Debating Denial of Human Rights, Lack of Peace building and Environmental Ethics: TheCase of Kashmir Valley


Hilal Wani1, Sakina Khazir2

1Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Govt. Degree College, Sopore, Jammu and Kashmir, India

2Sakina Khazir, Research Scholar, Department of Philosophy, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India

*Corresponding Author Email:



This paper is an analysis about denial and massive violations of human rights in the Vale of Kashmir. Further, it also touches the narrative of peacebuildingwhich has not been used mature and extensive ways that might have prevented thecycle of violence. Indeed, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have gone through every kind of violence during last six decades. The prolonged conflictbetween tri-parties India, Pak and Kashmiris is still unfinished agenda in International Politics. The one of the major cause behind its drawbacks was less role of peacebuilding tactics in the resolution of Kashmir imbroglio. Beyond, this intractable and intricate conflict has affected environment massive way. Major presence of armed forces and police; presence of other indigenous groups; and outside insurgency elements have very negative impacton ‘environmental sustainability’ and ‘unity in diversity’. Due toenvironmental degradation Kashmir weather does not remain consistent, myriad stories of melting of glaciers, flood situations and water diseases are its recent repercussions. Preserving special rights of the People of Jammu &Kashmir and using new modalities for protecting sustainable planet may be the real panacea. Here, I am also looking how indigenous knowledge system can be used to overcome many challenges in state of Jammu and Kashmir.


KEYWORDS: Denial of Human Rights, Lack of Peacebuilding and Environmental Ethics




According to traditional wisdom, the wrap and woof of history is the succession of human and social conflicts, punctuated by wars and other forms of organized violence. It is only temporarily swords are shielded and guns are silent. In viewing and reviewing the thousands of years of recorded history, what strikes the eye of the casual beholder and thus, the great majority of humankind, is the omnipresence of conflict. The State of Jammu and Kashmir has certain features of history, geography, climate, culture, language, ethnicity, etc.


A description of all these factors becomes more important. The departure of the British from the Indian Sub-continent and the partition into two successor states, India and Pakistan, were the starting points for the dispute on Kashmir. On the Kashmir issue, the position of India is frozen in time. Both India and Pakistan went on for a war thrice to settle the issue. From the day of accession to India on 26 October 1947, the issue remained unsolved till today. Lord Mountbatten’s pledge to consult the people of the state for ratification of the accession, although was accepted, but was never being adopted.


Meanwhile, India lodged a complaint in United Nation, which also favoured a plebiscite in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Initially, India agreed to hold a plebiscite, but nothing concrete emerged and tensions between the two countries escalated resulted into three wars and Kashmir became permanent irritant between the India and Pakistan. The constant ignorance of the basic issues of right to self-determination, installation of non-elected government by the centre, corruption and unemployment, misuse of power, violation of human rights by armed forces, killings, fraud encounters, illegal detentions, burning of houses and properties of people, rapes of daughters of Kashmir, killing of innocent youth are those untold stories of human rights of violations which caused extension of cycle of violence in Jammu and Kashmir.


Peacebuilding in the context of Kashmir has not been so vital otherwise it would have not remained unfinished agenda. The biggest fallout in conflict was lack of negotiation and dialogue due to this we have seen much mistrust and animosities was found between the conflicting parties, i.e., India, Pak and People of Kashmir. Another drawback is parties have never accepted third parties mediation for peacebuilding purpose, especially India always rejected third party mediation to make its stand very clear on Kashmir, on Kashmir issue India does not want any compromise. Another, drawback the NGOS/INGOS fear to work in Kashmir due to too much insecurity, violations of fundamental rights and autonomy. The minimal role of civil society caused less attention to outside world on Kashmir conflict. Even Indian government also failed many occasions in understanding feasibility of dialogue with extremist or separatist groups. On the other side, separatist leaders were not interested in dialogue with India, their position was not clear due to lack of moderation. It has to be well understood that due to extremist approach and lack of tolerance among conflicting parties Kashmir issue remain unfolded agenda. For establishment of peace it needs lot of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), such as people to people contact, trade, economic and education ties, sports and other relevant methods are always welcome developments for conflicting parties in Kashmir imbroglio.1


Having said that, Kashmir has also many constraints with its environments stability but two of the most challenging issues are species survival and ecological imbalance. Kashmir once known as "paradise on earth," home to vast wildlife reserves including some species were so rare they existed only in Kashmir, are now quickly falling victim to the desolation which has encompassed much of this piece of land. Rare species like the Snow Leopard frequently hunted by military officials and poachers for its precious skin and teeth has now almost become extinct. Similarly, the world famous Kashmiri Otter are now rarely seen in the valley. The massive deployment of Indian armies on the borders of Kashmir in since 1947 till now, resulted in large scale poaching as the troops living in the border areas indulged in killing rare species like the Ibex, Blue Sheep, Urian, the big horned sheep, Antelope and Snow Leopard. At first, the soldiers were killing the animals for food needs but when the poorly paid soldiers realized how valuable the animal furs and skins were, in the international markets, they started to slaughter the Kashmiri animals with much greater zeal. The consequence has been that some of the rare species like the Snow Leopard, Flying Squirrel and Long Tailed Himalayan Marmot have been pushed to being on the verge of extinction.


