The failed politicians and their fellow activists in the J&K and specifically in Kashmir valley will try to sell the same commodity that has failed the society for the last seven decades
FRAGRANCE OF IDEAS
The prominent politicians in Jammu and Kashmir for the last eight decades learnt the art of political narratives very well and sold them at the best 'price' available. In fact the well to do ‘merchants’ in Delhi was always prepared for exchange of the commodity either through barter or in cash. More than seven decades of commerce of narratives, ideas, negotiations and agreements consumed four generations of the state with the end result of 'back to square one'.
Initially the politicians in Delhi tried to experiment with their ideas with the connivance of leaders in Srinagar, but later on, it made them to adopt this experimentation as a perpetual pastime. Once the Instrument of Accession was signed as per the Indian Independence Act of 1947, as passed by the British Parliament, the rant of dialogue (Kathbat) began. With the approval of Article 370 in the Constitution of India by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, the Delhi Agreement was signed in 1952. Only the next year in 1953, Sheikh Abdullah, the leader of the government, party and people was put behind the bars under the banner of Kashmir conspiracy case. However, Article 35A was introduced without any reference to the Parliament in 1954.
Then in 1975, one more agreement was put into business bringing Sheikh back to the corridors of power in Jammu & Kashmir. It was said that this would be the final agreement on Kashmir, which it never was. In 1987, one more agreement was given birth to between Rajiv Gandhi and Farooq Abdullah confirming that the agreement now enacted would supersede all agreements made earlier. But what it was, was not. It was again a failure inviting trouble of the last three decades with one lakh people already having taken their final leave from the world in this State.
Death with destruction wrote the history of Jammu and Kashmir despite one more implied agreement in 1996 which brought the 'prodigal son' back to the seat of power direct from London, which he chose in 1990 as his safest enclave leaving behind his people in lurch and chaos. It was he, Farooq Abdullah, who fled to London alongwith his family, abdicating his responsibilities in 1990, and thus leading the Pandits of Kashmir to the forced mass exodus immediately thereafter. It was he who showed them the road of exodus from Kashmir.
His willful exit was instrumental in establishing the fact that the government was both unwilling and incapable to save or face the situation in the state and particularly in the valley. Instead of taking the bull by the horns, Abdullahs proved themselves the 'leaders in luxury' as usual. When the elected leaders leave their people alone in situations of distress and difficulty, the men of wisdom would say that "the people get the leaders they deserve".
The old narrative of dialogue or 'Kathbat' was reinforced by the idioms like, taking into confidence, stakeholders' stake, trust-deficit, political process and confidence building measures, immediately after 1996 elections in the state, thus giving birth to the tradition of Interlocutors and committees on Kashmir. It was done anyway, notwithstanding the clear mandate achieved in the 1996 elections.
Farooq Abdullah once again led the rote and made his entry into all combinations of political permutations at Delhi with the bargaining chip of all idioms of political convenience. He made it sure that he was anywhere and everywhere thus taking political and economic benefits with the best licences in pocket. Omar Abdullah also didn't lag behind and followed both his parent and grandparent to negotiate the 'izzat' at an appropriate value to the detriment of their opponents in politics.
The recent statements issued by the Kashmir centric political leaders and particularly by Farooq Abdullah, their common leader now, speak more about their frustration than about their resolve. Any demand from any quarter for restoration of the so-called special status of Jammu and Kashmir is not only retrograde but is also untenable. It is also tantamount to taking the arms of clock back which doesn't happen in well established civilized societies. The modern outlook of civilizations tend to look forward rather than to be subdued with the unwanted baggage of past.
The people of the state and particularly those of the Kashmir valley can't be befouled time and again. They have been the victims of false promises and half truths right from 1947 when they used to be promised the moon. People are well aware now about the futility of slogans like, plebiscite, back to 1953, hamara izzat 370, azadi, self rul, double currency, porus borders, free trade and so-called healing touch for the last seven decades. Ultimately, for these politicians, it is now 'the issue of trust-deficit among the people'. These politicians need to know that the time for experimentation has duly elapsed and the new generations are hardly interested to trust the untrustworthy who have amassed wealth and assets disproportionate to their worth, capability and income. They want them to be brought before the justice system so that people come to know as to what was done to them by their leaders all along.
There is hardly any chance for bringing the government at the centre to a position of compromise on any issue that nullifies even an iota of what was done on 5-6 August 2019. Neither is there any likelihood for any kind of a compromise on the issues pertaining to nationalism, fundamental and equal rights, patriotism, integrity in public life, accountability and transparency.
Those who committed grave mistakes will have to pay for that. It is silly that the three times chief minister of the state would say, "streets are empty because we told our people, don't get killed. They had decided to kill over 10,000 people". Such a statement issued by Farooq Abdullah is highly irresponsible and instigating. It might attract penal action too. Then his talk about so-called subjugation by China of Kashmiris as a better option is the most disrespectful & out of mind statement. He has carefully omitted to speak anything about Cricket nowadays, possibly because of his Chandigarh interrogation episode.
His statements over the last certain years suggesting that 'the people voting BJP should get drowned in sea' or 'even if Modi is elected the PM of India tens of times, he can't dare to remove Article 370' are reflective of his arrogance and political fallacy. He was the same person who claimed that 'Jagmohan got Pandits out of Kashmir in 1990' and 'PoJK doesn't belong to the father of those who reclaim it'. It is he who brought disaster to Jammu and Kashmir by his actions right from 1987, and he is once again trying to be the 'superintendent' of death and destruction by reintroducing the facade of trust-deficit rote.
The issues which were taken to the SC are subject to the jurisdiction of courts and should not have been politicised by the leaders, and that is what precisely these so-called leaders are trying to do. While they have lost their credibility among the public, it is almost impossible for them to reclaim the space of the 'mainstream' once again. Farooq Abdullah is conscious of this fact and he admitted it candidly when he said that "August 5, 2019 developments were aimed at to discredit them in the eyes of people".
Statements of all other leaders like prof Souz, Mehbooba Mufti, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sajjad Lone and Omar Abdullah bring their defeatist psyche into limelight while they complain of lack of public support over the last one year to their detention and political rhetoric. It is for the current generation in the Union Territory of J&K to decide whether to work for a fresh alternative leadership or to again trust the already tested.
The failed politicians and their fellow activists in the J&K and specifically in Kashmir valley will try to sell the same commodity that has failed the society for the last seven decades. If their idioms like trust-deficit, taking into confidence, stakeholders' stake and confidence building measures had something tangible to deliver, seven long decades were enough a time period to achieve the unachievable. More so, such rhetoric is also pushed through to gain some public visibility and political largesse, if possible.
It is time to deeply introspect, review and rejuvenate with a vision clear in minds for the future. It is an open opportunity to reconsider options that have potential to create a history of sorts, bringing back the agenda that has on its top the welfare of the people in all spheres since public welfare is the ultimate politics.