Pushing people permanently into zones of peril
INKSIGHT BY MEHMOOD UR RASHID
In the present media discussions about the BJP’s Ekta Yatra, everyone has a point to take off and a destination to hit at. Along that route the projectile of argument takes its peculiar shape. Those who consider it as their prime duty to sharply underline the national symbolism have their own way to explain the matters surrounding this issue. Those who take it as a law and order problem have their own way of describing it. Those who place it in the context of the recent summer 2010 mass mobilization in Kashmir thunderously oppose this act as a threatening invasion into a body that has barely stopped bleeding.
Then there are political dividends to be reaped from this. In India BJP is sure to sell it as an act of National pride undermined by their political opponents. In J&K National Conference will do the business with this investment almost the same way trying to tell people that they are the defenders of Kashmir’s own regional self. But in all this there is another way of looking at it.
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 is now 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.
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. 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 concrete depiction of how the content of peace is present even in the times violence. The language used by a person like Syed Ali Shah Geelani during summer 2010 was an ample reminder of how in intense times the importance of human life and property underlined. It was also a matured display of not allowing two populations, one in Kashmir and another in the rest of India, collide under some misrepresentation of problem. That is what reduced the chances of violence during those days.
Kashmir was largely absent on this intense discourse over peace and violence that had grown in conflict zones, till 1989. It was in this year that the old order of things started melting away, giving birth to violent ways of thinking and doing. Underground armed activities took over Kashmir completely leaving barely any space for political activities. Even the routine social expressions disappeared for a while. But the chances of peace did not die completely. Even in that underground armed movement the elements of peace were present. It was later expressed in the formation of political platforms, and emergence of a political leadership. Slowly the political content heightened, and the exchange of contestation started predominantly taking place in political language. This way the urge for political expressed itself manifestly. It was the formation of political platforms that could allow the state to approach the other side of the line. In the later years different kinds of political engagements happened, till the time, as late as 2002, the murmurs of peace process reached Kashmir. Though it did not yield results that could make it real to the people of this conflict zone, but it unfailingly pointed in the direction of peace.
It’s here that politics of symbolism played by BJP devastates the chances of peace in this region. Acts like hoisting flags at certain places is like appropriating the rights of the state to a party. What does it do. It pitches one people against another. Living comfortably in India and doing a politics that is all about attaining power to rule a country such political forces should at least bother to think of people as more important than political structures and the accrued symbolism over those structures. After all flag is a piece of cloth that becomes a flag only when it passes through the hearts and minds of the people. If the same flag is presented to another people as an assault on their collectively personality it is bound to bring about violence.
Leaders like AB Vajpayee have a huge task here to perform. If BJP follows this politics incessantly it will one day produce violent effects well within the Indian land. In that situation not only Kashmir, all the problematic spots will start playing themselves out; thus burying the chances of peace in this region deep underneath.
Looked from this angle such acts are murderous assaults on the people of this region, and not just Kashmir.
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Lastupdate on : Wed, 26 Jan 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 26 Jan 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Jan 2011 00:00:00 IST
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