Beyond boycott

That is the question which bogs the moderate camp, and which has forced them to refrain from calling a boycott call.  The question has come up earlier too, if we remember, much before the 2008 Assembly elections began, the Jamaat-i-Islami had said it   would not call for boycott. The reason, Jamaat said then, was the little impact the call had in the previous elections. But then came the Ragda agitation, and everything changed. Kashmiris came out, under one slogan, defying bullets, batons and curfews, calling for an end to Indian rule. And the boycott seemed to be the easiest bet. Then the elections came, and boycott failed. The Indian democracy said it has won again.  
So if the boycott failed then, how come can it succeed now? So isn’t calling for a boycott a recipe for disaster. Probably these uncomfortable questions and their imminent answers have brought the separatists camp on defensive. And if we also count Sajjad Ghani Lone, then it has had a pure setback.  Thus the Hurriyat (M)’s answer, we saw this week, was asking people to “use their conscience”. It would have been far better had they evoked their own conscience, and looked deep inside to see where the trouble lay.
If failure of boycott meant setback or embarrassment, giving up the call altogether at this stage (When it has been made into an issue in past) means accepting the defeat. There is a famous saying, “The battle is not lost until you accept defeat”. The Hurriyat (M) has accepted defeat; to its credit the Hurriyat (G) hasn’t. But that is all, Hurriyat (G) hasn’t accepted defeat. It hasn’t come up with any strategy to win or continue the fight either.
What the separatist camp needs badly is a proper strategy, a clear plan, at least some fresh ideas, beyond the boycott and stone pelting discourses. And blaming all ills on the unpredictability of Kashmir people won’t do. If the leaders can’t lead, they have no business to lead. 


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