Internet is a great source of knowledge and humour too. About the peculiar quality of divisions within Kashmiri, a post once said: one Kashmir is an outfit, two Kashmiris make a party and three are a complete alliance. Though it offers lighter moments, it is a larger reality that Kashmir has a potential of making divisions within. It is the new ‘unity in diversity’ and it encompasses every field. The unionists are a divided lot. Post-2002, it is NC versus PDP and this division has created a situation that neither of them will, for many elections in future, be in a position to have sole authority over power. They will always be dependent either on Congress, Panthers Party or the new affiliate that BJP is gradually creating to manage Jammu.
It is the same situation in the separatists. Going by the political bible they swear of, they do not have much difference in what they want to achieve. Yet they are divided in rival factions. Differences are so deep that all efforts made by many lawyers and activists have failed to bear fruit. They are rarely seen offering prayers together. Even the parties that make the two major alliances have divisions within. And the most interesting phenomenon is the dichotomous nature of certain parties who have the capacity to exist on either side of the ideological divide – one contesting polls, another opposing it and tragically both having the same followers.
In Kashmir, even Communists have two factions – the Russian and the Chinese brand. Congress exists in informal groupings. More recently, even the Muslim followers of the BJP support the two Jammu factions – the real and the ‘unreal’. Though regions have been a major divide and a continuous source of grapevine to feed political agenda of different parties, the religions was a new entrant that would try to override the regional divide. Even Kashmir valley that is faithfully homogenous is being encouraged to get identified as rural, urban, Salafi, Sufi, sub-urban, Gujjar, Bakerwal, Pahadi and more recently those from uptown and down-town. Even the trade unions have the same crisis. To every ‘real’ union, there is an ‘unreal’ trade union. And the most recent phenomenon is that of panchs and sarpanchs. The elections to the panchayats were held on non-party basis but it never was the case. There are enough and adequate data available in public domain that identify particular individuals with particular political parties. It will become much clear once the block development council polls are held on party basis, if at all it suits the main players of J&Ks political chessboard. On the issue of security, these panchayat activists were divided – one seeks security and another wants to stay put without it. Both seem to be having convincing arguments to justify what they claim. But the intolerance within them is so deep that they are unable to stay united.