There are also plethora of stories of cutting jungles in Kashmir valley by armed forces, militants and by somecorrupt government officials of forest department. Kashmir used to be covered by shady trees such as Kashmiri Chinar, tree of walnut, many other trees but due to exploitation and destruction of environment now Kashmir climate is not remaining constant sometimes you will find snow fall, sometimes you will see flood situations, sometimes water diseases, and other natural climates are its well-known results. There is need to have strong legal environmental framework and laws so that everyone would protect environment besides that we need also to respect the environmental ethics and train indigenous people  so that they can also take many positive measures in sustaining balanced environment. Indigenous knowledge system could be also one of the major alternative to protect environmental balance. Other alternative may be we have to sensitise the people about the sustainable environment. Another alternative is that indigenous people can plant more and more trees so that environment would become fresh and clean. Not only this but also they have to build good drainage system so that polluted items can easily get away from the public places. Due to lack drainage system recent floods have really affected the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Indigenous knowledge could be successful when it will be supported by the government of India as well as by the state government of Jammu and Kashmir.Therefore, there is dearth need of better drainage system in Kashmir so that pollutant ingredients cannot mix-up with clean water and roads would not become flooded by water. There is also need, rivers and lakes must be cleaned time to time thereby people would have enough water to use for healthy life and agricultural purposes. I believe by support of local population policy makers of India would become very successful in maintaining the peaceful and balanced environment in Kashmir valley.2



These are objectives of this paper: First, to analyse the origin, root causes of Kashmir conflict; Second, to highlight the massive violations of human rights and failure of peacebuilding process in resolving Kashmir imbroglio; Third, to explain how misuse of power affected environment and development and to explore some of the measures for transforming nature of conflict in Kashmir region. Finally, to highlight the role of Indigenous Knowledge System in preserving sustainable environment, peace and prosperity in Kashmir Valley.



It is pertinent to mention here that no democracy can be successful where draconian and inhuman laws are prevailing. Democracy can only survive when the dignity of every individual will be respected and safeguarded. TheKunan Poshpora area which comesinside the northern district of Kupwara belt. This area looks like any other village in Indian-administered Kashmir. But on Feb. 23, 1991 many brutalities happened in this area that has changed the mentality of this village forever. On 23rd Feb. 1991 night, villagers claimed that Indian army sieged their village. The army assembled the men at different localities in the area and then entered in homes by hook and crook. "There were large number of army," says Saleema, whose last name was withheld to protect her safety. "Our lawn was filled with the Indian army. They broke lamps, drank alcohol." She says she tried to flee but turned back to rescue one of her children. "I tried to flee, but one of my children was left behind in the house," she says. "I came back to protect my child, and they caught me. I tried lot to flee again but I couldn't." She says, the soldiers brutally terrorized her and the other women in their homes for many hours. "We were badly tortured and violated in an inhuman way," she says.


 "The Indian army entered our homes at eveningand left at in the morning. At firstattempt they took out the men from our homes, only God knows what they did to us then." She says that no one in the village was spared. "There were screams everywhere - from almost every house in the village," she says. Despite the high number of women who were raped, she says that many of them don’t want to report the incidents because of the stigma suffered by the women who did. "My own sister who was still unmarried was at my home," she says. "She was raped, too. I didn't expose her name, due to the reason who will marry her then?”3


Talween Singh an Indian scholar blames the Congress and NC (National Congress) for failing to recognize the discontent in the local Kashmiri Muslim population of the valley.These developments cast their spell on the debates in the Constituent Assembly of India too in which the majority opinion of makers of Indian Constitution favoured a strong Centre. That ethno-cultural, linguistic, religious, and geographical diversity of the country was well known to them and they could not just wish it away. Therefore, striking a balance between these two complex realities, they adopted a Constitution, which remains federal in form and but unitary in spirit. At the political level, the special status of Jammu and Kashmir State was an anathema to those political forces, which perceived that it held the potential to pose a challenge to the unity and integrity of the country (Ranabir, 2005:93-113). Thus, the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir fell victim to the controversy between the centrist and centripetal political forces did manage to dilute the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir State to more extent.4


After 1989, the autonomy of Kashmir was abrogated and amended gradually and slowly through process of centralization or over centralization. Arundhati says, Azadi (freedom) could be the only solution to Kashmir imbroglio. 5Hiren Mukherjee said: “Even today, perhaps the best of us do not quite realize the depths of Kashmir’s alienation and are unready to ponder ways and means of overcoming it”.6Wajahat Habibullah realistically remarks: “ Until each citizen can live free from fear, democracy can only be notional, no matter how elections are conducted or who participates”. Wajahat Habibullah, further, says: I believe, based on my experience working the state with its people that remedy for the Kashmir situation need not be elusive, provided that all stakeholders are sincere in their endeavour to restore peace and that respect for the dignity of Kashmiri people is at the core of any resolution. Ignoring the self-respect of Kashmiris believing that they as a people could be bought-brought on and fuelled the cycle of ruin.


A brief history of Amarnath land dispute will tell us that Kashmiri people special rights are being violated. The 800 Kunals land at Baltal was considered to be given to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) in 2008. In return, SASB has to pay 2.5 crore to the Forest Department. There is no doubt in saying that Hindus came to Kashmir for Yatra and Kashmiri had treated them in humane way. Then what was the need to transfer the Kashmir land and to create violence in Kashmir valley. For the first time, the SASB comes into existence in 2001, when Farooq Abdullah was the Chief Minister.In 2005, the then governor S.K. Sinha, as Chairman of the board, writes to Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed asking for land to accommodate the rising number of pilgrims, finally Gulam Nabi Azad Cabinet approves unanimously. On 23 June 2005, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Chairman of the All Parties Hurriat Conference, announced an agitation on transfer of Kashmir land to SASB (Shri Amarnath Shrine Board). The first fake encounter that attracted attention was the killing of five people by the police and the seven Rashtriya Rifles in the Pathribal area of South Kashmir on March 25, 2000. In later the death of a carpenter in Kokernag in a fake encounter uncovered the killing of four more civilians in the same fashion. Eleven policemen, found guilty of hatching the conspiracy to kill five innocent civilians, calling them “militants” were arrested. In February 2006, about 20 boys playing cricket in playground in Doodhipora in Kupwara district were fired upon by Army personnel, four boys were killed. In March 2009, in Sopore Bomai area, two civilians were killed without any guilt. There are untold stories of encounters in Kashmir vale, it become an easy way for armed forces to kill innocent people of Kashmir in order to reach the higher ranks by committing such heinous crimes. On 29 May 2009, Aasiya Jan, 17 year old, a school girl, and her sister in-law, Neelofar Jan, 24 years old went into their orchard at Degam, Katpura, across the Rambiara Nullah, around 5 p.m. Neelofars husband, Shakeel Ahmad Ahangar, told the press: When they did not return till late in the evening, I went out to search for them. I could not find them anywhere and a neighbor told that the duo had left for home just when a patrolling party was passing through the area. I then approached the police party led by the station officer, went out in search of Neelofar and Aasiya but could not locate them till 3 a.m., after which we return.7


Shah Manzoorl Alam, a researcher from Kashmir, reported that more than 30,000 to 40,000 orphans and widows lead a miserable life and no one is solicitous about their maintenance. More worrying is the fact that the suicides have increased in the valley, especially among women. The study “Suicides in Kashmir” (2000-2001) reveals that the proportion of females is more than males in suicides and it is more intense in the rural areas while as throughout the world the suicide rate among the males is more and it is more intense in the urban areas. The government had previously said that the graves held unidentified militants.


Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said: For years, Kashmiris have been lamenting their lost loved ones, their pleas ignored or dismissed as the government and army claimed that they had gone to Pakistan to become militants. But these graves suggest the possibility of mass murder. The authorities should immediately investigate each and every death. Along with the increase has come more “efficient” ways of committing suicide.


Earlier, Bashir Dabla Kashmir University Professor says, people would threaten their families with suicide, without actually doing themselves any harm. They would jump out of first floor windows or slash their hands – adopting measures that, though harmful, still left them alive. “But now, the most deadly substances are being used for suicides”. In urban areas, hanging, jumping into rivers, and consuming poison are some of the most common methods. In villages, pesticides are often used. Women commonly set themselves ablaze during suicide attempts. There are many reasons for this surging rate; besides conflict, the level of life-or-death desperation in the Valley has been linked to the drastic rise of psychiatric disorders, which currently affects roughly 800,000 people across Kashmir.


Research on suicides conducted by B.A. Dabla, a sociologist at the University of Kashmir, indicates that an average of 227 suicides have been reported in 27 months in Kashmir, based on medical reports. The study, which is yet to be made public, says that 62 percent of all suicide cases involve females. Youth in the age group of 17-26 are found most likely to take their own lives, though teenagers as young as 13 years old have also committed suicide over the last two decades. Suicide rates in Kashmir were negligible before insurgency hit in 1989. The past 21 years of conflict have seen a sudden surge in suicides, with researchers at Kashmir’s sole Psychiatric Disease Hospital indicating an increase from 0.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 1989 to 20 deaths per 100,000 in 2007.8



Some of the causes which generally create armed conflicts and incompatible situations in our society can be categorised as follows. First, poor economic conditions are the most important long-term causes of intra-state armed conflicts today. Second, repressive political systems are also war-prone, especially in the periods of transition. Third, degradation of renewable resources (specifically soil erosion, deforestation, and water scarcity) can also contribute significantly to the likelihood of violent conflict, but are in general not as central to the problem as political and economic determinants. Forth, ethnic diversity alone is not a cause of armed conflict, but parties to a conflict are often defined by theirethnic identities.9


Meanwhile, some of the essentialconditions for resolving conflict peacefully, six cornerstones can be identified in the light of European experience:


Firstly, it is a legitimate monopoly force by the state, i.e. safeguarding the community based on the rule of law, which is of paramount importance for any modern peace order. Disarming citizens is the only way to force them to conduct their conflicts over identity and interests through argument rather than violence.


Secondly, the rule of law provides “the rules of the game” for the shaping of opinion and the political will, as well as for the decision-making process, and the enforcement of law. Alongside the general principles that are set forth in catalogues of basic rights, these rules of the game are essential, precisely because in politicised societies serious disagreement on substantive issues prevail.

Thirdly, third major condition for internal peace is affect control, which arises from the range and wealth of many inter-dependence characterising modern societies. Such societies are highly ramified, and people within them play out a variety of roles that reflect their wide span of loyalties. Conflict theory and real life experience show that highly diverse social roles lead to a fragmentation of conflict and thus to the moderation of conflict behaviour and affect control: without affect control, in complex environments such as modernising and modern societies, peaceful social relations would be inconceivable.


Fourthly, on the other hand democratic participation is essential, precisely due to indispensability of affect control. “Legal unrest” – Rechtsunruhe in the Sigmund Freud– will result from situations where people are unable to become involved in public affairs, either for ethnic or other forms of discrimination, and at worst a conflict will escalate and, in development, is not a luxury but a necessary precondition for the peaceful resolution of conflict.10


Fifthly, however, in politicized societies, this approach to conflict management will only have permanence if there are continual efforts to ensure social justice. Therefore, if the credibility of the constitutional state is not to be called into question by disadvantaged individuals or groups, on the grounds that the rules of the game are no longer fair, there must be an ongoing effort to ensure distributive justice. By contrast, genuine efforts to achieve social justice and fairness give substance to constructive conflict management, and also provide legitimacy to public institutions.


Sixthly, if there are fair opportunities in the public arena to articulate identities and achieve a balance between diverse interests, it may be assumed that this approach to conflict management has been reliably internalized and that conflict management competence based on compromise – including the necessary tolerance – has thus become an integral element of political action.



Jammu and Kashmir has many constraints with its environment but two are most important issues one is species survival challenge and second one ecological imbalance challenge.


5.1.  Species Survival Challenge:

Kashmir Valleyonce known as "paradise" in the world. It had been home of wildlife reserves including species which are so rare they had found only in Kashmir, but the alarming situation is that they are victimized to the desolation which has encompassed much of land.Species which are rarelike the Snow Leopard often hunted by military officials and poachers for its precious skin and teeth has now almost daily routines. Meanwhile, the world famous Kashmiri Otter are now no more in the Kashmir. The large number of deployment of Indian armed forces on the borders of Kashmir in 1947, had resulted in large scale poaching and killing rare species i.e.  Blue Sheep, Urian, and the big horned sheep, the Ibex, Antelope and Snow Leopard. At the beginning soldiers used to kill animals for food needs later on when soldiers go to know how valuable the animal furs and skins are in the global markets, they startedslaughtering the Kashmiri animals with great interest. The consequence has been that some of the rare species like the Snow Leopard, Flying Squirrel and Long Tailed Himalayan Marmot have been pushed to being on the verge of extinction.


