What is Mehbooba Mufti doing? To try and answer that, let us back up a little bit. Little events, in their immense significance, can conspire to reveal larger lies and failures. The late Mufti Sayeed, we were told, for some rather mysterious reason, was a ‘shrewd politician’, if not a downright visionary. In Kashmir, such is the disjunct between the state and its personas and the people that no one really even bothers asking just what that purported political cunning and vision consists of. Was it, perchance, the amazing feat of a politician becoming the CM of a state where massacres were committed during his earlier tenure as a home minister in New Delhi? Normally, one would think any residual political capital would be erased were one to be accused of complicity in massacres. Or is that it is a reflection of a state run by, basically, a military paradigm that even such a person can become the CM? And then, the little event of a funeral. And the puny crowd in attendance which contrasted so starkly with the masses that come out to pay homage to killed militants, even as people could be targeted during the latter funeral. This, some say, was also a catalyst for Mehbooba to embark on her theatrical recalcitrance.
So, isn’t she also by default repudiating the idea of Mufti as the shrewd visionary? What else does seemingly signaling a break, even if for theatrics, with the immediate legacy signify? Now, the lady apparently has said she needs ‘CBMs’ from Delhi/the BJP. Like what? That the RSS-run party will give up its ideological core for dispensable characters it can also pretty easily do without, if push really comes to shove? That New Delhi will change tack and start treating its lackeys in Kashmir with some respect? Doesn’t New Delhi know perfectly well where these lackeys stand among their ‘own’ people? Voter-lines under armed rule, after all, do not mean loyal support or democracy.
Take even the larger picture: the party supposedly created to grab the ‘soft separatism’ space (that sort of skullduggery takes its own phrases and propaganda seriously), and which even appropriated the ink-pen symbol of the MUF – the engineered ‘defeat’ of which in 1987 led directly to the mass armed uprising against Indian rule – neither proved very shrewd nor visionary nor jelly-separatist. It can’t. It is the nature of things here. And now the drama; and New Delhi isn’t even pretending to be bothered even as a piddling phone call would do.