Lately, i’ve been exposed to a lot of Kashmiri anti-India sentiment through direct and re-tweets of some of the people i follow on Twitter. Here’s a conversation between several people that occurred on Twitter. I’ve tried to document the Twitter timeline here, followed by my argument for my stand to the Kashmiri at the center of this Twitter discussion – Junaid Mattu.

Gul Panang : You prefer (Kashmir version) http://pragmatic.nationalinterest.in/2011/03/13/you-prefer-kashmir-version/

Junaid Mattu : Give me bullets, batons and rigged elections and silence me into ‘gratitude’ by comparing Kashmir to PaK and Pak. Wow @gulpanag @pragmatic_d

Rahul Dewan : @junaidmattu Rigged elections is a bit of a stretch isn’t it Junaid? Don’t throw the baby out with bathwater, please! @gulpanag @pragmatic_d

Junaid Mattu : @rahuldewan Really??? 1987 so conveniently forgotten? The rigged elections that sparked this bloody turmoil? Whn does history start? 2002???

Rahul Dewan : @junaidmattu Rigged elections hs bn a reglar prblm in India. Poor governance and control politics is all ovr india, not xclusvly fr #kashmir

Junaid Mattu : @rahuldewan There is a difference between rigged elections and elections rigged by State agencies and the highest political powers in Delhi

Rahul Dewan : @junaidmattu agree here. tho th same powers screw up lives of ordinary men in Delhi too. Read “Making India Work” by William Bissel and…

Rahul Dewan : @junaidmattu and “Everyone loves a good drought” ~ P Sainath. Is there any difference in state control b/w what happens here & in Kashmir?

Junaid Mattu : @gaurravg Oh come on! The bloody mess Delhi has created in Kashmir has no parallel in India – not by any stretch of imagination.

Here’s a little example of the “bloody mess” Delhi has created in India, apart from Kashmir.

  • Although an exact figure is hard to come by, one common estimate is that roughly 200,000 farmers have committed suicide between 1993 and 2010. i states hardest hit from this pandemic include Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Kerela and Panjab; since 2003 things have gotten much worse in all three places.” Source: http://alittlerevolution.com/home.php?p=issue
  • It is estimated that Punjab has the highest number of such suicides related to the breakdown of the agriculture system – thanks to pathetic government policy and horrendous livelihood interventions.
  • My readers should know that the government is still “considering” that there seems to be a need to conduct a proper survey, atleast in Punjab, for the farmer suicides.

Compare this to what Wikipedia says on killings in Kashmir: “From 1990 to 1999, some organizations reported that the Indian Armed Forces, its paramilitary groups, and counter-insurgent militias were responsible for the deaths 4,501 Kashmiri civilians. Also from 1990 to 1999, there were records of 4,242 women between the ages of 7–70 being raped.[77][78] Similar allegations were also made by some human rights organizations.”. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmir_conflict

By no means am i throwing numbers to defend a point of who is suffering more. However, these numbers are indicative of the magnitude of tragedy in this country – across states and religions – it is not limited to Kashmir alone. I personally see no difference between Kashmir or Vidarbha in Maharashtra – in either the magnitude or the scale of the mess the government has created for the people of this nation. My blog post on why i being an Indian feel so connected with the Egyptian revolution, captures this frustration and seething anger inside me accurately.

The pain i feel for – a farmer who commits suicide because the government pushes for Monsanto’s GM seeds under powerful corporate lobbying; or a vanvasi (tribal) who is stripped of his right to a dignified life by denying him of access to his own forest under archaic 1889 forest Laws; or for the repeated cases of Khap panchayats ruling naked marching of women who dared to marry the ones their loved ones; or for a Kashmiri  woman who is picked up and raped by an army jawan – is the same. It is human dignity that is attacked. Some is more visible and upfront, while another is a more deep rooted cancer slowly nibbling away on the whole being.

My Kashmiri muslim friends for some reason showcase Kashmir as the epitome of Indian high-handedness; cases of bias such as this are about leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy of “i told you so“.

When my friend writes that he lives in the world’s biggest jail – it hurts; and yet i am able to relate to his deep frustration at seeing being policed constantly. Yet, this deep seated anger is not only his. It is not for a shallow reason that Anna Hazare has taken a step to fast unto death for helping to eradicate corruption from this country.

The intention of this post is to create an alternate narrative, as well as for me to really be able to emotionally connect to my Kashmiri muslim friends and acquaintances.

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To expand this narrative i’d like my readers to go over this argument for extending Article 370 beyond Kashmir to all states in India. See: http://prasannalaldas.blogspot.com/2005/09/article-370-case-to-extend-it-beyond.html. The idea is that only local governance can truly protect the identity and interests of a state and that central participation in governance should be limited to only larger and ‘national’ issues.’

Is this any different from what Gandhi aspired for in the India he imagined? Read through these pages of Hind Swaraj, which he wrote while travelling from London to South Africa between November 13 and November 22, 1909. In the book Gandhi gives a diagnosis for the problems of humanity in modern times, the causes, and his remedy.

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