No new order in Kashmir
Old order changeth, yielding place to old order again
POINT OF VIEW
Former Hurriyat chairman Prof Abdul Gani Bhat wants the Hurriyat to forge a common minimum programme with mainstream parties like National Conference and PDP to resolve Kashmir, a call which has surprised many in Kashmir. Here is a veteran separatist leader who in the days of Hurriyat sway set the political agenda of the state but now tamely seeks accommodation with mainstream parties. There can’t be a more forceful recognition of the political influence of the NC and PDP.
I am sure maverick Professor’s suggestion would have riled a large portion of the separatist constituency in Valley in addition to the public outrage expressed by his colleagues. For his views resonate with deepest possible irony: secessionists volunteering to support the accessionists if the latter chose to make small adjustments in their political philosophy. And this doesn’t necessarily entail altering their pro-New Delhi stance. One really wonders what such a “common minimum programme” would be like. Does Bhat have in mind a Kashmir solution on the pattern of Musharraf’s four point proposals which envisage a settlement outside UN resolutions? If it is so, then NC and PDP already subscribe to the broad contours of such a solution. Both NC and PDP competitively claim their respective slogans of autonomy and self rule emulate Musharraf’s proposals which are believed to have been adopted by the current Pakistan government sans their author’s name.
But is such a commonality enough to forge separatist-mainstream alliance? I don’t think so. There is a basic difference. Despite the consciously acquired broad similarities between the two political strains, there is an unbridgeable gulf between the two. Mainstream may talk of the Kashmir solution, they do not challenge the system but instead partake in it. Their slogans and formulations conjure up a vision of political settlement but this vision is about going with a solution whenever it comes through on its own. It is not about pursuing this resolution whileas separatists are supposed to be engaged in a struggle to force a solution.
Now, does Hurriyat want to join the parties with a formula for solution or mainstream would join them in their struggle. The latter possibility looks improbable. For it is a separatist leader who has broached the idea in the first place and visited it unsuspectingly on the mainstream. NC and PDP, on the other hand, would want the separatists to contest the polls and hope to deliver a resounding defeat, which looks probable. With such a disproportionately unequal political equation, why would NC and PDP even remotely think of joining separatists. Over the years, they have hijacked separatist slogans and formulations, rendering them hollow and meaningless.
Separatists have been left with some known, symbolic personalities who increasingly find themselves struggling with their credibility, Bhat included.
This state of affairs is again rife with irony. While the cataclysmic change in 1989 was at a minimum supposed to usher in an entirely new political order,twenty three years down the line it has ended up further consolidating the hold of the old order, with the people who spearheaded - politically or militaristically - the violent insurrection against New Delhi are themselves tnreatening to become history, let alone usher in the fancied Azadi. And what bigger recognition of this reality than Bhat's unilateral suggestion for an alliance with the mainstream.
Today, separatism in Kashmir stands at dangerous cross-roads. On one side is the dream of Azadi which now looks farther than ever from realization. And on the other is their political struggle whose appeal and sphere of influence is shrinking by the day, leaving them adrift in a barren landscape of uncertainty. Both Bhat's observations and the angry reaction to it from a section within Hurriyat tells us that Hurriyat is from thinking through its predicament.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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