Thick discussions around the accruing conditions in Kashmir appear creating a narrative of some imminent and grave danger. There is no doubt that Kashmir is filled with enormous anxiety, mixed of course with equal hope, following the most recent election that could be seen as a comprehensive rejection of all the so-called mainstream claims about the status of Kashmir and various interpretations of the political aspirations of its people. This rejection has generated another kind of anxiety within the Indian political establishment and the larger commentariate which is all about how to allow no change towards resolving the status quo.
Kashmir and Kashmiris are no strangers to stasis, obfuscation of the reality and the consequences the saturated politicking have produced; normalised death, destruction, torture and misrepresentation. But the Kashmiri people have consistently responded to the unacceptable conditions extreme militarisation and perpetually unresolved conflict that blight their social, political and economic existence. But as the democratising medium of internet appeared to have finally allowed the people to wrest some of their lost agency using social media, the truth is increasingly becoming hard to hide.
But as the reality of the State’s treatment of the people of Kashmir is dawning on the people of India it’s not producing any empathy among them but instead they appear mirroring the State. Given how they State has portrayed Kashmir and its response to the Indian public, now with the relentless and politically loaded protests inside Kashmir are making it hard for the ruling regime in New Delhi to back down. Most calls to do so appear focused of diffusing the current crisis and not on a genuine political process.
Kashmiri people are being advised by all that their protest would bring then nothing except more violence and even lesser ‘peace’. It’s made to look like the protests are going to only push Kashmir, if it has not already, to the edge of a precipice spelling danger. But the public mood inside Kashmir clearly appears to hope the beyond the manufactured ‘precipice’ could exist the real beginnings of a real political process that could show the direction for achieving a solution to the basic political dispute over Kashmir and restoration of the peoples’ undeniable political rights.
So, those who at the helm of affairs might do much better to read a rare opportunity in the accruing ‘dangerous conditions’ in Kashmir for dispute resolution process to begin in the earnest rather than use ‘danger’ as a bogeyman to perpetuate the stasis. That would be in no one’s interest.