That is the only way you can represent your own people. Otherwise you belong neither here, nor there
‘ None are more helplessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free’…………………..Goethe
The Kashmir based parties that for decades kept serenading in love and praise of their privileged destiny on one hand and on the other, would gloat on their ‘ representative’ halo are today whirlpooled in a tragic crisis. They are alienated from both—the land they breathed from and the hands that nursed them to play the errand. The birth place (janama bhomi) refuses to own them and the power derides them down in contempt. Their ship is in the midst of the tempest, on the verge of drowning. Alas not a tear is discernible across the divide. More tragic is for whom they axed their constituencies of trust are flogging them in utter disregard.. They stay skinned off by their own mentors, god-fathers. Look at it.
‘ Mainstream regional parties’, Arun Jaitly roared ‘speak one language in Srinagar and another in Delhi’ and ‘duck their responsibility’. Then Minister of State in the PMO, Jitendra Singh pilloried them bluntly: ‘ These so called politicians and parties practice separatism behind the mask of mainstream…That is the hidden enemy among us. (This) Opportunistic separatism is even worse than those identified as ones practicing separatist agenda’.( GK, October 28, 2018).
It is not only– what they at times project- the ‘ avowedly communal’ BJP that denigrates these parties and their leaders in such derogative language , the ‘secular’ Congress too smeared them with disrespect many a time. The Delhi rulers, irrespective of their ideological persuasions and stature, first milked these parties to their last drop, then dumped them in the dust bin. Even the tall man who, in the defining moments of history revolted against his own people to force his preference, had to rot in the solitary confinement for dozens of years, thousands miles away in Ottakamand . Never forget, the ‘lion’ of Kashmir at that time was strutting with his cockscomb of prime ministership. The tale of his predecessors—brandishing not that clout—could be imagined. Even the reincarnates of these politicians in the kind of farm animals could not win them trust from the deities in Delhi. Even compromising the residual sovereignty, which the fleeing Mharaja Hari Singh tried to protect for the state of J&K, did not cure Delhi from the carbuncle of doubt.
Earlier these groups joined in as accomplice to defrock Kashmir off its political, administrative and fiscal autonomy, later as a façade. To an adventurism less democratic more farcical. Today, to buy from Mahmoud ur Rashid– my columnist friend– when ours in ‘ green’ wilt to ‘ purple’, every demeanor follicle from these distrusted bunch sweats to one lone worry–how best they can contribute in consolidating the status quo and thus convince their masters of their loyalty. From the debris of devastation all around, from the killing fields our homes are presenting the horrible spectacle of, from the grave yards sprawling onto our courtyards, they are stalking in for a big pluck— of political fortunes, privileges and positions of power. More vast and overarching the cycle of terror, more they exude in confidence to get through ballot apathy to embrace power. Since decades they have learnt to cruise along even when by their own parameters the very definition of democracy stands violated . They have adapted to the stench even if poll percentage slides down below miserable seven per cent. And they chug along. Celebrating the ‘ Jashn-e- Jamhooryat’!
This kind of posturing and stance drifts them far away from hearts and minds of their people as it runs diametrically opposite to the dominant narrative reverberating across the towns and cities of Kashmir. This forces them to take a provisional detour of their predispositions. ‘Concerns’ they show at the ruler’s being insensitive to people’s sufferings at the hands of ‘security forces’. They march protests and vow to be part of the resistance movements. But no sooner some dignitary from Delhi visits Kashmir, they pledge their obedience in all means possible. A volte face we saw when they, after staying away from civic body elections, whispered to the home minister their impatience for the assembly elections., notwithstanding the prevailing volatile conditions the region is caught in.
Co-existence of two opposite attitudes has an inherent risk of losing the good will and trust from both streams. And this is what has become the fate of these politicians. The advocates of ‘main-stream’ do not acknowledged them as ‘true Indians’ and those from the ‘off-stream’ condemn them as black crows in politics hatching strategic eggs of others. The politics premised on deceit has but to face such humiliation. An example or two would suffice. In 2008 when India allowed streets and roads for Intifada( mass uprising in peaceful manner), Omar Abdullah is on record to have hailed the democratic uprising. Only a year before Farooq Abdullah, to garner sympathy from people in Srinagar parliamentary election( where he got just two percent votes) pledged his support for Huryat, flexing his party support, chanting’ Aagay badho, ham tumharay saath hyein’. In power the duo had monopoly over violence, even Farooq outsourced it to marauding gangs of armed thugs, name you know. Mehbooba Mufti, when in power in alliance with BJP defended everything worst and barbarian inflicted on people. Her ‘milk and toffee’ reference to defend pellet and bullet has etched permanence in memory of subjugated Kashmiris. But divorced from power, her fury surpasses to that from hell. She now accuses Delhi for her ‘muscular approach’ to suppress people and warns of its futility.
As is evident this class of opportunistic and ambivalent politicians has lost its support base. Their bouts of occasional anger directed towards Delhi is nothing but a clumsy gesture of appeasement for the local community. But more they do it, more clownish they become, inviting ridicule and hatred. There is only one and only one way left for them to gain credibility. Understand the pain of people and be of them and for them. They have to resist the temptation of building their careers out from mourning. And not peddle false constructs to Delhi. Instead of acting as props to ultimately end as buffoons in theatrics of absurdity, they have to stress those at the helm to be receptive and sensitive to the democratic aspirations of the people. It is time they connect with their constituencies and give vent to the sufferings of their people and sing in symphony and swim in oneness, commonness and togetherness. If they do this they will feel relieved in comfort zone of people’s protection than gasping for a whiff of fresh air in cozy rooms of bunkered confines. From the catastrophe sown all around, they will, I hope, emerge as proud sons of the soil, washed off all, guilt, shame and stain. Beware sovereignty belongs to the people and never forget even the two-yard burial sites feel stabbed/ cheated in accommodating the bodies fattened on on deceit and betrayal.