Jammu and Kashmir – armed forces and politicians bungle things up

Posted on August 12, 2008. Filed under: India, Kashmir, Muslims, Politics |

Time and again we have talked about why things always go wrong when politicians call in the army to solve the mess they have created. The army is trained to think of every action in a “disturbed” area as a confrontation with the “enemy”. Thus their actions create irreparable psychological damage in the collective consciousness of the civilian population at the receiving end.  Why does not the administration of Jammu and Kashmir have modern crowd dispersal techniques such as water cannons at hand? A state that has faced civil unrest continuously for more than 20 years now, still does not have specialized riot-police with appropriate  protective and dispersal gear!  The army has been trained to kill enemy,  “neutralize” an armed combatant to render him or her  ineffective.  Controlling the civilian crowd is a completely different ball game. Right from the time of Napoleon, who famously began his meteoric rise “with a whiff of grapeshot” that dispersed a “revolutionary Paris mob” threatening the “revolutionary Directory”, concentrated armed forces fire have dispersed crowds but with long term effects that have countered and overturned not only the politicians behind the initial incident but their class, society, or ideology as well. [The British for example do not talk too much about their “Peterloo” – a peaceful gathering of working class men, women and children protesting the abominable conditions of semi-slavery they were kept in by the enlightened liberators of the world – who were chewed up by by sabre wielding mounted police – a psychology that shows that Jallianwallbag massacre  was in keeping with the British mentality, and that it remains so even today since the British government or the Monarchy still refuses to formally apologize for what its soldiers did on the civilian population]. The government of India should take lessons from Jalianwalabag. The British government then won, with Rex Dyer consistently supported by his regiment, his superiors, parts of Sikh communities, as well as the British MP’s and the press. But Jallianwalbag became a symbolic rallying icon for the nascent Indian freedom movement, that ultimately succeeded in establishing formal loss of control [ notwithstanding a great deal of “friendship”  post-Independence with the ruling elite, a friendship that might have started the whole Kashmir problem – with the very strange and very hasty unilateral decision by Nehru to accept the hastily declared UN referendum proposal] by the British over India.

The Government of India has given in to the expulsion of the Kashmiri Hindus from their ancestral places within the Kashmir valley, to the destruction of secular schools, to the mushrooming of Madrassahs without any supervision, to the demands by Kashmiri Muslims to gradually strengthen Shariati control over the society, to the continuous and steady destruction of pre-Islamic Hindu and Buddhist shrines or cultural icons by Muslims. This was a cultural war, which had to be fought with ruthless determination. Already our eminent historians have done the damage, by suppressing all evidence of pre-Islamic cultures, painting pre-Islamic and non-Islamic cultures as retrogressive and inferior compared to Islam, [a typical Islamic agenda], by editing away and suppressing all notion of determined Islamic violence against non-Muslims. In this the eminent Hindu historians were either probably merely following their political master’s wishes and the regime’s agenda – or indulging in their own  secret attractions for  the Muslim way of life [the ladies in particular among them perhaps should convert to Islam and go and live in Islamic countries, as I do find it very hard to understand that they do not wish to do so since Islam seems to be far superior to any other culture for them, and so peaceful and progressive too for women in Islamic nations].

Kashmir’s fruit and other agro-based economy should be converted into a value-adding industry of processing, and in this Jammu should have a stake. This economic and trade integration with mutual dependence between the various regions will go a long way towards real integration. Meanwhile a determined campaign to bring out the pre-Islamic cultural context of the entire valley should be undertaken, even if the Muslim leadership does its best to block this. This is going to be a cultural war and should never be allowed to be converted into a confrontation by bullets, which is exactly what the Islamic leadership wants- for it knows once the actual history and culture comes up, they have nothing to do but to hide their faces or tell preposterous lies to cover it all up.


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5 Responses to “Jammu and Kashmir – armed forces and politicians bungle things up”

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I accept that the war against these religious fanatics could be won through cultural war alone. But do you feel it is going to be easy in these vitiated environment? It needs strong and sincere leadership to sort out things. I don’t think these religious fanatics will let the govt. do any thing right to the people.

Dear Sriniani,
I have only suggested cultural war against civilians now swayed by religious fanaticism, and I definitely agree that armed insurrection and terrorism has to be dealt with arms and counter terror. Indian politicians can act in this irresponsible, weak and incompetent way because Indian voters allow them to be in power, and indirectly encourage their antics. The elected politician’s dependence on various pre-existing pressure groups makes it impossible for someone to have a statesman like vision – someone like Gandhiji for example, who did not have to get elected to the Parliament to have his say.

what, according to you, is the solution then? I take it that we need to have mob dispersal techniques, fearless historians and decisive action.
However, would these actions, or any more you suggest, be understood by the people? The people, masses, living in poverty, insecurity and fear would need a leadership that takes them into confidence and promises to them the basics of living.

Dear Katya,
There are a least three people here, who have agreed on something, that decisive action is needed. These three are not likely to be “politicians” – I am definitely not a professional “politician”, although there was a real danger of becoming so in my not so distant student days. I personally do not need to earn money from politics. I think this should be a starting point – we need people who are not financially dependent on politics. Second perhaps, is an agreement on the basic values that a modern India should have – a clear cut understanding based on a modern understanding of what human rights and duties should be. Third, a gradual opening up of the minds of upcoming generations to think logically, rationally and boldly – to think that they can change things if they really want to – that they can make conscious decisions that affect not only their own lives but also their fellow countrypersons. Fourth, a fearlessnes to face ideas, alternatives and possibilities – nothing, absolutely nothing should be beyond questioning, reassessment, and if needed critical reformulation. Fifth, the courage to say “no” – no to things we feel we should not agree to, from the trivial everyday acceptance of kicking the poor street dog to corruption at high places. We may not be able to change things overnight – but time is on the people’s side if the new generations decide to change and act- for they will replace the whole of society in time. I have invited suggestions in a page on this blog – do feel free to put in your ideas, everyone’s ideas count and nothing is small or unimportant. A thousand heads can dream powerful dreams, and out of todays dreams comes tomorrow’s achievements. I have some ideas of my own – but I am much more eager to see it from others. Just in case you are worried about my leanings, I am not affiliated wih any political organizations and am not out to canvass for any particular position. What I write in these columns are entirely my own thoughts.

They are open about their intentions, even if many do not believe them.


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