In Jammu and Kashmir, for ages, ‘the elites’ – have thrived and progressed, generating wealth and monopolizing power, while the huge population of social, political and economic underdogs have remained more or less static on the socio-economic ladder. It is this ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor, powerful and the helpless, developed and the under-developed, haves and have-nots that possibly explains the seemingly inexplicable resurgence of religion, ethnicity, nationality and a multitude of other such factors that provide the cleavages and fault-lines for renewed tensions that go along with the major conflict plaguing this region.
Decades back, futurists Alvin and Heidi Toffler had predicted – “these multiplying, and fast-widening cleavages represent large-scale threats to peace in the decades ahead.” Today, we are already into an era when almost entire world remains torn by the bloody uprisings based on religious, ethnic, political, and economic differences. However, if we look beneath these uprisings, we will see each of these movements have their own economic, political and social causes and agendas tearing the existing nations apart through what has come to be known as civil wars. While as international wars have always attracted enormous global attention, however, in the post-Cold War era, the incidence of civil wars has increased manifold and it is these internationalized internal (intra-state) wars, which remain a major focus of international attention and concern.
Since every civil war is caused and propelled by a plethora of political, economic, social, and other factors, it will, therefore, be a mistake to look at these wars through a vantage point of any single factor alone. In fact every civil uprising is an amalgamation of many or all of these varied factors and causes. Similarly, each conflict is different and has its own “distinctive, idiosyncratic triggers,” which makes any generalized study prone to faulty understanding and interpretation of the phenomena characterizing these wars. But there are, at the same time, certain other factors that run common in most of the civil conflicts dotting the political landscape of the world. It is these common elements that systematically increase or decrease the incidence as well as the severity of most civil wars.
The loud political rhetoric originating from various parties and sources regarding the ongoing conflict in Kashmir notwithstanding, it goes without saying that so far not much has been done to understand and then deal this conflict in proper perspective. Instead everything is so overly politicized that whosoever says or does anything here is actually eyeing some political mileage out of it. Even the people with no educational or political capital to understand the structural, economic, social, cultural, geopolitical and other implications of this conflict, miss no opportunity to talk about Kashmir.
A cursory look at the stream of speeches and statements pouring in from the varied political mouths here drives home the fact that every Tom, Dick and Harry is out in open to lecture on, and about Kashmir. And as if the bands of locally-bred politicians were not enough, Delhi-based so-called Kashmir experts, who are actually the part of the larger political enterprise (read conflict enterprise) called Kashmir, too are there to poke in their noses, claiming their share of the plum. No wonder ordinary Kashmiris, like their confused aspirations, remain ever-inundated in this verbal garbage that is bombarded at them without any respite. And what is really disconcerting is that much of what is said about Kashmir is not only factually incorrect, but also insulting to the popular psyche here. Needless to say that this absurd rhetoric besides confusing the governments is also doing more damage to its (government’s) cause here!