Saturday, November 26, 2011

Facts of History and Religious Conversions


Also published on Viewpoint, Rising Kashmir
Converts take a dip in the pond. The Christian padre hymns. People around cheer, wave flags, and welcome new devotees, as Kashmiri Muslims take a tryst for Christianity. It was a religious spectacle. A YouTube video was enough to spread discontent amongst the religious elites advocating majority Islam, considering the volatility of societal objections that has increased so much since the last four years in Kashmir.
The padre prayed for the spiritual rebirth of his new devotees, mocking the old Adam in them, and praying for the elevation of new Adam under Christianity. If it wasn’t a provocation, then what was it? Even if these conversions were from free will, the purpose of marketing Christianity in Kashmir, in contempt, killed the ethical motives behind it. Yes, Islam says that there is no compulsion in religion, but that shouldn’t be taken as tool to disdain it, just for the sake of attaining unholy moral leverages.
Kashmir is not a pluralistic vale anymore. There are fundamentalist religious factions, opportunistic political factions and devouring cynics, waiting to mock our socio-cultural environs. These are the occurrences which actually altercate into chaos and carnage. In times like these, an attribute of responsibility amongst the so called care takers of faith, serves as a saving from social bedlams.
While going through news portals about Kashmir, I wasn’t quite skeptical about the rise of religious conversions in Kashmir. These instances have happened in the past. And if there are forces at work, which under the guise of economic and social upliftment, demand people to change their faith, it only allows exploitation of people, a means to play with their misfortunes and nothing else. It also makes these newly converts to stay as quite Christians, thereby allowing even more fractures in a collective Kashmiri society. And if there have been instances in far flung areas of Kashmir, where Christian teachers ask small children to pray to Christ for goodies - and then, if a teacher quietly puts a chocolate in their hands, it becomes a clear case of moral corruption, doesn’t it? No Biblical theory would allow that because it causes immoral confusion in innocent and sprouting minds.
The most unfortunate thing is that no Christian bishop is speaking against these alleged practices which have happened in the past. Atleast, Bishops, out of moral compulsion, should speak against instances like these. It can significantly remove any uncertainties in the future of a harmonious Kashmiri society. Until now, there has been a deafening silence. It has made them a silent spectator in the times of injustice. They have become an adversary of faith they propagate, and they have also become an adversary of a society they live in. It is sadly true, no matter how much the debate rages on.
Let us also not forget the contribution that Christian missionaries have made in Kashmir. Since a century, missionaries have flocked into downtrodden lands, in pursuit of a rightful change for the laden and the oppressed. At the time of any natural disaster, many Evangelist organisations are one of the first to disburse relief. Let us also not forget, our first martyr, Robert Thorpe, was a Christian, who fought against the tyrannies of Dogra power. Our history is recorded in the diaries of British officers, who back in their times, inked the dementias of cruel political monarchism. People like Sir Walter Lawrence and Alaistar Lamb were Christians, who recorded unbiased and dejecting nostalgias of our mournful history. We should balance the facts and not create a prejudice, out of hate, and out of competing superiorities in faith. That is what every faith in the world propagates.
There are also tireless nuns who have worked for the upliftment of women. There are passionate priests who want Kashmiri children to get enlightened and face the world - the community of elite missionary schools in Kashmir who have had a major role to play in shaping the academic character of Kashmiri people, in propagating the rightful ideas of intellectualism and personality building. Having said that, the grassroots of their philosophy and ideals lie in contradiction with the harsh political realities of Kashmir. Their goal is short term, chained by the nationalism of the place they belong from.
When I was a student at Burn Hall, I still remember a time when our principal stopped a student to speak about an innocent boy who was taken into custody by the police. There was nothing what I could do apart from going to my class and learn my books. But it made me realise that the long term goal of self-reliance, which Kashmiris have aspired for generations – to construct political, social and economic independence, causes them to be like muted clans, who seem to be imprisoned by the mission they follow. They see the scruples of justice from the prisms of their respective commissions. Unfortunately, only qualms of bias have emerged out of these temples of knowledge. It made me realise that there is no one who can narrate the disasters of Kashmir than a Kashmiri himself. Kashmiris, indeed, ought to tell their history themselves.
© Naveed Qazi, Insights: Kashmir

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kashmir and introspections

Also published on world focus, The Nation, Pakistan


Also published on Blogs, Kashmir Dispatch


Also published on Counter Currents

Also published on Peace & Collaborative Development Network


Kashmir has been transformed from a beautiful vale to a wretched conflict, like a despondent poet, blossoming in pain, reciting ballads of war and violence. It has been torn to pieces by the many ill facets of ghastly wars. Only failures have made a political history here, awakening the memory of death and suffering every hour amidst the countless helpless victims of the conflict.

Kashmir is a land of failed political conjectures, broken dreams, caged liberation and frenzied mistrust. Words like ‘hope’, ‘agreements’, ‘developments’ have existed here, but only as rich rhetoric, through various political commentators and stillborn leaders. Ever since the conflict intensified, Kashmir has become the literary obsession of various observers, historians and activists, whose dissent has been faced with strong confrontation. The scope for visionary introspection has been weakening, like a senile old man struggling to resist.

Kashmir has been perceived as an independent state, a part of India, a part of Pakistan, as an autonomous region, a region with permanent borders divided through a Line of Control, a demilitarized domain under the control of UN peacekeeping forces, a state emerging through a unitary plebiscite - with or without external mediation; but still, no firm determination or unshakable resolution has ever been witnessed in any debating chamber of Indian and Pakistani diplomats.

The reasons are obvious: India doesn’t want Pakistan to fiddle in what it deems to be its personal affair, and vice versa. This remains the main theme of contention between the two nations whenever they talk terms and try to ensconce the encumbering emotional baggage of discontent Kashmiri people, who expect an unhesitant answer ever since the Indo-Pak partition unleashed misery and violence subverted peace of daily life.

As time passes, India is now attempting to completely move away from calling the Kashmir issue as any dispute at all. In recent years, governance and elections have been taken as a final resolution. Any discourse attempted is taken into consideration only under the ambit of the Indian constitution. Western countries and Indian allies are viewing the problem as silent spectators due to their geo-strategical and economic interests.

Reasoned debate has also started to get eroded. Many Hindu nationalist intellectuals have been rewriting history and projecting India as a Hindu country rather than a secular country. This propaganda has concerned Pakistan about the Muslim brethren across the Line of Control which has also given a political mileage to extremists and radical elements inside Pakistan.

The biggest problem in Indo- Pak resolutions is that they take short term solutions for the Kashmir dispute without any representative participation of the Kashmiri people. It has altered any good faith in evolving a national consensus, which has such deep rooted historic, religious and emotional significations. A clear and coherent public opinion needs to be institutionalized and revolutionized.

The psychological attitude pertaining among Kashmiris is that they feel occupied. There is no substitute for a resolution other than a sincere dialogue and process of self-determination. Kashmiris are frustrated due to lack of political freedom for decades and are saddled in social and economic grievances. It has made the need for a resolute resolution more pressing. Unless someone won’t recognize the depths of these wounds, it will only help in facilitating brinkmanship and belligerence.

© Naveed Qazi, Insights: Kashmir

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Generating rights awareness



[Also published on ViewPoint, Rising Kashmir]
[Also published on Counter Currents]
[Also published on Blogs, Kashmir Dispatch]

All human beings are ennobled for the freedom to practice their rights. Logic and reasoning demand human rights. God has given us an inalienable gift of conscience to alleviate sufferings of each other in the spirit of brotherhood. For this to happen, showing evidence of moral and intellectual advancement is an utmost priority which is only achievable through the awareness of rights.

Rights are self evident and universal. If we want a world where human rights abuses are consigned to history, then it is up to all people, as individuals, communities and nations to be vigilant, and knowledgeable about human rights. Learning about human rights is the first step towards their recognition. Thus as members of a civilized society, we must be able to make fine distinctions between what we want and the panaceas of societal complexities which eradicate emancipation of individuals in the society we live.

The absolute operations of world human rights activism got its scope during the era of world war, the political and economic corruption faced by major economies of the world during the Great Depression, authoritarian land reforms in Europe and the militant uprisings in Latin America, Africa and South Asia. The events which took place not only paved the way forward for dissenters, but also raised sympathies for progressive realization of these rights, especially in poorer countries and conflict zones. Thus to transform our lives in the pursuit of happiness, freedom, equality, justice and peace, we as Kashmiris, need a proper education & awareness of rights which will provide a common standard of achievement and a social development for effective recognition.

