Departure from the present condition and not the decoration over it should be the target of peace activity
PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a part of the atmosphere created in the Indo-Pak relations after the two countries agreed to revive the suspended comprehensive peace dialogue. PDP patron has been hammering the points that he raised in this meeting repeatedly. Though PDP’s role as an opposition party in the State casts a shadow of question on their intent and purpose for speeding up such issues, nevertheless, the issues do confront us menacingly.
Establishing a sense of security, allowing people of Kashmir a political expression that can unfrighteningly amble past the diabolical security eye, restoring the resources of this state to its people, releasing the political prisoners, and clearing the path towards a greater movement on Kashmir conflict – this is what every individual in Kashmir would like to happen. Goes without saying if such a process is pushed ahead without mixing in it the element of seeing the opposition down. Similarly, the Resistance camp could wake up and add to the pressure of the situation, if it is granted that such a pressure really existed.
It is interesting to find that all the concerned parties, internal or external, connected to the problems in Kashmir, or the larger question of Kashmir, talk peace in abundance. Unionist parties untiringly talk peace whether it fits the situation or not. The Indian political establishment in Delhi, too, presents itself as the messiah of peace whenever gets the chance to speak before crowds, herded for them in Kashmir. Pakistan is no less present on the peace talk. Leaving aside what is happening in that country, fact of the matter is that Pakistan has been more yielding than India to hit a solution on ground. But despite all this peace evades Kashmir.
This failure of peace process is a settled background for all the concerned parties. But even then whenever the momentum for peace talks sets in hopes pitch in the foreground. It can either be an intense longing for peace that disallows any grim reminder to come to surface, or an anxiety to reserve a space in the coming order of things, forgetting that how slim the chances of change actually are.
Once the initiative encounters a fresh failure the blames fly in all possible directions. It seems that India, Pakistan and the political forces within J&K are game with blames. Things are consigned to the same dustbin of politics from where they had been retrieved and will be some time later retrieved once more. This cycle of hope and despair is now quite advanced in years.
Political commentators have analysed this failure of peace process in multiple ways, and on academic and journalistic front the debate on Kashmir politics must not cease. Howsoever trite it might look, till it exists it is sign of people’s undying desire to see themselves through this crisis. If the discussion is snapped that might serve the purpose of others but not Kashmiris. Though it doesn’t mean a cynical rejection of realities, it does mean that till peace becomes a condition freeing men and the physical world around them to work to potential, the larger public mind should not dismount to rest.
What will happen to this latest round of peace euphoria! The intense longing in the foreground and a chronic desolation haunting it permanently is a wrestle too painful to watch. We cannot surrender the hope, yet we know that we are fighting against our experience. It is an enigma of mythical proportions. The test of leadership in Kashmir is to crack this enigma. The current politics, both Unionist and Resistance, have till now failed to seriously work on this enigmatic challenge. We either talk in terms of generalities, or else droll over some immediate material benefits. Even the lovely concept of Azadi has been rendered to a spongy generality in Kashmir.
If the larger political ends, represented by azadi are defined for public understanding and difference of opinion allowed to bristle against it, a movement towards a contentful Resistance politics can begin. Similarly if the ugly inflictions consuming the electoral politics are allowed to heal, much of the evil non-sense can drain out from Kashmir. It can act like a pincer movement over India’s reluctance to break the status quo in Kashmir. It’s this status quo that constitutes the enigma. Unless a peace process is directed towards breaking up of this status quo, no headway is possible in Kashmir. May be the first sign of breakthrough is when no distinction is made between political prisoners and others languishing in jails of this State and outside. Everyone who is behind the bars is a political prisoner, no matter a militant or a protester, because his has been an involvement with a political problem. Afterwards the issues that confront us right now can be taken up one by one. Once the main block is flushed out, a movement towards peace can really begin.
But all this can happen only if India thinks past its stated position on Kashmir. If the fanatic assertions over Kashmir are allowed to clinch the debate, better not roll out the peace talk at all. If the insistence that the larger condition in Kashmir should stay the way it is, there is no point talking peace.
It reminds of the Mythologies by Roland Barthes; in one of its chapters titled ‘Novels and Children’, Barthes refers to a photograph of seventy women novelists that appeared in weekly Elle. The message that is sent out is this: “the woman of letters is a remarkable zoological species.” Barthes then makes a comment on this. “Elle nimbly plays a Molieresque scene, says yes on one side and no on the other”. It only wants women to “decorate their condition, but above all, let them not depart from it”.
Unless India is ready for a departure from the present condition no amount of decoration over this condition would bring a change in Kashmir.
(The columnist is GK Magazine editor. Feedback at mrvaid@greaterkashmir)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 19 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 19 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
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