Times change, and the way people conduct themselves changes with the times. We are currently witnessing a new history being written in Kashmir.

How times have changed in Kashmir is reflected in the behaviour of the people. I remember the period before the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019. People would compete in propagating and promoting the narrative of separatism. This narrative was popularized to the extent that the political class, trade bodies, employees’ unions, journalists, serving and retired government servants, the uneducated and ill-informed Mullahs – everyone would make noise around the same narrative.

From dawn to dusk, the narrative would echo in all walks of life. During those years, I was often amazed to find that even the bylaws of trade unions and other business bodies would have the mention of this narrative.

Now time has changed, so have the people. It is interesting to see that these same sets of people, the same institutions and the same organizations are now in the race of competitive Indian nationalism. At this moment, let us not debate about whether they have undergone a change of heart and mind, or whether this is a tactical retreat for them. The fact remains that the narrative of nationalism is dominant, and the separatist narrative has been pushed to the margins.

These same people now seek favours from the power corridors on the bases of their “nationalist credentials”. It is amusing indeed.

There are typical characteristics of this breed of nationalists. One often comes across conversations where each of them lays claim to being “the first Kashmiri” to set forth this narrative. Note that the same phraseology was used by the same person in the pre abrogation era for his allegiance to the other narrative.

In my first book, ‘K File: The Conspiracy Of Silence’, I have elaborated on the three types of Indian Nationalists in Kashmir 1. Indians by profession. 2. Indians by compulsion 3. Indians by Conviction (ideology).

The professionals are very vocal in their claim of being nationalists. Nevertheless, it is good to witness this change. Let us hope that the change is real, or at least gradually becomes real.



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