Kashmiri stag is now only spotted in the northern regions of Kashmir Valley and its overall population has been minimised to less than 300. According to the state wildlife department no Kashmiri Stags have been sighted between 1991-1994 in their habitats.Barking Deer, Cheetal, Nilgai, Musk Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Shapu, Ibex, Blue Sheep, Marmot and Lynz may soon become extinct if their unrestricted killing is not checked. The wildlife population throughout the valley is rapidly declining because of extensive areas of deforestation resulting in the loss of natural habitat for wildlife.  Army and militants as well as some of forest personnel, mafias, and some politicians had played vital role in deforestation process in the Valley.  They are doing it because they are getting millions and billions of Indian rupees by this way. For the past seven years widespread use of high velocity rifles by security forces in villages and forests surrounding the Himalayan Valley in their pursuit to apprehend the Kashmiri Freedom Fighters, have further added to the total loss of specie lives lost in an already precarious situation12.


More than thousands of species of birds which entailed Vultures, Kites, Eagles and a large number of colourful birds, Pheasants, Quills, Partridges,  and all of which used to stay in the lush forests of Kashmir have virtually disappeared. Today those forests stand naked and void of any visible sign of bird life. Along with loss of forest, Kashmir has also lost a number of wildlife sanctuaries.


 A rich variety of birds, Ducks, Geese Cranes, Croots, Terns and water-fowls however still nest in the wetlands, lakes and streams in Kashmir. At this time there is no effective environmental ethics and legislation in force to minimise ecological destruction which is being inflicted upon the natural resources of this beautiful Himalayan country by the presence of military forces and constant fighting between Indian and Pakistani forces one side and on the other side between Indian army and Kashmiri freedom fighters. This extreme conflictual environment caused environmental decline and degradation.


5.2. Ecological Imbalance Challenge:

Ecological balance of Kashmir Valley has been severely disturbed as a result of unabated environmental destruction from last six decades. Snowfall has receded, average temperatures in the valley have increased and the amount of rain and snowfall has highly decreased. The combined effect of deforestation and mismanagement of water resources has caused soil erosion which is responsible for frequent floods now seen in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2014. Many rivers and lakes in Kashmir got serious diseases due to lack of maintenance, neglect and pollution. Dal Lake, one of the world’s largest natural lakes housing hundreds of floating house boats and home for vast reserves of equal life is rapidly shrinking in size. Compared to 20 years before, the changes which have resulted in the Dal Lake is shocking. Study done recently by a group of experts from India, a new vegetation in the form of a mysterious red weed seen on the periphery of the lake is an indicator of serious degree of pollution.


A non-existent drainage system shows poor governance in Jammu and Kashmir. As a result, raw sewage can be seen in the city centers of the valley. There is only one main road the national highway linking Delhi with Kashmir, which has remained in an urgent state of repair. Most of the valley is inter-linked with tiny poorly constructed mud roads, superficially covered with tarmac in need of constant repairs.Sringar, the capital of Kashmir although surrounded by lakes, streams, rivers and mountains even lacks a clean drinking water supply for its domestic use. An appallingly high infant mortality o! f 1 in 5 due to common infectious diseases like gastroenteritis and other water born infections are directly related to unclean water supplies across valley. Thirty five of all diseases are related to polluted water supplies, resulting into frequent outbreaks of ineffective hepatitis, gastroenteritis, poliomyelitis, typhoid and cholera. Telecommunication communication services and facilities have barely existent. Making local telephone calls can even be extremely difficult. Post offices have barely received or delivered any mail for the past six years. Electric capabilities are always unpredictable in winter months. Blackouts are commonly experienced for weeks at a time. It is surely a desperate situation. Environmental challenges are increasing on daily basis in Kashmir. If people of Kashmir want to sustain the environment they can automatically preserve and safeguard sustainable planet for future generations. 13





Jammu and Kashmir State is consisted upon three main regions, Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir. And research has shown that due to indigenous knowledge people are still benefitting and making environment sustainable in all these regions. After visiting to rural areas in Kashmir valley I found Kashmir is covered by Himalayan Mountains, where in side rural areas you will find thousands of apple trees, Chinar trees, and many timber trees. Chinar trees they give shadow to the people. It is banned by the government that people cannot use it for economic purpose rather it’s one of the beauty of Kashmir and local people preserve Chinar trees. On the other side rural people are getting much awareness about their surroundings and environment. Hence, they are planting more trees such as apple and walnut trees because of this they get two major benefits one is environmental sustainability and another one is it is good economic resource of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Not only this people of Jammu and Kashmirare showing great liaison and zeal towards building peaceful and sustainable of Kashmir. It has been seen that people have affected badly by terrorism. Now people are not interested in war type situation they just want to live in peace.


All communities in Kashmir are interested to see the same Kashmir before which was known a paradise on earth. People are contributing in building new schools in rural areas for their children. Their dream is that their children is the future of Kashmir. The local governance in rural areas is also making people aware on many occasions about agriculture, irrigation and plantations. People of Kashmir still use the woollen clothes to cover themselves during winter season. Most of the schools such as Falah-e.Aam Trust schools were built by money of local people. Majority of the population in Jammu and Kashmir do live in rural areas only few percentage of population live in urban areas. About 80% people in the State are cultivators in one form or the other. The total area of the State according to the 1992 record of India is 24.15 lakh hectares. Out of this area 138, 6867 Sq. Kms. are rural and only 305.4 Sq. Kms.are urban. This signifies that the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is rural with 6503 villages. Out of the total area of 24.15 lakh hect. agricultural statistics are available only for about 8.26 lakh hect. The rest of the area is under forests and mountains. People of Jammu and Kashmir cultivates rice, maize, pulses, saffron, wheat, fruits such as apple, walnut, apricot, almond and cashew and many more.





