No Short Cuts

No Short Cuts

The BJP’s General Secretary, Ram Madhav, has said that “ it would take six months to make Jammu and Kashmir peaceful again”. This is an unqualified statement or assertion which either reflects hubris and arrogance or ignorance of the nature of the conflict in and over Kashmir. The obvious question that Madhav’s statement gives rise to: what is the nature of peace he has in mind? Peace, in any given condition can only be relative. That is, a peaceful condition can only be defined in relative terms. But Madhav, obviously does not have nuance in mind. His idea of peace, it would appear, flows from the “pincer movement”(so to speak) that powers that be have taken recourse to in Kashmir. The nature of this pincer movement is to put pressure on stakeholders and attempt to destroy the vestiges of militancy in Kashmir. The rub , however, is that the stakeholders or the political class that is representative of the sentiments of the people of Kashmir and militancy are manifestations of the conflict in and over Kashmir. Given this, Madhav’s definition of peace is formalistic and formulaic. In this sense, the time frame that he has articulated is not only weird that defies that nature of the conflict in and over Kashmir but is also artificial. Peace- again in relative terms- can descend on Kashmir only if an when a multi stakeholder approach and paradigm is instituted and implemented in Kashmir. This is what Mirwaiz Umer Farooq has alluded to. But, the flaw in Mirwaiz’ formulation lies in his preference (at this point in time) for process over outcome. Historically, it has been observed that the dialogue between India and Pakistan , especially over Kashmir, falls victim to procedures and processes and gets lost in these. This is not to discredit the peace process but to put matters into perspective. Indeed, there might be no other alternative to a staggered conflict resolution process in terms of the conflict in and over Kashmir but the end game has to be the premise and borne in mind right from the start. Peace , in the ultimate analysis, cannot and should not be adherence to mere form. There has to be substance to it. Insofar as the conflict in and over Kashmir is concerned, this means understanding the underlying dimensions of the conflict and addressing these, in the interests of all stakeholders, keeping in mind the aspirations of the people. There can neither be short cuts nor bizarre formulaic approaches towards his end.

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