Ignoring Kashmir in this day and age is like ignoring the elephant in the room. Obviously what is most likely to happen is that the beast might sooner or later have a fit of ‘must’, that is, it would destroy each and everything in the room. And worse, it will even trample the mahout to death.

Locking up over a billion innocent people in this dingy room with the elephant is going to be fatal. Somewhere at the back of our heads the thought that chaos is just a matter of time keeps popping up. It haunts most of us and yet there is no frank and healthy debate anywhere on the horizon. Worse, the only thing we have learned is virtually nothing. Firing is always going on somewhere along the ‘line out of control’. Somewhere someone gets killed. Intervention at the highest level is of no use. The high and mighty DGMOs seem to have little control on their troops because there are too many soldiers along the Loc and among them someone who is either way too trigger happy or too bored not to press the trigger at something as inconsequential as a firefly. Plenty of firing for a few hours, at times for a day or two until it stops at no one’s command but of its own accord. No one really knows what is the truth? All that the audience know is their militaries telling them it was the enemy that opened fire first. And no one really knows when one of these ‘routine’ incidents of unprovoked firing will go beyond a joke.

Close to sixty five years on, we are no closer to even understanding how to even grope for a solution. Very little is said in praise of generations of Kashmiris who have seen their dreams shattered, yet face sentries and curfews at every step of their lives. What to the rest of the world is a paradise is wilderness to the Kashmiris. What daily life holds for them is far removed from the kind of free and dignified life modern age offers to so many. Some go to extremes only to end up in mass graves while others try to hang on to the hope that better days are near.

Since it is not just a conflict involving Pakistan and India alone, let the people of the Valley say it out loud what kind of future they want. In this age of free media and access to information, trying to muffle the cries of the beleaguered people is simply not going to work. Let us back up the Kashmiris make it to the kind of life they want and let them do it without recourse to violence.