Achieving the aims of development in rural areas people’s participation is paramount. It is necessary to include them actively in project activities by promoting and respecting their traditional knowledge and experimental ethical skills. Traditional knowledge or Indigenous Knowledge have strong position and role as it has been experimented and practised over the years in many countries around the globe. Actually, every culture of a social system, traditionally, is the outcome of people’s action to survive and their attempts to marshal the use of available resources, for instance, soil, water and vegetation. Natural resource management is based on the ecologically sound indigenous knowledge of farmers and its contribution in increasing productivity. Local values which are sustainable in nature need to be juxtapose with modern values. Obviously that traditional practices of agriculture may disappear unless their values are promoted and practised. The wisdom of farmers with respect to watershed development, agricultural management, and conservation of soil, water for balanced and sustained production are documented in the modern research on sustainability.The World Bank to become a “Knowledge Bank” in 1996 that intermediates ideas and new vision as well as financial resources. In first Global Knowledge Conference in Toronto 1997, leaders and civil society members from developing countries endorsed this vision. They called upon the World Bank not only to provide its own know-how, learned through more than 50 years of development experience, meanwhile, equally learn from the methods and practices of local communities so as to leverage the best in global and local knowledge systems.For some post-development writers, indigenous knowledge represents a possible alternative for progress among the world’s rural poor. As Escobar puts it: “the remaking of development must start by examining local constructions, to the extent that they are the life and history of the people, that is, the conditions for and of change”.14


The World Bank has responded to this challenge. It was declared by all that weacknowledge that knowledge is not the exclusive domain of technologically advanced societies. However, we need to give a new meaning to empowering poor people and helping to give them voice—not as recipients of knowledge, but as contributors and beholders of their own development. Aftermath, in 1998, World Bank launched the Indigenous Knowledge System for Development Program to help learn from community- based knowledge systems and development methods and practices, and to entail them into Bank-supported programs and activities. The impact of indigenous knowledge can make difference on our development efforts and on assisting to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) within few decades.


Nevertheless, world community have been successful in their many targets and achievements, but still world have crises of hunger, HIV/AIDS, illiteracy, isolation, and conflicts, terrorism, abject poverty and human rights violation issues. While debating the causes of poverty is not finished, policy makers have learned that science and technology alone cannot provide all the solutions to these unfinished problems or how we can overcome living in a disparate world characterized by unequal distribution of wealth and opportunities. Indigenous knowledge (IK) is a source that can help world community to sort out local problems and challenges, its source to help to grow more and balanced food, to maintain healthy lives, to share wealth, to prevent conflict, to manage and transform local affairs, and hence, it contribute to global solutions.


Thus, Indigenous knowledge has contributed to building solidarity in communities affected by globalization and safeguarded them against some of its negativities. It can be said that there is not one of the Millennium Development Goals to whose achievement Indigenous Knowledge System cannot contribute.Indigenous Knowledge is past heritage, including specific bodies of knowledge in different areas like medicine, social governance, peacebuilding, protecting human rights, and preservation of nature. Indigenous Knowledge is a means of articulating what people know and for the future creating new knowledge base from the intersection of their capacities and the challenges of development.In other words, Indigenous Knowledge System is about how actually local people think about their surroundings and environment. How they are coping up with the challenges by using the ancestral tactics and methods to mitigate growing challenges in the modern arena. It has to be accepted that all the challenges to sustainable environment and sustainable development cannot be overcome only by using the technological paraphernalia rather traditional approaches which the rural people know, these tactics can be also used to overcome many challenges which recently developing countries are going through i.e., floods, climate change, food insecurity, poverty, hunger, water and energy and war and human rights violations issues can be also checked through the cooperation and solidarity of indigenous people. They can use traditional techniques to protect the sustainable planet.15


In the context of Jammu and Kashmir “Kashmiriyat”is the unique principle which connects all the people of Jammu and Kashmir despite of their religion, caste, colour, region, religion and family. Realistically, speaking the people of Kashmir comes together whenever they face any kind of challenge however, we have to accept this reality that people of Jammu and Kashmir have been fragmented and balkanised due to communal ideology by power holders in State of Jammu and Kashmir. In past this was tradition in Kashmir and it is still there whenever any relatives of someone found itself in any kind of challenge in that situation people of Jammu and Kashmir become together to help that person who is in need. If principle of Kashmiriyat will be upholded and promoted then Indigenous Knowledge System of Jammu and Kashmir would become stronger in avoiding the cycle of violence. The traditions of Jammu and Kashmir are very unique. The symbol of brotherhood and unity can be seen in the recent flood situations where people of Jammu and Kashmir specifically youth took front and saved children, women, elderly men from the scourge of floods. The Kashmiri youth used tyre tubes, wood items, and drums in order to save people from flood waters. I am not denying the fact that modern technology has not protected people of Jammu and Kashmir it did but it’s also undeniable that the people of Jammu and Kashmir used traditional know-how also for safety and security of people who were sticked due to floods in 2014. The brave youth safeguarded people by using many traditional tactics such as cutting some trees making ordinary boats, maintaining common kitchens for food for all people despite of religion and race. It shows how people of Jammu and Kashmir make joint efforts and safe many lives in month of Oct. 201416 Even tourists who came to visit were stuck they were saved by youth of Jammu and Kashmir and they gave them food and shelter. This was the reason tourists appreciated these courageous efforts of youth.


Similarly, in many vulnerable situations people of Jammu and Kashmir joint together to safeguard people through mutual cooperation and solidarity. However, it would be exaggeration if someone will claim the Indigenous Knowledge System is properly working in Jammu and Kashmir that would be wrong statement. According to Rohit Jigyasu an Indian based scholar that in 2005 earthquake some people did not build strong houses with best materials this was the reason many traditional and modern houses both collapsed down due to earthquake. The reason he cited was that people did not use traditional knowledge or modern methods in building houses well manner so that during natural calamities they would not easily fell down. He further says Vernacular houses in Poonch using Kashmiri techniques of Dhajji Dewari (timber frame with masonry infill) performed much better during the earthquake than many of the poorly built ‘modern’ structures.17


Shobita Jain professor of sociology at the University of the West Indies in Saint Augustine, Trinidad says and I quote:”


The Chipko Movement has received world-wide attention. The image of disadvantaged and rural women in the hills of northern India standing with their arms around trees to prevent them being cut down is a romantic and compelling stories of indigenous knowledge system. The reality, in many ways, fits the image: the Chipko Movement can indeed be considered an important success story in the fight to secure women's rights, in the process of local community development through forestry and in environmental preservation and protection. However, there are more complicated implications as well. It is important to understand the history of Chipko and the context in which it arose - and is still evolving.In the case of women's role in the Chipko Movement, it is both. (Chipko, a Hindi word meaning "hugging", is used to describe the movement because local village women literally "hugged" trees, interposing their bodies between the trees and the loggers to prevent their being cut down.) The Chipko Movement is an ecological movement, concerned with the preservation of forests and thereby with the maintenance of the traditional ecological balance in the sub-Himalayan region, where hill people have traditionally enjoyed a positive relationship with their environment.


