'Kashmir Crisis A Labyrinth Of Confused Identities': Seminar
14 March 2004
News Network International
Jammu: Kashmir crisis is a labyrinth of confused identities, emotional incongruity, contradictory political stances and saga of betrayal by the leadership for vested interests. These complexities have made every Kashmiri an embodiment of conflict. This was one of the ways to comprehend the real nature of tangle on the first day of two day seminar on 'Understanding conflict in J&K' organised by UGC Special Assistance Programme, Department of Political Science, University of Jammu in collaboration with Developing Countries Research Centre, Delhi University here in CSRS seminar room of University of Jammu, Kashmir Times reported. In fact the occasion provided an opportunity for self introspection for the intellectuals, and media persons belonging to different regions of the state and even outside while discerning what went wrong and where. The seminar commenced with a brain storming session presided over by veteran journalist and human rights activist Balraj Puri. Prof Manzoor Fazili tried to view the problem as a confusion of identities which amalgamate Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. Counting on the deeds of the political leadership, he described Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah as the reflection of contradiction. 'If Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad emphasised economical aspect of problem, Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq, though was a democrat, was responsible for erosion of Article of 370 which resulted into emotional rupture between Kashmiri Muslims and rest of the parts of country,' Prof Fazili noted. He portrayed Kashmir as a failed democracy and economy with no leader who enjoys credibility among the masses. 'If India committed wrong, Pakistan made blunders, then Kashmiris themselves indulged in nonsense,' he commented. Dr Ashraf Wani, tracing the growth of different religious sects of Muslims in Kashmir, pointed out that with the passage of time, there emerged only two dominant sections in Kashmir society viz., Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits. Whereas all Kashmiri Pandits could safely be described as pro India, all Kashmiri Muslims were seen as anti-India since 1953, he added. 'Initially militancy was started by secular groups in Kashmir yet then it was taken over by religious groups,' he remarked while commenting on the changing faces of militancy. Dr Ghulam Nabi Gohar maintained that every Kashmiri is an embodiment of conflict which reflects in his political behaviour. He too hinted at contradictory stances of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. Dr Gohar alleged that the constitution of India was imposed upon Kashmiris. It was paradoxical yet true that Kashmiris were not given representation in the constitution making exercise, he rued. In his presidential remarks, Puri averred that Kashmiri identity is unique with an underlying consistency in it. 'This is very interesting facet of Kashmiri culture that every new faith which emerged here imbibed Kashmiri influence. Be it Shaivism, Islam or Buddhism, they all could not escape this peculiar influence. However, what is the main weakness of Kashmir culture which has emerged with the passage of time that there is no room for dissent. Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims are part of same cultural identity before 1947. Projections afterwards reflected only Kashmiri Pandits as the champions of Kashmiriyat. Theirs was the only face projected,' Puri maintained. He noted since there was no adequate outlet of popular discontent and democratic institutions were not created therefore this disgruntlement found violent and secessionist outlet. Puri opined that the greatest weakness of state is its centralised and unitary form of constitution which has inbuilt provisions for tensions and misunderstanding and added that it is the root cause of state's problems. 'The solution to this problem lies in the federal decentralised set up where each regional and ethnic identity is recognized,' he suggested.