Bashir Manzar

Dialogue, the only way

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Humans are, by nature, programmed not to look squarely into the face of a tragedy. Gloom is unpopular and, as such, people sometimes take to ‘out of sight, out of mind’ escapism. In case of Kashmir, this intrinsic human behaviour has somehow been made into a permanent trait of politics. 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 people is at stake.

Moreover, Kashmir has already seen what follows when doors are shut on talks, when opportunities are squandered, squarely and continually, one after the other! But this cannot and should not go on endlessly. Nobody, neither an individual nor the state, have the luxury of pick and choose, when and what it will do at its personal convenience. Nobody can dawdle with history forever.

So if there is a fresh opening, even if it may seem very limited one; political wisdom and pragmatism informs that it is to be grabbed. This is how one has to look at the Prime Minister’s invite to the mainstream parties for a meeting on June 24.

For the past year-and-half every party in Kashmir has been saying a great deal on their misgivings about the developments of August 05, 2019, and what has followed since. But thus far these noises have somehow remained confined within the echo-chambers of the walled Valley. Now is the time to say what people feel should be said, and to the people who are the real audiences – the country’s political executive.

Nobody can afford running away from the opportunity which is knocking at the doors of the Kashmir’s political mainstream. Boycotting the meeting may seem an easy escape route to some, but it must be understood that such a stance is dictated by two possible reasons. One, that the political leaders of J&K have nothing substantive to say and that they lack the gut and acumen to engage government in a healthy, constructive and serious debate on issues of “great public importance” – physical or emotional — and both.

Second, it is easy to play to the galleries by enacting dramas — this way the escapists are spared of putting their weight behind issues that need to be discussed and debated. And in that case, the only conclusion will be that they are not serious about their politics. As for the people, it is a given that today they are not so naïve as to be led into believing whatever politicians want them to believe. Gone are the days when people of Kashmir would be impressed by hollow political spectacles.

If the J&K parties are really serious about the issues they want the government to concede, then instead of taking recourse to easy escapism, they must slug it out with the government right there on June 24. That is the arena to say what they feel must be said. Calling names and exchanging blames in front of TV cameras and bunch of newspaper reporters, despite all its attractiveness, is running away from the reality. And mind it, those who run away from fight attract very catchy and attractive, and yet not very decent labels!



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