Hollowing Out

Hollowing Out

Mehbooba Mufti made two pointed references in her recent public addresses that jarred with and went against her party’s alliance partner, the BJP. One was regarding Article 370 and the other was a plea to restore and revive the Lahore Declaration. Mehbooba had, regarding Article 370 said that “If Kashmir’s special status is tampered with, no one will shoulder the Indian flag in Kashmir”. Two interpretations flow from this assertion. One is that it is the “mainstream” that actually links Kashmir to India and failing its support, there would be no standard bearers for India in Kashmir. Two, it is a commentary on the chief minister’s office in Jammu and Kashmir. By the plain virtue of making a plea in public, among other things, it would appear the region’s chief minister is the weakest office holder. From a “mainstream” perspective, the regional parties of Jammu and Kashmir- especially from the Kashmir division of the region-should have the capacity to assert themselves toward and the against the Centre. But, in Kashmir, this is not the case. Be it the National Conference or the People’s Democratic Party, both have succumbed to the siren song of the Centre and by making and entering into alliances with India based parties, they forfeit their real power. The only remaining option for them then appears to be to make public pleas to make themselves heard. This amounts to treading on egg shells given the nature and makeup of the alliances they enter. The effect of this tepid and timid politics is that the powers that be in India can ignore these pleas or even run roughshod over the sensibilities of these regional parties. This is a recipe for disaster vis a vis what the “mainstream” political players purport to defend: Article 370. The aim of the detractors of this article is to “assimilate” Kashmir into India comprehensively and subsume the identity of Kashmiris. This politics of subsumption has been allowed great latitude by the very weak and power politics driven approach of the “mainstream” players wherein they are manipulated with ease and , at times, played against each other. The result is the gradual and inexorable dilution and weakening of the said Article. All said and done, in the final analysis, all these are corollaries to the main issue- the conflict in and over Kashmir. It is to this issue and its resolution that all energies must be expended towards.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.