Akeel Rashid

The curious case of ‘political status-quo’ in JK

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The Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Satya Pal Malik, has made certain revelations which resonate with the reality with regard to his understanding of present situation in Kashmir and with no visible takers for these revelations. These vital disclosures continue to exist in a vacuum and this situation raises the following question: If a politically immature statement tends to invite a verbally charged reaction, why not adopt the same approach for politically mature statements?

Through these many years of death and destruction in Kashmir, everything, whether tangible or intangible, has undergone considerable change- either negative or positive- but the style of politics has remained as such and indeed what it takes to keep things the way they are is the ‘political status quo’. The politics in Kashmir has been thriving on disagreements, which some may legitimately argue as being the real essence of politics but the case is different here, and no one ever seems to have taken into consideration as to how these unhealthy, disagreements are being facilitated just to maintain the political status quo and not to fulfill the basic requirement of text-book definition of politics and thereby endangering possible sustainable political developments.

More to the point, the result-oriented politics has its underpinning in the selection of particular issues which are open to mutual concessions, but how often do we find our politicians raising such issues which pertain to compatible interests instead of raising a single convenient issue of incompatible interests.

It really matters that the head of the state, currently the Governor, acknowledges with utmost sincerity some of the important factors playing out presently in the state of Jammu and Kashmir which are at the heart of whatever is shaping the present situation here. Since his taking over as the governor of the state, Mr Malik on a number of occasions vouched for the lack of trust, among the youth of Kashmir in the political institutions by validating his point of view through a strong argument that “youth have rendered politicians and political parties, all-inclusive, irrelevant”.

Another existent issue which the Governor has admitted to be prevailing in the state is corruption, which has created a sense of mistrust among the people of Jammu and Kashmir and this issue again flows from an institutional level.

If one will take a broader look at what Mr Malik has revealed, the issues which he has raised are structural in nature and thereby capable of facilitating “structural violence”, already prevalent here. These structural issues, unarguably based on compatible interests, flow from institutional levels including both government and public. To illustrate this point of mine, let me pick up an issue of existent mistrust among the youth of Kashmir towards institutions – which many youths can relate to. On the one hand, if the political institutions are failing to maintain their integrity, what about the non-existence of alternative political, social, economic and public institutions which would have addressed this distrust, concomitant with lack of hope, faith and rising fear, among the youth?

If there is any scope for reaching on a consensus on some issues in Kashmir, we ought to begin with such issues which are based on compatible interests and doing so will reveal and rather challenge all such elements which are protecting political status quo in the state.

The negative consequences, quite evident in Kashmir, of these structural issues put forward by the Governor, demand attention and pursuance and not refraining from drawing any conclusions, I will leave it to the readers to decide.

The author can be reached at [email protected]  

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