For want of any other alternative, the squeezed electorate in Kashmir has but to sup from the same trough for the last so many years. And it has been an exotic cocktail, equal parts star- plucking promises and countless betrayals, renewed resolutions and shameless flip-flopping. So soporific is the effect of this” pudding” that credulous people are driven to the same treacherous hole they were bitten as many times before. Though left licking their wounds for wholesome six years, the tantalizing aroma of the pudding fastens them to the show. The bugle of the pied piper is too seducing.
With pro-movement groups boycotting the elections, the field is wide open for Indian main-stream parties. But no sooner the poll dates are announced they start casting off their moulds and swapping their identity. In their grafted new look they are seen nourishing the very constituency which is the very antithesis of their political belief. In power or in opposition they re doped to turf out anything that goes contrary to their party stand, come elections they wear a new phenotype. Regional parties, we know, have mastered this skullduggery. Con artists they know how to refine the double-speak. Aping them now are the Indian national parties. As the political theatre is warming up with all sort of antics, people of Kashmir and their sentiments are holding ‘special place in their hearts’.
The NC under its domineering president Omar Abdullah is doing stunning somersault. In its renewed vigor the principal regional party (more because of poll compulsion than conviction imperative) is marshaling all its gimmicks to cultivate its image of being a ‘reliable’ Kashmir-based party. Addressing an election rally, chief minister said: ‘people of JK are primary stake-holders of their political destiny’. As if expecting people to acknowledge his sentiment-oriented demeanor and shedding stooge cloak, Omar blazons : ‘there is not a moment in my political career that I have wasted in not demanding the solution of Kashmir issue according to sentiments and aspirations of Kashmiris’. Should one take it as an incentive for a loud guffaw, or mourn on the party’s idiosyncrasy? A ‘grand regional party’ that has at its various stints in power stubbornly used (and is using at now as well)state power in crushing the very sentiment it now feigns to exhume, at least should have palpated its moral bone or two before making such a claim. As party’s track record shows, NC and sentiment sound to be an oxymoron. ‘To please the palate of (its) appetite’(political lust), it was none other than NC itself which denounced allegiance to sentiment as straying to ‘political waywardness’.
The young scion of Abdullah dynasty brought perfection to ‘more loyal than the king’ profile of his predecessors. He presided over the killing of 120 youth who epitomized the same sentiments he now brags to advocate and defend. Truth and Reconciliation Commission he conspired to abort at the very conceiving stage. The file of unmarked graves the SHRC discovered he sent in cold store. On Afzal’s political murder and denial of Delhi returning his body remains ,Omar preferred power to people’s aspirations. Like Siamese twins, sentiment and people are inseparable, Omar all through his innings strived to separate the two.
PDP is not trotting differently. It portrays itself as the ‘only regional party’ that wields ‘dignity’ of Kashmir up on its sleeves. So much so that it wails on the Afzal’s hanging and holds Omar equally responsible for it. But this poll intoxicated concern for Kashmiri’s ‘dignity’ evaporates the moment the party inducts in its fold the people with criminal and scandalous background. Judged in the context of Mufti family’s role in defeating Engineer Rashid’s resolution on Afzal’s death sentence PDP’s complicity was by no means pardonable. Like the NC, PDP too has anti-sentiment halo ‘shining bright’ when its government mowed down over 60 blooming youth in 2008. PDP is not in a position to flaunt its self-crafted profile of being Kashmir’s saviour. Pre-eminence of power to demands of justice and culling of Kashmir’s sentiments put it at the same regime wave-length as that of her rival
Despite its villainous role on Article 370 and behaving as patriarch of soft-Hindutva, Congress is fighting the election on ‘secular card’. After dismembering Article of its masculinity, the party is presenting itself as the ‘protector’ of the state’s special constitutional relationship with Delhi. The Kashmir conflict and woes of people owe their genesis to this ‘secular’ Indian party. Hindu nationalism it peddled putting on secular robes. That speaks why Nehru used to place Arath Shashtra of Chanakya besides his pillow.
Abrogation of Article 370, settlement of outside Kashmiris (BJP Leader Subramanyam Swami’s latest statement in Delhi), according state subjects to Sharnarthees in Jammu, are the issues close to heart of RSS political face, BJP. But for electoral reasons, they have kept them in suspended animation at the moment. Instead they are beguiling Kashmiris on a new face-lift, ‘democracy, humanity and Kashmiriyat’. Of the various tricks slapped on us, this saffron Chutzpah is the latest wonderful addition. And a “refresher” in alerting us to see how wolf in lambs clothing heads to our hearths.
For two months of electioneering they greet us with high-pitched slogans of ‘dignity, sentiment, Insaniyat, secularism’, but after cast of last ballot they return to their old dens to demonstrate political falconry.