By Swathi Anantha:
Dear Neglectful Nationalist
You blame America for trying to be the big brother for the rest of the world and here you are trying to play big brother to J&K. Who are you or the Pakistanis to be playing tug of war with the fate of these citizens? You are interfering with their identity, culture, and psychological place in this world. Every individual feels a sense of belonging to the ground they were born onto and the home they live in. Their citizenship, their rights, and their government are being used as political tools and their lives are the casualty. Â If there is instability in the region due to terrorist groups (just as the Maoists are present in specific states) you must make tactical decisions and introduce sustainable solutions. If you consider the police force and people of J&K as Indians then treat them that way. Don’t give them fish but teach them how to fish.
Due to the current political situation, there is a need for the presence of the Indian army in the most at risk regions but at the same time we should train the local defense/citizens on how to maintain order in their regions and set the foundations for stability. The Indian army can not be the big brother and make its presence an indefinite ordeal. As the people of the region are empowered and trust the Indian army there will naturally be a better understanding and progress, both economically and psychologically. No one likes being the pawn in someone else’s Â game. Let’s think about this logically. Why would someone crave freedom and sovereignty unless they felt that injustices were being committed? No one wants to raise hell for the fun of it. The Kashmiris who have been a part of the independence movement feel that they are not being represented sufficiently in the administration of their own state. They feel as though they are minorities who constantly get defeated and silenced. Why is it a surprise that they only want to scream louder?! It is true that there are strong Pakistani and even extremist Islamic influences and brain washing in the more unstable regions but would one-sided aggressive tactics and discrimination solve this problem?
Human rights are highly debated in such situations and step one is to actually see everyone as a human being. What a concept?! In our own lives, when are we most susceptible, most vulnerable, most naive? It is when we are insecure, lack confidence, need something/someone to depend on or believe in, and also when we fear of what the future holds. Many of those who are a part of the independent movement may be ignorant or even fundamentalist but try listening to their needs (whether it means economic stability or a place toÂ rightfully call home) and inform them of the situation. Actions speak louder than words. Show them that their lives are better off being a part of India through bringing peace and harmony to the region rather than bombs and more soldiers. Empower and improve rather than destroy and intimidate. I sincerely believe that J&K are a part of India and it would be more beneficial for them economically to be considered as such since they would otherwise be a landlocked country forced to chose between the unstable north or the irritated but rising democracy to the south, but that is not enough. The Kashmiris themselves need to feel that their rights are secured even under the central IndianÂ government. They need agency, a voice, and most importantly the right information.
Something that we still have not accomplished within the mainland. Instead of protesting the interlocutors report and demanding ownership, rise to the occasion and understand the deeper and complex situation from all perspectives and act in a tactical manner. BuildÂ trust, build relations, and build a unified country.
A pacifistic patriot