to rid the vale of the menace of terrorism which by moderate estimate has killed more than four-million people. Nevertheless, I extending my best wishes to all my three Alma-mater and hope that they will eradicate the menace of gun culture; something which the people of Kashmir over the years have come to abhor; and restore the Vale to its past glory and last but not the least establish the principle of “Kashmiriat” in letter and spirit -  a way of living that is close to our hearts!

 

By arrangement with The NEWS, Karachi, Pakistan

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