Why this cynicism …

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The biggest challenge to the ordinary Kashmiri’s memory and intellect is to locate things which the political class – the two regional majors of National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party – claim they did when they were in the power. And it is certainly a Herculean task to locate in the Kashmir’s hill and dale all those “historic initiatives” and “statesmanly decisions” that are claimed to have been taken for the benefit and welfare of the ordinary people. By the way neither of these parties as also those in the adversarial camp of ‘resistance’ would want to talk of their historical blunders, of which there is certainly no dearth here!

Alfred North Whitehead was an English mathematician who became a philosopher. Having written on algebra, logic, foundations of mathematics, philosophy of science, physics, metaphysics, and education, Whitehead also supervised the doctoral dissertations of Bertrand Russell and Willard Van Orman Quine, thus influencing logic and virtually all of analytic philosophy. In his ‘Adventures of Ideas’, Whitehead says “the enjoyment of power is fatal to the subtleties of life. Ruling classes degenerate by reason of their lazy indulgence in obvious gratifications”.  In such a state ‘people of power’ fall asleep, for it is in sleep that ‘we’ each turn away from the world about ‘us’ to ‘our’ private worlds. “The waking have one world in common; sleepers have each a private world of his (her) own.”

This is exactly how it has been with each of these groups and even the individuals belonging to these groups – separatists included. After wresting power, the political elite turn to their own private worlds to enjoy its spoils. They remember the ordinary people – the earth’s wretched – only once they fall out of favour. Unfortunate though, but this is perhaps the only commonality on the political DNA of each of the individual political leaders and parties in Kashmir – again separatists included.

Take PDP’s latest tenure as an example. For nearly three years of its rule, more than half of its energy and effort was invested in keeping the coalition partner happy even at the cost of turning backs on its own support base, and reneging in the boastful election promises. The remaining stamina was consumed in enabling only a particular class of people to have power and privilege to their heart’s fill and making boastful assertions about unknown “visions” and invisible “landmark initiatives”. Results of this myopic and self-centered politics are there for everybody to see!

NC too has been no different. Today the party may attempt to take a high moral ground on so many issues and concerns of the people, but when it was in the driving seat and could have affected change, it didn’t and that’s the reason for its fall from grace.

This are just two examples (although one could quote many more) that should explain the popular assertions, expressions of people’s cynicism and hopelessness with the ‘system’ and those comprising and running it. Even though these expressions, owing to their repeated usage, have become sort of clichés, but faced with ‘hopeless’ situations so frequently, people can’t help but blame the ruling classes for their ‘slumber’.

In the ‘Alice in the Wonderland’, Tiger-Lily explains about the talking flowers to Alice. Tiger-Lily points out that the flowers that talk grow out of hard beds of ground. And “in most gardens”, Tiger-Lily says “they make the beds too soft – so the flowers are always asleep.” Isn’t it true that here too the rulers have made their beds soft – too soft – that they too are always asleep? When they wake up, they talk and talk nothing but lies, which only ensures more privileges and more perks – more soft beds for them and their ilk. Contrarily, the common people growing and living in the hard beds of ground talk of their hardship, their suffering and their misery. But nobody cares!

For the ordinary people here, it’s like the chore of the mythic Sisyphis. Their challenge is an endless pushing up of the boulder to the top of a hill, only to have it roll back; the chore to be repeated endlessly. Whitehead is right, in their enjoyment of power, our ruling classes have degenerated. And thanks to their lazy indulgence, they have perfected the art of pulling wool over the people’s eyes by repeatedly trumpeting ‘all is well’ when nothing is, or has ever been.

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