Kashmiris need to make best efforts in interpreting the essence of rights and their meaning. Valuable insights and education on rights is the best protection against their violations. It also helps in the process of accommodating each other’s viewpoints and helps in attaining a goal of a pluralistic society. Our youth has an substantial platform for launching dissents which was not possible for the youth two decades ago. World should face a culture of dissent from articulate individuals, with a distinct mindset, having a spirit of change and a scope to revolutionize the pertaining social dynamics. In context to that, a well informed Kashmiri generation will likely be secure decision makers of the future and that effective transformation will be vital to uplift our societal standards.

To institutionalize and facilitate rights, trends of launching opinions on social networking portals, blogging, media debates, discourse events, constructive street demonstrations and petitions have been used as some eminent forms of protests against government policies, various social, economic  cacophonies around the world. Education and application of such tools and practices in our society is the need of the hour, especially in debased political circumstances, to address any grievances or to register any form of evolutionary platform to eradicate misconceptions and corruption. As responsible decision makers of our society, these effective means of expression and need for awareness is necessary for Kashmiris to manumit themselves as creditworthy advocators of just causes and opinions.
All human beings are entitled to rights to recognize inherent dignity and protection for human life. Human rights are respectable and recognizable norms which provide impunity from social and political abuses. They facilitate obligations and responsibilities. The definition of human rights has been subjected to an intense philosophical debate. Its scope recognizes both natural and legal rights, recognizable in the context of international humanitarian laws. Through the advent of intellectual, political and social activism, the need for human rights has strengthened in importance, thus paving a way for its codification into legal statutory bodies.

A human right, in terms of legality, is recognized as a constitutional right for the citizen of a particular country. They form a fundamental structure of a society. They create reciprocal rights and duties. Retrospection of human rights in the light of legality is important because it helps in creating a collective moral body and helps in creating a sovereign power by determining its legislation.

Under the context of internationalism, legal rights have been enshrined for a cause to disseminate and expound education to the world public, without any inherent bias towards any political country or institutions. The most popular of them include The Human Rights Charter, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic & Political Rights & International Covenant of Civil & Political Rights. The power engulfed in these global expressions of rights aims to expel disregard for economic prosperity and contempt for cultural statuses across the world. For Kashmir, a proper and insightful knowledge of these conventions is incredibly important to outcast any misleading persuasions.

Some of the internationally recognized rights found in the common speech of public include, right to liberty, right of a free trial and right to education. However, in recent developments of global politics, the basis of legality of both international and national laws has met with contradictions. For example, Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares all people of the world have a right to choose their own nationality or Article 20 which favors a peaceful assembly of protest, but this article comes to a compromise when a state through force, objects to a secessionist encouraging area in their country, and follows a codified legal philosophy of its own drafted constitution. This case favors the latter, especially to countries, who have not signed The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But these developments have been refuted by world activists, nevertheless, due to lack of respect to international norms. In case of Kashmir, India have signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and their contempt for human rights have generated a criminal response towards our aspirations.

In Kashmir, due to increasing record of abuses and absence of an United Nations Truth Commission and respectable international humanitarian organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, has been a halting consequence in the field of human rights protectionism and education. Thus, in filling this much needed gap, the revolution of discourse, mass events and educative campaigns through organizations can provide the social solution in any tormented crises. It will also lessen the trait of skepticism and moral criticism when activists can provide a visionary introspection for the future generations.

© Naveed Qazi, Insights: Kashmir

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My letter to Noam Chomsky







[Also published on View Point, Rising Kashmir]

Greetings, Prof. Chomsky!

I have been an ardent devotee to your works, have read a number of your books, listened to dozens of your interviews, and, I also adore your passion for Libertarian Socialism. I must say that your intellect is soaked in clarity, precision and your views are very insightful regarding neo-imperialism, states as power centers promoting repression, evils of capitalism, authoritarianism and so on. You have commented on a wide range of conflicts, be it East Timor, Palestine, hideous regimes in Romania, Indonesia, US sponsored terrorism in Turkey and Columbia, to name a few. As a student and avid listener of your works, I want to suggest that you broaden your expertise in South Asian politics by commenting readily on the grave and outstanding dispute of Kashmir - the blood dyed place between India and Pakistan, which has seen a grievous conflict since 63 years.

