FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Jammu and Kashmir: Prevent Further Fragmentation of Our Social Fabric

The tranquility of Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) has been shattered by the heavy hand of military totalitarianism as well as militancy, and now by the fragmentation that is ripping our social fabric to pieces. More than mobocracy, kangaroo courts, lynchings, and panaceas, we need a return to the rule of law and the process of internal political dialogue. It is all very well to raise the slogans of self-determination, autonomy, and self-rule, but it is time to think beyond sloganeering about the kind of social and political fabric we want to create for younger generations. Sloganeering that is devoid of a clear blueprint for nation-building remains hollow, and, eventually, becomes defunct. In order to prevent further fragmentation of our social fabric, regional political parties, mainstream as well as separatist, of diverse religious and ideological leanings, must create the pathway to repair the tapestry that Kashmir once was and give the younger generation hope for the future. It is important to have the courage to hold not just paramilitary forces and governmental institutions accountable, but it is important to demand transparency from ourselves as well. I wonder if those political players who choose to keep quiet about the fragmentation in our society realize that they are playing into the hands of right-wing elements in mainland India, who look for excuses to label Kashmir a “jihadist” problem?

When excesses, whether they are military, or religious, or political are not curbed, they have terrible long term damaging effects. And when religion and politics are conflated, especially self-determination, that is a problem. The rest of the world—the world community turns a blind eye to those movements for self-determination that are presented in the garb of religion or religious discourse in which there is no separation of religion and politics, particularly in this day and age of the growth of ISIS, Taliban, etc. If religion and politics are not deliberately and carefully separated in a movement for self- determination, the world community becomes suspicious. So we need to make sure that the political dimension of the movement for self-determination is highlighted, showcased, and YES, peace activists can do a lot by highlighting human right violations that occur–human right violations for which the government as well as militant organizations are responsible.

Of course as responsible citizens, we need to hold up a mirror to the state government as well as to the federal government and we can do that more easily because they are accountable to us in a democratic setup, more accountable than militant organizations are—but human right violations on both sides need to be highlighted, need to be showcased.

Cultural nationalism challenges and overthrows the hierarchy of ruling ideologies by enhancing a unity among all socioeconomic classes of an occupied area, which it has failed to do in the Kashmir context. This revolutionary stance could eliminate the petty feuds that exist in an area and can replace them with a sanctified notion of nation. History would no longer be imposed on them; on the contrary, they would be able to wield memory as a powerful tool. We, as a people, could impart resolvability to a disharmonious history.

There is a plethora of opinions on the political future of the conglomerate of Jammu and Kashmir. Is Jammu and Kashmir a principality? An autonomous unit within the Indian Union? An integral part of India? A subversive unit with the Indian Union? A bilateral issue between the nation-states of India and Pakistan? Is the mainstream Indian understanding and interpretation of the Kashmir conflict the only credible one? Is the mainstream Pakistani under- standing and interpretation of the Kashmir issue the only credible one? Do the people of Kashmir have a voice in the matter? Is there a space within Kashmiri society in which the democratic aspirations of the populace of Kashmir could be nurtured? Is there a critical dis- course on Kashmir that foregrounds the views of scholars and lay people from the state, even if that discourse is in opposition to the mainstream one? These questions have been causing irrepressible angst in me for a while now. Can we break the silence? Can we bring the instability to an end, for our generation and the generations yet to be born?

A large majority of the populace Jammu and Kashmir is troubled, dispossessed and mocked by the processes of democracy, by United Nations resolutions, by armed insurgency, by counter-insurgency, by militarization, and by revisionist histories. The people of the state are yearning for the right to dignity; the right to live decent existences devoid of bestial militarism; the right to work and enable their families to enjoy the basic necessities of life; the right to hold opinions of which others take cognizance; and the right to an existence in which brutalization, demoralization, trauma, and rage are a thing of the past. In addition to the denizens of Jammu and Kashmir, diasporic Kashmiris also suffer from the indelible scars of having lost their homeland, and mourn a lost innocence.

The cultural identity of the Kashmiri people is damaged by the erosion of their autonomous institutions, by traumas and terrors generated by insurgency and counter insurgency. I thought the cruel politics of these neighboring nation-states hadn’t obliterated the legacy of a rich heritage.

The tradition of Rishiism must not be allowed to die in the Valley: it continues to bolster a cultural and religious identity that the militarization of Kashmir has not been able to do away with. To that end, the vaakhs of Lal-Ded and the shrukhs of Nur-ud-din Wali form a very important part of the vernacular of semi-literate and illiterate people in Kashmir. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I emphasize that any unitary discourse that claims to encompass the reality of Kashmir would be lop-sided and suspect.

More articles by:

Nyla Ali Khan is the author of Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism, Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir, The Life of a Kashmiri Woman, and the editor of The Parchment of Kashmir. Nyla Ali Khan has also served as an guest editor working on articles from the Jammu and Kashmir region for Oxford University Press (New York), helping to identify, commission, and review articles. She can be reached at nylakhan@aol.com.

September 20, 2018
Michael Hudson
Wasting the Lehman Crisis: What Was Not Saved Was the Economy
John Pilger
Hold the Front Page, the Reporters are Missing
Kenn Orphan
The Power of Language in the Anthropocene
Paul Cox – Stan Cox
Puerto Rico’s Unnatural Disaster Rolls on Into Year Two
Rajan Menon
Yemen’s Descent Into Hell: a Saudi-American War of Terror
Russell Mokhiber
Nick Brana Says Dems Will Again Deny Sanders Presidential Nomination
Nicholas Levis
Three Lessons of Occupy Wall Street, With a Fair Dose of Memory
Steve Martinot
The Constitutionality of Homeless Encampments
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The Aftershocks of the Economic Collapse Are Still Being Felt
Jesse Jackson
By Enforcing Climate Change Denial, Trump Puts Us All in Peril
George Wuerthner
Coyote Killing is Counter Productive
Mel Gurtov
On Dealing with China
Dean Baker
How to Reduce Corruption in Medicine: Remove the Money
September 19, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
When Bernie Sold Out His Hero, Anti-Authoritarians Paid
Lawrence Davidson
Political Fragmentation on the Homefront
George Ochenski
How’s That “Chinese Hoax” Treating You, Mr. President?
Cesar Chelala
The Afghan Morass
Chris Wright
Three Cheers for the Decline of the Middle Class
Howard Lisnoff
The Beat Goes On Against Protest in Saudi Arabia
Nomi Prins 
The Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With Trump
Jack Rasmus
On the 10th Anniversary of Lehman Brothers 2008: Can ‘IT’ Happen Again?
Richard Schuberth
Make Them Suffer Too
Geoff Beckman
Kavanaugh in Extremis
Jonathan Engel
Rather Than Mining in Irreplaceable Wilderness, Why Can’t We Mine Landfills?
Binoy Kampmark
Needled Strawberries: Food Terrorism Down Under
Michael McCaffrey
A Curious Case of Mysterious Attacks, Microwave Weapons and Media Manipulation
Elliot Sperber
Eating the Constitution
September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail