FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Ideological and Political Convictions in Politicians in Kashmir (or Lack Thereof)

Getting to know one’s ideology is a work in progress. Ironically, it was in the United States – a country that prides itself on the power of its military-industrial complex – that I cultivated the drive to study the South Asian politico-cultural matrix, particularly the intractable Kashmir conflict. My commitment to pedagogy and scholarship has been unflinching, and my faith in the critical focus that education can provide has been unrelenting. Whether people see eye-to-eye with my stated positions or question them, any one would be hard-pressed to deny that I have a firm political ideology and conviction. So, writing about the lack of ideological and political convictions in the current breed of mainstream politicians in Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) didn’t require much research, because I have spent a lot of time and energy delving into the erosion of indigenous politics in the state in my earlier work. Writing on this theme enabled me to go back to my earlier work and realize that it was still relevant. I chose to build on my previous work for this article.

How capable are mainstream politicians in Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) of bringing about much needed systemic and structural changes in conflict ridden, politically and socio-economically decrepit polities in South Asia, like J & K? Has the Government of India been assiduously working to engage young people in Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) in the processes of democracy, to acquire skills and knowledge that would enable them to effectively participate in decision-making and political processes, to recognize the importance of standing up and being counted as well as the value of the vote? Is there a recognition of action civics in the higher echelons of power at the federal and state levels when it comes to facilitating the growth of political processes in Kashmir?

J & K is a conscripted space that has been inscribed upon several times, yet the previous texts have been imperfectly erased and, therefore, remain partially visible. A history of unfulfilled pledges, broken promises, political deception, military oppression, illegal political detentions, a scathing human rights record, sterile political alliances, mass exodus, and New Delhi’s malignant interference have created a gangrenous body politic, which hasn’t even started to heal. The various political, religious, and cultural discourses written on the politico-cultural surface of the state may have created alternative epistemologies but without an epicenter.

On the one hand, lavish sartorial and epicurean preparations are annually made for August 15th, the day India was declared independent, on the other hand, there is a legitimately disgruntled segment of the populace which really hasn’t experienced the trickle down effect of India’s burgeoning economy or flourishing democracy. I have been hoping, for a long time, that political actors of various hues in the state do not inter the victims of military and police brutality to the catacombs of history in their ardent desire to ingratiate themselves with the puppeteers in New Delhi and Islamabad who are adept at manipulating marionette regional representatives. August 14th and August 15th are entrenched in world history as the days the then dominions of India and Pakistan gained independence and routed the British colonial master, but in Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) they remain days that reinforce the fragility of an ill-defined democracy.

As I’ve said at several forums, civil society and political institutions are closely interconnected. In order to create democracy, there must be a minimum of participation and adequate pluralism in a society. A consolidated democracy has to be open to diverse opinions; dissent and differences of opinion on policies is an important element of every democracy. This issue needs to be not addressed just in J & K but across South Asia as well.

As I’ve said elsewhere, the non-legislative reforms/ changes that we require are new efforts and new forums not just in J & K but in other parts of South Asia as well for the germination broad based coalition politics that transcends organizational divides, and give our citizenry the space and leeway to make important political decisions. Given the volatile situation in Kashmir, millennials or the Net Generation in the state are unable to employ effective strategies to successfully resolve issues that they are invested in; they lack access to their representatives/ legislators/ decision-makers in order to implement their recommendations; and they lack the space to reflect on their strategies, challenges, the processes of negotiation, dialogue, and accommodation required to reach some kind of fruition.

In the current situation, the local community is unable to exercise any clout and is unable to think constructively about structural change. Politics is an an abstract notion for the young people in our state, and not a concrete method to bring about long-term reforms, which younger generations could build on.

Unfortunately, the Government of India and its appendages have insidiously inserted themselves into political structures and organizations in the state since 1953, which is the reason that mainstream politicians no longer feel the need to establish their credibility through ideology, conviction, perseverance, and working for the well-being of their electorate. Instead, they have become complacent and rule with carte blanche, which is why electoral politics has been stigmatized.

More articles by:

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.

February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
Thomas Knapp
The First Rule of AIPAC Is: You Do Not Talk about AIPAC
Mitchel Cohen
A Tale of Two Citations: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Michael Harrington’s “The Other America”
Jake Johnston
Haiti and the Collapse of a Political and Economic System
Dave Lindorff
It’s Not Just Trump and the Republicans
Laura Flanders
An End to Amazon’s Two-Bit Romance. No Low-Rent Rendezvous.
Patrick Walker
Venezuelan Coup Democrats Vomit on Green New Deal
Natalie Dowzicky
The Millennial Generation Will Tear Down Trump’s Wall
Nick Licata
Of Stress and Inequality
Joseph G. Ramsey
Waking Up on President’s Day During the Reign of Donald Trump
Elliot Sperber
Greater Than Food
Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail