The Illogic of Force

The Illogic of Force

The logic of force can only breed force and confrontation.  This general remark, almost in the nature of a truism, has a searing resonance in Kashmir. The reference here is to the overdrive that the state has gone against militancy – especially in South Kashmir. Militancy in Kashmir, pared to bone, is symptomatic and a manifestation of the conflict in and over Kashmir. This entails conflicting sovereignties among other things. In the crucible of these clashes are trapped or caught the people of Kashmir. So what is the state then battling? Manifestation(s) is the answer. Implied in or inherent to this battle against manifestations is the zero sum logic and statistical illusion. In zero sum “logic”, one side’s gain is the other’s loss. This , in turn , creates a statistical illusion. Zero sum logics, in general, are immune and resistant to conflict resolution. This, it may even be said, almost constitutes a law of physics. But, in the climate of opinion that is sought to be created and the adversarial nationalism that appears to pervade India, logic is sacrificed at the altar of crude jingoism. This is consequentialist in the sense of hardening postures and then creating an overall adversarial logic in all parties to the conflict. An adversarial logic, if allowed latitude and leeway, can only lead to war. But, as the wit has said, “all war is bad politics”.  What should assume precedence and primacy should be resolution of the various dimensions of the conflict in and over Kashmir to stave off war and its ungainly consequences. If battling manifestations would have amounted to anything, Kashmir would have been settled by now. But it is not. In fact, the sentiment in Kashmir has widened and deepened with the passage of time. The prosaic fact of the matter is that sentiments  can neither be dealt with nor contained. The message or meaning of underlying the sentiment in Kashmir needs to be factored in and followed by a multi- stakeholder approach to conflict resolution. Truculence and denial have natural limitations. The zero sum, adversarial logic by the state then is defined by what could be called “illogic”. Logic would entail an expansive notion of dialogue with all parties to the conflict keeping in view the aspirations of the people. This would mean the primacy of a politics oriented towards conflict resolution- an idea that has and continues to elude powers that be.

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