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Kashmir: The Road Ahead

VoW 2019 / Sessions / November 16 / Kashmir: The Road Ahead

VoW 2019 | November 16 – 10:30 am to 11:15 am | |

Kashmir: The Road Ahead

Iqbal Malhotra in conversation with Maj Gen B K Sharma & Ashali Verma

Kashmir: The Road Ahead

Report

Valley of Gardens and Graves

“The world is full of paper. Write to me.” These memorable lines of ‘Agha Shahid Ali’ calls upon the unspoken and unheard narratives of the valley, which often receive abatement and quashing from the masses. To examine the unrivalled politics of valley, the session took place on the second day of Valley of Words, International Literature and Arts Festival- Dehradun. Ms. Ashali Verma moderated the event by questioning and presenting her own ideas as she was in an engaging  conversation with Mr. Iqbal Malhotra and Major. General B.K Sharma.

Ms. Ashali Verma kicked off the session by questioning the panelists about the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A from the state of J&K. The answers of the respective question lacked the criticisms towards the main political participants as they glorified the military occupation on the lines of challenging the tough neighbourhood, China and India. As the part of the audience, the event lacked the essence of inclusivity as it mopped the Kashmiri narrative under the kaross of security and strategic issues.

General B.K Sharma said , “information campaign strategy is quite imperative to tackle rising violence in the valley.” He emphasised upon the repercussions of the Internet blockade in the valley as it minimises the employment opportunities for the people who populate that land. But the nationalistic voice plummeted as they nullified the aspects of freedom of speech and expression. The session witnessed the excessive voice being used upon the matters of security and the absence of grassroot conditions and women victimhood was clearly present.

General B.K Sharma said ” we used to have two prayers in our schools which included Jana Ghana Mana but Allama Iqbal’s Lab pe aati was also recited.” This example signified the real essence of Kashmiriyat, primarily based upon true tolerance and brotherhood. While questioning him on the use of pellets and bullets, he stated that Kashmiris shouldn’t externalise their problems and should practice some “soul searching”.

‘Iqbal Malhotra’ brilliantly elaborated upon the historical context of the violence in Kashmir. He said, ” we need a calculated plan as we are facing an organised enemy.” While questioning him about the Kashmir atrocities, he answered by giving the examples of POK and not exclusively about the valley. The external issues of security were given importance but the aspect of “Kashmiri Pandit Exodus of 1990”. Both the speakers agreed about the notion that the Muslim Extremist elements of the valley.

The narratives of security and strategy monopolised the event as the idea of self-determination was lost within the amalgamation of political concepts. The nightmarish confusion of ideas and perspectives indeed states that we need more paper to write about the valley of gardens and graves.

* Reported by Sabahat Ali Wani, student, St. Stephens, New Delhi

Session Images