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End of history in Kashmir?
A communal violence broke out in Kishtwar town of Jammu region in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr. Three people died; two Muslims and a Hindu. Curfew has been imposed affecting 8 districts out of total 10 districts in the Jammu region. Meanwhile J&K home minister, Sajjad Kitchloo, has resigned and reportedly Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, has accepted the home minister's resignation.

From various reactions on Facebook and Twitter by Hindus and Muslims of the region and beyond, it appears that time has changed in J&K and with it, the tolerance for misbehavior and suppression, the instinct to act and react, ability to regroup and to realign, polarization etc. The fact is that under normal circumstances, Muslims are the dominant people of the state, but region-wise except in the Valley, Muslims’ dominance can be contested by Hindus and Buddhists in Jammu and Ladakh respectively.

The fact remains, if dharma be applied consistently and accurately, then challenging the dominance of dominant people by Hindus comes under suspicion. More so, if the dominant people are fair and sharp-featured just like Muslims of J&K. But not always, like in the present case. If one could read status updates of Hindus and Muslims on Facebook one could read disgust and hatred by both sides, with magnitude of Hindus’ reactions being somewhat disproportionate this time. They have reasons; some legitimate and some not so. Muslims of the state, particularly those from the Kashmir region have their woes against Indian administration dubbed by them as the ‘suppression by Hindus’. Again many of them are legitimate and many not so.

But, the fact is that the only constant thing in this growing world is change itself. With rising consciousness, conflicts are becoming deep-rooted and expansive. As the noted novelist and author Salman Rushdie says that people get offended too easily nowadays with their identity being defined by “what pisses them off”. Mr. Rushdie says that a new “culture of offendedness”, has invaded the world with more people defining themselves by hate. It has got something to do with the rise of identity politics, where one is invited to define one’s identity quite narrowly.

The fact is that the world is simultaneously uniting and dividing with various new sub-structures getting created by each major event taking place in the world. Few of the older ones are getting destroyed as well. The Left and Right are mixing with intolerance for each other on the rise: it has to do more with conflict within, than with the outside world. The fact is that ‘hatred’ for ‘self’ is increasing with many people identifying with presumed alien politics, behavior and taste, if not with aliens themselves. The fact is that increasing distinctions, differences, asymmetries and inequalities are both positive and negative symptoms of growth. Without them, there will be not much meaningful growth and improvement in life, but because of them, there will be so much conflict.

Time is not a great healer and this is certainly true about Kashmir dispute. With the rising viewership of cable TV and increasing usage of Internet, everyone is learning more, every single day. But, this is most certainly true of the dominant people all over the globe. Now Hindus are the dominant people of not only India, also South Asia. Through TV and Internet, they are grasping, what unity and disunity among Muslims mean.

Now Hindus, generally speaking do not fight for sects. But then, they are more divided among themselves over caste, region and language, and Hindu divisionism is mostly helpful to them. Muslims of India on the other hand also do not fight much for their sectarian beliefs. In Kashmir there is division of Muslims’ opinion on the regional ground with Muslims of Jammu and Ladakh not opposing Indian administration, with as much intensity as those of the Valley.

With rising and conflicting consciousness, unity among Muslims of various regions in J&K would increase. But rising unity among Muslims would induce more anti-Hindu and anti-Indian feelings among them and a likely reaction from Hindus. Therefore, Muslim and Hindu uprisings would go hand-in-hand but still asymmetry in numbers and size would not allow them to cancel each other’s reactions. Therefore, anti-Indian feelings would increase with time among Muslims and with that distance among demographic constituents would increase.

Conflict would be even more difficult to resolve within because of increased demographic frictions. Thus demand of separate statehood for Jammu and Centrally administered Ladakh would gain ground but of no avail, as the Muslim lawmakers would frustrate all attempts to create new states.

The rising consciousness combined with consumerism induced nationalism, would equalize the cause of various demographic constituents with Muslims being far more vocal than other groupings and their cause could be well taken by international community. The Hindus of Jammu and Buddhists of Ladakh need to understand that their genuine, but vocal nationalism is helpful to India but up to a point only. Beyond that it makes the picture look more clumsy. The constant, continuous demographic competition and friction would make history somewhat irrelevant and could make dispute ahistoric in nature.

This could well be the beginning of end of history in J&K with people deliberately and consciously making history irrelevant and this is true of both sides; majority and minorities. For Hindus it could mean raising such issues like when did India deny rights to Kashmiri people? The Indian administered Kashmir rightfully belongs to India and it will always be. Indian authorities does not do anything wrong in Kashmir and Hindus have a very deep historic and meaningful relationship with Kashmir, as it was the birthplace of oldest Hindu sect; Shaivism.

Muslims can have opposite emerging consciousness: They have never done anything wrong and Kashmiri Brahmins are themselves to blame for their plight. They would also say that Kashmir was never an integral part of India, ruled by Delhi. It all looks contrary to the above stated fact that the dispute would become ahistoric. The fact is that invocation to history would be used for sole purpose of denying the reality and the present history that if peace were to prevail in Kashmir then all Kashmiris would have to live together with none of the sides could deny existence of others.

There are three kind of illiteracy in the world: primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary illiteracy is the formal illiteracy, whereby person may not have knowledge of alphabets and numerals. Second kind of illiteracy is induced by first producers, to let primary, secondary and tertiary consumers vote on all possible issues to further their economic and strategic interests. The third kind of illiteracy is the most dangerous: when a person is well literate and he and she cannot be fooled by primary producers but because of egoistic nationalism, he refuses to comprehend and accept the fact that he/she already knows.

Kashmir is plagued by neither the first and second kind of illiteracy, as it is still an isolated region in spite of growing usage of social networking media. It is the tertiary illiteracy, which is the most harmful to the state: that Kashmiri people of all sides do not accept the stark reality that the dispute cannot be resolved by any military mean and while India has upper hand, it is not necessarily irreversible and immutable - that history should never be denied and should never be rewritten. The possible end of history in J&K would be very bad for whole of J&K, if not for whole of India.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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