Kashmir (An Untold Story!)
Kashmir located in the northern part of India, is a place in this world that has, and still goes through extremely difficult situations, implicating both the country's financial and political status and the citizen's one.
Since 1846, when the Treaty of Amritsar was signed between the British East India Company and the Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu, the "independent" state of Jammu and Kashmir was established under the sovereignty of the British Indian Empire. The rules of this treaty lasted until the partition of India in 1947, a year when Jammu and Kashmir became a point of contention between 3 countries: India, Pakistan and China.
Due to the political turbulence Kashmir ordered a curfew, a situation that limits and restricts the citizen's freedom. In his book "Curfewed night" Basharat Peer, describes life under serious restrictions.
Indian and Pakistani governments seem to have no worries for changing the situation, since Jammu and Kashmir remains a conflicting territory, where tensions between those two nuclear superpowers usually blow up.
Both the United Nations and the Amnesty International, accuse the Indian security forces of using excessive force in the region. 2018, has been the deadliest year in Indian administered kashmir, in 10 years. The problem is that except for pointing out the atrocities the international intstitutions play no decisive role and refuse to interfere.
586 people were killed last year and 160 of them were civilians. But for international politics, those are just numbers. Noone seems to really care, unless the wave of violence starts knocking at their door. The award-winning author Arundhati-Roy criticises Prime Minister's policy and accuses him of fascistic methods.
Due to the political disorder, researchers have pointed out that Kashmir has more web blackouts than anywhere else in the world, costing businesses millions of dollars and thus affecting the country's economy.
During the Indian elections which began last month, the Head of a local unit of the Hindu Nationalist Party, named Gul Mohammad Mir, was killed at his house in south Kashmir, by gunmen who opened fire against him. The vicious circle of violence seems to have no end. But the question is: Isn't it obvious, that when people are being supressed, deprived of freedom and basic rights which permit them to act regularly in everyday life, and noone does nothing in order to put an end to this chaos, then it is like provoquing a constant challenge for which there are no reddeming features?
Many say that Narendra Modi's ability to bring results have made him India's most popular leader. But how do we really evaluate success and development. Based on numbers or on social prosperity and chances for personal growth? Growing numbers put an end on social misery, when your target is a more unite and developed fabric of society. If your main concern is to communicate the numbers you achieved for your personal recognition, then numbers mean nothing or less than expected for the everyday status of the people of your country.
This political problem is a global one. And this political trend of communicating results for personal distinction is also global.
I couldn't have less expectations from the results of the ongoing elections, but i am sure that the world's tolerance, is close to being over. And when you already live in violence, the solution is not violence again. It is the public outcry that becomes stronger and stronger, and shows the way out of this situation. It is the public outcry that will not put up anymore with a leader who is not at all preoccupied with people but with numbers. It is the public outcry that will eventually modify policy by screening who is going to be next. Maybe it won't happen this year, or maybe even not next year. But the period of putting up with laicim populism seems to be at its latest. And when a phenomenon is about to end, many outbreaks of it appear globally.
Sooner or later, the era in which populist tactics take place, is going to be over. Suffering people who become more and more everyday, will show the way out to candidates, that the newly developped system of "acts with quantative results for the people first" will not justify their existence in politics anymore. In Kashmir, or anywhere else.
written by Themis Panagiotopoulou, PhD in Political Science