Understand people’s mood
Kashmir has all along been a major destabilizing factor in the bilateral relations between India and Pakistan, as well as between New Delhi and Srinagar. Even as the history has ample insights to explain the causes of Kashmir turmoil, one can overlook remote historical events, for the origin and repercussions of the armed insurgency are now so widely understood that it hardly needs any further elaborations. However, what has really been intriguing for the general masses here is that the efforts aiming return of peace in this trouble-torn state have not been well-oriented. Had the case not been so, then of course a lot would have been done in past nearly three decades to evolve a result-oriented strategy for reaching the desired goal of peace.
Pakistan, as much one would like to differ or disagree, has played a very important role in Kashmir. Without going into ‘what’ and ‘how’ parts of this assertion; for the sake of brevity, it should suffice to say that dealing with Pakistan is the exclusive prerogative of the India’s diplomatic elite, and vice versa. When states talk (or even fight), it is their respective interests that are at the core, and there is hardly much that people of Kashmir could do about it. They can neither force the two to talk nor should they expect that either of the countries would bargain away their own interests for the sake of Kashmir or its people. Those who nurse such thoughts are going against the basic political sense and hence living in proverbial fool’s paradise.
However, as for as tackling the situation within Jammu and Kashmir, both at political and administrative levels goes, it calls for looking at and understanding the conflict as the manifestation of peoples’ anger against- and alienation from New Delhi, which in essence is the popular resentment against the successive governments too, lack of employment and other developmental avenues besides the “denial of democratic rights” to the people which touched its climax toward the end of 1980’s.
Unfortunately, as if unmindful of all these dynamics, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has been tackled, till date, through good managerial skills, bereft of proper momentum and motivation for the resolution of issues on a sustainable basis. Right since the beginning of the armed struggle in Kashmir, there have been attempts at containing it through military means and neutralizing the vehemence of the ideologies of the militant and secessionist elements. Even as both the mechanisms employed for containing the violent uprising have yielded some results in the past, however, there is now a desperate need for a change of policy.
Dynamics of the situation in Kashmir have changed with the change in the geopolitical situation globally. Similarly the current internal as well as external turmoil faced by Pakistan too has a very profound effect on the separatist politics in Kashmir. Inarguably the common people today are perceptibly neither moved by the locus classicus of the separatist leadership nor by the phraseology of Pakistan for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and their welfare. They also remain as much unimpressed by the hollow rhetoric and emotive sloganeering of New Delhi or those in the political mainstream here. This is simply because all these parties have squarely failed to deliver people of Kashmir from the morass of hopelessness, or lending their aims and aspirations any meaning and direction. This changed situation merits and demands more than token lip-service, and concerted people-centric efforts from all. It is time that those at the political helm – both in mainstream as well as separatist camps – understand the changed situation and accordingly devises their future course of action. If people-centricity is made into the guiding factor, peace will not remain elusive for long. Otherwise, if the various players in Kashmir politics continue and confine their act only to playing to the proverbial galleries, it will be like missing yet another vital opportunity.