Narendra Modi – prompted by the ally PDP to take the Vajpayee lead – has opted for insaniyat, jamhuriyat and Kashmiriyat. So, we are in with Modi's adopted mantra. Package is another Delhi mantra, deceptively designed as largess, which is otherwise tailored to Delhi's own needs. The prime need being to manage the conflict instead of addressing it. The package, we may take up later, first the mantra of insaniyat, jamhuriyat and Kashmiriyat.
Vajpayee took refuge in poetic idiom, once it became clear to him that Delhi would have to deal with 'K' dispute in a realm beyond the constitution of India. Much propagated insaniyat was meant to rough the reality that conflict resolution is not possible within the confines of Indian constitution. It had been tried, accords had been worked within Indian constitutional limits. Whether it was Indira-Abdullah or Rajiv-Farooq accord, it turned into a discord within no time. It did not produce results, as it was not inclusive of all stakeholders in 'K' dispute. Idioms like insaniyat sell hard given the realities of political resolution, unless all the stakeholders are on board, and their interests are addressed meaningfully. Vajpayee's insaniyat never meant to take it to the desired level. The establishment worked to put on the shackles.
Kashmiriyat – a catchy phrase remains much in news. It ceases to have takers once it is deciphered to mean a sub-nationality that could be assimilated in the larger nationality. Kashmiriyat that does not account for distinct religious, socio-cultural and geopolitical traits remains a non-starter. Kashmiriyat remains a non-starter precisely for the meaning given to it. The meaning of a sub-national trait does not fit in with the political ingredients needed for a comprehensive and workable solution to 'K' dispute. On the contrary, it works as an impediment, as sub-nationality amounts to subservience, which is not a healthy trait for a workable solution. Kashmir has to be on its own, rather than stand on crutches, in order to work out a solution that has takers on a wide level. It has been more often than not looped in with much propagated sufistic trait of Kashmir. Sufism has been wrongly presumed to be soft and reclusive, politically inert. Nothing could be further from truth, grand Sufis of Kashmir with Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani [RA] in lead have been socio-political activists, working for material well-being and spiritual emancipation of their people. Subservience does not fit within the frame worked out by eminent Sufis of Kashmir.
Jamhuriyat–less said of it, the better. AFSPA, POTA, PSA–the trail of draconian laws does not fit in with what jamhuriyat is meant to be. Human rights violations–widespread allegations of custodial deaths, mass rapes, forced disappearances, unaccounted graves are against the grain of jamhuriyat. Squeezing the space of political opponents, house arrests, restrictions on political activities bode ill for jamhuriyat.
Propagating electoral politics to be a device for administrative and developmental convenience, and then taking the result as a vote of status-quo outlines the gap between what is promised and what is delivered, yet again a democratic deficit. Hardly any aspect of political life in Kashmir subscribes to the concept of jamhuriyat, yet the high sounding idiom is repeated at the drop of the hat. The fact stands that jamhuriyat does not rhyme with the raging conflict. Polity in discord does not at all tune in with jamhuriyat. Jamhuriyat in Kashmir has been tailored to the needs of Indian state, administered in doses adjusted to the given situation. More often than not it gets derailed at Lakhanpur–the entry point of Jammu and Kashmir state.
Package whatever it amounts to, whatever it is named–humanitarian relief, infrastructural build-up, upgrading Banihal Cart Road is simply devised to serve Delhi's interest, which remains conflict management, circumventing resolution. 34,000 to 35,000 crores are reportedly earmarked for Jammu-Srinagar Banihal Cart Road, renamed NH-I [NH stands for national highway] name it what you may, the fact remains that road doesn't hold. Just the whiff of inclement weather puts it off gear. And, the fact remains that it has been tailored to be Kashmir's only link to the outside world. Not that Kashmir, even though land-locked suffers from connectivity to the outside world, the raging conflict has squeezed the commercial options that the vale had in the past. Post 1947, the options stand closed, as barricades come-up in the shape of border fencings. The fencings are accounted as largess to the state, meant to make it secure and safe, while as the fact stands that fencings squeeze commercial options and add to economic dependence.
Thus, a tailored consumer economy has become the fate of the state. The erstwhile state had multiple options available, such as short distance Jammu-Sailkot link, link-up with central Asia and China via Ladakh and Gilgit/Baltistan, cross LoC Jhelum Valley road–the main commercial link of the valley to South Asia in pre-1947 era.
Nobody in his senses would oppose upgrading Banihal Cart Road to a level where it remains operable round the year, however inclement the weather might be, though the road link is highly suspect. Rail link is being worked, hopefully it might hold, however it may not foreclose other options. And, the other options may not work without comprehensive, acceptable conflict resolution, where all stake-holders are on board. Packages, whatever their size cannot compensate the loss Kashmir is sustaining because of its clogged commercial arteries. Kashmir craves for conflict resolution to make it economically viable.
Yaar Zinda Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]