Re-discovering J&K through idea of a bridge

Can it be built in these toxic times and gaps?

Binoo Joshi
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jul 16 2018 10:55PM | Updated Date: Jul 16 2018 10:55PM
Re-discovering J&K through idea of a bridge

It is heard quite often that  Kashmir can become  a bridge  between India and Pakistan  to help the two hostile nations to resolve the contentious  issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.  The depth of this statement  has not been understood till date  nor any attempt has been made to do so.

Those sitting in Delhi and Islamabad  always think that they have superior claim to resolving the issues than the people  of the State  that is plagued by its own internal troubles  and contradictions. This  reflects their complex,  and that is what lies at the root of the problem.Their attempts at reaching out to each other  at irregular intervals is in itself a major problem. These are more of photo-ops than the sincere attempts to resolve the  issues. It becomes ever clearer when the spate  of accusations and counter accusations become the template of their relationship after each round of failed talks.

A typical Delhi view  is that  how can Kashmir-centric parties  or  the separatist  conglomerate  All Parties Hurriyat Conference  headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq  could  play any  positive role  in bridging the gaps between the two nations  on Kashmir when they have no unity among themselves.  That is true. Any student of Kashmir’s politics knows it better that polemics  of the political agendas of various groups are more  pronounced than their forcible proximity.

The proponents of this theory  advance  a formidable  logic  that these groups work in isolation  and their agenda have no  takers in the two other major regions in Jammu and Ladakh.

A rapidly advancing cracks  between communities and regions  threatening  close to a full break of the state is an alarming sign. The political, religious and emotional rift has accelerated over the years. That is where the  need of a bridge  within the state is more important and urgent than ever.  The politicians who promised  bringing together the regions and communities  have failed and they are engaged in mudslinging in open and cyber world. These are not illusory  references. The PDP and BJP  worked  to keep the two regions apart, their denials notwithstanding. The record of other regional and national groups is  equally dismal, if not more.

Such circumstances accentuate  the differences  and push the regions and communities apart. That means that the each region and the community  stay cocooned in their corners where the  parochialism  and  clashing  visions form an unwelcome outlook. That is the real danger. This runs against the profound idea of a metaphysical  bridge  of human relations, transcending  the geographical, ethnic, religious and  geographical  diversities.

Add to  it all  the self-doubts among  the communities, it doesn’t take much to realise that what all is happening isn’t the only  thing disrupting the State today. The far more profound disruption is happening in our day-to-day conversation, if at all that can be  called conversation because there are  more heated arguments  and contestations rather than talking to each other in a decent fashion.   We are losing our basic etiquettes.  This is now visible and audible at work places, social gatherings are becoming sordid tales of unsocial behaviour and  What’s app is new instrument of tearing the  fabric of oneness apart.

A rapid change in the attitudes – after somewhat an uneasy reconciliation to the tragedy of the migration of Kashmiri Pandits from  their homes and hearths Kashmir – came after the   civilian killings   close to the encounter sites  and the  humiliation of the troops on social media. There is no sense of  empathy  for the dead  from  either side. In a  bid to silence the militants, the  militancy has been  allowed to come of its age in the minds of the people. The statistics are deceptive. The resistance has shaped the minds against India and the Hindutva forces.  The regions of Jammu and  Ladakh where idea of India is  expressed in patriotism  for the nation  have nurtured  feelings to the other extreme.

Can a bridge  be built in these  toxic times and gaps?   This is a wrong question. The right approach is that the idea of bridge  should be given a shape. The adverse circumstances and  narratives should not be  allowed to come in way of this idea that can help Jammu and Kashmir rediscover itself. An effort is worth making.



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