Looking Inwards

Our hospitality and our contribution to communal harmony have no doubt transcended both time and space.
Looking Inwards
File Photo

The very spirit of any social movement is often verbalized by symbols, values, norms, folklore, etc. These link individuals with each other through homogeneous social values and socialize them to live with 'collective identities'. By these means a sustained collective action is made possible and concerns like what is ethical, acceptable, desirable, right, etc dominates the society. 

Traits of the people equally matter and are strong cementing force to create what is called 'Social Solidarity' within a movement in the community. Accepted way of thinking, feeling and behaving that people agree and endorse as positive values or right is reckoned strong binding force in the said society for a common cause. This way society attains maturity and culminates into a social cohesion or what Durkheim calls, "Social Cement" creating an emotional attachment in the society among its individuals. These social forces polish an individual and his/her perception towards a society. Such societal conditions are always pre-requisite to facilitate collective social actions and influence the actors, mobilize them for exact roles, articulation of their interest. By this, as is believed by Talcott Parson in 'Role theory', individual desires and motivations reconcile with the collective needs of the society. 

Here new social norms are produced which sets tune to the rules and expectations about how people should behave in a group with a definite social orientation or culture under guiding circumstances. Norms like 'Norm of Social Responsibility' and 'Norm of Social Commitment' are selflessly created to manufacture community with great 'Group Consciousness'. The more these norms are in circulation the more they fortify society and save it from any dispersion and tarnishing. In this social conditioning pledge drives and membership drives are given publicity for the sake of inviting people to perform their roles at seemly locations and avoid what is called 'Role Conflicts'. Similarities are outweighing differences; positives overpower negatives, optimism reigns  over pessimism. Protests, if any, generate new identities, commonality, shared understanding and hostility flows as emotion. Distinct modes of protest, like candle or torch light procession, songs, poetry, black cloth, street theaters, etc become 'visualized symbols of nation feeling'. As McCarthy and Zald's believed, in 'Resource Mobilization Theory', that the success of Social movement is dependent upon mobilizing resources like symbols, leadership, etc.  

Symbols backed by constructive ideas have proved auspicious and brought red letter days in various parts of the world. The 'upraised, 'heads down' 'black socks' and 'no shoes', gestures by Olympians like John Carlos and Tommie (in 1968) or protest by Kolin Koplick have strengthened civil rights for blacks in US.  Political symbols like "broken chain" or "bundle of fasces" facilitated French society with freedom and unity. Indian struggle for freedom has itself gone through great conflict dynamics. Gandhi's 'Sarva Dharma Sambhava', Struggle-Truce-Struggle, Non-cooperation, Civil Disobedience, charkha, etc aimed at for social cohesion, an integration of Man with God, his cause, self reliance etc. These were symbols of resistance and contributed equally to totter and tumble down colonial rules. Such activities fostered 'shared understanding' in the society and contributed to how to pursue a collective goal. However, If society is worth to shape changes into successful revolutions then it is the same society that can breed culture of antagonism that divide similar people from one another. 

Kashmir climate under the shade of strikes and sacrifices seems a bit hazy today and people frantically move from pillar to post to make an equal impact with strenuous efforts other than sacrifices and strikes. Change is always involuntary and external to the individual and in the society it is becoming more inevitable when people feel satiated with a persistent status-co. Making room for a policy shift is nothing less but to add an element of enthusiasm and newness to the social movement. Since we have faced the toughest times in the present Kashmir and for making things to come to limelight, let's start frowning upon our deviant social behaviors that has cast slur on us.  It matters more particularly at a time when one is (possibly) inside the resolution phase of the conflict.

Kashmiris have made a bad name in different foreign accounts, on account of negative values that dragged us down. Our hospitality and our contribution to communal harmony have no doubt transcended both time and space. However, on turning to other side, one feels very disappointed to see our weaknesses that served nefarious designs. History is no lenient to mistakes as has been recorded in corpse of literature written by foreigners (Thomas Moorcroft, Walter Lawrence) that needs to ponder over. Thomas Moorcroft calling a Kashmiri, a selfish, dishonest, supple, intriguing, false tongued, ready with a lie, given various forms of deceit, equaled only the effrontery with which he faces detection etc. Similarly, to quote Robert Baden Powell, "Although a scarcity of men should happen, do not cultivate acquaintances with three people, an Afghan, kumboh, a wicked kashmeerian". This fed us with a discourse abounded in common derogatory stereotypes like, 'Kashur chuu beiman, ta ye cho zulam parst' (Kashmiri is unfaithful and worth to be ruled only); and are potential threats to perish solidarities and norms responsible to foster our commonalities and shared values. This widespread thinking is even today acting as fodder to 'Racial Slur'; which erodes fair 'Challenge and Response' (A. Toynbee) an imperative efficiency of society. This is always unaffordable loss for people struggling for identity and dignity. 

Pleading guilty/sarcasm can at times prove constructive to the social movement. It is not only sacrifices that persuade revolutions or change societies but an atmosphere of optimism/sanguinity to defeat any hypocrisy/conspiracy in society is equally important. This atmosphere of optimism can not be attained by multiplied 'Racial Slurs' but by proving fair and square to every single and minute affair assigned in our all capacities.  

Racial slurs or 'Racial Epithets' are words or phrases that refer to people of any racial and ethnic group in a derogatory manner. Racial Slurs are with calculated language to defame and dehumanize targeted groups and justify that targeted people are unworthy of respect, equality, trust, justice, etc. We have continued our legacies and are still rooted in social flaws. We point fingers and doge responsibilities, cultivate hypocrisies and; our 'yes man' culture and lethargy, practiced at various social institutions are possibly without any parallel. By this, what is worthy turns unworthy, what is doable is depicted non-doable and what are superior turns inferior. Our social fabric gets tarnished and proves prone to different lethal diseases (nepotism, corruption, etc). Our economy gets increasingly caught in shambles, our education is in wear and tear condition, our health sector has shown irresponsibility to deal effectively, etc. This is of course a new wave, a new 'Racial Slur', which can devour societies together. Fighting and dreaming justice at a time when you (possibly) don't deserve it socially seems a vulnerable tactic, for you can not make a nation by merely offering sacrifices and remaining socially haughty and inconsequential. Sacrificing at one end can not afford to see dishonest or ill will breeding speedily even for a pity thing on the other. We have possibly lived in days of solidarity when community kitchens, volunteer groups, sanitation drives, blood donation camps, etc who worked tirelessly hand in hand to prove that collective consciousness is corner stone to any society to shape their destiny. When conflict transformation is becoming talk of the town, lets introspect, identify our exact social roles and be self reliant for the sake of dissolving conflict into final solution. We draw curtains of resentment only at times of our special choice and most of times sideline our problem in most of our social engagements. Some times we suffer not because we raise voices against injustices but because we cut ourselves to the size which fits and justifies oppression or intervention. Hence need of the hour is to make our selves first 'virtue' then we can be efficient enough to deal with evil.  

Related Stories

No stories found.