Embargoed future

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But is it?
The economic blockade may not generate the same passion and plaint today as it did a year ago, but history will mark it as a significant milestone in the intra-regional relations of the state that will, in due course, have a huge impact on the future of the state.
For one it was the first episode that brought to fore the political economy of business in the state. By and large, politics had operated in a sphere, if not independent but by and large autonomous from the politics of the state. What the economic blockade did was to put at end to this thinly veiled demarcation. The business of politics revealed the ugly but real side of the politics of business.  There were also some rather interesting revelations. The most important for the people of Jammu being that Kashmir valley is not just a piece of land, a troublesome sore or an inhabitation of ungrateful people. The point that Kashmir valley is a “market” was brought to the fore rather abruptly.
And it was that realization which put an end to the blockade. Indeed it even cost the BJP heavily in the elections as its traditional bastions of trader felt the pinch of their political adventurism.
On this side of the tunnel, it had a more positive impact. It recreated the assertion and self-belief of the Kashmiri business that they can do things on their own and can survive. This realization had taken a heavy beating since the mid 90s. It also revealed to them, the fragility of their own future. Should something happen, natural or engineered they are sitting ducks and can be starved to death. This has been a rude shock.
It has also set the Chenab valley thinking if they are not better off by having some direct relations with the Jehlum valley. This is a big break from the past. The manner in which Doda was targeted has gone a long way in convincing the people there that they better have some road links with the valley.
All this may not be necessarily negative. There can be positive takes from these realizations. One of these being that markets overrides boundaries and that may provide a stronger integrationist link between the two regions who realistically speaking are as different as chalk and cheese; be it topography, language, religion, ethnicity and culture. The sooner we realise this the better chances we may have to prevent a trifurcation, the seed of which are being sown everyday with bifurcation of departments and now two central universities and so on and so forth. Appeasements in the short term turn out to be counterproductive in the long run.

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About Author

A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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