Kashmir’s New Year Choice: Review Or Suicide

Kashmir’s New Year Choice: Review Or Suicide

31 December 2011
Greater Kashmir
Arjimand Hussain Talib

Srinagar: Every human endeavor must be subject to review. This Roman New Year comes to the Kashmiri people as a decisive crossroad – one path leads to review of their political endeavors. The other leads to a walk into the sunset in the sea. For a people whose time is frozen somewhere in the past, the idea of a new year, as such, isn’t a sane idea. This world has changed in astonishing ways in the last 20 years. So has India, and the way nations used to think, behave and treat others. At the moment, the world, especially the US and the EU, are in a deep economic crisis. Hardly anyone will remain immune from the shocks of the hard times to come. Far more chaotic days lie ahead. Some of world’s most prosperous countries are going to go bankrupt. Welfare state will retreat. Governments will be toppled. Social unrest will be common. Climate change is likely to wreak havoc with people’s lives. Wars may be more frequent. Rule of law will erode. The Guardian on Friday reported that the prescriptions of anti-depressants rose by 28 % in the last three years in the UK due to the economic crisis. And do we get that? In principle, Kashmiri people’s quest for political justice is completely just. A review of the political endeavors does not necessarily mean a drastic change of the goal; rather it demands a change of strategy and means of achieving that goal. Such an approach is not defeatist. Nor does it suggest the efforts and the sacrifices of 20 years were not worth it. Technically, goals are supposed to have clear objectives, which, in turn, ought to have strategies. Strategies must be guided by situational and cost-benefit analyses. If the costs of a particular strategy are too high, and the results point to net loss, there ought to be a course change. If one were to use objective means of verification on how far did Kashmiris’ 20 and even 40-year-old strategies deliver results, the outcome from the analysis points to a net loss. There are some other clear results too: total disengagement from the legislative system has resulted in peripheral and non-representative political actors occupying the centre stage not just in the legislature but at all levels of the socio-political system. The end result is a systematic political disempowerment of Kashmiris at all levels – far worse than what existed in the pre-90s period. As the political stage is held by weak, non-representative political formations, the security establishment, including the military, has attained a political primacy. The end result is a serious erosion of the rule of law and deeper entrenchment of what Kashmiris set out to throw out in the first place. As the political centre stage is held by intellectually challenged formations, the general governance is retarding Kashmir’s socio-economic order back into medieval times. The end result is our serious handicap to make our economy grow, innovate and make sustainable development. The accompanying psychological instability is almost an epidemic. For years, many Kashmiris thought being violent or peaceful matters in gaining sympathy. Peaceful Kashmir revolutions of 2008, 2009 and 2010 seeking political change proved that wrong. Who gave a damn that Kashmiris were peaceful? Just an international perception that a 10 million people are suffering would not bring Kashmiris closer to their political goals. Kashmir is not East Timor or South Sudan or Kosovo. Some people in Kashmir are wedded to the dogma that heavenly interventions bring about change beyond human imagination. Every believer must believe in that. But for divine interventions to work there is a basic condition: you cannot look up to anyone else but the divine. You don’t ask international human rights organizations to ‘take notice’ of your suffering and appeal to the ‘conscience’ of the non-believing forces. You can’t expect non-believing powers to make your revolution work for you. An analysis of the state of Kashmiris’ traditional allies would be useful too. Take Pakistan, for instance. When people like Imran Khan set out to a more pressing task of fixing Pakistan and doesn’t mention Kashmir, Kashmiris would be fools to be surprised. The fact is that in any objective cost-benefit analysis, Pakistan’s 180 million people are far more important than Kashmir. The country’s stakes and its future are far more vital than a small valley. Then take the Muslim world. Most of the Arab world will be busy for many decades to come dealing with the after-effects of their spring. Then who else? Europe? The US? Are we kidding? This century is going to be a century for survival struggles. In turbulent times like these, no one gives damn to a 10 million people nestled in a small valley. It makes no market or survival sense to anybody. The columnist is currently a technical advisor in international development, and based overseas


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