Heckle’em Down

Long many years back it happened in a press conference held at Jammu. Late Abdul Ghani Lone was manhandled by the members of a right wing Hindu group. It was an extremely rude and abominable way of doing politics, if at all it can be called politics. It was essentially hooliganism perpetrated in the public space by powerful against powerless. A reductionist analysis would at best stop here. In the same city Syed Ali Shah Geelani encountered the same set of people.  It was another ugly scene created by the Hindu right wing. Neither late Lone nor living Geelani lost anything in those violent assaults by radical groups. If there is anything that suffers a loss it is the popular mind in India. The common man fed on the ideas and practices pampered by Hindu rightwing will one day rue his fate once the disastrous consequences of choking the democratic spaces becomes known to him.

During the 2010 popular uprising in Kashmir the word about Kashmir dispute went far and wide. None could have in fact stopped it because the level and expanse of the protest was so huge that the cameras and crews were bound to get hooked onto the subject called Kashmir. It happened because people of Kashmir made it happen. The media organisations, political influences, and civil societies could only engage later. In all this Indian civil society could not have remained unaffected. Already there are many known Indian faces that have been over the years engaged with what is happening in Kashmir. If the Hindu fringe expects that by heckling Geelani or Mirwaiz down they can stop the truth spreading out from Kashmir they are completely mistaken. It is always better if things are listened and responded to decently. Arguments can be exchanged in a cultured way. Heckling down means you don’t have any argument, so the only course you can resort to is violence. Right now this violence is directed towards your ‘enemy’ but over time violence has a habit of sneaking into the interiors. That day India will only identify ‘enemies’ within its own mass of people. Those who choreograph such media grabbing summersaults are setting India on the path towards national suicide.

If  poisonous politics, in the name of power politics or religious ideology , or both are allowed to guide the popular minds in India on Kashmir, it will only ruin both Kashmir and India.  Solution to Kashmir dispute will become difficult and politics in India will turn violent even in the spheres that only belong to India. This is what worries the saner elements- here, there and everywhere- every time the news of Hindu extremists with some Kashmiri Pandit associates heckling Geelani or Mirwaiz, or any other Kashmir leader hits the screens and stands.

If the minds remain unchanged and the State power is determined by that mind, it is an endless war, endless captivity. Permanent war, permanent prisoners of war. In such an atmosphere talking of resolution is a proposition far off the mark. One day the violence will take the entire region by its claws. It’s not anything vatic or prophetic. It is something like the light of a star may be light-years away but one day sure to hit the eye. The pillars of the state and the society will morph into masses of dynamite. Pakistan is a telling reminder to all of us. Not just Pakistan we have many other federations and unions, broken down by the same mind, even in the recent past. It’s not a doomsday alarm. It is something that may be many of the journalists who are doing the rounds in India might report one day. God forbid!

If the minds don’t change we will have to take care of the immense potential of violence that the national security states hold when they are precariously stationed at the “the threshold of indeterminacy between democracy and absolutism”. This violence will always be justified by some grand narrative spinning around the ready made centre of hyper-patriotism. Like what has been happening in Kashmir for all these two decades, the violence gets explained and justified by the invocation of some ideological or national theme, or negatively by connecting things to some Other; the enemy. Pakistan, Taliban, secession, fundamentalism, terrorism etc.

In this situation if there is any framework of resolution it is to make Indian state and society responsible. If a solution has to come, it has to come through the people of India. And for that the politics and society of India has to undergo a change. Till that happens all one can say to the proponents of different proposals is to save their breath and utilize energies in making people informed and intelligent towards Kashmir. It is in this direction that exercises in the public spaces aimed at explaining Kashmir to the Indian audience would help. It would help both Kashmir and India. If the Sangh Parivar really wants to do good to India they should listen to the voices traveling from Indian into the Indian plains. Creating noise blemishes the very civilizational face that they seem to prettify through their activities.

Tailpiece: GoI appointed a team of interlocutors to meet different sections of people in Kashmir and suggest the measures that can leads to the solution of Kashmir problem. It is far more needed if different teams are appointed to travel across India and inform them about the truth in Kashmir.

{ Feedback at mrvaid@greaterkashmir.com}