Peace and Conflict do not go together

Peace and Conflict do not go together

Mehbooba Mufti, speaking at a function, stated that, “Peace is must for development. There is peaceful atmosphere in Jammu and it is progressing. We would once enjoy that atmosphere in Kashmir”. She added that, “we, in Kashmir, have now to decide on how to shape our future” At another event, Mehbooba stated that, “.the agenda of her party is to change the situation of Jammu and Kashmir for better and its commitment and seriousness have been attested time and again”.  The former assertion, among other things, reflects Mehbooba’s ahistorical understanding of Kashmir.  Kashmiris, since decades have been vying for and attempting to make a choice about their future, but alas, they continue to be trapped in the deep vortex of a conflict not of their making. Getting out of the morass of the conflict in and over Kashmir implies and means prudent and far sighted leadership that is not wedded to self or vested interest. This leadership must view people as their core constituency and reflect the aspirations of people. But, in Kashmir, the nature of leadership, at least, on a certain spectrum, leaves a yawning gap between the interests of the so called leadership and the aspirations of the people.  The ball then lies in the court of the leadership, which has time and again, failed Kashmiris.  In terms of the former assertion, Mehbooba is being self indulgent. By showering unwarranted praise on her party, the PDP, and implying that the party is a change agent, Mehbooba, is taking recourse to what may be called “mock heroics”. Indubitably, the PDP, from a mainstream perspective , cannibalized political space for itself in terms of being a change agent. But gradually and inexorably, the party itself gave short shrift to its rhetoric of change. This was validated or in fact sealed by the PDP’s alliance with the far right party, the BJP, which stands for everything that is against Kashmir. In the interests of fairness , it may be stated that Mehbooba is right when she says that peace is must for development. But, it is the nature of peace that will determine the kind of development that Kashmir needs. And to attain and arrive at the development for which peace is a pre-requisite, the primary step has to be the resolution of the conflict in and over Kashmir. There are parallels galore that suggest that once a conflict is resolved, peace and development are the natural corollaries. So Mehbooba is either indulging in rhetorical obfuscation or indulging in non sequiturs. Kashmir does not need rhetoric or bombastic flourishes. What it needs prudent leadership that takes it out of the tentacles of conflict. This , given that past and the present, however, does not seem forthcoming. In the final analysis, this constitutes the pathos and bathos of Kashmir.

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