Dialogue as a Cliché?

Dialogue as a Cliché?

Mehbooba Mufti has reportedly threatened to step down if New Delhi fails to hold a dialogue over Kashmir.  This statement comes after Indian Prime Minister , Narendra Modi, put normalcy as a pre-condition to a dialogue in a meeting between the two recently. There are essentially two interpretations of Mehbooba’s assertions- even though inferential. One is that she is signaling to her party’s ally- the BJP- that she will quit in the absence of dialogue. This is the obvious corollary of her statement. The second is that she is unsure whether normalcy can be restored in the three month interregnum. The obvious question that arises is whether Mehbooba can follow up on her threat? And what implications can flow from this- if any? It is pertinent to point out here that “mainstream” political space or spectrum has, over the years, denuded itself from real power. It merely exercises authority; not power. The “mainstream” has so cosied itself to Delhi that it has no real leverage in and over Delhi. The real source of power and leverage ought to be the people but the “mainstream” has, over the years, distanced itself from people and viewed Delhi as the source and fount of power. In this schema then Mehbooba’s statement does not amount to much. Essentially, the quest of powers that be, vis a vis Kashmir, appears to be normalcy. But normalcy- a loaded word- can mean and imply anything in the context of Kashmir. What Kashmir and Kashmiris need is “normal peace” and this can happen only once a robust dialogue process is initiated with all stakeholders. This, in turn, can happen, when Kashmir is not viewed only or merely as a piece of real estate. That is, the prism employed to view Kashmir and its people is not merely that of territorial- nationalism. “Normal peace” can descend upon Kashmir when a fresh view and outlook is adopted towards it. This fresh look would mean disavowing pride and prejudice, looking at the conditions that obtain in Kashmir objectively(sans the narrow prisms of security and territory), and place the people of Kashmir at the centre of conflict resolution. Any other approach would amount to tinkering and a contrivance.  In this sense then threats and counter threats amount to a game of hide and seek. The name of the game vis a vis Kashmir should not be power and power politics but genuine and prudent statecraft.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.