Highway is the lifeline of any society. To ensure that people living far off are connected to some central point which serves as the median of our daily social, political, economic or academic pursuits.
Besides being a road, it is a psychological connect that runs as much in your conscience as it does on the ground. None of us can imagine to sustain our lives when two big townships in South and North Kashmir remain aloof and disconnected with commercial capital Srinagar for almost one fourth of a working calendar month.
Highway ban has drawn criticism from all possible quarters with mainstream and separatist leadership raising concern in similar tone and frequency. Social media sites across valley have been flooded with sarcastic comments, some of them comparing it with the Nazi ban on Jewish population some eight decades ago.
Twitteratis too found memes and hashtags to condemn the ban while the ex CM Omar Abdullah called it an out of mind experiment. How often has this been practised in recent history that highways have been blocked officially is something to ponder over, moreover the basic notion behind this seems weird, as security forces meant to safeguard civilians cannot run away from latter on the pretext of security concerns.
As a metaphor and matter of policy the think tank sitting back in Delhi should find ways to bridge gaps with Kashmiris as already voiced by retired army chiefs, the blockade of a single highway from valley to Delhi serves no purpose in the long run. If an honest constructivism is in offing in near future, it must be pursued given the dynamics of this long term conflict.
What amazes me and most of Kashmiris is the murky politics around this Highway ban, that has seen umpteen number of politicians roar like loins and champion human rights cause in the form of protests on highway, peeping through their car windows, standing on the foot rest of cars, eager to disseminate an empathetic message through print and electronic media. If highway ban has been disastrous for commoners, it is for sure given an unexpected mileage to mainstream politicians who under the cover of Z-security claim to breach highway ban thinking the masses can be fooled indefinitely at will.
These gestures sometimes reimpose the notion of Noam Chomsky where he talks of manufacturing consent, propaganda, elites and post truth. The bottom line elites capitalize on masses emotion to create favourable narratives to rule and exploit by hitting on prejudices.
We cannot decipher things in isolation on a logical plain. To know the genesis of our problem, we should revisit holistically how PDP ruled in previous governments. How unelected representatives framed a cabinet in PDP, to drive Kashmir to the darkest of chapters in recent past. How a toffee milk narrative suddenly took a U-turn and started flaunting pro-Jamaat and pro JKLF graffitis.
How the dispensation suddenly started identifying itself with the youth on road. Mehbooba Mufti who recently took to twitter to divide India into pieces, projecting herself as the sole guardian of JK special status couldn’t move a single bunker when she was heading the unified command. Fortunate enough that one of the young guys from Lasjan who questioned PDP when they were shedding crocodile tears on highway ban and the video went viral on social media, did reach home in the evening once reports of his unlawful captivity emerged.
As a society a political dispensation can be trusted once or twice to unlock people’s demands and fulfill election promises, but it becomes a mockery when the one who hits you hard once in power claims softer tones on loosing chair.
A society ridden in gloom and hopelessness owing to continuous conflict and economic recession needs an answerable government. Jugglery of words and political hogwash to ride upon people’s misery is defying our own religion and all barriers of conscience and humanity.
Calling upon Mamta Banerjee with open arms, when you consciously massacre your own mandate, is a willful hypocrisy and diabolical approach.
It is time to introspect, deep within, face your souls, and stand firm like the New Zealand prime minister, who feels the pain cutting across religious and caste barriers. Before reading, rereading and creating fuss with new manifesto, it is time the kingmakers of last government take a nap, breathe deep, and think how would they justify the mandate entrusted on them was never implemented.
Many veterans across globe renounced their honourary medals in wake of far right governments policies that enforced essentialism and marginalized people on the basis of their ethnicities and racial features, PDP government was uniform in marginalizing one and all, today the Kashmir is expecting an honest apology from your top brass, to cleanse an iota of your blood soaked hands.
(Inam Un Nabi is a Social Activist)