In Denial

In Denial

Outgoing Home Secretary of India, Rajiv Mehrishi, has stated that “talks with separatists in Jammu and Kashmir are possible but they have to take place without any conditions”. Mehrishi added that “alienation is a “concept of Delhi media”, and the real issue for Kashmir is terrorism and radicalization”. This is as slanted a take and perspective as can be. The major inference that can be drawn from the outgoing Secretary’s remarks is his (and the view of the powers that be in India) perspective on the conflict in and over Kashmir. That is, these powers view the conflict as a monochromatic one reducible to a certain slant. This is lent credence by referring to “alienation” in Kashmir as a creation of Delhi’s news rooms, among other things. The fact of the matter is that the conflict in and over Kashmir is a multi-dimensional and a layered one with multiple stakeholders party to it. Reducing it to the level that the former Home Secretary of India is doing renders the conflict into a caricature. The fact that the conflict is multi dimensional and multi layered does not mean that it cannot be resolved. The conflict in and over Kashmir can be eminently resolved if and when there is the will and determination to do so. But the first prong of any conflict resolution paradigm has to be conceptual clarity. This clarity warrants realism in terms of the conceptual grid with which to view the conflict – that is, viewing the conflict as it is and not grafting inorganic perspectives on it. The second prong of potential conflict resolution is not to view it as a zero sum game. Perches need to be climbed down from and posturing needs to give way to sobriety and prudence. In the final analysis, this means not holding or adopting a power-political approach towards the conflict but according primacy to wisdom and sagacity. Any other approach or perspective on the conflict amounts to denial which can add a layer of truculence to the conflict. The conflict in and over Kashmir , to iterate the cliché, holds South Asia hostage to the vagaries , ebbs and flows of the conflict. It is about time that South Asia gets injected into the forward direction of history and the potential of its people unlocked. The route to this path of prosperity and peace lies through Kashmir. Let this larger and magnanimous perspective over a narrow one inform the resolution of the conflict in and over Kashmir.

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