We live in a society of political contradictions, religious fanaticism, fascist leaning approaches from both India and Pakistan in dealing with our societal/political crises; the present youth is in an identity crises. Our administration acts through the barrel of a gun. International human rights organisations are not allowed to probe thousands of deaths and rapes properly. The Indian media is riddled in favoritism and prejudice. Both countries are ruined in conflicting bilateralism.'Intifada' has shifted from Palestine to Kashmir. We don't know where we belong, India, Pakistan or Kashmir. We aren't even allowed to protest, if a youth falls on street by a free flowing bullet. My city, Srinagar, has been a city of pallbearers, massacres and mourning for some time now. I would be delighted if you refer to Kashmir, whenever you discourse on conflicts and their resolutions.

If we talk of American policies regarding Kashmir, they have been very selfish and two folded. The former Presidents of America have deliberately kept themselves ignorant of our issue. The reigning President, Barack Obama, in his election campaigns, promised a mediator for Kashmir, alongside vice - president Joe Biden, but the world witnessed how this President of yours dodged his promises just for the sake of international commerce, during his last glossy and lavish visit to India. It is quite evident that capitalism and globalization, unjustly dictates over politics, in a world in which we live today.

I would just love if you would take my suggestion. After-all, you would do a service to humanity. There's nothing more righteous than that. I wish you a long life and even more success in the years to come.

God bless you.

Thanking you in anticipation,
Naveed Qazi

By way of Noam Chomsky, reply:

Thanks for writing. It’s been on my mind for a long time. I’ve brought it up in talks, in India too. In fact last time I was there what I said led to a BJP demonstration and the police insisted on police protection the rest of the time I was travelling in India. But I haven’t written about it – or a great many other things that I’m urged to write about, and that are extremely important. Just physical limits, always requires very hard judgment calls.

Noam Chomsky

e-mail sent from chomsky@mit.edu

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chronology of Kashmir conflict

