A thing called Conviction

Greater Kashmir

We all are made of convictions. A certain set of beliefs that guides our actions day in and day out. Whether those convictions are appropriate or wicked, is not the point of argument here. That how much sure and convinced we are about them is the moot point.

Perhaps, it’s the cruellest tragedy. Most of us barely own up our convictions, strong and loud. We stand nowhere in holding our viewpoints very dear. With each passing day, we change our say and stand.

Mostly we are never confident about anything we claim to believe in. From politics to personal, we keep on ‘fine-tuning’ our beliefs in tandem with the emerging situations. At times, the petty self-interest entices us to take a volte-face. However, we hardly seem to comprehend and realize the larger ramifications of our continuous U-turns upon some section of people, or for that matter, the whole society.

Small wonder, we keep shuttling between camps. Today here, tomorrow there. A big lobby, a small lobby; a powerful lobby, a dominant lobby—we keep revolving in the ruse. We obey our bosses and we get a reward from them. We oppose our bosses and we get a prize from their opponents. Both ways, our loyalties are not lasting but our interests are secured. No matter we lose credibility in the course.

Our politicians have ‘colourful’ conviction. It is pink before elections and dark post-elections.  The different versions of ‘promises’ and ‘pledges’ eventually throw up a plethora of shocking surprises for the common masses. Doublespeak mars the reputation of turncoat politicians but it adds to the panorama of their flimsy convictions. Hollow slogans of ‘autonomy’, ‘self-rule’ and ‘change’ prove as nothing but the gimmicks of the opportunistic polity.

And then, how our leaders delude their convictions is equally astonishing. Having a cosy style of living, from palatial houses to expensive healthcare, globe-trotting to grand existence, the noisy symbols of ‘achievable nationhood’ and ‘third option’ have failed to prove the conviction of being wedded to the struggle, to the suffering masses, and to the numerous half-widows and orphans. Again, a camouflage of convictions has been the slippery ground for all the heat it generated, and for all the moments of absurd theatre it provided.

Our intellectuals seem immersed in the sea of swindling. Rather than the hard and solitary work of writing and thinking and achieving an output that far overshadows their self promotion, they have succumbed to mediocre culture, haranguing aimlessly on stages, podiums and platforms. Apparently a creed of broad-minded fellows, who swank their ‘knowledge’ at every occasion, they ultimately turn out to be the petty obstructionists who leave no stone unturned to gag the minds and mouths of others by raising trivial objections. They are actually the people with a yellow streak and sham high ground. Their ‘conviction’ changes as per their public visibility.

Coming to our current crop of the young generation, most of them are confused and trapped in the miasma of multiple media influences. They know how to speak fluent English and write nice hyperbole on social media. They want everybody else to sacrifice for Kashmir whilst they themselves crave for good jobs, excellent education, civil service slots and foreign jaunts. Their worldview appears shallow, bereft of any conviction, and their world itself a material midget. If this is the reality reminded by the analogy of ‘barbeque eaters on boulevard’ while our politicians got locked up in luxurious prisons, then the saga of thousands of our young languishing in notorious jails for years is a big curse for all of us. The scores of those still missing and their poor families; the lost lives and value of their sacrifice; the uncared for army of orphans and half-widows—who’s actually bothered about whom?! Me about myself or we about everyone?

There is nothing new about all this. Conferring Kashmir through talking and writing has made Kashmir a vocation for many. Hasn’t Kashmir turned faraway bystanders into comfy celebs? Haven’t many of us created careers, political and otherwise, out of it?

We seem destined to hurl anathemas at each other, for the disgustingly selfish acts of ours. The thing called conviction—we don’t seem possessing it at all. And even if we claim to have any, we are ever-elusive and instable. We cannot concede our faltering. We cannot acknowledge our recklessness.

A weary and weird state of affairs around does call for some kind of redemption. A quest is to be made. The grim and pessimistic journey through the abyss has to have an end. We cannot resurrect our past glory. We can, however, try to locate our history profoundly and get connected with our roots and people compassionately. By this, the best ever lessons can be unearthed for strong convictions to rule us and our dealings.