Too Formulaic!

Too Formulaic!

The Home Minister of India, Rajnath Singh, has said that “Five Cs form basis for resolution of problems of Kashmir – compassion, communication, coexistence, confidence building and consistency”. On the face of it , these fine sounding words suggest a change of heart among and in the attitude and approach of powers that be towards Kashmir. But , the very fact that these words have been left undefined and no flesh has been imparted to these leaves space open for doubt. Unless and until a clear cut context is given to these words and declarations underpinning them, these do not mean much. Key is the nature and form of this context. The starting point of any attempt(s) to resolve the conflict in and over Kashmir has to be a robust understanding of the historical underpinnings of the conflict. This can only happen if and when sincerity undergirds a potential and putative conflict resolution attempt. History casts an inordinate shadow on Kashmir. As such , important in understanding Kashmir’s history is the reading and interpretative lenses employed. If a non partisan lens, shorn of pride and prejudice, and an open mind is used to understand Kashmir, then solutions will axiomatically and inevitably yield themselves. But, at the risk of tautology and repetition, key is sincerity of purpose. Kashmir and Kashmiris are caught in the vortex of a conflict that is not of their making. The conflict besides exacting a toll- human, material and psychological- holds hostage the peace and prosperity of South Asia. This is made salient and poignant by the nuclearization of the conflict. The truculence and longevity of the conflict , in turn, accrues from the abstract but powerful forces of competing sovereignties and nationalisms, rendering the overall tenor of the conflict into a zero sum game. History, sovereigntism and nationalism(s) essentially make the conflict in and over Kashmir. If the conflict is to be resolved, then these abstractions need to be disaggregated and then a solution found in the interstices of these. The solution should be in the nature of a multi-stakeholder one , that is, the kind,, which redounds to the benefit and interests of all stakeholders. Rajnath Singh, obviously, has used this Kashmir visit to signal and communicate to multiple audiences and his five C’s formulation essentially is a communication device. But, unless and until, the powers that be understand the conflict and its various dimensions and manifestations in earnest and then devise a plan of action that satisfies all stakeholders, any other approach can only be merely formulaic.

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