Deep Uncertainty

Deep Uncertainty
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Profound uncertainty hovers Kashmir as the Home Minister of India, Rajnath Singh, arrives in Kashmir for a four day visit. Another context to Rajnath’s visit is the putative attempt to abrogate Article 35 A. This adds a layer to the extant uncertainty that defines Kashmir. The vale is at an inflection point-socially, economically, demographically and politically. What direction it takes falls in the realm of the “unknown uknown”. All these are well known and iterated themes but given their import and consequence , these bear repetition. The deep uncertainty that has befallen Kashmir accrues from the conflict in and over Kashmir. It then stands to reason that efforts be directed to resolve the conflict in all its dimensions. This would require prudent, and sagacious statecraft informed not by politicking but by principles. Even though Singh has stated that “ he is visiting Kashmir with an open mind”, in all likelihood, he will meet those who are already converted, so to speak. The reference here is to the “mainstream” political class”. In this sense, what Singh will get to experience is an echo chamber of thoughts and ideas- hackneyed and clichéd ones that actually have little if any bearing on the conflict in and over Kashmir. If Singh really means what he says, then he should be open to thinking outside the institutional grid and box and then adopt an approach that actually resolves the conflict in and over Kashmir. The grist and mill of this premise has to be a multi-stakeholder approach. The first step towards this must be listening to the dominant narrative and sentiment in Kashmir. But, alas, what is being observed that the reflection and manifestation of this sentiment and narrative is sought to be choked. Dominant narratives can neither be driven underground nor can they be throttled. This is the broad lesson and thrust of history. It then behooves powers that be in India and those representing these powers to take the lessons of history and not merely play politics with history. History has not been kind to Kashmir and Kashmiris but the people of Kashmiris need not and do not want to become prisoners and hostages to this history. What is required , at the risk of repetition, is prudent politics and statecraft informed by a sense of proportion, prudence and sobriety. Any thing short of this would merely amount to short changing Kashmir and Kashmiris!

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