Hot heads & cold hearts

Tarique A Bhat
No recent or ongoing unrest in North, South and Central Kashmir has received much attention in the media outside Kashmir. Why the fuss, given that the behavior of arm chair commentators speaking the loudest and urging the most reckless is based more on an ideologically based fantasy than on reality.   
In a world when technology allows information to spread as a global wildfire and when our attentions are turned to the tiny URL, it becomes easy to miss the macro politics that may be playing out within a given political situation.
The present crisis is having a far reaching effect on the minds of Kashmiri people particularly younger generation. It is not merely a hot-tempered sentiment. It is a sentiment to seek survival. There is a roar inside the hearts and minds of the youth of Kashmir. The sea of hopelessness is seething resulting in foaming wrath against whoever is or was even remotely connected with the governance of this state, past and present. This is playing itself out, as it did in the pre-militancy era of 1984 to 1989. That political situation of  proficient  but brutalized young minds who notwithstanding the absence of cohesion, not even sharing the same objectives, slowly, surfaced in  many youth and even smaller groups .Their  indulging  in activities  like protests, stone pelting, poster making, pamphleteering, public speeches   became the foundation of an actual militant insurgency in early 90’s. What was denied to that activist generation of ours was the right to organize, to assemble, dissent, and to vote for whomever we chose. There was no engagement, dialogue and political validation of that generation. Successive governments resorted to suppression. The then governments’ failure to accommodate the new political reality, and incessant attempts of imprisoning scores of youth, that time were not enough to wipe it out. On the contrary Police stations, Red 16’s and jails became their breeding cells.
History seems repeating itself. All it needs  now is cautious handling of the situation. The handling of the mass protests and violence in Kashmir by the incumbent government shows that it is following through its laid down commandments of the party-  self righteous idealistic muscular narrow-mindedness. Before taking over as CM, Omar Abdullah had demonstrated an orientation toward realism by stating publicly that the goal of transforming Jammu & Kashmir and its Gen Next is very dear to him. He has also been reluctant to be goaded into meddling in the delicate political situation in Kashmir by the likes of his predecessors.
Omar, however, is not a pure realist. Realists are usually more pragmatic than their idealistic counterparts on both ends of the political spectrum. The state government seems not willing enough to abandon the hot headed   quagmire. That is why they have  elected to escalate the restrictive policies and not the tolerance and broadmindedness.
To absolve idealism of appalling behavior by our separatist politics, however, would be a mistake. All the schools of thought in our politics   are supposed to protect the Kashmir socio-cultural fabric and economic system and allow it to flourish, not warp it up. Ultimately, Kashmir’s problems are everyone’s problems in so many ways. Unfortunately, ours being in limbo situation filtered down to the popular level, has always been fuelled by inflammatory rhetoric of political leaders.
Breaking the blockade on Kashmir discourse requires steadfastness, true, but political ingenuity as well. Hot heads & cold hearts never solved anything.


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