Raouf Rasool

E=mc2

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Politics, according to Webster is “the science and art of government”. Though it is generally viewed in a context of corruption, interestingly, however, its dictionary synonyms are “discreet, provident, diplomatic, wise….” So if politics is the art of doing a ‘thing’ wisely, then wisdom also lies in knowing when not to do a ‘thing’. If politics is about raising an issue, then it is equally also about knowing when to let it go. There is certainly no room for overdoing anything in politics, because there is a very thin line separating politics from idiocy and imprudence. No wonder, the dictionary antonyms for ‘wise’ are imprudent, foolish, thoughtless and silly!

Every single person active in the arena called politics will have to make a choice – as to which side of the line they want to be on. Do they want to be counted among the wise, or otherWISE? Choice is theirs. However, if they choose the former, which is what politics is all about, then they will certainly have to do a rethink over their strategies and tactics.

In politics no issue, howsoever important it may be, is going to be available to be milked forever. Any issue or a tactic that drags for too long becomes a drag. This is why the political leaders are advised to make careful choices on how far to go with an issue -- when to say what, to whom, where and how in as much as they need to know when not to say what, to whom, where and how, and most importantly why. The success or failure of their politics lies in mastering this very art.

Past week Kashmir saw a political alliance taking shape – between former bureaucrat Shah Feasal’s and former MLA (Langate) Shiekh Abdul Rasheed’s parties. Before this alliance came into being, speculation was also rife about an altogether different combination, which besides Rasheed also included at least three politicians, who have for long being trying to put together what they had been saying would be the “Third Front’ of Kashmir politics. But this front never came to fruition and still remains a pipe dream – at least for the trio of M Y Tarigami, Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen and Ghulam Hassan Mir.

Interestingly during the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, Ghulam Hassan Mir had put his weight behind Rasheed at least in one Assembly constituency of Gulmarg, where former has some influence. Though Rasheed couldn’t win the Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, but he did manage a sizeable chunk of votes which have obviously added to his political weight.

Now the question is how do one reconcile these diametrically divergent, if not entirely opposite, stated political positions of each of these individuals coming together on a single platform at different points of time. More clearly put, how does Rasheed strike a balance between someone like Shah Feasal and Mir? Or for that matter how does Sahah Feasal explain striking an accord with Rasheed, who until recently was mulling, or may be still is, an alliance with the likes of Mir, and Tarigami, and Yaseen?

This reminds me of Winston Churchill. History has it that few hours before the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union during World War II, then British premier Churchill’s private secretary, while informing his boss about the imminent turn of events asked how Churchill, the leading British anti-Communist, could reconcile himself to being on the same side as the Soviets.  “Would not Churchill find it embarrassing and difficult to ask his government to support Communists?”

But Churchill’s reply was clear and unequivocal: “Not at all. I have only one purpose, the destruction of Hitler, and my life is much simplified thereby. If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons!”

So there obviously is nothing wrong in the political choices politicians here make about different permutations and combinations, or anything else. But then, like Churchill, they will also have to do a bit of explaining about it so as to help people understand their politics, which otherwise baffles them.

One last thing, and certainly a friendly counsel for all: Ever wondered why masterpieces of philosophy and scientific statements are no longer than a few words -- like E=mc2, for instance? It is basically a determination not to detour around reality. And reality howsoever ugly, must be confronted, for then only could one strive to have ugliness make way for the beauty.

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