It has really been a serious case of mishandling throughout history
Dr. Abdul Majid Siraj
Oct 12 2018
Kashmir was ‘mishandled’ at its inception as a democratic State. There can be no doubt and very truly reiterated by the Governor Satya Pal Malik a very astute established politician and administrator. The point in variance that remains in the minds of people in Kashmir have always been mishandled Kashmir by their own people. People are alive with conviction that if mistakes by their own leaders had not interceded and the revolt started in early forties been allowed to run its course , the Maharaja would have conceded its totalitarian rule and the State as a whole would have survived to emerge as the best iconic citadel of heaven on earth and the most modern show piece of modernity and a spa location for outside visitors to enjoy.
Kashmir was relieved of its subservience from the paramountcy of the British to give it the status of full freedom as an independent country with all its trappings of Montevideo canons like own population encircled in the State subject well defined law so every citizen was identifiable from one end to another, from Leh to Baltistan, or Rambirsingpora to Srinagar. There was an identifiable well trenched line of demarcation of all its borders. They also recognized the treaties this independent state has with Central Asian countries, India or even the Standstill Agreement with Pakistan.
The mishandling as understood by common people was not the Indian doing because India offered help to Maharaja to ward off incursion from the Tribal invaders. It was unfortunate that the sovereign at that time was thrown off his feet and he is the first one who mishandled Kashmir by misconstruing the outcome of his part in international Agreements with India and Pakistan. He romanced with the idea of rejecting the Constitution of India and have his own constitution 1938 to anchor governance. He under estimated the implications of hosting a war within its confines to the tune of a million forces from Pakistan and India. He suffered the consequences and said goodbye to his State, his throne, his constitution and his own life in exile. There are other players in Kashmir politics portending to be at the helm and self made champions of Kashmir who isolated the common man completely and took the complete authority in their hands and started reforms inside and forged alliances in the foreign policy of the State. They mishandled Kashmir. It is hard to imagine what would happen if they did not exist at all in the history of Kashmir but what is manifest and blatantly indicative seen was the outcome they themselves experienced. In the meantime it was too late. They never even got a chance to take their nation and its citizens into confidence to any desired level of normalcy. One mishandled blunder after another has a spin off effect and compounds disaster.
Sir, you are right something went wrong and the relations between India and people of Kashmir were rattled. It was not Indian initiative that created alienation. They found people in Kashmir to cooperate in administration of the State; they also found ways of establishing a kind of democratic governance. That may have been a phantom belief. They found compliant local based legislators to merge important laws into the local legislature without any resistance. India was gracious in making special provisions and implementing expensive projects like Hydal electricity, tunnels and highways for communication. They streamlined Indian administrative and Indian Police cadres applicable in the State that was well received.
The mishandling by local enthusiasts and adventurists still goes on perpetuating chaos in politics even though all of them have a dismal record of survival to full term governance. Media are in hot pursuit to get a glimpse of a coalition to happen but each party small or big deny common veil and alliance from the existing members. Even money and power do not work. The prophetic world view that permeates news is that J&K State assembly is likely to be functional again in its present complexion of membership soon, at least people pray it happens.. In the end using section 53 of the state constitution the assembly will breathe its last or the President of India will take over after six months and use powers to continue suspended animation or dissolve the assembly after taking prior consent from the parliament.
The mishandled element here is not from India as obviously it is the local political fraternity that did not deliver the spirit of holding together a governing regime. India is at a distance to be blamed for mishandling. The local people have enjoyed power and perks to be responsible for all acts of governing that relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power or verify performance, management and leadership. In places like Jammu & Kashmir that is an unstable strife ridden polity, effective governance can be a challenge. Kashmir is a challenge. A nation is not governed which is perpetually to be conquered. These are the words of Edmund Burke (1722-92) the Irish politician and hold true in political environment of today’s Kashmir. That can be said to support the challenges faced in governance. Albeit it is also true that governance as defined by international norms once in place equates halfway house to peace.