Woefully and Disastrously Unprepared!

Woefully and Disastrously Unprepared!

The flood-like conditions in Kashmir have brought memories of the devastating floods of 2014. By way of a response, the administration has issued advisories and bland statements of “reassuring” people. The implicit admission or hope of the administration appears to be that these constitute a substitute for policy and flood/disaster preparedness.  Without delving or probing deep into disaster management, common sense and prudence suggests that the 2104 floods should have been a cautionary reminder for the state in terms of its remission and zero preparedness for disasters of this nature. But, no, despite being caught unawares and despite the prices that people had to pay, the state remains cavalier about these natural calamities. This was revealed during and after the flood-like conditions obtaining in Kashmir where the entire population is at risk. What explains the state’s cavalier approach and attitude? The reasons apparently pertain to the nature of the administration, policy and governance in Kashmir. All are in the deep throes of inertia. The state instead of viewing and approaching itself as a repository of furnishing, maintaining and creating public good(s) is politicized and is more oriented towards disbursal of patronage. A politicized state means that it is viewed more as a resource for political players and these players vie for the slice of the pie- generally speaking. (There might be exceptions to this general norm). Overlaying these foibles of the state is the lack of or abysmal accountability of powers that be that constitute the state. This quasi- patrimonial state whose locus is not the people but the rentier class leads to malfunctioning of the administration, poor governance and poor policy.  The twisted and bizarre irony is that the political class despite these obvious and glaring omissions and commissions which invariably affect negatively the people get away with these-once the crisis phase is over. The larger inference that can be drawn here is that if Kashmiris had not, over time, learnt to fend for and look out for themselves, there would have been utter chaos pervading all facets of life here. Moreover, from a psychological and psychoanalytic perspective, despite the traumas that have visited Kashmir, people sustain themselves on account of the faith and religious sensibilities. Failing either- the circumstances forged resilience and religious faith, Kashmir and Kashmiris would have been a mess. In this final analysis, it is only God that really and ultimately sustains the people of Kashmir.

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