Running away from reality
Humans are, by nature, programmed not to look squarely into the face of a tragedy. Gloom is unpopular and, as such, people have perfected the art of “out of sight, out of mind” escapism. In case of Kashmir, successive governments in New Delhi have adopted this intrinsic human behaviour into a state policy. But there comes a time when issues must be recognized as issues – and resolved. Or at least, sincere attempts could be made to try and resolve them. This is particularly so when the democratic way of life and image of the state is at stake. It has been for long that the state has, relaying on its security machinery and deft managerial skills, opted to defer today’s crisis for tomorrow. But this cannot and should not go on endlessly. Nobody, neither an individual nor the state, has the luxury of pick and choose when and what it will do at its personal convenience. Nobody can dawdle with history for-ever.
During three successive summers of 2008, 2009 and 2010 when Kashmir remained continually on boil, even those with very mediocre memory would remember how everybody right from Srinagar to New Delhi was desperately searching for some opening to break the jinx. And those in know of things would testify that not only the people in the security and intelligence establishment, but even those on important positions in non-profit and academic arena were also on a virtual look-out for those - people and openings – that could help the state to somehow salvage the situation. The visit of a parliamentary delegation and subsequent deployment of interlocutors’ group on ‘mission Kashmir’ and many more such initiatives in-between and afterwards, were all part of this abject anxiety.
But history bears witness that New Delhi has traditionally been like this – its perceived urge for solutions enervates once it is able to manage a crisis situation and bring back some semblance of calm to Kashmir, although it knows that any calm here will ever remain restive and susceptible to blowing up into a full-fledged crisis in the face of the slightest provocation. Let’s face the bitter truth that in the face of the long travesty of democracy and justice, which is what Kashmir history is all about, people of Kashmir have forsaken their great dream of peace, which the state itself had so proudly been parroting about for so many years now. At least this is the reality today (tomorrow nobody knows what it will be like). Today even the most optimist people here have a reason to see their hopes lying congealed by New Delhi’s cold cynicism. In fact this hopelessness is writ large on the faces of many a sane voices in mainland India too. They too are publicly lamenting and suspecting if at all they really have any hand in shaping the destiny of what is boasted of as the world’s largest democracy. Much like the ordinary Kashmiri, these people too find themselves driven down into the depths of a great despair born of frustration, hopelessness, and apathy. They know, more than the country’s political class does, that a democracy that prioritizes only electoral arithmetic is bound to die of paralysis. When the social and even the national interests get displaced by selfish political interests, it should not be difficult to guess that the Centre is back to its time-tested tactic – let’s manage Kashmir today as we have done in the past and forget about tomorrow, at least until general elections.