FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth

by

Unlike a lot of political actors in J & K, my work is not based on hearsay, which is the reason I emphasize that resuscitating the pre-1953 position in the state is not impractical and does not completely nullify the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India over J & K. Achievable solutions get relegated to the background when federal countries emphasize centralization as opposed to decentralization.

The generation of Kashmiris that the PDP-BJP coalition is trying to govern is technology-savvy, and has witnessed the agonies and upheavals of armed insurgency. This generation is swayed by the strength of mass mobilizations in the Arab world to dislodge monarchies and dictatorships, which had successfully crushed forces of dissent for decades.

It is a generation that although disconnected from the grassroots movements of the thirties and forties, is trying to get political mileage out of the symbolism of the subversive power of a mere stone pelter, whose only weapon of war in the age of nuclear warfare is a rock.

But, it is important to remember that the Arab Spring fizzled out, and elements/ organizations that replaced the old order, sans a political roadmap, turned out to be even more regressive, politically as well as culturally. Left-wing celebrations of the Arab Spring turned out to be delusional. The romanticization of the movement that one saw on facebook and twitter did not bring about progressive and long-lasting transformations on the ground. Countries and societies in the Middle East are now even more fragmented, rootless, and battlegrounds for the resurgence of Cold War dynamics.

The innocence of the generation of Kashmiris of the 1990s and 2000s was cruelly ripped apart by the forces of armed insurgency and counter insurgency; the romanticized image of Kashmir fails to hold a lasting appeal for these children of an internecine war; the sense of peace and security historically provided by a democratically elected government has eluded these denizens of a paranoid state; the machinations of electoral politics as well as separatist politics have vitiated the sociopolitical fabric; this post-lapsarian generation has never known the allure of a political edifice built on a well-defined ideology; it has been bereft of a nationalist and political discourse within which it could blossom; its scarred psyche is yet to be healed. In a democratic set-up, however flawed it might be, the will and aspirations of the electorate are ignored by politicians at their own peril. The youth in J&K clamours for democratic rights, efficient governance, a stable infrastructure and a much less fractious polity.

Once the successors of popular leaders, who established their credibility through ideology, conviction, perseverance, and working for the well-being of their electorate, become complacent and rule with carte blanche, electoral politics can only suffer. The current regime has not been able to create an environment in which the young people of today would be energized and persuaded to actively participate or to revive civil society institutions that could initiate uncoerced collective action around shared interests, values, and purposes.

For those of us who have learned to respect the strident potency of the voice of the people, the unequivocal and pitiful assumption of mainstream politicians in J&K that power unilaterally flows from New Delhi and that of separatists that power flows from Islamabad, reeks of a reprehensibly unrepresentative character. Kashmir today is split into two nations, the plutocracy and the plebeians, with a lackadaisical middle class between the two, which lacks ideological unifiers across class and other social divides, and icons of national unity in the face of political and military oppression.

Nyla Ali Khan is the author of Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism, Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir, The Life of a Kashmiri Woman, and the editor of The Parchment of Kashmir. Nyla Ali Khan has also served as an guest editor working on articles from the Jammu and Kashmir region for Oxford University Press (New York), helping to identify, commission, and review articles. She can be reached at nylakhan@aol.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
Rob Seimetz
Measuring Manhoods
Edward Curtin
Sorry, You’re Not Invited
Vern Loomis
Winning the Lottery is a State of Mind
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
David Yearsley
The Ethos of Mayfest
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail