Whose “Victory”?

In the aftermath of the parliamentary by-polls held for Srinagar, which witnessed a historically low voter turn -out, a “victory” of sorts has been declared by a certain political spectrum. The trumpeting of “victory”, at one level, goes against the low voter turn -out on poll day. But this is arithmetic- important in its own right. What is more significant and important than arithmetic is the mood that obtains in Kashmir. The mood is that of rejectionism and despondency- rejection of extant structural conditions that and despondency against unwarranted loss of life here.  Against the backdrop and context of these constructural conditions and the mood, what would victory mean? This is not a rhetorical question; it is as real as it gets. It is almost a truism now that unless and until decisions of a political nature and import are not taken by the people themselves; failure is writ large over these. In recent times, the so called peace Accord between rebels and the government in Columbia failed the test of peace because it was more or less elitist. That is, a set of leaders decided and mediated the all important question of peace and security for the people of Columbia. The same, even though, in a different permutation and combination holds true for Kashmir- a place ravaged by political conflict but at the same time defined by pristine beauty.  The conflict in and over Kashmir emanates from politics and the “answer” or more prosaically, the resolution lies in politics. But key here is the nature of politics. Interest based politicking or aggregation and articulation of interests( whatever these might be in terms of Kashmir) is not the politics that Kashmir or Kashmiris need. What is required is an ideational paradigm whose wellsprings and fountainhead are the people. But the converse is happening in Kashmir. The politics of a certain spectrum comingles interest aggregation and articulation,  their own ideological predilections and grafts these onto the politics of the vale.   The result is a distance or more accurately a gulf that ensues. Amidst this gulf, Kashmir gyrates to its own dynamic. A seismic change is developing and fostering in Kashmir. Only a prudent politics premised on sagacious statecraft which is oriented around a multi-stakeholder dynamic can guide and direct this change towards salubrious ends. The rest is mere pageantry.