Dr. Tasaduk Hussain Itoo

Revolutionising the political landscape of J&K

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Good governance goes beyond better government. It is the healthy interaction between government, youth, civil society and other stakeholders of the state that truly can create a roadmap towards better resolution. We must perhaps even re-think and re-discover a kind of government that is more open and inclusive, especially of the dynamic and innovative leaders who shape the political and economic machineryof their respective nation.
To be more precise and holistic, I would say that in order to re-shape politics in Jammu and Kashmir which has gone through such a deep political transition from having a special status honour to a mere union territory, we should establish a leadership that can truly, honestly and sincerely represent the people in more productive way and address their issues in more democratic accent. However, the electoral political leadership that has a key role to play in shaping the socio-politico-economic environment of the state – has been seen stigmatized since last several decades due to varied reasons. Though it is quite understandable that to run politics at a place like Jammu and Kashmir has never been easy and is bound to face many extraordinary challenges, we can relatively say that the electoral political leadership of the place need to re-imagine and re-establish in such a way that it could functionally and efficiently pay due attention to the dissenting voices of its citizens and build a constructive roadmap for development in health, education, economy, social and political rights of its people. To re-establish and redefine the idea of true leadership, a political leader must inherit the following qualities:
Facing vulnerability and speaking out for people with true intention comes out to be a challenge though. However, honesty develops character and builds credibility and trust, which are the foundation to evoke confidence and respect from amongst those around you.

Compassion is the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something to alleviate those suffering. While many see compassion as a weakness, true compassion is a characteristic that converts knowledge to wisdom. Good political leaders use compassion to see the needs of those they lead and to determine the course of action that would be of greatest benefit to all those involved.
The word integrity is defined as ‘the adherence to moral and ethical principles; the soundness of moral character.’  It is a synonym for honesty and uprightness, and is a vital characteristic for political leadership. Political leaders who possess integrity can be trusted and one can only be a leader if s/he enjoys trust of people.

Having confidence in a political leader is about having faith or belief that he or she will act in a right, proper, or effective way.  A good political leader needs to have confidence both in himself or herself as well in his/her ability to lead.  Leaders who possess this quality inspire others.

Flexibility for a political leader is about understanding the give-and-take aspects of politics, and the ability to find the common ground. Good politicians listen carefully to all sides, to not only hear their arguments but to especially learn what it will take on behalf of all parties involved to reach a consensus. This characteristic allows political leaders to recognize setbacks and criticism, to learn from them and move forward.

Knowledge and intellect is crucial. Those desirous of leading people should possess knowledge about prevailing system, constitution, laws etc. A leader’s behaviour flows from three main sources – attitude, desire and knowledge. A leader must get aware that with power comes responsibility and that responsibility has to be executed keeping peoples’ well being, development and progress in mind.

Great political leaders have all of the above qualities – and more. Each aspires to respect different views, analyse problems, and identify the best solutions – not based on loyalty to their political gains, but rather based on what is good and right and in the best interest of the people as a whole.

A sensible leadership can have an immense role to play in reshaping the distorted political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370. I would like to infer with hope and optimism that in these testing times of massive political transition, we shouldn’t be hopeless and helpless, rather we need to instil positivity among the people to move forward towards dawn of development and light. Our political leaders need to get enough sensitive now towards the growing challenges in education, health, economy, basic human rights and the existing political system in Jammu and Kashmir and should shoulder responsibility to set it right in a more positive direction.

The recently held District Development Council (DDC) elections could provide as an initiation to that to foster robust development in the erstwhile state in multiple dimensions. Irrespective of the party, the elections reflected as a testament to strengthen the gross roots democracy. Many young educated minds including independents emerged victorious in these elections and are passionate to work for the development of the Union Territory – that is an encouraging sign.

It is high time to reimagine political landscape at grass roots level, do a kind of thorough introspection and foster an internal dialogue mechanism among ourselves to design a way forward in reshaping and revolutionizing the politics of the place. Moreover, actively engaging in mainstream electoral political process through dialogues, debates, discussions and participations is the way forward in strengthening the grass roots democratic system. As politics of a place influences peoples’ lives in multiple ways, there is a need to seriously re-think and disrupt the way the politics has been happening in Jammu and Kashmir for decades and come forward with a revolutionary leadership to reshape it.
– The writer can be reached at [email protected]

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