Sri Sri’s fiasco


That Kashmir dispute is burden of history is internationally admitted reality. It cannot be done away with ad-hoc approach. Government of India has tried this method dozens of times earlier but it never yielded any tangible result. Temporarily, New Delhi might have succeeded in controlling the situation. But managing a conflict and resolving it are distinctly different propositions. Kashmir, essentially a political issue, is assuming now the proportions of a humanitarian crisis following the extent of collateral damages (intended and un-intended), which is almost a daily affair. It needs a permanent solution. Such solution cannot come through individuals with fixed agendas. Hindu spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s so called peace conference, titled as ‘Paigham-e-Mohabbat’, at SKICC on Saturday should be seen in this context. Ironically, it is the audience in the conference who, first, felt ‘deceit’ in the spiritual guru’s “mohabbat’. He had to cut short his speech when the audience stood in protest and left the venue. If one goes by the audio bites and the slogan shouting by them, people were brought to the venue on sham promises. Some alleged they had been promised jobs and a few alleged they were promised money. Some of them were carrying files regarding the regularization of their jobs. Some people said that they were told that Syed Ali Geelani would also be in the conference where “azadi” of Kashmir would be discussed. The Art of Living founder has been coming to Kashmir for several years. During his earlier visits, he met with separatist leaders like Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz. He, on occasions, spoke about the “pain” people of Kashmir were going through creating a good will. It reminds one of nineties when hordes of Indian journalists, intellectuals, social and human rights activists and NGOs would rush in to side with the people of Kashmir and join them to share their pain. By later years proved that they had specific agendas and enjoyed government patronage in their missions. One of the noted journalists claimed in his autobiography that he changed rather neutralized a particular separatist leader. Former spy A S Dulat, in his memoir—Kashmir, the Vajpayee years, concedes that New Delhi tried to neutralize several militant commanders and political activists by giving them money. This fact also cannot be denied that there were attempts to divide Kashmiri society among Sunnis, Shais, Gujjar, Paharis. But none of these tricks ever succeeded. The basic reason is that Kashmir issue does not pertain to any person or party. It is directly related to the future of around 1.5crore people. In Kashmir, no leader—militant or political—right now is as big the issue of Kashmir. It is for this fact that Kashmir situation presents usual picture. It is ‘leaders’ following the crowd, not the crowd following the leader. Government of India needs to understand this truth and make a fresh mind to look into viable and durable solution. The ad-hoc approach only but dents the credibility of the people and institution that are used for such initiatives. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had exposed his real intentions even before his Srinagar fiasco. Last week he warned India of becoming another Syria if Supreme Court of India decided against Hindu sentiments on Babri Masjid-Ram Minder conflict. No Hindu leader, not even extremists among them, has ever threatened of public disorder in such a brazen manner as the so called spiritual guru. He has since been warning Muslims that they should surrender and compromise for building Hindu temple at the Babri Masjid site. Had such warnings and threats coming from any Muslim leader, say Assaduddin Owaisi, he would have been arrested for sedition and other accusations. That makes a strong case for rejection of every initiative the so called spiritual guru would take in the name of “peace” and “mohabbat”. He is serving a political agenda under the garb of “Mohabbat”.