Agenda of Arrogance

Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu, speaking at an occasion, stated that, ‘the failure of the Agenda of Alliance would be our failure’. Obiter dictum, the Finance Minister, in a saccharine and deferential manner referred to Mufti Mohammad Sayyed as a ‘political Sufi’, and recalled the deceased’s trust in him regarding the Agenda. What is curious about Drabu’s ‘total recall’ of the so called Agenda of Alliance’ is its timing. It may be speculated here that the Finance Minister appears to be reminding his party’s alliance partner, the BJP, of the opportunity costs of foregoing and ignoring the document around which ostensibly the alliance between the PDP and the BJP revolved and hinged around. The overall context of the ‘total recall’ is summer uprising of Kashmir which exacted death toll of around 100 people. Given the context and given the PDP’s dire need to ‘reconnect’ to the people of Kashmir, Drabu appears to be making a pitch for recalibrating and rejuvenating the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ between the PDP and the BJP. While this assessment is inferential, there is no counterfactual to suggest otherwise. The larger aim appears to be to paper over the nature, cause(s) and reasons of the conflict in and over Kashmir and connect to the people of the vale in an idiom of ‘good’ governance and development, in the process, attempt to render infructuous and sterile the reactionary nature of the PDP’s alliance with the BJP. This approach banks on a hope and a wish. Historically, Kashmiris have not taken at all to what may be called a ‘substitution effect’. That is, substitute a prudent resolution of the conflict in and over Kashmir with the politics of ‘developmentalism’ and a governance fetish. This historic revulsion to patron client defined developmentalism has a searing resonance and echo in contemporary times. The 2016 uprising and the attendant relapse of Kashmir into a broad based uprising might constitute an eloquent and compelling reminder of this, among other things. Even if it may be conceded, from a certain perspective that there is an element of the political in the ‘Agenda of Alliance’, it stands abrogated by the very nature of the alliance partners and the alliance itself. Certain themes of the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ would, given the BJP’s ‘Idea of India’ and revisionism thereof, would not be countenanced by the far right party. Moreover, for the BJP, there is the aspect of instrumentalism involved in its alliance with the PDP: the far right party in an attempt to gain a foothold in Kashmir and then lay its ingress on its politics might humor the PDP in some aspect but will never ever compromise over its agenda for Kashmir. Drabu’s reminder or even plea might then turn out to be mere presumptuous intellectual swagger that would get lost in the deep vortex of politicking over Kashmir.