Towards Peaceful Politics
Even in the worst situation the ideal of peace can be upheld
INKSIGHT BY MEHMOOD-UR-RASHID
In the conflict zones world over, violence and peace have emerged as distinct themes inviting profound academic engagement. Apart from the ordinary and banal usage of these words, the political, social and economic changes in conflict zones have bestowed layers of meanings on these two terms. Violence from being considered as a simple act of physical harm – “somatic incapacitation” - is now being thought of as a situation “when human beings are being influenced so that their actual somatic and mental realizations are below their potential realizations”. Concurrent to the enunciations on the concept of violence emerged the elaborate conceptual framework of peace. From the minimal understanding of peace as the absence of violence it was invested with “positive” meanings. (Galtung, 1969: 168-170).
On the basis of such investigations into the concepts of peace and violence, different sets of practices developed in the world. These practices evolved particularly in the times and places of conflict. Since it’s a fundamental urge of human societies to live away from any danger to life and its requirements, the essential urge for peace kept surfacing up in times and places of entrenched violence. Even during the periods of outright war states and societies have been found working for the constituency of peace to expand. It’s this urge for peace that at some point in time expresses itself in the shape of accords, compromises, and processes that consolidate the demand for peace and the consequent gradual disappearance of violence.
This search for peace and containment of violence is always present in conflict zones, though in different measure and rhythm. No matter how crusted the violence in any conflict zone might be, the urge for peace never dies. It’s this urge that can take the shape of an enterprise of peace. One marked exhibition of this urge is the formation of political in the time of violent. The presentation of demands in political language and the emergence of political parties in the conflict zones is the significant indicator of the content of peace present even in the times of violence. Different peace processes the world over bank upon this urge for peace.
The pitfall, nevertheless, is very subtle. The peace process is always presented as originating from the dominant force, mostly the state power, and directed towards the weak opposition, like resisting parties. This immediately develops a contestation and a psychological twist.
Those who start it and speak so eloquently about its dividends want to sound as ultimate symbol of humanity, forgetting all the heinous crimes committed against the very people who they convince in favour of the peace process. Take Kashmir; peace process became a public talk from around 2002. Since then many things have been said and done under the broader rubric of peace process. All this is aimed at creating an atmosphere where resistance parties dissolve in a newly built political space and the memories are forgotten for good. This severing of future from past is what makes such a peace process not only suspect but diabolic in its essence.
On the other hand peace process creates a mindset in the resistance parities that even the very idea of peace becomes abhorring. Not to say that in Kashmir all those who are in the resistance camp are averse to the concept of peace but the fact of the matter is that the entire political action supported and promoted by these parties is least concerned about the effects on life and property. This poses a grave question. Those who consider themselves as the well-wishers of Kashmir and avowedly fight for its freedom can’t afford to show aversion towards the idea of peace as if it is emanating from the state backed enterprise called peace process.
For this what can serve as a point of departure is to discuss this matter not at the time of heightened political action, or in the backdrop of some recent ugly incident. Doing this reduces the chances of staying at the discussion and arriving at an agreement. Besides it sounds like a blame game, and that defeats the very purpose of the exercise; initiating a process of rethinking over what has contributed to the making of violence.
What it all means is to take up the idea of peace as an imperative of the ethical teachings of our sources, the ultimate being Qura’n and the life of Prophet.
At a time when life is lost by some wrong action it is appropriate to invoke the moral teachings and take corrective measures, rather than underline the crimes of the other.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 21 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 21 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 22 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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