Pitfalls of nonviolence

Riyaz Masroor





Riyaz Masroor

Violence is not an option for the weak because the outcome of unequal fights has always favored the strong. For past several centuries Kashmiris have always been weak against their tormentors and whenever they chose to confront they were either brutally crushed or sucked into an unpalatable system.

The famous American social writer Eric Hoffer has rightly argued that if power corrupts, weakness corrupts too. So, then, is the nonviolence a best, or at least, a better option to usher in desired change? This question is currently a hot topic within our concerned sections.

If Kashmiri youth, who now appear more assertive but devoutly nonviolent, begin to feel that the nonviolence is not the right tool to usher in political change, the consequences can only be imagined. In the early days of the current movement Hurriyat was termed in newspapers as the “over ground face of militancy” and the state would loudly advocate nonviolence.

Nine-eleven or whatever, Hurriyat ‘transformed’ into a louder votary of nonviolence and, shockingly, the state took recourse to the violence. We saw people guarding government and military installations during the past summer’s Azadi campaign and later we saw the same nonviolent crowds being dropped dead by the gun totting cops. A neutral observer would simply conclude that the Hurriyat and the State have contracted each other’s fundamental characteristics of violence and nonviolence. It’s an interesting tragedy that the state ended up ‘transforming’ the social forces but not without going itself astray.  The State’s descent into immoral practice – showering bullets against stones – is more serious debate than the youth’s overindulgence in stone pelting. Whether they do it on the Hurriyat’s behest or in spite of it is a different topic.

The nonviolence essentially works on an emotion, which is shame. People in troubled societies tend to believe that for the State ordering massacres would be as equally a shameful act as it is for a civilian. But that, unfortunately, is not true for all regimes. When the privileged people at the top of a regime can remain untouched by massacres a soldier or a cop caught in the crowed will work only as tuned. We have been fed on the wrong diets of violence as well as nonviolence. Earlier the people held out their life for sacrifice when they were asked to grab the gun. Now, when they are being wooed toward a nonviolent form, they have already sacrificed sixty two lives and left thousand and a half wounded for life. London-based Independent journalist Gwynne Dyer wrote in 2008: “Nonviolent tactic (protest) does not work against a regime that is willing to commit a massacre, and can persuade (dictate) its troops to carry out its orders.”  Who in Kashmir is the problem, the regime or the people?

(Author is a prominent journalist. He can be reached at  riyaz.masroor@yahoo.com)


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