I have come to believe as people we are naïve. Our earlier leadership was naïve. Our contemporary leadership is not a shade better than the old crop. Moreover naivety’ is our “tragic flaw.”It has been but for this ‘tragic flaw’ that despite offering heroic resistance against any kind of colonization – minds or territory, people have been landing in the troubled waters and the morasses of uncertainties.
I see the division in the ranks of leadership and their failure to pursue in unison the “people’s cause” to quote Shakespearian phrase not ‘seeing after stumbling’. I also see it as collective failure of our society. The divisive politics that oscillates between “moderates” and “hardliners” is primarily a tactics to convince others that both have two different narratives, “reducing facts to fiction and reality to storytelling.”The sobriquets of “moderates” and “extremists” for political organizations in the state have been weaved in our narrative as irreconcilable schools of thought. I see it again as naiveté that one political group has been taking pride in being called as “moderates” perhaps without understanding the implications of the word. Samah Sabawal a Palestine writer explains the implication of the word as:
“A moderate would engage, cooperate, reconcile and coexist but never directly oppose the “power centers”. A moderate would learn to live with status quo and cope with it. Anyone who rejects the status quo and takes action to change it is not interested in peace, is hateful and is a radical.” She asserts that these labels are waved around believing that “people would be intimidated into acquiescence.”
The years 2008, 2009 and 2010, that saw unprecedented mass agitation in the state could be good case studies for any student of political science for understanding how political naivety contributes to disappointing role played by leaders in such situations. Three different reasons had kick started these agitation but a common thread ran through all the three. This thread, was recognized by political leadership, intelligentsia and civil as the ‘political uncertainty’ that has been looming large for past sixty-three years in the state.
The agitation had brought largest contingent of Parliamentarians to Jammu and Kashmir to assess the situation. Teams of important non-BJP parliamentarians and members of the civil society visited the state more than once and held meetings with all Kashmir leaders. Interestingly echoes of 2010 are still heard in Delhi. July 25, the conference on democratic rights of Kashmiri women organized by half a dozen women was voices were raised for demilitarization of the state was one such example. Tacitly all the teams that visited the state recognized that the issue of uncertainty needs to be addressed. The deep down realization with the visiting teams, both parliamentarians and civil society was that peace in the state will continue to be fragile unless the issue is resolved. Our leadership failed to consolidate this opinion to the advantage of the movement instead some “leaders” continued to fatten on divisive politics. And ironically one group sinking underweight of divisive politics out of sheer naivety has been waiting for a call….not realizing that sinking boats seldom attract passengers or touch the shore.
(Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)