Lumpenisation of a movement


In the aftermath of 2008 Amarnath land transfer controversy, for the first time Kashmir had entered into the drawing room discussions in India. It had also evoked sympathy from many Indians for the so called Kashmir-cause. A significant section of intellectual class had actually started supporting the Kashmiris’ yearn for Azaadi. Arundhati Roy had even proclaimed that India
needs azadi from Kashmir as much as Kashmir needs azadi from India. People would think aloud privately – “nahi rahna chahte toh kyon zabardasti karna hai….”
2016 had, in contrast, evoked a different response from most Indians. Partly, due to social media; partly due to the eruption of a madness called Da’esh. Widespread stone-pelting on not only security forces but also on residential colonies of minority community and even on Amar nath yatris and tourists had disgusted the middle class, which is largely liberal and secular. The K a s h m i r ’ s A z a d i h a d me t amo r p h o s e d i n t o a blatantly Islamic movement – with the lumpen of the society taking over the driving seat. The valley’s intelligentsia and the separatists and their sympathizers lent a tacit approval to this phenomenon in a hope that, possibly, this form of movement could deliver the much cherished Azadi. The left liberals in other parts of India also latched on to this phenomenon. In the heart of privileged South Delhi, government funded Jawahar Lala Nehru University (JNU) also reverberated with the slogans of Azadi. On 9 February 2016, some students of Jawaharlal Nehru University held a protest on their
campus against the capital punishment meted out to the 2001 Indian Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, and Kashmiri separatist Maqbool Bhat.
The organizers of the event were former members of the Democratic Students Union. The event was organised despite the University
administration withdrawing permission for the event shortly before it was due to begin, due to protests by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. The event witnessed clashes between various student groups. A video was soon circulated in the social media and news channels in which a small group of individuals wearing masks, shouted “anti-India” slogans. The slogans were criticised by many individuals, including political leaders and students of JNU. Kashmiri separatists were extremely happy to get this support for their movement from such unexpected quarters. What they missed out is that Indian conscience was shaken by such secessionism ! It made the urban middle class lose all sympathy for their sentiments. The mainstream political parties, especially the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party went into serious contemplation mode and it strengthened its leaders’ resolve to ‘solve this problem once and for all.’ Today, most Indians, including the mainland Muslims, believe that, the so called Azadi movement is nothing but ‘sugarcoated Islamic movement.’ This has changed the whole narrative. Now, people are looking for a stronger action by the state against this movement. Many supported imposition of Governor’s rule last year. Most Indians want even revocation of special status Jammu and kashmir enjoys under Art 370 in the Constitution of India.
Kashmiri has been the biggest loser in this whole process of lumpenisation of the so calledmovement. Human rights form the core of moderndemocratic societies.
Western world goes, at times, to extreme extent to safeguard the human rights of not only their own citizens but also of the people who live in the third world under the rigid authoritarian or dictatorial regimes. Post Arab Springs and the emergence of Da’esh, understanding of the Western democracies about such so called ‘self-determination’ movements has also got widened and more nuanced. The western liberals now easily differentiate between a human right movement and an Islamic movement under the garb of human rights movement. Amanda Taub, a human rights advocate and journalist, in her essay, ‘The unsexy truth about why the Arab Spring failed’ written in 2016 opined that “by the time it became clear to the world that Egypt’s Arab Spring had gone terribly wrong, that the seemingly Hollywood-like drama of good-guy protesters triumphing over bad-guy dictator had turned out to be something much more
disappointing, the other revolutions across the Middle East had soured as well. Today, Egypt is under a new military dictatorship; Libya, Yemen, and Syria have all collapsed into civil wars.” The Kashmir story is very similar.Separatists and their sympathizers may not like it of course but the fact is that now the whole world knows it !