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Any idea why people of Kashmir have generally lost it with the politics, and with the word ‘democracy’ – the kind of democracy they have witnessed all along? The answer lies partly in the latest snap-shot of the ‘democracy’ they have seen at work in the rumblings within the ruling coalition of PDP and BJP here for the past three years over some really touchy issues, which ultimately climaxed few days back as the alliance fell apart. But even after the two partners snapped their ties, the mud-slinging between them has not ended. In fact it seems to have just begun anew, and afresh. Coming days would certainly see both parties denouncing and demonizing the other as they try and pander to, and woo back their respective constituencies in Kashmir and Jammu.

What has happened in J&K in the past over three years, and what is to happen in next few months, in the run up to and until the next general elections, is not difficult to predict and understand if one goes by the recent track record of how politics is done in this part of the world. Actually everything, it seems, is carefully choreographed in a way so that things could be turned into big polarizing controversies, here and elsewhere. So the people will be hearing a great deal about discrimination with one or the other regions, and their respective peoples. There will again be political brickbats over the state’s special status, and anything and everything that has a potential for exploitation on partisan basis – something that would reinforce ‘us versus them’ kind of thinking in all three regions of the state, as well as in Srinagar and rest of the mainland.

Unfortunately, at a place where far more important and pressing matters remain pending for no apparent and justifiable reasons, the issues that divide people and polarize regions are pulled into the middle of political wrestling grounds. Now when the state has come under the Governor’s rule, the controversies and the heat generated by the parting political partners trading allegations and counter-allegations is refusing to die down. Not because anybody has any special love lost, or hatred for any particular political issue on table, but because it has given readymade opportunity to different formations to try and do their politics, which they are doing without fail. It serves everybody’s naked and selfish interests!

Conflict, is indeed a necessary part of any politics, and of course the essential core of a free and open society. It is said that if one were to project the democratic way of life in the form of a musical score, its major theme would be the harmony of dissonance. But this does in no way mean that the conflict or the conflicting political beliefs and positions have to escalate to the level where physical intimidation and violence become the vehicle to carry forward politics. By resorting to any such undemocratic behavior nobody is doing any good –to the people or to the place.

After having pulling out of the coalition, both erstwhile partners may want to console themselves with the “psychological carry-overs” of having taught ‘other’ a lesson, and scores of similar other prayerful hopes like having “pleased their supporters”, but as for being responsible political formations and partners, that is over and done. Neither PDP, nor BJP, how-so-much they may want to distance themselves from each-others’ culpability in bringing the situation to where it stands now, can remain unscathed. But if one goes to credit the people with some political maturity and wisdom, then both PDP and BJP have already attracted much damage, indeed far more than their respective political soothsayers could have anticipated and predicted, and could possibly salvage.


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