Dynastic Politics

Arshid Malik

 With the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, another spate of dynastic rule is in the making, right to the alley of the Abdullahs. Characteristically, family rule is not a good thing for any surviving democracy but then how much of democracy is left in the first place with elections being rigged, voters being paid out, media being used as a stimulus to woo voters and what not. That is perhaps why the word “rule” is preferred over “democratic leadership”, symbiotically representative of the monarchical leanings of almost all governing structures in India.Yet the only good thing that the “rule” of the Muftis over Kashmir is speculated to bring about now is that we would have the first woman chief minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Mehbooba Mufti, the very probable next Chief Minister of the state is a figure more because she is a woman. She is being pitched as the harbinger of respite for the women of Kashmir, while she is also the subject of discussions and debate since,as a woman,she has to take charge of an entire state which is frivolously going through a quagmire of political uncertainty and economic disarray with almost the entire population of Kashmir regionstill upset with her party’s alliance with the Hindutva-harangue Bhartiya Janata Party. Mehbooba will have her hands full as soon as she swears in as the Chief Minister of the state. She has a crisis to attend to and how much of political acumen and cunningness she has genetically or practically inherited from her father is another chapter that could be read once she opens her chapter of dynastic rule.

The eventual truism is that Mehbooba has landed herself in a bitter quagmire than her late father had encountered during his last tenure as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. She is not as experienced as her father in matters of state-craft and does not have an equivalent sounding-board in Delhi. Now if we are hailing Mehbooba as a person who will hold the reigns of rule in the state and be exotic at it who are we fooling again?

Mehbooba Mufti as the consequent Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir is being viewed in a very positive light as pertains to gender issues, which is not bad, but the question is that will she be able to deliver? The answer is that Mehbooba is a becoming politician and doesn’t have the leanings towards gender issues, otherwise these specifics would have come to light while she was a part of the People’s Democratic Party. Mehbooba is just a figure-head who is the daughter of late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and that is her sole identity.

People have been talking a lot about Mehbooba Mufti ever since she figuratively slipped into the gown of democratically-lit monarchy and the fact is no one has the right to dissuade her from turning out to be a good politician or a good head of the state, but as matters be we cannot also turn our faces away from the truths that surround Mehbooba and resonate elsewhere.

Just because we do not have a perfect choice (even though that a splendid amount of choices that maybe less convenient to the structure of dynastic politics now and forever) doesn’t mean that we exceptionally opt for the “next to worse” choice when matters of governing the strife-torn, politically volatile and economically desperate state of Jammu and Kashmir are concerned. At least we could point out the flaws of our next head of state than brewing magic potions and painting the walls green which as a matter of fact would convey the message to Mehbooba that she better brace up for contact. Lest we may lead ourselves and our state into a benevolent political subterfuge.


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