When the militarised form of governance becomes increasingly untenable over a prolonged period of time, as the governments in Jammu and Kashmir have demonstrated, the natural tendency on part of the collaborators of the system is to constantly redefine the political atmosphere of the disputed terrain. For example, National Conference sees educated youth joining militancy as a sign of its rival PDP’s failure in its proclaimed bastion, south Kashmir. This statement can’t stand even as run-of-the-mill political rhetoric because it shows that the party lost the plot in Srinagar a long way back, even though it had been winning most of the assembly seats in the city since 1996. Stone-throwing battles in Nowhatta every Friday, massive uprisings in 2008 and 2010 and a deep-rooted pro-freedom sentiment are testimony to the fact that NC’s political ideology is not even a shell in Srinagar. Recently, a former ‘political analyst’ in the late Mufti Sayeed’s office lamented over ‘affluent Pulwama’ transforming into a place where educated youths are picking up arms and getting killed. What the analyst essentially wanted to convey to New Delhi was that since you are not agreeing to PDP’s terms on power sharing, Pulwama is fast slipping out of ‘our hands’, as if Pulwama had been looking at the past 26 years of struggle from a distance and suddenly realised it was time to join in.
Militancy in Pulwama existed when PDP was not even a germ of an idea. Mehbooba Mufti’s reigning philosophy these days is that a chair that can’t do people any good is not worth sitting in. New Delhi is ruling J&K directly these days and people do not seem to be missing Muftis or Abdullahs. A vast network of corrupt officials and businessmen and contractors who enjoy the patronage of these parties, besides political brokers, obviously might be missing them. And tragically, missing these politicians will be a small number of hapless people who have been fed the spurious belief that their basic needs can’t be met without the intercession of pro-India politicians.
Recently, the government announced that another installment of flood relief will be released for people whose houses were damaged in the 2014 floods. The news made it to the front pages of newspapers. Had Mehbooba or Omar Abdullah been in power, the announcement would have been sold as a CBM and cheques probably distributed at a function at SK Cricket Stadium. The more pro-India parties try to redefine Kashmir, the more the reality they are trying to mask becomes apparent.