Cordiality seems to be an outlandish a feeling when it comes to our social, political or religious affairs with our people. Whether it is the struggle for the right to self-determination, a social reformation movement, or the political governance of this state; the spirit of love is conspicuous only by its absence.
Hurriyats (G) & (M) are not ready to join ranks to deliberate and prioritize their responses to the situation they owe their origins to. Likewise other separatist organizations, flaunting same goals, seem to share nothing. There is a third front look-alike too, which showers scorn on all others.
Our religious scene is horrific, to say the least. It is completely divided and dividing the society – horizontally and vertically. So profound are the divisions among various sectarian minded, that followers of one sect feel comfortable with other faiths than sects. Consequently, our society looks fragmented and our understanding fractured.
Except bitterness and scorn, it seems, we have nothing for each other. Mistrust has plagued our body-politic. Whether it is the cause or the consequence of the conflict is debatable, but the disputed political legitimacy of governance amid large-scale militarisation seems to have distorted our individual and collective behavior.
The situation is no different in the other regional political parties, in government or in opposition.
Both NC and PDP can be and have been comfortable partners of Indian National Congress but won’t join hands. Brawls have so far been the hallmark of their style of engagement. Tied to the same anchor on their rear ends, both these parties can’t afford to cross the Rubicon of what is perceived to be the Indian national interest except in their occasional rhetorical flourishes.
The passage of bill banning inter-district recruitments with a dangerous appendage of eight percent reservation for Scheduled Castes (read people from a certain region) in every district, deteriorating power situation in the valley and wanton exploitation of other natural resources are just few cases. These have long-term implications for a majority of this state.
The problems in Kashmir seem to have become bigger than the problem of Kashmir itself.
The facts of the contemporary life in Kashmir paint grim pictures. However, self-flagellation, self-bashing or suicidal imagination is no answer to such a complex challenge. Rather, minds need to be engaged in positive and vibrant ways.
We just need to remind ourselves that there is so much profound and positive, that unites us than all the hurdles, real or perceived, among us. We are united by our humanity, religion, culture, history and geography. More importantly, we share a future, homeland, opportunities and challenges.
To get the issue of Kashmir resolved may not be in our hands but with what we have, we can transform our own world. To love and to build trust among ourselves may be a tall order but we can take few small, humble steps.
We can cease to hate each other. Start talking to each other. Be humble in our approach while being confident of our abilities. This much we can and must do.
Tail piece: Both India and Pakistan comfortably share tables with every other country except themselves.
Is it some South Asian syndrome to fight among ourselves and sit with others?