Denizens of our benighted land could be forgiven for failing to notice just how chaotic and strife-torn a time we are living in. After all, the utterly abnormal situation having become the norm, the usual, people can easily forget the fact that the lack of normality needs to be underlined as often as possible. Consider the fact that we are now again seemingly in a phase of renewed militant activity; hardly a week goes by when there aren’t reports of an encounter or the other, with militant deaths being a regular feature. Protests, in the form of hartals, demonstrations or stone-pelting, are a daily feature with restrictions, curfews, tear gas, lathi charges and arrests continuing to be the stock state response. And as Muslims here, collectively, are still denied the right to perform their religious obligations, such as on Muharram, we still have the spectacle of individual leaders being disallowed to perform their religious obligations. And then, they can also be called free men.
This insane situation cannot be normalised; it leads to the sort of anger and frustration that results in violence. And it must be remembered that it is the people who point out how abnormal the situation is, who seek remedies for these anomalies, who are the real agents of peace. Those who seek to silence these voices, on whatever pretext, on the other hand, are the actual agents of strife, the enemies of peace. And that is because an abnormal state, a state of inequity and injustice, can never yield peace, and those that seek to enshrine that injustice only pave the way for violence.
A massive military apparatus allows the state to keep a lid on things, to tide things over, seemingly perpetually. But this has never been, nor will ever be, the means to any form of real peace. No amount of enforcement of abnormality can alter that fact.