Why Reconciliation Is Vital For Kashmir?

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by Shefan Jahan

For them, the Ceylon diver held his breath,
And went all naked to the hungry shark…….
                                                   John Keats

The vicissitudinal view of the Kashmir imbroglio does not permit vagarious opinions on the subject, which may be hostile or provocative of the general sentiment of the people. Ruled by the nemeses of the powerful colonialists, the told and untold sufferings of all these years of subjugation may have moulded the minds of the people, but as victims, they have become a sceptic of one and all.

Due to sustained betrayals, the paper declarations of hideous agendas there is a lack of trust among the people. This is a glum reality.

While the issue over the passage of time has become very complicated; the solution to the Kashmir problem is also as complex. All sections of stakeholders have their own solutions and there is no common convergence of thoughts among them.

No, I am not discussing the deep-rooted genesis of the problem, nor am I a protagonist of any particular idea; but I am desirous to debate on the dialectics of a diagonal path between two dichotomous thoughts – the mainstream and the cessationist; of course without distracting from the main issue – the final fate of Kashmir (all regions included).

I am merely trying to think of a mid-path, a way which would work out if not for the solution but at least for the reconciliation and survival of our race and resources, and the raiment that covers us the citizens of J&K – its distinct culture. It is a great challenge, not just in the socio-political sense but at the economic front too.

Thirty years faced with death, displacement and destruction of life and properties; unemployment has risen, tourism our main industry remains totally disrupted; individuals are targeted and so are the young and old; women and children. Corruption and nepotism at all levels and ranks have shattered the confidence in our ruling institutions.

The negative media propaganda has pushed the people further against the wall. Our ethnicity is at stake, there is an onslaught on our culture and ethos. In such an insecure environment can we create a conducive state of affairs for the initiation of a dialogue process without compromising on our political stand? The point is what changes in our political strategy could be induced in order to at least achieve a viable predictable present? Hartal politics has failed and proved ineffective.

The pelf and power that our votes have bestowed upon our mainstream politicians has made most of them heartless human chameleons. Our sky and soil bleed, and we watch in helpless agony and pain. It’s about time that the polarized power dynamics shifts toward the people-the Aam Admi, because it is these hapless, hopeless souls who make ordinary men powerful politicians who then fail to protect them. Perpetuity of unpredictability has to be put to an end. Trust has got to be restored.

Youth can actually be the critical rather radical agents of a positive and constructive change from stagnation to the initiative. Accepting a divergence of thought would only be democratic; one may agree or beg to differ.

IAS topper Dr Shah Faesal on Friday addressing a press conference in Srinagar
KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

One of our vociferous dissenters is Dr Shah Faesal. Dressed in the traditional attire Pheran, which of late became a controversial cloak being banned and resisted, he announced his resignation from the coveted civil services which had brought him into a political glare in 2009. From a doctor to an IAS topper to a Harvard academic he is set to be transformed into a politician. And, he is ready to dive deep into the political waters. He asserted the same in his maiden presser and cleared his options before us. Many are disappointed, but it is his personal ambition to grow.

Even so by chanting the rant of Kashmir conundrum, however sincere that he is I, personally believe Shah Faesal has further twisted the matters. It would have been much better had he given reasons of personal dis-satisfaction as the cause of his resignation. Things would have become simpler if not easier.

Now, unless Shah Faesal decides to launch the Fourth Front, alone he has no political future. If he chooses to join the existing ranks that he is prefigured to join, and they are just waiting for the passenger to board their bus, these are but opinionated as ‘branded collaborators’.

The corroborators can exist un-corrupted only outside the system, maybe as academicians.

Nevertheless, on the political front, he has decided to work within the existing system for the people. Here exits a diagonal reality. Can he become a corroborator for the people who are directly against that very system; then working within the very same system of government that has become so radically against the people who since 2016 have been further alienated. Be it Dr Shah Faesal or Dr Manan Wani, both are flip sides of the same coin, highly qualified, verily cherished.

Manan Wani

Allow me to be careful! I am neither endorsing nor opposing either of the two. One is a proponent of Life, while the other chose Death over life. Both had the power of the pen. Ah! The paradox proposes pain but no solution to achieve the end.

Yes, it’s here that I crave for a mid-way, as I want the likes of both to thrive, flourish and contribute to the growth of their society.  Somehow! Yes, anyhow I want to reconcile both the extremes. How to draw my diagonal? Stand by Shah Faesal if he joins NC, ask many more like-minded but well-meaning and worthy (emphasis applied) to join his bandwagon so that he doesn’t fall in minority, and make a pact with him/them to champion the cause of the people even by joining the ranks of the rabble-rousers. Will he/they be able to harness the moral strength, and not become the Ceylon diver/s of the colonies diving deep into the sea to get pearls for their masters?

How to create the space which is filled up by the puppet politicians; the latest creed of hybrids, whose agenda is a mix of failed ideals and to bolster their morale we have an otherwise apolitical army which indulges in politics here in the State. The pseudo-fascist government’s polarized policies don’t help me either.

We have everything at stake while our opponents have nothing to lose. I feel trapped in a wire-net cage, the mesh does not allow me to see beyond. In the words of Khalil Gibran:

Shefan Jahan

Paradise is there,
Behind that door
In the next room;
But I have lost the key
Perhaps I have only mislaid it.

Nevertheless, paradise is not lost altogether though. Positivist that I am, I will make every productive and practical effort to search for the light so as to shine it bright on my diagonal to create reconciliation and a ray of hope for the survival of ‘all Kashmiris’ irrespective of everything. I shall keep the candle of hope alive.

Everyone out there! Don’t let it extinguish.

(Author is an advocate and legal consultant for STAG Group of Companies. Ideas expressed in the write-up are personal.)             

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