I agree with Mr Shujaat Bukhari on the role of the media in Kashmir during the conflict that started in 1989 onward.
It is also true that many newspapers emerged during that time as the writer points out ” from eight to 800″. The media in Kashmir unfortunately was caught between the devil and the deep sea. Also many sane voices who had a vision of Kashmir’s dangerous paths and liaisons were smothered, and a popular sentiment took over and was intensified by the culture of the gun.
When Pakistan as a country was being doled out aid by US and other countries during the Afghan occupation by USSR , it looked flushed with joy ! A joyous time — accrued out of money that poured by Foreign lands ! and Kashmiris felt one with them, owing to religiosity, culture etc but when it was seen that the stoking country Pakistan was turning into a failed state , some of the hawks and hardliners changed their lingo to ‘Azaadi’ or Freedom for Kashmir.
Why didn’t they think of Freedom for Greater Kashmir including the areas in India as also occupied by Pakistan or China?
In my opinion no solution can be solved by the gun, many like me too vouch for that.
After having stoked fires of hatred and communalism in Punjab , Pakistan had tried its utmost to get a separate Punjab by the name of Khalistan and thus cut off the main route to Kashmir through Punjab from the rest of India.
I know the price Punjabis paid in blood and lives in Punjab during the mid seventies and thereafter till 1989 . However the Roti -beti ka rishta (the relations based on sharing food and giving or taking a daughter in marriage between the two communities of Hindus and Sikhs) finally prevailed to save the situation. It is not merely that the people came to their senses one-fine-day. A heavy hand was used and many lost their near and dear ones and our Golden Temple saw the ignominy as a mute spectator to its devastation and desecration ..
Discrimination prevailed for the entire community for the fault of a few. Many sikhs were blacklisted in foreign countries too and are still in the same category.
Coming back to the role of Media then, in Punjab …. the newspapers made it a point to be inclusive of saner voices alongside the separatist ones. Many sane sikhs stood out against these daily attacks. Media-persons faced the same fear of the gun of a terrorist or of a policemen, lingering over their heads as of journalists in Kashmir.
Many media persons were sacrificed for speaking in favor of terrorists or against them , between the two warring sides.
However in Kashmir the situation aggravates as along with being a Kashmiri the dominant community there has been unfortunately been labelled according to the world situation on religious lines. The Kashmiri Journalist therefore has to take a double blow.
It is like in a family situation “When a father , mother , son or daughter commits a crime the whole family faces the brunt
I feel Good Newspapers must be encouraged by Govt but in turn these papers must also bring in saner voices to sound balanced and guide the people to prosperity , progress and peace, but most of them err on this aspect instead flying on the wave of sensationalism just like the many TV channels these days . Media has to act responsibly and ”seen” to be acting that way by the general public .. otherwise media cannot blame the public for forming opinions in which public blames the media for stirring the public in ungainly directions . … Dear Writer this is only my Humble opinion … email@example.com
FIRST PUBLISHED IN ‘RISING KASHMIR’ ON JUNE 25, 2012, AS FEEDBACK ON OPINION PAGE ON STORY “HOW GREEN IS THE VALLEY?”