Thus, it strives to maintain the traditional status quo between the people and the environment. Its proponents have tried to demonstrate that the past and present forest policies of the Indian Government have negatively affected the ecological balance of the area and caused the uprooting of indigenous people who previously depended on forest for their survival and who preserved the forest by maintaining a strong bond of veneration and love toward it.”18People in India also use local medicine which can cure some diseases in local areas. And these medicines are made by using small plants leaves. The tree which is famous for local medicine is ‘Azadirachta indica’, which in Hindi is called ‘Neem’.


The local people also use many roots, leaves and oil of many trees to cure many diseases in rural areas. At last not at least I would say based on this research that by using the indigenous knowledge rural people can solve many challenges in modern arena. No matter people are used to modern technology but still indigenous knowledge or traditional experiences could be also an alternative to solve most of our problems even in modern days.


Traditional knowledge will have continuous relevance no matter how much the world will become mechanised.



Peace defined as the lasting and sustainable civilizing of conflict, must be viewed as non-violent political process geared to preventing the use of force. Through this process, agreements and compromises must be used to create conditions which enable peaceful relations to be established between social groups or between states and nations, without jeopardizing their existence and without violating the perceptions of justice or interests of individuals and groups so seriously that after exhausting all peaceful remedies, they deem it necessary to resort to violence. Shaped in this way. Peace policy can then be understood as an indispensable, continuous and constructive handling of political violence which in the modern world, results from fundamental politicization.


“Peace is not just the absence of conflict; peace is the creation of an environment where all can flourish regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, gender, class, caste or any other social markers of difference.”(N. Mandela).19


Nelson Mandela believed that peace can be only understood in the real sense when we would be successful in creating that type of environment where everyone must have equal opportunities and entitlements regardless of any distinction. Most of the conflicts in multicultural societies takes birth because there is no just system for all identities. Political class often use religion, language, community and class for capturing vote bank eventually it creates balkanisation and segregation in multidimensional societies. To support communalism is to challenge the principle of unity in diversity which is the backbone of any secular society.


Therefore, environment of peace must be developed regardless any distinction. Even in Kashmir conflict when we look realistically the politics of balkanisation was very much successful due to Indian political parties attitude Hinduse should be brought out from Kashmir valley and give them shelter in any part of India and then it was blamed on Kashmiri community.


However, it has to be accepted people of Kashmir have been always peaceful and generous. They always respect our Hindu brethren which is part and parcel of Kashmiri community and in other language we do call it Kashmiriyat. Kashmiriyat narrative is nothing but mixture of all identities.


Mahatma Gandhi ideas about peace can be elucidated here: “When there is righteousness in the heart there is beauty in the character, when there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home, when there is harmony in the home there is order in the nation when there is order in the nation there will be peace in the world.”


(M.K.Gandhi) Mahatma Gandhi stressed on the principle of righteousness, character, harmony, order, and beauty to be adopted by all people if they want to see a peaceful and progressive world. Ironically, in his own land some people did not accept his ideology and he was assassinated by the person Nathu Ram Godhse a ‘Hindu extremist’. 20


According to Robert Gurr,

A more constructive and open-ended answer is to pursue the coexistence of ethnic groups and plural states. Ethnic Groups should have the protected rights to individual and collective existence and to cultural self-expression without fear of political repression. The counterpart of such rights is the obligation not to impose their own cultural standards or political agenda on other peoples.’21


Indeed, Gurr attributes the decline in ethnic conflict in the second half of the 1990s to a “regime of managed ethnic heterogeneity.” This regime entails recognition of the rights of minorities and rights of ethnic groups. Democratic governance is one logical solution to the ethnic conflicts. Where autonomy and accommodates approaches could be peaceful to transform level of separatism and alienation among the people. Any approach of peacebuilding must include all these identities who are the part and parcel of the Kashmiri society. Peacebuilding actors must respect the plural culture of Kashmir otherwise Kashmir conflict would take different colour and that would be communal divide.


If realistically pointed out then it can be said without any exaggeration that peacebuilding movement in the Kashmir context was not so successful due to the reason majority of the people outside the Kashmir did not give any attention towards violations of human rights.Ironically, when we look the role of peacebuilding and role of civil society in Kashmir valley it was minimal one thing and another It was biased role played by some of the NGOs and INGOs the only reason is some were supporting or raising the demands of Kashmiri Hindus and somewhere raising issues of Kashmiri Muslims. Very few organisations were raising and demanding the collective interests of Kashmiri fraternity that was the main reason the policy maker could not reach on any amicable solution to Kashmir problem. Kashmir was always divided into different regions and that was the policy of government of India. Kashmir consists upon three main regions i.e., Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh. Due to policies of centralisation and over-centralisation the people of Jammu and Kashmir were divided. Most of the elections were directly conducted by the central government whereas Kashmir do possess the special rights or constitutional autonomy under article 370 of Indian Constitution often the special rights of the Jammu and Kashmir were amended and abrogated. Kashmir autonomy agenda was always diluted by the central government and it was diminished due to centralisation process.



