The Kashmir tragedy

The state of Jammu & Kashmir has the distinction of being the frontline state of India in the field of ancient history and civilization. The beautiful treatises and classical works that have been created in this state represent chronological order of prehistoric and historic events to enrich our knowledge about the state’s proud past.

Kashmir commands a relatively emancipated and elaborated view of the flow of historical and political developments and vicissitudes primarily due to available volume of documentation. The first hand historical narrative comes from the local classics of hundreds of years that have been accorded the recognition of the chronicles of  historicity. The most fascinating part of the voluminous historical documentation pertaining to Kashmir is the political history of Kashmir.

As it is true with politics so is true with the history, both do not wait for any sort of sanctions and approvals. Both have their own flow and have a consistent and unhindered flow with speed. The speed may vary but the flow remains constant. All of us have seen and witnessed long upheavals of our times, but the severe most upheaval was what happened in Kashmir over the last three decades.

Despotic rulers in earlier times and especially during the medieval era did many wrongs with common people of Kashmir, though the major brunt was inflicted upon the indigenous people of Kashmir, the Kashmiri Pandits. Historical evidences and witnesses are a testimony of the fact that the ruling class had been brutal and also extraordinarily intolerant. With the dusk of the despotic rulers of Kashmir in early stages of 19th century, a modern outlook developed. 1819AD, 1846AD, 1931AD and 1947AD were very significant events that wrote very important chapters of history of the state. People have various and different and many a time contradictory perceptions about these important historical milestones. Nevertheless, the difference of opinion does not devalue the importance of them, in fact these developments gained more importance due to bunches of views and opinions regarding these developments loaded with political messages and meanings.

1947AD was actually a gateway which was carved out in 1819AD in context of the modern history of Jammu and Kashmir state. The biggest event within the political and historical developments in J&K was the emergence of the so-called mainstream in politics as an important component of democracy and constitutionalism. The “mainstream” was supposed to reflect the will and aspirations of the people at large.

However, this new elite ‘mainstream’ also assumed the role to guide, lead, define and implement the aspirations of all kinds and dimensions with the blessings of the corridors of power in Delhi. It assumed the position of political class in Jammu and Kashmir at the cost of the common people and even the socio-economic edifice of the state. During the period between 1930 to 1950, this political class or the “mainstream” considered it as its moral right to use (or misuse) the podium of religious shrines and occasions to further its interests. It was this “mainstream” that showed a way to the non-mainstream emerging politicians and leaders to get control of the religious shrines and places of worship sometimes even to their distaste. People were compelled to join political games since while laying the basis of the principle of competitiveness, level playing field was absolutely important.

The biggest fraud that the “mainstream” played was to make people believe that Kashmir needs to have a special position that would ensure them their ‘honour’; and the biggest compromises were made by the same “mainstream” to dilute the so-called special position only to guarantee itself the continuance in the corridors of power. Reigns of power were the key to amass wealth by all means, keep the gullible guessing for decades, hold the right to make political equations in order to suit political ambitions at the centre, browbeat the opponents with the stick of “national interests” and then be available to create bonhomie with those, whom in power, it would call anti-national. The games in the form of ‘national interest’, ‘ensuring honour’, ‘anti-national activities’ and ‘holding dialogues’ shaped, unfortunately, the destiny of the subjects for seven long decades after 1947.

There is no denying the fact that the people by and large followed the ‘mainstream’ somewhat blindly in Kashmir. This custom of following blindly the ‘mainstream’ was replicated even in non-mainstream politics also with the results that are right before us as on date. Four generations were deceived and misguided only to make it sure that the Family Feudal Politics is consolidated and made a reality of realities so that the non-mainstream gets isolated and ignored.

Time has come to realise the follies of “mainstream” politicians who, day in and day out, made it possible due to their intent and deeds for the last seven decades to convert Jammu and Kashmir state as a fully dependent unit on the central grants and loans. J&K is today considered as the most corrupt state among the states of India and it has a dubious distinction of being a non-productive state in terms of contribution to the national wealth and GDP. It is a politically volatile state with hardly any contribution towards the national accreditation leave alone the international accreditation. Politics in the state was considered as a domain of “mainstream” only to finally devalue the meaning of probity in public life.

It is a matter of shame to acknowledge the role of “mainstream” in misusing the state run institutions to its benefit and largesse. The bunglings in J&K Bank is one of the examples that is enough to bring the skeletons out one after the other. KVIB is another example to be quoted while cooperative infrastructure is a gross failure with JAKFED in the lead. The contribution of the “mainstream” over the last seven decades has been simply appalling and disgraceful politically, administratively and morally. It had absolutely no vision of public good, prosperity and welfare. It encouraged clinging to useless slogans, exploiting people’s religious sentiments and historical wrongs, and shaping communal overtones in all walks of governance and life.

The course correction is a Herculean task and it cannot be done by the same lot that created the mess all seven decades. “Mainstream” of the yesteryears in the state needs substitution and substitution by new blood, new vision and new action. A completely new trust in public life and domain is warranted. It is a measure challenge for those who are waiting in the wings for people to get rid of deceit and fraud,  exploitation and misuse of the last seven long decades. This million dollar question is for all of us to resolve and the date for resolution has also, almost been, finalized. It might be by the end of the year 2019. The wise need not to be reminded time and again, a single stroke of an alarm is more than enough……!