War Hysteria & the Kashmir Dispute

War Hysteria & the Kashmir Dispute

We need peace-mongering, not Indian media’s warmongering

Be it conventional or non-conventional, war in both terms is a great catastrophe for the humanity. In the annals of history, we find great wars that were fought to colonize and conquer the territories but they all ended up in massive humanitarian crises. World Wars I and II may have redrawn the world map and christened new world powers, yet they are the biggest black spots on the face of humanity. On the orders of some blood-thirsty dictators and warmongers, millions of innocent people were killed mercilessly. War is a kind of fire; the more you play with it, the more will it burn your values and principles which synchronize the universal concept of humanity. Europe, which once was the epicentre of war madness, learnt lessons from past mistakes and today it is among the most peaceful regions of the world. But, anarchy and violence are still ravaging the other parts of the world .

South Asia and the Middle East are the two parts of the world that are, unfortunately, still reeling under conflicts and deadly violence. In the case of former, the Kashmir issue is a flashpoint that may ignite a major war between the two nuclear-capable neighbouring countries, India and Pakistan, while the latter has become a battleground and a theatre of war being fought by world’s major powers. In South Asia, recent skirmishes between Pakistan and India at the Line of Control (LOC) in the disputed territory of Kashmir make one such fault line. The escalation of tensions at the border especially after the Uri attack and the current uprising in Kashmir, the territory on which both countries have so far fought three wars, are deeply rooted in the chequered political history of the Indian Subcontinent.

In this epic clash of the titans, the main victim are the poor Kashmiris on both the sides of the LOC. After uncountable broken promises and the continual deprivation of their right to self-determination, the Kashmiris have become the most vulnerable and politically prosecuted population in the South Asian region. The frenzied Indian media, and anchors like Arnab Goswami and the likes, charged with the ultra-nationalism antics leave no chance and opportunity to push the nuclear-armed neighbours to war. But, they forget that getting some retired generals on their shows is nothing but infotainment for the viewers.

The way Indian media and the BJP leaders portrayed India’s baseless claim of ‘surgical strike on terror launch-pads at the LOC depicts that such chicaneries are only for political point-scoring and this chest-thumping can be very dangerous for the entire region. It was really sickening to see how the so-called fourth pillar of the state was beating the war drums 24/7 from their cosy studios. For this corporate-mafia-owned media and these unruly journalists and prime time anchors, Kashmir dispute, which undeniably is a humanitarian issue, is just like a real estate business; the more noise they create instead of news, the more they mint money on the new template of nationalism. Rhetoric, propaganda, demonization and de-legitimization of people’s aspirations are their prime duties.

War Hysteria & the Kashmir DisputeHowever, a number of people and civil society organisations on both sides of the border are raising their voice against India’s warmongering and abuse of human rights in Kashmir. They are highlighting the dangers of spreading hate through keyboard activism as the real cost of war undoubtedly would be the loss of countless lives.

No sane person will appreciate Indian Army’s brutalities against the Kashmiri people, but instead of highlighting the truth, Indian media has unleashed a vicious campaign against the hopeless, hapless and helpless Kashmiris.

In Kashmir, since the start of the armed resistance, the Indian state is at war with the people especially whenever any public uprising erupts. To crush this anti-India sentiment, the humanity is shamed by killing, maiming and pelleting the innocent Kashmiris but Indian media remains silent.

Putting the entire population of Kashmir under siege and using all available weapons to force people into a political surrender will only ignite animosity and violence. The aspirations of people in the valley should be respected and these war-hysteric anchors and news channels must be given a shut up call as they only choreograph war theatres in their studios. For them, Kashmir is always a war story, a threat to India’s national security. Twisting facts and distorting figures is what they do in their talk shows. Instead of war-mongering, these media machines should drive public opinion against the inhumane acts and the unending humanitarian crisis that is Kashmir. Instead of fanning the flames of jingoism and war hysteria, they should make people aware on the importance of a peaceful settlement of the dispute that has fettered the economic development of both India and Pakistan since their creation as independent states.

To come out the present state of deadlock, India must shun its egoistic and hegemonic attitude and should sit and talk with Pakistan and the Kashmiris in order to find a permanent peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute. Doing so is in the best interest of both India and Pakistan as it will be a big relief to 1.8 billion people of South Asia. By all calculations and deliberations, the war hysteria is not only unfortunate but also highly irresponsible as reflected by the fact that some Indian anchors vocally demanded their Prime Minister to launch a military attack on Pakistan without knowing its repercussions and without realizing that Pak Army is ready to give a befitting response that could be cataclysmic for India. However, we need to avoid this scenario as the biggest collateral damage in any war adventure will be the poor people on both sides of the border, who unfortunately matter only in the times of election and not in the policymaking.

Thus it is in the interest of not only Pakistan and India but also the entire South Asian region that we stop playing with the fire. Both countries need to ignore war hawks who are trying hard to stir up the negative emotions of the masses so as to divert the world attention from the Kashmir dispute which needs immediate political solution. It would be more prudent to concentrate on raising awareness about the destruction and catastrophe a nuclear war would ensue in. Cultivating peace is in the best interest of both the countries.

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