“Governance” as Surrogate and Division of Labor

“Governance” as Surrogate and Division of Labor

One noticeable feature or development post “Durbar Move” in Kashmir is the emphasis laid by the administration on ostensible and obvious facets of “governance” and/or “development”. Major roads and even link roads are being macadamized and members of the “mainstream” political class are seen or wanting to be seen going through the motions of administration and governance activities. “ Governance” and “Development” , are both contested and loaded terms and in the context of Kashmir can only mean the superficial and tinkering with appearances for obvious reasons. But, the activism by administration functionaries raises an important question and even point. Why has the administration gone active? What explains the activism? The answer, albeit inferential, seems to suggest that post protests in Kashmir, and developments thereof, there appears to be a clear division of labor between New Delhi and the power political class in Kashmir. This division of labor appears to revolve around the axes of “security” and “development”( both , it merits repetition, loaded and contested concepts). In this schemata,  the function  of “security”- slanted toward the state or a state centric notion of security – appears to have been taken over by New Delhi while as the  “ development”  function by the state of Jammu and Kashmir. If this inferential analysis holds , then there are multiple layers and tiers of power and authority deployed to rule Jammu and Kashmir. This tiered nature of power and authority obscures the real locus of power that obtains here. Naturally, this has implications for the politics of Kashmir. If the “ security” function is taken over by New Delhi and the state merely relegated to the function of “development”, the implications, from the “mainstream” perspective suggest a warped federalism and from the perspective of substantive politics, suggest truculence and denial by powers that be vis a vis Kashmir and resolution of the conflict thereof. Credence is led to these assertions by consistent and constant stonewalling by powers that be at New Delhi regarding conditions that obtain in Kashmir. These powers appear to be waiting for the “burn out” of the protests and a tiered strategy of containment of other aspects of the conflict.  Shorn of accretions and “noise”, this approach can only mean management of the conflict in and over Kashmir- an approach that has visibly and poignantly failed in Kashmir. All in all then, powers that be refuse to countenance reality in Kashmir and choose to live in bubbles of their making. In the process, who wields real power in and over Kashmir  lies in the realm of obscurity.

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