Instrumentalizing Governance and Governmentality

Instrumentalizing Governance and Governmentality

As the rhetoric over and in Kashmir escalates to a shrill level, the underlying reality in and over Kashmir remains the same.  This assertion, however, needs to be qualified. The reality in Kashmir is the same and not the same. What does somewhat of a non-sequitur mean in the context of Kashmir?  It means the sentiment that obtains in Kashmir, which predates decades, has only grown stronger with the passage of time. The reasons accrue from an admixture of state policy (ies)- containment and attempts at pacification and an inorganic political idiom-, among other things are employed to further these ends. The state sits atop a society that is estranged from it and adversarialism defines the whole dynamic. In this schema, governance and governmentality is instrumentalized to connect the state to the people. But, besides the obvious and inherent artificiality of this approach, what appears to have happened in Kashmir is that it has reached its limits. Hence, the mood of rejectionism of extant power structures that defines contemporary Kashmir.  The response to this by powers that be has been “talks” to those who are “loyal” to India. Effectively, this means the “ mainstream” political class of Kashmir. But, what does the “mainstream” have to offer by way of a “dialogue”- especially in the context of its growing political irrelevance? The answer is obvious. Nothing. Moreover, power in Kashmir has, over a period of time, shifted to the street. Amidst this context, talking to “loyalists” amounts to zilch. The implication and the corollary here is that the powers that be are taking recourse to what amounts to their reflex. Which, to repeat, is containment and pacification, under the overall rubric of “law and order”. This deeply ingrained reflex has now become a policy of truculence and denial.  In the final analysis, Kashmir , to iterate the obvious, is not a “law and order” problem. The prosaic reality is that there is conflict in and over Kashmir that has multi-dimensional implications and connotations. Unless and until, this multidimensionality of the conflict is grasped and a multi-stakeholder paradigm of conflict resolution adopted, nothing really will change. Governmentality or governance and it’s so called promise will not alter the underlying reality- notwithstanding threats, blandishments or other techniques in the arsenal. Techniques and the teleology of power cannot supplant or be an alternative to an organic and a genuine paradigm of conflict resolution. It is this prosaic reality that is axiomatic.

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