the warm reception that the cinestar turned politician Sunil Dutt was
given at holy shrine of Dargah Hazratbal is any indication, then his peace
message has well been received by the people of Kashmir. Fact of the
matter is that no human being can be averse to the idea of peace
particularly the people of Kashmir Valley, which has been an abode of
great Sufis, Rishis and Sants, who taught peace, love and harmony alone.
Kashmiris do want peace. They too want to live a dignified, secure and
peaceful life. They have an eye over the outside world and want to make
big strides alongside the world on the front of development. What peace
means only those can understand who have seen the absence of peace. And
Kashmiris have been witness to a war-like situation from last more than a
decade. They have witnessed and in fact continue to witness mad dance of
death at every nook and corner of their land. Their lanes and by-lanes are
filled with human blood and their rivers and lakes have turned red. They
long for peace. They want their children to acquire best education and
lead a normal and prosperous future and are well aware that it is possible
only if there is peace restored to this part of world. And it is their
strong longing for peace that they extended a warm welcome to Sunil Dutt
who had come here on a peace mission.
the question is that is it only the longing of Kashmiris that can bring
back peace to this troubled piece of land? In this high-action drama of
death and destruction have Kashmiris any role to play? These and series of
such other questions need to be answered before coming to any conclusion.
is a bone of contention between two neighbouring countries which,
fortunately or unfortunately, have of late acquired nuclear capabilities.
Unarmed Kashmiris are caught between two guns, spitting fire. The security
forces that India has deployed here and the militants that Pakistan is
arming are fighting a battle of egos and this hapless land has been turned
into a battle field. Bullet coming out from any of the guns has only one
destination - head or chest of a Kashmiri. In this scenario Kashmiri may
cry for peace but does it going to help. Peace can be restored only by
those who destroy it. If the guns of security forces and militants fall
silent providing some space to Kashmiris then only this unfortunate
community can contribute its bit in strengthening the peace. But as of
today the voice of Kashmiri has been choked. Kashmiri people have been
rendered to nothingness. They are forced to play a certain role - role of
a victim, role of someone who has to get killed, role of a person who is
to be kidnapped, role of a girl who is to be raped. Those who wield power
are in no way ready to let Kashmiris come out of this role.
this scenario it is people like Sunil Dutt who can play a very positive
and effective role. Sunil Dutt is a man of integrity, his secular
credentials are unambiguous and he has all along been speaking in favour
of peace. People like him need to understand that time is running very
fast and thus they have to pull up their sleeves and jump into the
troubled waters of Kashmir. They are the people who still enjoy peoples'
love here. Otherwise, for an ordinary Kashmiri everything has lost
credibility and acceptability. They have seen people like Goerge Fernandes,
who at one stage was behaving as a strongest advocate of Kashmiris,
talking of pro-active policies. But the way the same people welcomed Dutt
at Hazratbal shrine is enough to convey that there still is some hope. And
it is the responsibility of people like Dutt to nurture this hope. This
hope shall not die. If it dies, that will be the end. The people who
advocate peace and who dream of peace have to bear in the mind that
Kashmir is such a festering wound that has every potential to infect the
entire subcontinent and, therefore, before the infection spreads let all
conscientious people like Dutt take some initiative that heals the wound.
is the Editor of Kashmir Images, Srinagar