Bercovitch believes that in intractable conflicts such as Kashmir the mediation is bound to fail. India and Pakistan disagreed on Kashmir issues and they were not able to resolve the Kashmir imbroglio. However, Pakistan’s active wish to involve the international community in the dispute was contrary to India’s equally strong desire to resolve the dispute locally not internationally. This disagreement in time morphed into a major dimension of the conflict alongside of the original issues; the fact of the matter is that there have been many junctures in which the previous attempts of management have become flashpoints for later violence. This is particularly relevant with the increasing role of third parties in the conflict during the Cold War. “The interventionist character of their diplomatic and military postures was driven by a desire to maintain a situation of manageable instability (prevent the outbreak of war, secure a ceasefire if war broke out, support Pakistan against India, and sustain Pakistan in war and peace).”The perpetuation of state-centric solutions by third parties reinforced the demand for third party mediation as neither India nor Pakistan had enough diplomatic clout or military superiority to manage the dispute bilaterally or fend off domestic backlash for compromises with the other side. While third party intervention in Indo-Pakistan was largely UN sponsored in the 1940’s and 1950’s there was a sharp break from previous policy in 1960’s onward. But the third party intervention has not been successful in Kashmir conflict.22


Another factor is that Kashmir conflict remained unfolded agenda due to the fact there was not any major power which could take stand on side of weaker party (people of Jammu and Kashmir) so that win-win alternatives could have been achieved. Another major point is that India never accepted any third party mediation in Kashmir conflict and on the other side Pakistan and separatist’sleader’s extremist approaches could not pave win-win results. Even UN, EU, OIC, Arab League, and OIC all have failed in resolving the Kashmir conflict.


According to A.G.Noorani great scholar and Indian journalist who mentioned the realities of Kashmir conflict.When Delhi is interested to have Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah as Prime Minister or Chief Minister they do so and when they wanted to install Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad or Sadiq Sahib they did.21 In the year 1987 Delhi decided to have Farooq Abdullah as Chief Minister, they extended the support of Congress for coalition and rigged the election defeating MUF candidates who were having the mass support of people and result is before us. Kashmiri people especially youth lost their faith in Indian democracy and they disbelieve Indian leadership.


Peace practitioners, policymakers, and leaders of India, Pakistan and Kashmir, need to remember and practice what Nelson Mandela said on the transition to a multiracial democracy in South Africa, He said and I quote here: “Whenever things to fall apart during our negotiations and they did on many occasions-we stand back and remind ourselves that if negotiations broke down the outcome would be bloodbath of unimaginable proportions, and that after the bloodbath we would have to sit down again and negotiate with each other. The thought always sobered us up and we persisted, despite many setbacks. You negotiate with your enemies, not your friends”.23


While the Constitution recognises in Article 370 the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, the Central Government's policies since 1953 have totally undermined its autonomy.24Senior lawyer and political analyst A.G. Noorani discusses both aspects and suggests a way out of the mess. He quotes Jawaharlal Nehru who once upon a time said: "I say with all respect to our Constitution that it just does not matter what your Constitution says; if the people of Kashmir do not want it, it will not go there. Because what is the alternative? The alternative is compulsion and coercion."25"We have fought the good fight about Kashmir on the field of battle. (And) in many a chancellery of the world and in the United Nations, but, above all, we have fought this fight in the hearts and minds of men and women of that State of Jammu and Kashmir. Because, ultimately - I say this with all deference to this Parliament - the decision will be made in the hearts and minds of the men and women of Kashmir; neither in this Parliament, nor in the United Nations nor by anybody else," Jawaharlal Nehru said in the Parliament on June 26 and August 7, 1952.26



·        Untold stories of massive violations in Kashmir must be stopped. Draconian laws, interrogations, and torture are crimes against humanity which we can find in Kashmir need to be revoked. Kashmiri prisoners who are behind bars from last many decades should be free.


·        Democratic policies and good governance features must be included in managing Kashmir issue. And greater autonomy agenda could be the best way forward to reach on any solution in the Kashmir context. What we have seen from last many decades in Kashmir there was too much violations taking place to the autonomy agendas and some provisions of Kashmir constitution were amended and abrogated. The resolution to Kashmir imbroglio demands that special rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir must be well protected by both the Central Government of India as well as by the State Government of Kashmir.


·        Conflict has severely affected sustainable developmental process in Kashmir, you can see its recent results such as floods, water diseases, swine flu, unbalanced environment, and not much snow falling, environmental pollutions dueto smoke of large military vehicles. There is need of more plantation, better drainage system, cleaning of lakes and rivers, and there is need of environmental friendly energy also to preserve sustainability for succeeding generations.


·        Sustainable developmental policies and programmes could be better option in Kashmir context due to tourist based economy and agriculture, these both could be bolstered if government will give maximum attention towards it, by giving better understanding to indigenous people how to create balanced development. Indigenous knowledge could be also an alternative with modern technology for protection of sustainable development in Kashmir region. Role of women, and youth is very critical in sustainable development and ecological balance by using the indigenous knowledge. I believe if the people of Jammu and Kashmir would be sensitised more about the environment and sustainable development issues they might keenly show their interests to preserve and protect the nature by using the modern mechanism as well as traditional knowledge to overcome many of the challenges.


·        Developmental packages to Kashmir could be better measures to transform the nature of conflict, such as employment opportunities should be given to unemployed youth, scholarships for higher education, and they could be motivated by giving them place in main stream developmental positions. When youth would be engaged in developmental process they could hardly think of to be involved in terror activities.



Kashmir conflict is protracted and prolonged conflict in international politics. It got an international attention when India and Pakistan two dominions were created. It is conflict which is about sovereignty issue or political dominance on Kashmir land. India considers Kashmir as integral part of union of India on the other hand Pakistan consider it jugular vein. The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting from last six decades for the purpose of self-determination and total freedom. For claiming right to freedom from India, the people of Kashmir had suffered a lot. Although, my discussion in this paper is not about total freedom rather it is about constitutional mechanism which is federal in nature but policy makers of India had failed many times in recognising the nature of conflict in Kashmir. And the mistake which India often committed was its misuse of power against the people of Kashmir. There could have been other ways to deal with issue, however, the other ways have been used but in minimal form. The rigging of election in 1987 in Kashmir by India had bolstered the roots of conflict. This was the major reason of freedom movement which started in Kashmir in 1989. It is to be noted that Kashmir conflict has political, sociological, economic, cultural and ethnic dimensions.