Kashmir wasn’t always dyed in blood. The people of Kashmir had seen an intellectual renaissance under the rule of Kushans, who ruled Kashmir in 1st century AD, after the fallout of the Asoka dynasty. Kushans loved Kashmir, they often held their court in beautiful springs, and also radicalized the silk route, which got Kashmir commerce and literary reforms. Lalitaditya, the great Hindu king of 8th century AD, has been praised by Kalhana, the first historian of Kashmir, as a just and knowledgeable king, who was highly praised by his subjects. Kaniska institutionalized the Buddhist Council in Kashmir which provided a discourse among Buddhist monks all over the world for decades. The Great philosopher of India, Najarjuna lived and taught peace in Kashmir.
Even though, the struggles of power intensified from 10th century AD, many Hindu and Sanskrit historians have misinterpreted Kashmiri history, as rise of Islam started emerging. Shahab-u-Din, the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir, was married to a Hindu queen, Laxmi and he always internally consolidated all his subjects belonging from different faiths. The valley of Kashmir prospered economically under the reign of his successor, Qutub-ud-Din. Even though the faith of Islam gained popularity, he was tolerant towards Brahmins, and kept Sanskrit as the official language. His rule ended in 1470 AD. His grandson, Sultan Zainul Abideen, popularly known as ‘Bud Shah’ is perhaps the best remembered Muslim king in Kashmir. His love for Kashmir and his closeness to cultural roots have been ardently recorded. He encouraged poets, historians, artists and intellectuals. He introduced ‘paper mache’, shawl and carpet weaving traditions which are still in vogue till date. Unfortunately, in the years to come, the fate of native rule came to an end when Mughals invaded Kashmir. This marked an era of weakening sovereignty, a chronology of unfortunate developments, resulting in a blot which hasn’t been cleansed till date.
1586: Akbar sees power instability in Kashmir during the reign of Yusuf Shah Chak. He invests in this opportunity and intrudes Kashmir in 1586, ousts out Yusuf, the last Chak ruler and convicts him in far flung Bihar where he dies in misery and isolation. Under the guise of land reforms, nobility and grandeur, Kashmir starts losing its own cultural heritage. People are answerable to alien powers in Delhi. However, Mughal rule in Kashmir slowly sees its decline from 1707.
1751: The Afghan rule comes to Kashmir through Ahmad Shah Durrani. Their rule results in extortion and crude religious fanaticism. They impose heavy taxes, monish handicraft industry. Hindus are subjected to bias, and their role in administrative service drastically declines. Eventually, the Afghan rule ends its 47 year of reign in Kashmir as Sikh dynasty gains prominence.
1819: Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Sikh dynasty conquers Kashmir and subjects Kashmir to every kind of oppression. Kashmiris live under forcible repression and penury, and earn wages by doing menial jobs. They are heavers of woods and drawers of water. Eventually, Sikh dynasty sees its decline after they lose to the British in the ‘Battle of Sobroan’ near Sutlej, where feudatory of Jammu, Gulab Singh neglects the battle and plays a significant part in the victory of the British.
1846: Gulab Singh, the Monarch ruler of Jammu, signs ‘The Treaty of Amritsar’ with the British Empire and purchases Kashmir for Rs. 75 lakhs. The clauses under the treaty integrate Jammu, Ladakh, Baltistan and other hill states including Kashmir under the Dogra reign, as a separate border state. Dogras, under control, treat Kashmir as an occupied state and Jammu as their home state, which neglects the British in any direct intervention, to improve the plight of Kashmiris.
1860: ‘The Treaty of Amritsar’ is amended due to loyalty displayed by Ranbir Singh, in curbing the first Indian mutiny of 1857. Now, the ruler is allowed to select an heir from his collateral family which results in the succession of Dogras, in an event of present ruler’s death.
1889: A British settlement officer, Walter Lawrence surveys Kashmir, and comes to a conclusion that Kashmiris live under such brute oppression which is worse than the Third Estate of the French Revolution.
1929: In Srinagar, an amalgam of graduates from Aligard Muslim University, constitute Reading Room Party with an aim for emancipation of Kashmiris. Ghulam Abbas, an activist from Jammu, reorganizes Anjuman-i-Islam, a Mirwaiz institution, into Young Men’s Muslim Association of Jammu for the betterment of Muslims.
1931: The masses of Kashmir gain class consciousness. The revolt against Maharaja Hari Singh gains momentum. It is viciously subjugated by the constabulary of Maharaja. The Muslim majority masses are not allowed to represent in the state administrative apparatus. The lands belong to rich Hindu ‘Jagirdars’ who employ Muslims for tilling, and, would give them paddy which would last for petty three months. For rest of the months, Kashmiris would often go to Punjab and other plains to seek industrious labor. They would often die unsung and unwept.
1932: Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah launches ‘All Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Conference’ against the Maharaja monarchy. It sets out a manifesto to fight for the sovereignty and liberation of the Kashmiri masses. The natives give unconditional support to Sheikh Abdullah. He is widely admired. In the meantime, The Maharaja constitutes ‘The Glancy Commission’ in an effort to redress the grievances of the masses, by giving recommendations for Muslims in state services.
