The star attraction in politics remains either the agenda or the leaders, or both. Kashmir’s experiences with both these over the last seven decades have been blind, nasty and cruel. It beckons a new experimentation devoid of fraud, deceit, double-talk, immoral sermons and exploitation. The previous two political fault lines (the pro-Pakistan and pro-India) need to be replaced with a fresh line of thinking, action and resultant effect.
The political third line is a simple line to follow where unconditional nationalism, welfare of the general public, transparency and accountability are the four immediate pillars to support the aspirations of the people of the state with commitment and promise for the future. Peace and Development have to be rooted into the work culture of political parties, leaders and bureaucracy. The governance need to be pro-people and people friendly. The principle of “Zero tolerance towards terrorism and corruption” needs to be translated into reality at the ground to the detriment of the past bad experiences regarding non-accountability and non-transparency. Jammu and Kashmir has been virtually milked by the so-called mainstream politics over the last seven decades at the cost of due aspirations of the common people of the state.
The ‘family feudal politics’ cannot be the representative of the people’s aspirations, will and welfare. This kind of politics converts governance into a family estate where only a thin curtain separates the two. The past experiences make us believe that mere slogans do not work. There is a paramount necessity to evolve an alternative political line and particularly in Kashmir in the backdrop of the last seven decades of experiments and experiences. I reiterate that if we could bear with the seventy years of facade of politics wittingly or unwittingly, let us go for the new experimentation now. It is perfect time to realize that we need to be among the frontliners to give ourselves an agenda for future for the sake of our posterity in waiting.
The biggest fraud of the politicians to implant religion-based separatism into the minds of the people with a minimum expectation of the so-called special status and autonomy was always an immoral political statement. India got divided on the basis of the Indian Independence Act of 1947. It called for two kinds of reorganization of India ie., one pertained to British India and the other pertained to the Princely ruled states of India.
Division was affected only on British India and, as per the Act, the rulers of the Princely states were free to join either the Dominion of India or the Dominion of Pakistan. One, there was no third choice available with the rulers and the second, the demographics was not the determining factor of making the choice for the rulers. When Maharaja Harisingh joined the Union of India, it was the same Instrument of Accession that was signed by the other states. The accession was full, final and irrevocable. Smaller states first merged with the bigger states enabling them to accede to the Union. J&K state need not to do that as it was the biggest state at the time of the independence of India, so it directly acceded.
The incidence of UNO was consequent upon the raid on the J&K state by Pakistan. India went to the UN with a complaint that the aggressor be asked to vacate the areas which it unduly and illegally occupied. The first condition of the now-defunct UN Resolution asks Pakistan to vacate whole of J&K state which has to be followed up by the deployment of the Indian security forces.
Shimla Agreement of 1972 clearly brought Kashmir question out of the ambit of UN or the third party mediation. Then the unanimous Parliamentary Resolution of the Indian Parliament as passed in 1994 terms J&K state, unequivocally, an integral part of India and resolves to liberate the Pakistan administered Kashmir. It also declares to use all resources at its command to liberate its land.
Then separatism in Kashmir has a big stigma of communal agenda, terror link, mass exodus and ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri Pandits – the indigenous people of Kashmir to its disposition, nature and character. It will take ages to reverse the damage caused to Kashmir’s image and persona due to what separatist mind-set did to the four generations of Kashmir.
The third political line needs to acknowledge the lessons of past, the political position of India, the constitutional position of Jammu and Kashmir, role of Kashmir valley as at par with the other two regions of the state and the status of Pakistan viz-a-viz India. The policy of Modi government has brought a sea change in the overall scenario of Jammu and Kashmir. Peace and development have become the buzz political idioms encompassing all strata of population.
Employment generation, tourism focus and ecology conservation have a great support among the youth of the state. The role of political activists in mitigating the sufferings of the people is an integral component of the third political line. A clear political vision with policy focus will be the basis of this line of politics. Modi needs to be trusted by the people of Kashmir. The psyche of Kashmir has been typical in the sense that it either rubbishes an idea without even listening to its core or follows the idea blindly. A middle line requires deep thought, understanding, experimentation, review and introspection. Politics in J&K and especially in Kashmir need to be cleansed of the malice of the last seven decades, it is urged to give this third political line a chance to survive and thrive. Jammu and Ladakh have taken a lead in this context; Kashmir, I hope, will not lag behind.
The debate remains open. We will meet again next Wednesday, till then, please take care.