Kashmir politics at the crossroads!

It”s all about power at any cost.

Kashmir has a long political history of intrigues, exploitation and suppression. No doubt Kashmiri people have also experienced glory and justice but that was always short lived. After 1947 when most of the subcontinent was free from the clutches of autocracy, Kashmir and its people got torn between two big brothers. To keep the instability pot boiling, the iniquitous British while managing a retreat put seeds of hatred in the region, now grown into a full blooming tree during last six decades. Post 1947, Kashmir has experienced a rough political situation where at several occasions misleaders (political traitors) were imposed as mass-leaders and true leaders were tamed to behave like complaisant politicians. Then with the arrival of unrest and turmoil politics became a full-fledged industry. And a new dimension of nationalistic politics (read separatist politics) got added to political lexicon of Kashmir.At present within so-called mainstream political camp political parties and politicians easily and willingly swap their role based on the position or political status they are holding. What, National Conference (NC) used to dictate and push ahead while in power is now being religiously pursued by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). And what PDP leadership used to shout at top of their voice as main opposition party is now melodiously parroted by NC. This change of heart and political role with change in position has exposed both NC and PDP and their leadership. It seems that some hidden power works overtime to teach Kashmir’s mainstream political dispensation to behave the way their masters wish. Gone are the days when PDP would ask for repealing of AFSPA, demilitarization of civilian areas, release of political prisoners and everything short of azadi. Its priorities have changed and are busy in keeping their political alliance in good and working shape. PDP leadership steering the government cannot afford to annoy their coalition partner and for that they keep all contagious issues within the wraps or put them on the backburner. PDP under the compulsions of coalition dharma has made a complete political U turn. NC as a political entity and on policy matters has changed no less! After turbulent years of suppressive governance NC has spun into champion of human rights. Asking for repealing the draconian AFSPA which they misused the most, love for political detainees and much more does not suit well to their political past and future political prospects. The masters in subverting fact finding commission reports are now asking for summary trial of human rights violators and allege killers of innocent people.  The existing Political stand of both these political parties and their political discourse blend well with the maxim ‘iss hamam mein sab nange hain’. The other two important political actors in Kashmir mainstream politics, Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are working and behaving to the best of their own agenda of deriving maximum political mileage with very less of their politics on stake.

The situation in separatist political arena too is not so healthy. Their untidy compulsive alliance to pursue an otherwise collective and consistent political agenda has exposed their sincerity to lead and ability to deliver. More they blame their opponents for their disorder more they get exposed on political and leadership front. For the last two decades they have suffered more splits (both vertical and horizontal) than any concerted efforts of unification. Ever increasing king size egos of separatist leadership and ideological differences within the political entities have grown many folds. Certainly, nationalist politics in Kashmir has a large following but political leadership for this school of thought has failed its followers and a large section of people feel disgruntled with the leadership, but surely not with the idea.

Kashmir politics and its people with weak political leadership are on a political crossroad where they have got stuck between proverbial devil and the deep sea. After more than six decades of exposure to democracy, Kashmir and its people stand nowhere close to political empowerment. Here politics is no more a social work and instrument of empowering masses, but a trade where huge stakes are put to earn political and materialistic returns. Ego, narcissism and arrogance have overpowered political humbleness and leadership qualities of our politicians. They are out to have their share of power at any cost.