Beyond Management!

Beyond Management!

A clear cut pattern has emerged regarding the approach of the state towards the conflict in and over Kashmir. The grist to the mill of this pattern lends itself to the assessment that the state is managing the conflict. The specifics of this management strategy appear to be multi-pronged: one, kill as many militant cadre as possible, put pressure on the Hurriyat and allied organizations and make them lose focus and contain the protests by the people. (It may be pertinent to note that the NIA raids on some members of the Hurriyat appear to be part of this strategy).  Management strategies , by their very nature, are technical solutions that do basically nothing in terms of conflict resolution. By default, management strategies are management strategies then. These will do nothing to change or alter the underlying realities that obtain in Kashmir- contemporarily and even historically. If we take a brief excursion into Kashmir’s modern history, one clear conclusion is that despite the techniques of control or even coercion combined with patronage, after various circumambulations, Kashmir not only reverted to “type” but a full blown insurgency erupted in Kashmir which captured the imagination of hundreds and thousands of Kashmiris. The same saga repeated itself after the eighties/nineties  phase of insurgency was sought to be contained by powers that be. These lessons of history and the contemporary drift in Kashmir yield one major and incisive lesion: the conflict in and over Kashmir is larger than containment and management strategies. As such, the approach that should be adopted towards the conflict should be commensurate with the nature and proportions of the conflict. What could be the components of this approach? First and foremost, the people of Kashmir should be on board in any conflict resolution paradigm in an organic manner. This then could be followed by involving all stakeholders to the conflict in and over Kashmir and arrive at a resolution of this festering conflict. The broad span of history suggests that this might happen one day and management of the conflict merely means postponement of this paradigm. Prudence and sagacity would suggest that powers that be actually grasp the nettle and resolve the conflict and its various dimensions the soonest. Postponement and delay merely prolong the conflict and only enhance the costs of the conflict – tangible and intangible- to all. It is therefore about time that conflict management be jettisoned in favor of conflict resolution.

 

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