One is amazed by the manner in which a genuine mass movement in this region is being sought to be disparaged. According to People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former minister Tariq Hamid Qarra the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti (SAYSS) has launched an "anti-Kashmir and anti-Muslim" tirade. He has claimed that he has "credible inputs that thousands of Sangh (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) parivar activists from Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have infiltrated into Jammu and it is they who are planning and spearheading the protests there." On all the counts he is wrong. Has he not gone through statements galore by Congress as well as responsible Muslim and Gujjar leaders declaring support to the agitation? Surely he must be familiar with the names of some of them who have been his colleagues in the erstwhile coalition ministry. On the other hand young National Conference president Omar Abdullah has blown hot and cold. One of his reported views is: "I have been quoted as having said that the situation in Jammu is the worst in my lifetime and that was correct at the time. I will now have to amend that to read the worst since 1947." What has taken place in this province in 1947 is part of history. To apply this analogy, however, to the current situation is blatantly erroneous and mischievous. Nothing of that sort is happening now --- mercifully despite highly provocative utterances by quite a few leaders across the Pir Panjal. His other opinion is evidently meant to set the personal record straight even though belatedly: "My party is neither regional nor communal and Jammu's interests are as dear to us as those of Kashmir."
It is strange that those leaders are preaching secularism to this region who have a lot to explain about their own role with respect to the exodus of the Kashmiri pandits from the Valley. It is perhaps about them that English writer and philanthropist Hannah More has observed: "The ingenuity of self-deception is inexhaustible." The total involvement of the people of this region in pressing for the allotment of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board in the vicinity of the holy place in the Valley is historic. Yes, it has assumed the dimensions of an expression of no-confidence in those Kashmir leaders who have always been at the helm but have denied this region of political empowerment. In no way can this be interpreted to mean that it is "anti-Kashmir" or "anti-Muslim". Obviously the PDP leaders are intentionally whipping up communal passions with an eye on their electoral constituency in the Kashmir region. It is exactly about conduct --- rather misconduct --- like this that Greek statesman Demosthenes has prophesised: "Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true."
The NC gains nothing by behaving like the PDP. This is not the first time though that the State's premier political outfit has shown signs of nervousness. Whenever under pressure in the past its leaders have cried: "Being Muslims our credentials are suspect." So far as the inhabitants of this region are concerned they ought to believe in Bertrand Russell's advice: "No satisfaction based on self-deception is solid. Howsoever unpleasant the truth may be, it is better to face it once and for all, to get used to it, and to proceed to build your life in accordance with it."
Editorial on August 12, 2008, in Daily Excelsior, Leading English Daily from Jammu and Kashmir