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Kashmir Watch

I recently received an extraordinary email from a troubled young Kashmiri in Srinagar. Days before the Indian authorities turned off the internet, Saif (not his real name) had watched on YouTube the 45-minute video documentary Crossing the Lines — Kashmir, Pakistan, India that I had helped make in 2004 and mostly agreed with its non-partisan narrative.

 

If you watched the captions that scream out at you from your TV screens every night, their flaming orange hues designed to add to the heat, you would think that complex truths of the turmoil in Kashmir can be squeezed into 140 characters - just perfect for the Twitter age.

 

Tough situations warrant tough reactions, and dangerous situations often, if not always, merit daring actions

 

It was a long and hard struggle for Kashmiris to come out of the quagmire of illiteracy, political marginalisation, cultural sterility, and social decrepitude and into an era that promised enlightening institutions of public education, spaces of democratic debate, political enfranchisement, cultural revitalisation, and social progressivism.

 

In the summer of 2000, I met Yasin Malik in the small study of his home in Srinagar. He was 32 then, and as chairman of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front, the most prominent face of Kashmiri separatism.

 

Every time violence rocks Kashmir, inflicting more human misery, the immediate aftermath is invariably followed by a set pattern of platitudes.

 

The recent spells of unrest in Kashmir (the challenge of stone-pelting street protesters besides active theatres of terror) have led many to conclude that the acceptable threshold of violence has been crossed, pushing the situation back to the nineties.

 

 

Kashmir is no place for achievers, especially those who fall on the wrong side of the Kashmir versus India binary.

 

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels through Sri Lanka for the UN Vesak Day celebrations, he will speak and hear much about the teachings of the world’s greatest pacifist, Gautama Buddha. He is also certain to be mindful of Sri Lanka’s experience with war, victory, militarism, the challenges of conflict resolution, and getting to peace and reconciliation.

 

Kashmir is on the boil like never before. We have been in dark and depressive depths for so long now that we have forgotten our vocabulary and expression

 


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