Kashmir has a history of being subject to the ‘sweet will’ of its political leaders, its people and the ‘pleasure’ of its masters in both India and Pakistan. Right from 1947 when the fleeing Maharaja deemed it fit to have accession with the dominion of India to March 2015 when the ailing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron decided to go with right wingers, the same will prevailed.
In between, over six decades, many things changed to our constant chagrin; the Prime Minister’s post changed to Chief Minister, Sadr-i-Riyasat became governor, Article 370 turned husk and no grain, Indira- Abdullah accord happened after years of animosity etc. Many other things happened as well—rigged elections, extended gubernatorial rule, the rise of militancy, internecine clashes between militants supposedly fighting for the same cause, the horror of renegades and their subsequent acceptance as representatives, mass participation in elections and cheerleading for politicians of all hues.
Parallely, we continued with the ‘spirit’ of taking the movement to its logical conclusion. We participated in militant funerals in thousands. Shutdowns, protests and online resistance continued, too.
There is infact ‘sweet will’ behind every act of ours. Collective as well as individual. When you like to do what you love to. Goal posts can change anytime. We don’t stick to one thing. This is the ‘beauty’ of our character that leaders across the spectrum exploit to hilt. We follow Omar Abdullah on twitter as religiously as we Umar Farooq on the pulpit. The perseverance of Syed Ali Geelani is revered as much as the idiosyncrasies of Dr Farooq Abdullah are loved. The recent video of Dr Abdullah shaking legs with Bollywood celebrity is treasured in our smart phones across the board and so are the mobile video grabs of militant funerals.
Come summers and we crave for a shutdown call. Not to register protest but to an outing deep into meadows. True, we pelt stones and protest but that too is a matter of our ‘sweet will’.
Whatever we do is like a ‘bubble’, which bursts after some time. We eulogise the fighting militants singing, saani qoum ke bahaduru, karyo goori gooro (O’ bravehearts of our nation, we lull you…) and immediately after, they are dead go about our lives normally.
We create a hero out of a young lad Burhan and happily queue for recruitments in Indian army and other paramilitary services. An announcement and we rush with everything. Our ‘sweet will’ defines our being.
Let’s not go farther in history but see the recent events. In the last elections, the rallying point of PDP’s election campaign was ‘to stop BJP in entering Kashmir’. Late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was projected as the only man who could stop the ‘Modi wave’. But the reverse happened. The sweet will of the patriarch came into play and he took the ‘unpopular’ decision of forging an alliance with the opposite ‘pole’. The green flag, ink-pot and the self-rule notwithstanding.
In its ten months of rule, PDP had absolutely no problems with the alliance. But everything changed after Mufti’s demise. Again, around two months are over, and no government is seen. Had Mufti been alive, was there still a need of CBMs? No, the ‘sweet will’ can conjure any improbable scenario.
Now, Ms Mufti thinks that time is needed and assurances should come and whole lots of us are waiting. Is only the government formation bothering her or also the question to accommodate her brother? Is lying vacant the party president post also a hiccup? Is how to hold the flock together a question? If reports from ground zero—‘PDP cadres are not happy with coalition with BJP’—then, how much time would be needed to make them happy?
Madam Mufti may well understand that keeping things in limbo for long may not work. The confusion that India will treat them special is a misconceived notion. She should turn the pages of history and read how a towering Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was put behind bars and tamed.
Either ways, decide and be done with it. But don’t make people subject to your ‘sweet will’ again.