About “Azaadi” and other furry animals

(This post is basically a collation of a series of tweets that I had sent in response to an article by Samar Harlankar. Maybe these cannot be considered a ‘response’ in the truest sense of the word, but are representative of my thought process on reading the article)

Samar Harlankar (Editor-at-Large, Hindustan Times) has a great article on the up and coming hardliners in the Kashmir Valley. These are the people who are largely responsible for what is called the biggest series of protests in the Kashmir Valley today. Do follow Samar’s writing, if you’re not doing so already and are interested in the human aspect of the Kashmir protests. The truth, as always, is pretty different from what the hardliners on both sides want us to believe through their PR pitches (TV appearances/Newspaper articles etc.).

The article in question –

My tweets:

  1. Gagan Jain
    Gagan @samar11 Excellent article, Samar. But did you ask this new breed what Azaadi means for them? Independence frm India & Pak both? Or just 1?
  2. Gagan Jain
    Gagan @samar11 First define what they mean by ‘Azaadi’. In exact, concrete terms. The pre-1947 history of the Congress is an excellent place (1/2)
  3. Gagan Jain
    Gagan @samar11 for the new revolutionaries to start from. Merely pelting stones & shouting “Azaadi” is pure nonsense and won’t get them anywhere.
  4. Gagan Jain
    Gagan @samar11 The fact that there is no common, concrete definition of ‘Azadi’ in Kashmir is proof that what there is no such thing possible yet

Samar was gracious enough to respond to the question in my first tweet above.

  1. Samar Halarnkar
    samar11 @Gagan yes I did ask. Independence from both. Pak isn’t in the pix
  2. Gagan Jain
    Gagan @samar11 I hope someday they realize that a demand of Azaadi arising out of a (misplaced?) sense of victimization doesn’t have a future.
  3. Gagan Jain
    Gagan @samar11 And the Indian State realizes that the way to remove this feeling is not thru creation of actual victims. (Thanks for the reply)

Even though, I responded to Samar again, I suspect I may not have been clear enough in what I wanted to convey in my first set of tweets.

What I really meant to say was that even though the concerns of ‘Mandela’  and others may be genuine, the method of protests reveals a great amount of immaturity and recklessness.If they believe that throwing stones is enough to get them any closer to their goal, they are greatly mistaken. The only thing that it can indicate is that Kashmir and Kashmiris need a genuine leader. Someone who is not just intelligent enough to just articulate their concerns in clear, precise and civilized terms, but also honest and strong enough to call these childish displays of anger to an end and not use it for his own benefit.

The situation in the valley is bad and the Indian State is responsible for indirectly fanning it by its various actions, but stone-pelting is something that is the preserve of mobs and not of genuinely ostracized people . And no self-respecting country should give into the demands of a mob.

As always, the issue is deeper and more intricate than what I make of it here.

(Related – Vir Sanghvi’s take on the same issue.)