1934: Maharaja delays the implementation of the recommendations, set out by the commission. This creates chaos and leads to a vehement agitation. Maharaja, under pressure, constitutes a legislative assembly which eventually turns out to be void and powerless.
1939: Leaders among the AJKMC [All Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Conference] get riddled in differences and the party gets a split. Sheikh Abdullah launches his independent party ‘Jammu & Kashmir National Conference’.
1946: Sheikh Abdullah harnesses support from the masses. JKNC launches ‘Quit Kashmir Movement’ against Maharaja Monarchy demanding abrogation of ‘The Treaty of Amritsar’ and sovereignty for the Kashmiri masses. Sheikh Abdullah is taken into custody.
1947: On 15th of August, 1947, India freed itself from the British Empire. The kings and rulers of the princely states were encouraged to accede into respective Indian and Pakistani dominions based on geographical contiguity, religion and cultural adjacency. In theory, any dominion could have been preferred. In case where a dispute occurred, the collective aspirations and general will of the people formed the basis of consideration. Practically, Kashmir was expected to go with the Dominion of Pakistan based on geographical and religious factors. Since the Hindu Monarch acceded a Muslim majority state to India, a grave dispute arose in case of Kashmir, unlike the case of Junagardh, a mirror image of Kashmir, where India won a plebiscite from the Hindu masses, resulting in the booting out of a Muslim dominated reign.
The Revolt of Poonch: In the spring of 1947, internal unrest begins at Poonch. Muslims rebels stir up public opinion against Maharaja’s oppressive and outrageous taxation policy. Several crowds of protestors demanding accession to Pakistan are fired upon. Maharaja dictates the Muslim rebels for surrender under the strengthened Hindu and Sikh garrisons. In late August, the people of Poonch evacuate their kins. The unrest turns into an organized uprising resulting in exodus of 60,000 Muslim refugees to Jammu, till September.
Jammu Muslim Massacre: In September, under the sponsorship of Maharaja’s state forces, armed Hindu and Sikh bandits murder thousands of Muslims out in the open. Survivors forcibly flee Jammu. Pakistan sends a telegram to Kashmir demanding probe into savage atrocities committed. An enquiry is promised which eventually never happens. In the meantime, no communal violence is witnessed in Kashmir
The Kabali Invasion: On 22nd October, the tribesmen from Pakistan, storm into Kashmir, and integrate with Poonch Rebels as an umbrageous reaction against the killings of Muslims in Jammu and Poonch. The Kabali tribe is supported by unofficial people and leaders from Pakistan. However, the tribes also engage in plundering and despoil along the way, resulting in exodus of over 10,000 Muslims. India accuses Pakistan for violating the ‘Standstill Agreement’. Pakistan rebuts the allegations. The revolt flares up neighboring Mirpur and Muzaffarabad. ‘Azaad Kashmir’ comes into existence with an independent government on 24th October, 1947
   Indian Army Aggression: The national army of India invades Kashmir to repel the Kabali invasion, on 27th October. There are also cases where the Indian army is accused of committing atrocities towards common Kashmiris. India launches its first military aggression in Kashmir.
    Release of Sheikh Abdullah: In prison, Sheikh Abdullah writes a letter to a friend in Jammu, favoring Kashmir’s accession with India. His statement is published at the Congress Press. On September 29th, Sheikh Abdullah is released from the prison, due to increasing pressure from the Indian Government. He would appear in public and would give contradictory speeches of Kashmir’s independence before the signing of the accession. On 26th October, he demands the restoration of power to the masses. Then throughout his political life, he would juggle between the accession instrument and the right of self-determination.
Strategical Disputes: Pakistan claims that Maharaja has no right to initiate the ‘Instrument of Accession’ till ‘The Standstill Agreement is in order. Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Conference and the tribal chiefs of Gilgit advice the Maharaja against the accession of Kashmir with India.
The Instrument of Accession: India signs an accession with The Maharaja on 26th October, 1947. The accession is granted provisional approval until the implementation of the plebiscite. It should be noted that there are no unconditional legal provisions relating to conditionalties in the ‘Instrument of Accession' (IOA). It was the ‘White Paper’ which was voluntarily designed by the Government of India, thus making a conflict between the legal interpretation and the political promises made to the Kashmiris.
First Indo-Pak War: India demands Pakistan to withdraw its troops for the implementation of plebiscite. On the other hand, Pakistan demands a bilateral demilitarization, with an argument that it would help in the free and fair implementation of plebiscite, considering Sheikh Abdullah’s friendliness with Jawaharlal Nehru. India refuses. The first war on Kashmir between India & Pakistan breaks out.
1948: Demanding a resolution of Kashmir, India takes the case of Kashmir, to the United Nations. World over, Kashmir is officially recognized as a disputed territory. UN passes a resolution recommending a third party into consideration: The people of Kashmir.
1949: On 1st January, UN offers a ceasefire between India and Pakistan. Both countries hold up the occupied parts of Kashmir. India regains control of some parts of Kashmir, Ladakh & Jammu, while Pakistan integrates with ‘Azaad Kashmir’.
