What about us
No solution, unless KPs are given a space
DR ROMESH RAINA
The chronology of events leading to the forced exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the 90’s is embedded in the mobilization of forces against them. Thereafter a recurrent pattern of terror was experienced at periodic intervals in the form of Sangrampora, Nadimarg, Telwani and Wandhama mass massacres. Chitisingpora also was an extension of the same process. The unbroken cycle of aggressive combatant ideology is the manifestation of twisting democratic system to malfunction and draw up new areas of conflict. The consequent political vacuum created spaces for violence and separatist organizations to consolidate their base and power through localized campaigns of fear. In the absence of any meaningful resistance separatist movement came to be defined by its aggression and terror tactics. It was driven by the sole aim of promoting mistrust and suspicion. Interplay between politics, ideology and fear became its important instrument as it succeeded in creating a space for religion in politics. Denial of plurality emerged as a significant feature of this ideological agenda. It brings to mind some crucial aspects of collective Kashmiri life being ignited by a variety of factors which ultimately destroyed the social fabric of the place.
Its stout refusal to adopt to the changing times and accept the ground realities forms the main cog of return wheel. This is a stark reality with unwelcome prospect and unpredictable consequences. Given its strong impact on the lives of the people, it is difficult to extricate from its ideological roots. Preparing people for a change is, therefore key to the long awaited transition.
The consequences of displacement of Kashmiri Pandits have been their marginalization from all the conceivable areas of society. Its implications include erosion in the public space of Kashmir. This has resulted in inflicting extreme social and psychological injuries to them. The resultant political alienation has been near total which can be gauged from the fact that despite being the largest minority group, they remain unrepresented in the politico- democratic set-up of the state. It touches the core of KP anxieties as the Hindu dimension of Kashmir has never been the theme of political issues of the valley, even though this factor has contributed significantly towards creating the collective identity of Kashmir.
Against this backdrop, re-affirmation of broken faith assumes significance in the light of understanding the new mood of connecting KPs to the re-configured politics of hope. This has created a potential situation where KPs have started seeing themselves in a state of fresh dilemma and apprehension. It emanates from the need to understand the trauma of displaced KP community during these 22 years of exile and how it must have impacted their lives. Living in camps has come at a huge cost of social honour, dignity and respect. Therefore, there are many unanswered questions as to how do we address the question of ideologically motivated recurrent onslaught on KPs in the larger context of hope. This is because Kashmir continues to be described in terms of Plebiscite, UN resolutions, dispute, so on and so forth. Also the political narratives have for long been built separately in terms of governance and so called resolution of Kashmir issue. Separating the two only keeps the pot of separatism boiling. This does not leave political discourse on Kashmir in a good shape.
However keeping in view the changes presently underway in Kashmir, the hope can be defined in terms of transformation and restoration of secular democratic politics. Political rehabilitation of KPs being the third angle of the triangle. For us the transformation means squeeze in the space for separatism and expansion of secular space. The acid test to measure it would be the restoration of pluralistic identity of Kashmir and that possibility will emerge only when displaced KP community will participate in the civil society affairs and mainstream political life of the place.
While concluding, the consequences of this new found hope without addressing the basic issues of survival will only confirm their fears of irrelevance and force them to live with man-made fault lines for ever.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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