Learning from Indian National Movement!
After almost three decades the Kashmir Freedom movement stands no further than where it started. Every passing year is a mix of mass agitations, protests, hartals and then accepting the failure, only to rise again the next year. The surge of untamed energy of the youth goes down the gutter every year. The only outcome at the end is the addition to death toll, damage to public infrastructure, serious loss of human resource in terms of education and economic stability. But with every rising sun, the energy is refilled and a new protest is in the building. The question that thus arises is, “why continue on such a futile path, that leads to nowhere. ”
The answer lies in learning from the past. History is the best teacher, it is said. But the only thing one learns from history is “that no one learns form history”. The Kashmir Freedom movement is a poignant reflection of the Indian national movement. India as a vast nation took two centuries to become independent. But that was a time when all the present modern day inventions were not at their behest.
The fact that the Indian National Movement comprised of several sub-movements like, Swadeshi, Non-cooperation, Home-rule, Khilafat and many others along with protests and violent clashes is a statement that no one formula was efficient enough for the purpose of Independence.
Kashmir is on the same line, having the same flaws and problems. And on top of that, the biggest irony is, it ignores the examples in front of it and still wants to walk down the path that leads to failure. Contemporary research about the Indian movement has highlighted its positives and negative. They know what the flaws were and still we want to try it out themself. Let us explore a few similarities between the Kashmir freedom movement and the Indian National Movement.
Concentrating on one technique and abandoning the other one. Like the INM, Kashmir lacks a full social-political-constitutional approach. It either emphasises on talks wholly or on extremism alone. The Moderates of INC were petition seeker who achieved not much and so were the extremists total militant who were met with severe governmental repressions. Same happens in Kashmir. A parallel multi-front approach, where everything happens simultaneously in different fronts is altogether missing in Kashmir.
Internal squabbles amongst the main political stakeholders. Fight for leadership and manifestos. The Hurriyat split echoes Congress split of Surat 1907. A leader like Ghandi who inspires and unites everybody, the moderates and the extremists, the poor and the rich, the Hindus and the Muslims, the employed and the unemployed is what Kashmir lacks at the moment.
Confined to one class of people. Boycott on one level and total obedience on the other. A mass movement needs to boycott or protest against everything they feel alien and not selective things. If you boycott or protest against army but buy food and clothes of the imperials, go to their created services, listen to their laws, and go to their courts for justice then you are close to hypocrisy. Who are the enforcers; the same social base who protest? Kashmiri police, Kashmiri politicians, Kashmiri administration and law enforcements against the Kashmiris. Indian Movement at one point inspired every single individual to leave their job, politics, police, administration, courts and all the services whatsoever and see what could happen.
History tells it is difficult to sustain a mass based movement at a high pitch for too long. The leadership should know that the time is the major factor in keeping a protest energetic. Outcomes inspire! And failure drains morals!
No holistic future aspirations. What after Aazadi? Will Kashmir will be self-sufficient to avert the military might of China or Pakistan or any other Nation? Will the economy be sufficient to cater to the needs of Imports and domestic needs? Is there a constitution which will be enforced, any set of laws and regulations in place? Will the human resource development avenues be in place to cater to the large number of people who will be rendered jobless after withdrawal of Imperial Services? There are a lot of social-political questions that need to be answered.
Kashmir and Kashmiris need to see the clear picture, educate themselves and look at the world independence movements and learn from them. They should answer the question first.
They are or are they, destined to fail.
Pic credits Paul Becker CC2