Rail Politik

Zameer Ahmad

“Dusting is a good example of the futility of trying to put things right. As soon as you dust, the fact of your next dusting has already been established.”
There is a flurry of activity happening on the K-front these days. While the OIC – living up to its satirized full form image of Oh-I-See – has finally seen wisdom in appointing a ‘seer’, nay an observer, for Kashmir. The Turkish Erdogan has also trained his guns by emotionalising the link between Turkey and Kashmir. The other Geelani from the other side of the border also tells us that he will be raising the K-issue at all international fora from now on. And to top it all, the quaint Home Minister of India has an offer of quiet talks for all hues of political spectrum in J&K.
So far so good. The offer of quiet talks, but, baffles a commoner on the streets. First things first! While the offer for talks was on, the Prime Minister was quoted as saying that the Hurriyat never came back to him with their proposals sought in the previous talks. Which, in essence means that previous talks were still to be concluded. On the other hand various mainstream politicians are reported to have said that this time the talks would not be meaningless. It again means that the earlier talks were deliberate exercises in futility. It has been the repeated one-act-play of all these political actors to discredit the earlier initiatives for solving Kashmir issue themselves, while announcing the new ones. And every time they have found takers for these futile exercises. The words “Nai shuruvaat” (the new beginning) has become old, clich?d and worn-out by its blatant and constant (ab)use.
Is there any scope for hope? Can we ever be set free from the evil spell of cynicism that has been cast upon us through repeated broken promises and hollow assurances?
It will be too premature to comment upon which way the wind blows this time because the contours of the quiet dialogue are still a hazy delusion. But the dice seems to have been cast already. Imagine the prime minister of a country as big as India coming down along with the top brass of the country to inaugurate a 19 km railway line. A country which has the largest rail network in the world adds a mere 19 km to its track length and the most powerful men and woman of the country flock to inaugurate that insignificant track. What was the need, one may ask? But that would amount to be being na?ve. Here symbolism has already taken over substance. And deliberately so. Is this not enough a signal for all to understand and know that the stated position of India on Kashmir is never going to change. So what is the point in holding talks…Quiet or loud?.
The experimentation in diluting the real essence of Kashmir has never been successful in the long run. The Indira-Abdullah, Rajeev-Farooq and other accords were at their times seen as a panacea for all troubles arising out of the issue. But then they were never to be. Nor will be any other initiatives till the basic issue is addressed with sincerity of purpose. The Prime Minister’s symbolic visit at this point of time again creates doubts about their sincerity on the issue. History, but, bears witness to the fact that the ghost of the Kashmir will keep revisiting all its constituents till the principal parties are exorcised of belligerency and bellicosity.


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