Camel bridge is falling down

In a substantial way the world is ruled by the strategic community

BREAKING VIEWS

NAEEM AKHTAR

Our part of the world is no exception and every evening the TV talk shows bring home this reality to the billion plus viewers in this country. We have our share of  experts, former generals, diplomats and pretenders who have now become so predictable on every issue that one might not even need to hear them to know their views on a subject. They live in a static world of fossilised ideas and love to perpetuate that.
An exception to the rule is A S Dulat. The highly acknowledged spymaster knows Kashmir as few others do, like the back of his hand; and is credited with having influenced many a fate line, fault line and lifeline in the state. It is not just the knowledge of men and matters about the place that stands him out in his community but his insight on the entire issue earns him an instant audience whenever he goes public on any aspect of Kashmir. The latest example is his comment that Vajpayee would not have allowed Afzal Guru's execution.
One of the refreshing features of Dulat's approach to Kashmir has remained his emphasis on political course rather than the exclusive reliance on military methods that guide most of the security community. He however has been enamoured of the Abdullah family more than any body else. Dulat does not exclude other Kashmir players but wants all the eggs to be placed in the Abdullah basket and would ideally like others such as the PDP and Hurriyats to hatch them for Farooq after his repeated failures.
In a recent article in the aftermath of Afzal Guru's hanging, Dulat made a remark which is important for an unstated portion. 'Farooq Abdullah is the most solid bridge between New Delhi and Kashmir' said the supercop and went on to plead for others to help him though not in those words. But in the process Dulat had made another and more important statement by not identifying Omar Abdullah as the 'most solid bridge' or even a culvert.
About six years back it was Dulat who announced to the world that Omar could be the next chief minister. That was at a time when Ghulam Nabi Azad was apparently going strong in the state and Omar Abdullah had led his national conference to its most disastrous performance as its president and chief ministerial candidate in 2002.
Twelve years after Omar was anointed as the president of Sheikh Abdullah's colossal party and after serving three terms in Lok Sabha and in fifth year of his chief ministership his original promoter is back to backing Farooq. That is the significant part of the statement because as every body knows Omar ascended the throne in accordance with a script different from the one that the democratic process would have desired. Out of three chief ministerial candidates in the last election, Dr Farooq Abdullah, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and Ghulam Nabi Azad no one in whose name votes were cast made it to the top. Instead someone who lost his own seat as the chief ministerial candidate earlier was appointed in an unseemly palace coup even after Farooq had declared his intentions clearly. Omar of course looked part of a long term design for Kashmir the way he was lapped up by congress soon after he jumped out of the BJP lap where he served as a prominent minister.
 Now does it seem Omar has outlived his utility or is he ticked off?
On Farooq's quality as a bridge one wonders what model is in the mind of Dulat saheb. To this writer the NC patriarch looks like the 'oont kadal' in the middle of Dal lake. Having a heritage value of course from the luxurious indulgences of the great Mughals in the area but now it connects nowhere to nowhere.
For a fast dwindling tribe of diehard optimists who still see a chance for a modus vivendi between Kashmir and rest of the country on decent, democratic and civilised terms the nursery rhymes about the London bridge would be more relevant. Build it up with wood and clay, brick and mortar, iron and steel or gold and silver the bridge between New Delhi would not stand the burden of past unless there is a future in sight for the people here who are fiercely conscious of their own civilisational Identity. Unless it is provided its du e space through a genuine democratic participation and without projecting this or that leader as the famous rhyme's watchman with a pipe the bridge would continue falling down.
The stone in the hands of teenagers may not have anything except a blind rage to convey and it may not lead the place anywhere. But a parody of the rhyme could come up soon from the rappers 'Camel bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down, my fair lady' if Kashmir is not sought to be owned through democracy rather than commission agencies.
That is if the Oont Kadal simile is appropriate. And if more democracy is not allowed to cure a flawed democracy run on occasions as now through remote control.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Mar 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Mar 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 21 Mar 2013 00:00:00 IST




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