Across Space, Time and Generations

Across Space, Time and Generations

A certain sur-reality defines Kashmir:  the spring in full bloom casting its verdant glow on the vale would suggest a Kashmir at peace. But this illusion would be given short shrift by memory of only yesterday when wide spread and broad based student protests overtook Kashmir. The student protests defined by spontaneity and whose immediate catalytic spur was the recent series of events in Kashmir, on the face of it, were surprising. But scratch the surface, the politicization and the attendant activism by students becomes obvious and perhaps even inevitable. The reasons pertain to the conflict in and over Kashmir, the conflictual conditions that ensue,  political uncertainty thereof and the spirals of structural violence that the synthesis of these conditions begets. The conflict in and over Kashmir has and continues to structure the consciousness of Kashmiris. No section or class of society remains or can realistically, remain unaffected- emotionally, psychically and even tangibly. This broad psycho- emotional rubric and explanatory rubric defined and structured by the conflict is fed by ungainly events and insalubrious reactions of the state. The tying up of a Kashmiri man on the bonnet of a military jeep and then using him as a shield or the killing of a young boy in Batmaloo are egregious cases in point here. These events feed the collective memory, emotional calculus and consciousness of Kashmiris. The result is then obvious. The larger point here is not merely explanatory; it is descriptive and points out to the political dynamic that underscores contemporary Kashmir.  This dynamic pertains to the sentiment that obtains here( which is growing stronger, deeper and wider). In a way, the condition(s) that obtain in Kashmir are reminiscent of the 19990’s sans the gun.  The state contained the 1990’s militancy by a process of management; but the sentiment has only grown and the conflict now is intergenerational- if the student protests serve as a guide and benchmark. The implication here is the political sentiment or emotion can neither be checked nor contained. It manifests itself in different forms and shapes, under varying permutations and combinations with varying degrees of intensity but it never really goes. This is the lesson of the student protests in Kashmir. While the lesson is obvious, the approach by powers that be is not. One starting point should or could be to finesse the art of listening and heed the message of the protests. This message is loud and clear and pared to the bone, essentially,  calls for resolving the conflict in and over Kashmir in all its dimensions.

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