UNCIP Formation: On 5th January. UNCIP (United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan) recommends a bilateral demilitarization, a truce agreement for the future, and an implementation of a free and fair plebiscite. Both countries fail to arrive at any peace resolution.
Indian Constituent Assembly: An ordinance is passed which integrates Article 370 of the Indian Constitution into Kashmir’s legal provisions, with foreign affairs, defense, communications and currency under Indian control. Internal autonomy is granted to Kashmir, under the ambit of the Indian constitution.
1951: Indian holds elections and tries to impose its democratic institution in Kashmir. It is opposed by the United Nations. They pass a resolution to declare elections void and stress on plebiscite. India ignores the opposition blatantly. Sheikh Abdullah wins unopposed.
1952: Sheikh Abdullah signs the Delhi Agreement on July, 1952. It chalks out state-centre sharing of power and gives abidance to Kashmir to have its own flag. Sheikh Abdullah creates Kashmir centric land reforms which create resentment among the people of Jammu and Ladakh. Delhi Agreement provides the first genuine erosion in international resolution of Kashmir.
Nehru's Speech: ”On August1952, Jawahar Lal Nehru gives a negating speech contradicting the settlement provided in the Delhi Agreement: “Ultimately - I say this with all deference to this Parliament - the decision will be made in the hearts and minds of the men and women of Kashmir; neither in this Parliament, nor in the United Nations nor by anybody else"
1953-1954: Sheikh Abdullah takes U turns and procrastinates in conforming the accession of Kashmir to India. Sheikh Abdullah is jailed. In August, Bakhshi Ghulam Muhammad is installed in place of Sheikh Abdullah. He officially ratifies Kashmir’s accession with India. On April, 1954, India & Pakistan both agree in appointment of a Plebiscite Administrator.
1956-1957: On 30th October, 1956, J&K Constituent Assembly adopts a fresh constitution, and dissolves the Constituent Assembly, which further defines the relationship of Kashmir with the Indian Dominion. UN strongly condemns the developments and passes a resolution stating such attempts will not result in any final resolution. On 26th January, 1957, the new constitution is made enforceable. Kashmir is now a Republican-Democratic state under Indian Union.
1964: Sheikh Abdullah is released from jail. Jawahar Lal Nehru sends Sheikh Abdullah with a delegation to Pakistan in an effort to find a resolution discourse for Kashmir. In the meantime, masses in Kashmir protest against the implementation of Article 356 & 357, which allows Indian central authority over constituting legislative powers in Kashmir. The special status of Kashmir continues to get eroded.
1965-1971: The nomenclature is changed from ‘Sadr-e-Riyasat’ to Governor and from Prime Minister to Chief Minister. The Governor is now no longer elected locally, and is installed as per the orders of the President of India. This amendment lightens off Kashmir from its special titles. Free & fair elections in the guise of democracy are championed as just causes, and Indian mainstream parties are allowed to contest in the elections. However, these elections aren’t well received by the public. In many cases, international watchdogs accuse India of rigging elections. In 1967, Jammu Autonomy Forum is constituted with the aim of institutionalizing regional autonomy.
1972: Plebiscite Front is banned from constituting elections, and in the meantime, India and Pakistan, both, sign ‘The Simla Agreement’ which settles a basis for a bilateral solution for Kashmir through talks. The provisions also state that both nations should determine their military policies by respecting the Line of Control (LOC)
1974: Sheikh Abdullah signs an accord with the Government of India, on November, 1974. This agreement retains Kashmir’s so called ‘Special Status’, but its obliged to act under the Indian dominion. Sheikh Abdullah is again made the Head of the state. This time as the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir.
1977-1983: Jammu & Kashmir National Conference wins back to back elections in 1977 and 1983. International watchdogs accuse India of rigging elections again. In 1979, Afghanistan would recommend an Islamic Republic for Kashmir. Sikri Commission is also appointed in the same year in an effort to redress local grievances existent among the masses.
1987-1989: Farooq Abdullah comes into power in the 1987 election. He forms a coalition government with the Indian National Congress. This election, due to the nature of its immense rigging accusations, provides a scope for voicing dissent and it catalyzes deep resentment, not only amongst the secessionist political arena of Kashmir, but also suffers huge disfavor from public as well. Armed insurgency also gets on a rise. Due to its catastrophic effects, in the whole year of 1988 , world witnesses Kashmiris pouring out on streets, sloganeering anti-India demonstrations, which are deeply resisted by police firing, crackdowns, mass killings and curfew culture. The rigging of 1987 elections provides an offshoot platform for the demand for self-determination. From 1989, the Indian government tries to sabotage the rising secessionist movement through a central rule of authority for seven years.
