Kashmir Truth Be Told Blog
Yus neereth gassan, pheereth cha yevaano: morda che gassan zinde (Kashmiri saying)

2/22/07

Types of articles in Kashmir papers



This is an article that I got from the Kashmir observer, from a councillor of the srinagar municipal corporation (SMC)


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My comment on the article:

I have to say that this article is one of the best I have seen recently in Kashmir's newspapers. Tanvir seems to have a good understanding of world events.

My readers are quite aware that I am usually very harsh on the politicians from our state. But good works deserve praise and Tanvir no doubt deserves it.

I however have to disagree with Mr. Tanvir for praising a dictator. Mr Musharaf may appear to have brought stabilty to a country militarily, however he ousted a democratically elected government in the process. There can absolutely be no justification for undermining a countries' democratically elected parliament. Just because Mr Musharaf may have good people-skills and be a good orator, doesnt mean he can simply take away the rights of 12 million Pakistanis and claim it is for the greater good.

If Mr Musharaf had an issue with rampant corruption in his country, he could have used his office as the army chief to bring about changes rather than hold a coup and claim that he was doing Pakistan a huge favour. He appointed himself as an all powerful dictator whom no one in Pakistan has the power to question.

If it were really the case that only people with good leadership skills make good presidents (or dictators) of a country then let's just sit back and throw away our democratic rights and the person with the best leadership skills can take-over as a dictator, and the dictator can then decide what is collectively good for us and the country. Let's forget about all democratic principles, like the right to a fair trial instead of being imprisoned just because you oppose the dictator. Lets not even consider the fact that the dictator could be a thief, a scoundrel or a mass murderer. We have no way of researching these facts about Mr. Musharaf because there is nothing in Pakistan even close to being called a free-press, or the very fundamental value of a democracy - the right to free-speech.

Inspite of my strong opinions on Mr Musharaf simply being an opportunistic power-grabbing egoistic thug, I still want to praise Mr Tanvir's article as being of a very high calibre which is rarely seen in Kashmir's Papers. Although I have to confess he was just making a point by mentioning Musharaf, and from reading the article I can figure that he doesnt condone Pakistan's departure from being a democracy - he's talking about how Kashmir benefited by Mr. Musharaf's peace initiatives with India, and how only a dictator could do that. Nevertheless, I am still against all forms of dictatorship even if it means that we are the indirect beneficaries.

And this is the reason we should praise the young councillor and which is exactly why I posted his article on my blog.

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2/20/07

Islam is not fanatical, and Kashmiris arent either.

A recent worldwide poll carried out by reliable agencies has come up with the conclusion that most people in the world do not think that there is a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. For some reasons I just don't feel comfortable labelling all these countries collectively as being the "West". For one, where does east stop and the west start? Is Turkey, Russia, and Albania west? Is Australia west? What is most ridiculous about this East - West notion is the claim by some Israelis that they are part of this conglomeration called the "West".

Sorry for the digression, as I was mentioning in the introduction, this poll suggests that there is in fact no such clash of civilizations and there are more political reasons for this percieved clash than there are religious. The poll further concludes that there is a small minority within each group that is exploiting this percpetion for their own malicious benefits.

The reason this poll is relevant to my post about Kashmir politics is that the militants would have us believe that our Islamic identiy is under threat if we dont follow their dictat of joining pakistan. This claim is ridiculous for a simple reason that Pakistan has been unable to stand up on its own feet in their 50 years of independence, and we would be no better off joining them; infact we would be inheriting their sectarian strife from which, thank God, our society has been free from until now (except ofcourse violence against Pandits, which is detestable to say the least; however I am refering to Shia-Sunni violence).

A country should be secular, and democratic. We should not surrender our freedoms and rights on any basis let alone on the basis of religion. That is what many militant organizations would want us to beleive: that Pakistan, for it being an Islamic country, is the answer to all of Kashmir's miseries; this is a very naive argument for them to make. However, my belief is that they are our version of the loud and vocal minority that the poll was refering to. There are however many other militant organizations that propose complete independence for Kashmir. I respect their views; however, I have to respectfully note that it will be militarily impossible to sustain a viable independent Kashmir. If Afghanistan, inspite of all the help from NATO countries is unable to sustain itself as a viable country, what makes Kashmir so special that we are sure we will be able to be a successful indpendent country?

In my opinion, the concepts of secularism, democracy and respect for individual rights that underpin India's constitution are ideal for us Kashmiris to continue as part if this federation; albeit with a pre-requisite; only if these concepts were being acted upon in reality on the streets of Kashmir. However, as you will find out from my earlier posts, these very rights are being trampled upon by their security forces in Kashmir, which makes those rights seem that they are meant for people living south of the Banihal tunnel only. It does a Kashmiri no good that these rights are enshrined in the constitions of India and J&K state if they cannot demand those rights when an Indian security personnel is harassing, slapping , molesting and subjecting them to undue hardships.

Not very long ago, a student was shot to death at Dalgate because the army man suspected the student was carrying a grenade; sometime before that a bakery owner, whose shop was opposite a CRPF bunker was shot dead while he was closing his shop for the day. In the first incident, the soldier was rewarded instantly for his "courageous act".

Wouldnt it have been more appropriate if there were an impartial investigation which would have included the local police to determine whether that student was really a militant and that he was really carrying a grenade. The local newspapers carried eye witness statements that the student was innocent and was shot just because he had an argument with the "courageuos" soldier.

In the earlier incident involving the bakery owner, witnesses told newspapers that the soldier involved in baker's death owed him money for bread he had bought earlier and held a grudge against him becuase the baker threatened to complain to the soldier's superior about him not paying for his bread purchases. The soldier justifed his actions by claiming that he thought the baker was a suicide bomber. As far as I know, he was never reprimanded, and I would'nt be surprised if it became known he recieved an award as well for this murder.

In both incidents, the public never comes to know of the conclusions of any investigations. This results in the growing resentment of Indias politics in Kashmir. Even though the politicians in Delhi may keep harping about how democratic India is and how it is claimed that India is the largest democracy in the world. The point that I am making is that, if that claim doesn't translate into tangible and serious improvements of rights of Kashmiris, how and why should they believe that they have any rights or a future as part of a united India.