Political EliteInKashmir

Dr. Bashir A Dabla

The Italian sociologists, Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca introduced the basic idea that for much of the recorded history, “the few have ruled the many.”  The latter explained its political dominance over the ruled mainly due to the rulers’ superior organization skills.  Pareto named those rulers as “ the elite”.  Later on, in this thematic area, C Wright Mills developed the concept of  “the power elite” which is equivalent of the concept of “ruling class”.  He referred to the “American ruling elite” which was composed of businessmen, government and military leaders.

Like elites in other countries, and India too, political elite in Kashmir [in its elementary form] remained most dominant in politics and other fields of life throughout post-1947 period.  It was primarily because of the nature of accession of J&K state to the union of India that political elite got necessary, legal and legitimate role in politics.  During that period, the political [power] elite in Kashmir usually composed of major-minor political leaders of all political parties, big business families, professionals-technocrats and bureaucrats-administrators, who were usually borrowed from New Delhi in order to rule the state effectively.

The dominant role of the political elite in Kashmir can be explained in terms of crucial, though unethical and unprincipled, role in a situation which was characterized with political uncertainty.  The logical implication of that situation was felt in the emergence of dependent political elite.

In this way, the political elite in Kashmir was established in an organized form.  In that political environment, all political leaders and actors, irrespective of their differences in politics, ideology, region and religion, played with the political aspirations of the masses and enjoyed all material benefits showered upon them by New Delhi rulers.

Recently revealed Wikileaks reports related to Kashmir, India and Pakistan confirmed these propositions. Though these reports represent a particular perception of world politics, global interests of sole super power in different regions, and possible role of that global power in different countries. These reports have been characterized as partisan and particularistic in the Kashmir context.

In fact, these documents reveal the petty interests and dehumanized face of the great power.  But, at the same time, these reports explicitly reflect the complex and dubious role of political elite in Kashmir.  These provide details about intentions, objectives, performance, perspective, ideology, relationship, visa begging, and so on.  In this background, the entire political elite has been dubbed as “polluted” just like the pollution in Dal Lake.

In reality, these are the facts of political life in Kashmir.  The entire political elite composing of individuals, families and groups, irrespective of their differences in many fields of life and politics, have consciously and systematically followed their respective economic interests of their respective entities rather than of the common masses.  It applies to all, left, right and centre.  

The so called nationalists as well as separatists have followed qualitatively the same political ethics and culture.  All these political representatives have accumulated huge wealth through dubious means, which can last for many of their future generations.

Two basic and political propositions follow from the above presentation.  First, the so called nationalists and their political parties did not work sincerely and realistically for national integration and national cohesion.  They established the rapport between political elites in Srinagar and Delhi only.  Second, the so called separatists and their political outfits did not work seriously and sincerely for the cause of political independence of Kashmiris.  They used and blackmailed the exogenous opposite political forces for their betterment. Their chronic disunity tells their real story.


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