Alienation leads to anger, violence!

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By: Shabeer Rather & Umar Peerzada

How are cultures synthesised and how are nations built?  What made Gandhi into a super hero for India and what led Hitler to be so effective in pursuing a path of inflicting extreme violence on a population? The answers to all these questions can be diverse but there is something that runs through all such equations and that is ‘strategy’.

Gandhi made disjointed people unite by giving them a reason. His early efforts for the plight of farmers in Champaran, traders in Ahmedabad and peasants in Kheda were the attempts to bring these people into the mass revolt against the British. This was a leader led integration. Hutus massacred nearly a million Tutsis during Rwandan Civil war for the “Hutu Power” ideology. This was a leaderless integration of Hutus followed by annihilation of disjointed Tutsis. Being a tribal society the divided people with different ideologies in Afghanistan united to expel Soviet Union, then USA out of Afghans territory, this was cultural synthesis to act against a common brute threat.

People unite for a common objective. This made the British apprehensive and to check this synthesis they indoctrinated policy of ‘Divide and Rule’ which, prima facie, was a success for them but temporary in its nature and brought different, incongruous and polarised cultures together for the sake of their political autonomies.

The recent events, post 14 Feb suicide bombing on CRPF’s convoy is in Pulwama, has seen a uniting of the people in the valley for different reasons. The attack, post Pulwama, on Kashmir students and traders outside Kashmir followed by ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and other similar events have shocked the entire Kashmir population and are, in a way, bringing the different doctrinaires to a common table

Sociologists maintain that resentment is due to perceived threat to either culture or livelihood and is facilitated by a third party. In that perspective it wouldn’t be wrong to say the provoking paradigm espoused by insurgents and the proxy leaders has brought Kashmiri identity at loggerheads with the policies formulated in New Delhi.

This indicates the centre’s attempt to bring Kashmiri population into India’s mainstream by spending millions has perhaps failed or show marginal imprints and the events following 14 Feb have surely caused damage to it. In other words- Burhan Wani picking up arms did less harm to interests of India than he using social media to promote and export an ideology. His strategy gave a new impetus to the almost decaying militancy in the valley. In the same way one can suspect same this time as the unification against a perceived common threat can boost the spread of insurgent’s ideas, particularly and obvious to the vulnerable that are currently at play among the youngsters.

The students targeted in different parts of India were prosecuted, humiliated, hated and alienated for being Kashmiri. The more the alienation from mainstream, the more is the susceptibility of such youth looking towards ideologies of defiance and even violence. It is pertinent to mention that several students left their degrees mid-way and returned back to valley.

Among the students and traders were those who are fed up with the ongoing crisis and their venturing out is either for a better possibility of business or better education and opportunities. But the way they were treated, post Pulwama attack, they saw the space for a Kashmiri in India shrinking rapidly while carrying risks as well. They had, in a way, escaped from armed aggression to do good in peaceful ambiences but unfortunately got caught by the popular aggression that seemed horrible.

This convergence is also visible at the top political level in the backdrop of Centre’s attempt to tamper with Article 35A and Article 370. Kashmir’s relation vis-a-vis India is special, it has multiple dimensions and international interference as well as different dossiers with regards to the formation of the relation also vindicates it. India knows, very well, that abrogation of any such article would ultimately lead to yet another spate of protests, killings and thus more alienation.

Other things that are seen as ‘soft attack’ by people of Kashmir include banning of socio-religious as well as separatist organizations in Kashmir. The constant imprisonment of separatist leaders also contributes to the overall alienation that the people of Kashmir are left to handle without any possible and readymade remedy at hand. All such factors are potentially detrimental to peace and have the potential to disrupt normalcy in Kashmir at any given point.  We have seen, in case of US and the erstwhile USSR, that the policy of aggression and usage of military might hasn’t solved anything and has, infact, given rise to more violence and more the formation of violent outfits.

Post Burhan Wani, Kashmir has witnessed increased number of youth joining militant ranks and civilians, including men, women and children, demonstrating  the will to put their lives between the forces and the militants in order to provide escape routes to militants. New Delhi must ponder over its current Kashmir policy for the sake of peace and ensuring that no human rights violations are committed.

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