1990: An ultra-Hindu nationalist leaning regulator, Jagmohan is appointed as the Governor of Kashmir. Farooq Abdullah resigns as the Chief Minister of Kashmir, and all powers are vested in the central rule. In the same year, about 100 protestors are fired upon in Gawkadal area. This event marks as the first brutal mass killing genocide in Kashmir. The people blame this notorious event on the administrators and it becomes the insurgency for the entire population. With violence as a catalyst, Kashmir becomes a land of bloody subjugation.
March: Over one million people protests on streets and 40 more are killed on the streets. A sense of insecurity rises amongst the Kashmiri Pandit community. Paranoias of pogroms force Pandits for an exodus, as even the Jagmohan’s administration discourages any reconciliation between two communities. With the result, more than one lakh Pandits flock off Kashmir.
May: Over two million people attend the funeral march of the slain spiritual leader of Kashmir, Mirwaiz Maulvi Muhammad Farooq; over 100 mourners are fired upon by the police. The grave irresponsibility of Jagmohan’s administration forces Government of India for a replacement in Girish Saxena.
1993: All Parties Hurriyiat Conference (APHC) is formed on specialist political lines to promote the cause of Kashmiri nationalism. It is aimed to promote a solution based on the UN Charter, its resolutions, and through a tri-partite negotiation between India, Pakistan and Kashmir. The amalgam, since its inception, has received criticism from Indian state actors, and praise from Pakistan and international watchdogs for its political measures and tactics in handling the grave dispute of Kashmir.
1998: Political leaders across the borders sign ‘The Lahore Agreement’ which includes settlement of all outstanding disputes including Kashmir
Regional Autonomy: Farooq Abdullah designs the RAC [Regional Autonomy Committee] of 8 units comprising of Ladadkh, Jammu and Kashmir without proposing any devolution of political and economic powers.
2000: On March, a notorious event about massacre of Sikhs at Chittisinghpora makes headlines. Kashmiris blame rebel militants recruited by Indian security forces, while India blames foreign militants. No judicial commission has been implemented to enquire about this killing till date. In June, the State Autonomy Report [SAR] puts a discourse on the future political initiative on Kashmir. The central government rejects the recommendation in July. In November, the Indian government announces ceasefire with the armed groups, which gets violated only after two weeks after India refuses to acknowledge Pakistan in tri-partite dialogue over the Kashmir dispute.
2001: In July 2001, India & Pakistan under the leadership of PM Vajpayee and President Musharaf fail to arrive at a settlement on the Kashmir issue, despite five long arduous one on one meetings and hours of discussions. Some plans are chalked out on Kashmir including free trade, demilitarization but don't get initiated due to failure in reconciling differences elevating bilateral complexities.
2002: On May 21, an eminent moderate separatist leader, Abdul Gani Lone is assassinated by unidentified gunmen. This is the same day on which Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq is killed as well. Kashmir’s history is rewritten in blood. Thousands attend his funeral prayers. Several theories of pro-government gunmen or the role of foreign militants has been rumored, but no investigation has been carried out till date.
2008: People are provoked by the state government through a controversial land deal, of 100 acres of land to a local Shrine Board, managing pilgrimages and local Hindu affairs in the valley, near the Amarnath cave, in May. A cave discovered by a Muslim shepherd in the mid- 19th century, is worshipped by Hindu as a deity of destruction. Beginning as a small pilgrimage, it was eventually offset into a mega event by the Hindu nationalist institutions. In June, Muslim masses of Kashmir protest against the land deal, waging a war on streets through stones and bricks. On August 11, there is a march towards Jehlum Valley road. Similar massive protests followed near the United Nations Observer’s Group. Kashmir is locked for months. Over 100 people are killed, over a short span of 2 months, including eminent separatist leader, Sheikh Aziz. It provides a renewed basis for self determination against the Indian state. Many liberal political commentators and Arundhati Roy express their anguish over the turmoil and recommend ‘Azaadi’ or freedom for Kashmir in open media forums. However, the agitation is eventually crushed by the Indian state through brute army aggression and curfew hegemony.
2010: The last year of the decade in Kashmir provides the most belligerent political atmosphere in waging a war against the Indian state. On June 11, at a protest gathering, Tufail Ahmad Matto, gets killed after receiving a tear gas shell, which blows his brains out. His death provides a charged catalyst in reincarnating the crushed agitation of 2008. Protestors shout anti-India slogans, processions continue even till late nights, people burn government buildings, defy curfew, attack Indian forces in the bunkers, and demand complete demilitarization of Kashmir. Citing human rights abuses, separatist leaders organize protest calendars which last for over 4 months, paralyzing the local life. Over 110 people get killed in the process. Indian Government after witnessing the intensity of upheaval recommends autonomy proposals, job generation promises and compensation to victims. These developments, however, are all are blatantly refused by both leaders and masses of Kashmir. The Indian government also announces the role of three eminent interlocutors in mediating the Kashmir dispute where the proposal still stands awaited.
© Naveed Qazi, Insights: Kashmir