The Many Meanings of Azadi

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It is a great irony that azadi –a word with so many positive associations, including India’s freedom struggle, should evoke such fearful images among our political establishment and a large section of the intelligentsia in India when uttered by Kashmiris. It was Lokmanya Tilak who gave us the slogan: “Freedom is my birthright”. (azadi mera janmasiddh adhikar hai). Gandhi went a step further and defined “Swaraj” or self rule, as opposed to mere ousting of the British, as the raison d’etre of our anti colonial movement.

Most of us have been conditioned to believe that when Kashmiris come on streets demanding azadi, they do so only at the behest of Pakistani agents. There is no denying that Pakistan has injected a lot of poison into the blood veins of Kashmiri politics and vitiated the culture and society by fomenting religious strife with a lethal dose of fundamentalist Islam. But we would do well to recognize that it is the irresponsible and mischievous deeds of our own politicians that provides a conducive environment for converting the urge for azadi into a pro Pak secessionist agenda and makes this minority acquire disproportionate clout in the political affairs of Kashmir.

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Report of Kashmir Committee visit to Srinagar

Press Release

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New Delhi August 8, 2012: On behalf of Kashmir committee I would like to clarify that our recent visit to Srinagar and our meetings with various political leaders was not aimed at proposing any “compromise formula” or any particular solution to any of the leaders, as mistakenly reported in several Kashmir papers. That is NOT our mandate.

 I would also like to clarify that neither anybody in the government nor any of the political leaders of Kashmir have authorized us to bring separatist leaders  to come around to accepting the PDP Self Rule document as a starting point for resolution of the Kashmir problem as wrongly reported in several Kashmir papers. This is a total misrepresentation of our mission.

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