Crisis throws charismatic leadership. Kashmir has been crisis over decades. There was hope that PDP and women leadership, afresh party in early years of 2000 would alter the sad plight of Kashmir and bring it to linearity. It gave some beams of hope and opened out spaces, but it got back in the primordial politics and gave way for the conventional politics of dream selling and illusion building. Regenerative politics needs courage and character. It is intrinsic with power provided its leadership is truthful and lives with conviction. Such moments come rare but do come in history.
Quit Kashmir was one such movement which was provided by the strong grounded and well educated collaborative leadership of Nehru-Abdullah to take Kashmir out of the slumber of centuries, since its loss of identity with the dispossession and loss of Habbakhatoon. There was a time when Kashmir could have regained its universal nativity, just after Delhi Declaration in 1950, but it became the game plan of the Cold War rivalry of super powers in a bipolar world. Pakistan was strategic depth and Kashmir was a strategic asset perceived by the western world. Kashmiris had no choice, for its most popular leadership preferred self interest and perks of power. Abdullah was made to show his back to Nehru, once Pakistan became client state to US.
Strangely Kashmiri language was impoverished, Hindi was a taboo and Urdu was partly encouraged and English was left for elite schools. The history was a narrative on mystifications. Abdullah was incarnated to super human, slogans of plebiscite were so seducing to keep youth away from the mainstream, caged and unexposed to the new realities about nation states. It was lured by political religion and separated from the native culture. The institutions were made to fail. With the emergence of Bangladesh, cultural space manifested the power of nativity and strength of composite interfaith accommodative culture. Abdullah realized, but loss by then caused by degenerative politics had robbed the cultural capital from its core. The demise Cold war was celebrated in Kashmir. There was no leadership to make people aware about the ground realities. Abdullah had gone. Kashmir needed a visionary statesmanship, which was not there.
The subsequent decades after 1980s were the decades of death, destruction and displacement. At the closing years of the first quarter of the 21st century, Kashmir faces a perennial crisis, crisis of its identity, dignity and future uncertainties. Its two major communities are torn apart. Muslims feel a sense of defeat and Pandits experience a sense of deprivation. The demystified Kashmir and transcended borders in the era of globalised world is in realm of shock. Deceived by its leadership, political or religious, seduced by its imaginary realm glued in technology and market, led down by its own intellectuals, Kashmir craves for afresh breather. The time has come in the era of new normal and in the age of rage that Kashmir takes break from its cursed past.
What is that crisis that makes Kashmir conflict a saga of unending desperation? The crisis is what we know but refuse to accept. Kashmir is a case of frozen cultural estrangement since the close of 16th century. In the guise of political dispute, its culture has been ruined. The diagnosis of its sickness lies there. Presuming it is apolitical dispute, what is its implication in this new world order. The south Asian geography is not the European sites that after the demise of the Cold War have found way to live in a realm of western culture through independent nation states, for its cultural integration had preceded the political unification of its people. It is a contrapuntal homogeneity in terms of its exchange and countenance. Their internal diversities do not pose any contradictions to their exteriority of life chances of its people, so is the professional culture developed and separation of private public sphere intrinsic.
The new migrations, they have to work out, which these countries are on its modalities. On the contrary, south Asian countries are poor countries with huge diversities and radicalized in primordial loyalties, where political unification preceded cultural integration. India and Pakistan could have lived like US and Canada or Norway and Sweden, but it could not, for nations and societies cannot be built on fragmentation of culture. This is the message that Kashmiri leadership has to understand. For China, unlike Pakistan is more interested in its development and business with the outer world with the zero tolerance towards religious affinity. Indebted Pakistan to China in the long run would mean Chinese hegemony and expansion in lands of Pakistan that India silently prefers to present formation.
Privileging of race, religion and class have come with assertion and rage. The powerful countries of east or west, no longer want the change in geography of any country that too of any representative democratic nation state. It is not only easy to do business with the big states but also minorities howsoever small can live with dignity and relatively in freedom and security only in the representative democratic nation states.
The new century after the end of bipolarity in the world order has also witnessed dissent against outsiders that has produced radicalized expressive voices against the processes plural accommodation. It suits to the developed countries, for they are centuries ahead in the sphere of development and quality of life.