Many occasions the peacebuilding process had failed in Kashmir context due to unwillingness of the conflicting parties in conflict. Even there was not any strong effort in resolving the conflict. Its main reasons could be extremist elements, unwillingness in dialogue, missing of third party mediation, and less role of international community and civil society in peacebuilding process. It has to be understood that for transforming, managing and resolving conflict conflicted parties need to be adamant to understand the root causes of conflict and try to reach on amicable agreements and transform the nature of conflict. Conflict has always cause and effect behind its origin. There are many methods which parties can use in resolving Kashmir conflict but its highest method is constitutional autonomy. Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India which has its own constitution but the constitutional autonomy of Kashmir was amended and diminished through the process of centralisation and over centralisation from time to time. Kashmir issue comes under the asymmetrical federalism which need to be preserved if policy makers of India need any win-win solution. Here, I found role of indigenous knowledge can be used also an alternative to minimise gap between ethnic segments in Kashmir region and peace process may be strengthened. And it can be done through mutual understanding and common programmes and policies of indigenous people. Common sports, celebrating festivals together, common schooling and teaching, dialogue between religious leaders, and common ethos of Kashmir are really better methods which may build peaceful Kashmir based on equality for all. Kashmiryat is the best remedy to make people of Jammu and Kashmir united therefore; this idea of Kashmiriyat must be strengthened first at grass root level.


Aftermath, massive violations of human rights had further escalated Kashmir conflict. There are myriad and plethora of literature available on the violations of human rights in Kashmir committed by Indian army and militants both. Conflict has also affected severely on sustainable environment in Kashmir. Its repercussions are in front of our eyes the recent climate change and flood situations and other diseases (water diseases and swine flu) are its real proofs. The environmental challenge is also the main issue these days in Kashmir. There is dearth need of proper environmental ethic to control the degradation of environment. Proper sanitation, drainage system, more plantations, and sensitisation about sustainable development and preservation of nature has to be taken into cognizance. And this process has to be started at gross root level as well as in cities in Jammu and Kashmir. In totality, it can be said conflict has massively affected environment in Kashmir valley.Due to deforestation by army and militants caused negative consequences on environment.




1.       Schofield, Victoria, Kashmir in Conflict, India, Pakistan and the Unending War, (New Delhi: Viva Books, 2004), pp.1-47.

2.        Wirsing, G. Robert, Kashmir in the Shadow of War, Regional Rivalries in Nuclear Age, (New York: Armonk, 2003), pp. 193-229.

3.       Dabla, Bashir, “ Mass Rape Survivors still Wait for Justice in Kashmir”, (Global Press Institute, 2012),

4.        Lamb, Alastair, Kashmir: A Disputed Legacy, 1846-1990. (Karachi: Oup Publisher, 1992).

5.       Madhumita, Srivastava, International Dimensions of Ethnic Conflict: A Case of Kashmir and Ireland, (New Delhi: Bhavana Book, 2001), pp. 80-83

6.       Roy, Arundhati, “Azadi it’s the only thing which Kashmiri wants, Denial is Delusion”, (India:Outlook, Sept. 2008), p.14

7.       Noorani, A.G. “Why Kashmir Erupts” in Frontline. (New Delhi: Frontline Magazine, 2008), 1 August, p.85

8.       Noorani, A.G. “A Flawed Inquiry” in Frontline, (New Delhi: Frontline Magazine, 2009) 29 August, pp.35-40.

9.       Dabla, Bashir, “ Mass Rape Survivors still Wait for Justice in Kashmir”, (Global Press Institute, 2012),

10.     Wani Hilal, Andi Suwitra, Joseph Fayeye, “Conflict Resolution and Conflict Transformation: Some Reflections”, (Indonesia: ATIKAN Journal, 3, 1, June, 2013), pp.1-10

11.     Austin, Alex, Martina Fischer and Norbert Ropers, Transforming Ethno-political Conflict, (Germany: Vs Verlag, 2004), pp. 28-29

12.     Burton, John and Frank Dukes, Conflict: Practices in Management, Settlement, and (Resolution. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990), pp.10-51.

13.     Chang, Tzuchau, Environmental management, (Springer, New York: Springer, 2004), vol. 36, pp. 205-219<> Chatwal, G.R. (2004); Text Book of Environmental Studies– Himalya Publishing House, Mumbai.

14.     Escobar A, Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of Third World, Prince UniversityPress, Princeton University, 1995.

15.     Indigenous Knowledge Local Pathways to Global Development, Marking Five Years of the World Bank Indigenous Knowledge for Development Program. (World Bank), 1-9.

16.     Greater Kashmir, Daily News Paper, “Scene from the South” 14 Oct. 2014.

17.     Rohit Jigyasu, “Using Traditional Knowledge Systems for Post-disaster Reconstruction – Issues and Challenges following Gujarat and Kashmir Earthquakes”,Creative Space (CS), Vol. 1, No. 1July 2013, pp. 1–17.

18.     Shobita Jain, “Women and People’s Ecological Movement: A Case Study of Women’s Role in the Chipko Movement in Uttar Pradesh” Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.19, No.41, 13 1984.

19.     Wani, Hilal, Ethnic Conflict and Management in Federal Nations: Comparative Study of Nigeria and India, (New Delhi: Research India Publications, 2013), 1-81

20.     Galtung, Johan, “Institutionalized Conflict Resolution” in (Journal of Peace Research, 1965) Vol.2, No.4.

21.     Hill, Barbara. (1981). “An Analysis of Conflict Resolution Techniques’’ in (Journal of Conflict Resolution, 26, 1, 1981), pp.109-138.

22.     Kaarbo Juliet, Ray James Lee, Global Politics, (US: Wardsworth, 2011), pp.216-232

23.     Miall, Hugh, Oliver Ramsbotham and Tom Woodhouse. Contemporary Conflict Resolution: The Prevention, Management, and Transformation of Deadly Conflicts. (London: Polity. 1999),pp. 152-183

24.     Noorani, A.G. Article 370: Law and Politics, (India, 2000), Volume 17 - Issue 19, Sep. 16 - 29

25.     Bose, Sumantra, Kashmir Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace, (New Delhi: Vistaar, 2003), pp.201-209.

26.     See, Selected works of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vol. 18, p. 418 and vol. 19 pp. 295-6, respectively.






Received on 05.01.2018       Modified on 18.02.2018

Accepted on 10.03.2018      ©A&V Publications All right reserved

Res.  J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 2018; 9(1): 297-308.

DOI: 10.5958/2321-5828.2018.00055.4