Apocalyptic Overtones

Apocalyptic Overtones

As India ‘s independence day was celebrated with gaiety and fervor across India, Kashmir remained shut- both on account of protest by the people and Kashmir and stringent measures put in place by the administration here. This is almost an automatic dynamic that pans out every year on the day India celebrates its independence. The curbs and “restrictions” that the administration imposes on and in Kashmir span across almost all domains of life. These and the protest by people , to repeat, are a recurrent theme spanning years in Kashmir. Since these are quotidian themes, dwelling upon them is not as significant as the fact of conflict in and over Kashmir. The conflict, if the base line year is taken as 1947 , is now seventy years old. This time span suggests a degree of intractability of the conflict. But, the prosaic fact is that the conflict is not as intractable as it is made to me. The conflict is rendered intractable by the truculence and denial of powers that be who have adopted a conflict management and containment approach to it. This locks two nuclear powers – India and Pakistan- into a conflict dyad that has nuclear under and over tones and holds hostage the future of the subcontinent- a possibility that is not alarmist but falls in the realm of possibility. As the rest of the world moves on, India and Pakistan continue to be locked into an apocalyptic rivalry. And the sad aspect is that this rivalry undercuts the aspirations of the people of Kashmir and leads to suffering for them. This suffering cannot be mitigated and neither can the immense potential of the peoples of the subcontinent be unlocked unless and until the conflict in and over Kashmir is resolved in all its dimensions. Perhaps , as India celebrates its independence, the gaiety and fervor with which this independence is underpinned by, needs to complemented by a sense of proportion and prudence. Broken down, this would or should mean a course correction and review towards Kashmir. In other words, the fruits of this review must mean breaking the shibboleths of zero sum paradigms, a climb down from stated positions and posturing and resolving the conflict in and over Kashmir. Given the enormity of the stakes involved and the evolving nature of the conflict in and over Kashmir, it is not only the subcontinent that would be better off but the whole world. Let post 15th August, 2017, mark this review.

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