This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

How To Integrate Kashmir With India [Part 1: Introduction]

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Karmanye Thadani:

It is indeed quite obvious that allowing Kashmir to secede is not an option that India can exercise (I have elucidated on this in a piece I had written). On this very portal, I had written a series of five articles, which explored an attitudinal shift in the valley. I pointed out that though Kashmiri Muslims, by and large, have not undergone any transformation to become patriotic Indians, they care for a life of peace and normalcy more than anything else, and so are enjoying this calm atmosphere in the valley and the boost to their economy by a huge inflow of tourists, numbering more than a million in 2011 and with rates of guest houses skyrocketing (my father, who is a businessman, now frequently gets business offers from Kashmir). And my reading of the situation proved correct with there being virtually no one turning up for a Hurriyat protest at Lal Chowk in Srinagar before the unfortunate incident of the fire in the shrine of the Sufi saint Abdul Qadir Jeelani, besides Kashmiri separatists on online forums acknowledging how India was ‘using’ peace as a medium to make Kashmiris forgive, forget and move on (to quote from a Facebook note by Irfan Mehraj, a Kashmiri separatist “…the efforts being made to incorporate us into the so-called mainstream are meant to subdue us into forgetting and moving on”), and it’s quite interesting to see those complaining of human rights violations now warning their fellow Kashmiris of not getting carried away by peace!

The very same Irfan Mehraj has written another Facebook note in which he mentions that while ‘azadi’ is a long-term goal, Kashmiris have decided to move on with their lives and make Kashmir a better place to live in the present scenario. To quote him – “Kashmiris no longer place the ideal of Azadi on a pedestal higher than their own immediate concerns.”

The common man of Kashmir, though not a patriotic Indian, hardly feels represented by the separatist leaders anymore. After the fire in the shrine, Shabbir Shah, a prominent Hurriyat leader once universally loved in the valley, showed up at the site, but the angry mob, leave alone lending him an ear, smeared ash on his face, as can be seen in the photograph, and this event was witnessed by people in the valley I happen to know (so, Shabbir Shah’s own account is meaningless as far as I am concerned). For Kashmiris, publicity-seeking stunts by separatist leaders are now as much dirty politics as the gimmicks played for electoral vote-banks by political parties contesting elections.

This is something India needs to cash on if it wants to put an end to this conflict. The Pakistani establishment would like to keep it alive to retain its very identity (though the civil society of Pakistan has been of the view that there’s little point in focusing on Kashmir when the country is in such a dismal condition with its own secessionist and radical Islamist movements), but that country has enough problems of its own to effectively threaten India (it can only support terrorists but not defeat India in a war, though this is not to say that I am insensitive to those who die in terrorist attacks), and many Kashmiri Muslims on the Indian side of the LoC, especially the educated ones, now have a hostile attitude towards Pakistan as well, realizing that the Pakistani establishment was using them as pawns to further its own agenda, besides the Kashmiris in Pakistan not being treated very well to say the least.

India has done a laudable job of checking unrest by way of helping bring about economic prosperity in recent years (however, more needs to be done in this sphere as well, particularly checking electricity theft, a problem that has existed in the valley even before the militancy erupted, unlike what some separatists would like us to believe), though this would have never been possible had the Indian military and paramilitary forces not been able to overpower the militancy, which has now almost, though not completely, come to an end (having said that, the threats to elected village chieftains in the valley is a matter of grave concern that needs to be addressed). However, this is not to condone human rights violations committed by rogue elements in the Indian security forces, but having said that, no military or paramilitary force in the world stationed in a conflict zone can claim a completely clean human rights record and as regards what the Pakistani Army did in East Pakistan in 1971 or has been doing in Balochistan for decades, less said the better. That being said, only putting an end to armed hostilities and bringing about economic development in the valley is not enough on the part of the Indian establishment. There is indeed more that the Indian government and civil society would have to do.

They would have to address the root causes of the conflict, which can be broadly categorized into Kashmiri Muslims’ basic reluctance to identify with the idea of India on a plain theoretical level and the human rights violations committed by Indian military and paramilitary personnel. For the former, it would have to ideologically combat the ideology of azadi, and for the latter, some transitional justice mechanism would have to instituted or at least an apology rendered, taking steps to ensure that the same do not recur. Also, in the spirit of fairness, the concerns of those who have suffered at the hands of the militants need to be looked into as well.

[box bg=”#fdf78c” color=”#000″]About the author: The author is a freelance writer based in New Delhi. He has co-authored two short books, namely ‘Onslaughts on Free Speech in India by Means of Unwarranted Film Bans’ and ‘Women and Sport in India and the World’. To read his other posts, click here.[/box]

 

You must be to comment.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Medha Ghosh

By sehar abdullah

By Rahul Karanpuriya

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below