Mehbooba Mufti , the other day, asserted that the growth and progress of India remains incomplete if effective steps are not taken to get Jammu & Kashmir out of the quagmire of uncertainties and miseries.
Mehbooba then went on to state that the basic idea behind stitching an alliance in the state was to get it out of its perennial miseries and challenges and that India’s strong leadership would be able to take the people of the State out of the difficult situation and give its youth a prosperous, peaceful and vibrant future. While it’s not clear what metrics and measures that Mehbooba is employing to gauge India’s progress or, for that matter, what her definition of progress is , her assertion warrants scrutiny. Consider the metric of economic growth. India has not done spectacularly well after the BJP assumed and gained power; the economic growth rate has been tepid. While structural and contextual factors pertaining to the state of the global economy and tepid rate of growth of global trade and output, account partially for this, the major issue within India has been that of poor redistribution. Whatever economic growth is taking place is not really percolating to the masses and there’s a class angle to the beneficiaries of this skewed growth. What growth and development does Mehbooba have in mind then? And, by what yardstick has India progressed if ideationally and ideologically, a review has been carried out by far right forces in India. These forces have rolled back the “old” and elitist India of India and reified a new nationalism that goes by the name of Hindutva. Hindutva, or political Hinduism, seeks to transform India into a majoritarian polity with a clear cut Hindu ingress. Indeed, by the yardstick of rationality, this would constitute regression for India. But then far right forces are Mehbooba’s partys’ alliance partner. She then, by saying what she is saying is either ingratiating herself with her alliance partners or she does not know what she is talking about. In more senses than one, the political uncertainty and miseries that Mehbooba alludes to, accrue from the nature of her party’s alliance with the BJP. If Mehbooba does not understand all this or chooses not to understand and merely puts lip gloss on the states condition and its politics, then things can only look ominous in Kashmir.