No one can second guess history. No one can account for all the factors which come into play in a situation which goes on to change the course of a society. While the words have a romantic connotation, “what would have been” is a phrase only fit for fantasies which have no place in the chaos of the real world.
It is a grave irony that in the paradise on Earth, one can make a fortune in barbed wire. In a valley known for its beauty, but is regularly bathed in the blood of innocents and civilians. A land which has not known peace in decades; but the world is convinced security reigns supreme.
But then why would young people like Burhan Wani pick up a gun? At the tender age of 15, where most boys are holding a bat or a girls hand, this boy picked up a gun and went on to be known as the poster boy for terrorism in a state which has not known any semblance of peace or order in decades. Branded a criminal and a terrorist, Wani hasn’t been connected to any terror related incident as far as former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah can recall while he was in power.
For all Burhan’s social media activity I don’t recall any militancy incident attributed to him while I was in office. Not sure after that.
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) 8 July 2016
A terrorist who promised peace for Amarnath yatris, for Kashmiri Pandits returning to their homes; killed by the same forces which are present for “security”.
We will never know what was in his mind when he picked up the gun. We may never know the reason behind the deaths of 47,000 casualties in the valley since 1990. What we do know is that slowly, but steadily the population is coming out and taking a stand; that the people are frustrated with the present situation and want it to end.
What makes a person so frustrated to be ready to fight and die willingly? Because that is exactly what has happened here. Youngsters, born under the gun are now picking up the gun in a place which has seen little else. Educated people are turning hostile to state and central government machinery in what would seem without a thought to the potential consequences involved.
But the fact is that they do know the consequences involved. Mothers know their children might not come back in the evening, either falling to the gun or picking it up. Fathers know they might very well be attending the funeral of their child, killed in an encounter or crossfire. Young men have had to bury their childhood friends, trying to not remember their last sight of them riddled with bullets.
Burhan the cricket fan or Burhan the Hizb-ul Commannder, the debate will carry on. This is certain, that while Burhan Wani’s idea of a nation did not include the government which sent soldiers who humiliated his family, killed his brother, hunted him down and termed his death as a bonus – in the end, he proved to be a bigger nationalist than many political leaders and an average person claims every day.
If Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India, then Burhan Wani was a citizen of the Union of India making his killing at least suspect, if not extra-judicial. On the other hand, he wasn’t a citizen, in which case the forces sent there are foreign forces and has no standing to help with the law and order situation.
The forces have their orders. They don’t leave their homes and families to go to a war zone for the fun of it. But one has to question how were such orders given? To interrogate, humiliate everyday people to the point where CRPF have a hard time securing themselves, forget the valley. The shame is that such orders were carried out by the same people (Army, Paramilitary etc.) who hold themselves up to such high standards. Did no one see these orders and question them? Have we, as a country become such paper pushers that have reduced the people of the Valley to no other options other than take up stones and arms? We still have a chance to mend this rift. Decades of violence and strife have passed, if now is not the right time, then when? If we don’t act, who will?
Ranveer Raj Bhatnagar