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By: Bhat Qaisar

The Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces since India & Pakistan got separated. Human rights abuses have been a part of the campaign against Muslim Kashmiris, particularly after the outbreak of a full fledged armed struggle in 1990’s. The oppression has manifested in disappearances, torture, rape and molestation of Muslim women apart from custodial killings, fake encounters etc. Despite all this, people of Kashmir continue to hope that one day they shall get their right to self determination.

It seems that the present political dispensation is rehearsing the Machiavellian views on relationship between politics and ethics. According to Machiavelli the sole aim of the monarch (ruler) should be to make the country strong and to establish peace and order and expel the invader. For Machiavelli all that mattered was the end and all the means and measures taken for a just end could be justified no matter how brutal these might have been. It is the end which justifies the mean, said Machiavelli!

According to him ethics or religion had no place in his system of political philosophy and he went on to separate ethics from politics. For him everything is justified as long as interest of the state is preserved, protected and achieved. He set the tone for one of the main themes of modern times namely ‘secularization of politics’.

Machiavelli gave guidelines to the ruler and cautioned the ruler that they would come to grief if they ignore these maxims. Machiavelli’s state was a secular entity with no relation to the church and with no obligation to anything outside. He believed that the state either to be expanded or perished and added that a well ordered and stable state could be successful if it has a strong government at the centre. An integrated public authority recognized by all and strong Army, good laws, religion and are, to him, the support structures for a stable and strong state.

In fact his main ideology is to defend the state at any cost, he did not care about the methodology, whether people (subjects) die or live he didn’t care and the sole purpose was to protect the land at any cost.

In the light of another political philosopher-Plato who stood for a philosopher king and believed that power must not be given to those who will abuse it either for their own selfish interests or in pursuit of misconceived goods.

Now if we look at the present situation in Kashmir in light of the above philosophical political views, one tends to believe that it is more of a Machiavellian order than anything else. The state government has been operating on the principle of gaining and retaining power no matter how many civilians are killed, how turbulent the times are and how hopeless the people feel.

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