“Durbar Move”

The very nomenclature, “Durbar Move”, in this day and age, is not only an aberration but also offensive to modern sensibilities. The connotation of the term suggests shifting of “court”, and it harks back to the times when Kashmiris were the subjects of autocratic maharajas. Despite changes of a structural nature at many levels, the nomenclature remains along with the practice of shifting the seat of administration. However, there does appear to be one similarity to the erstwhile practice of Durbar move. This lies in the fact that the top echelons of the administration, it appears, think of and hold themselves to be some kind of aristocrats. Power, in this schemata ,is not sought for the service of the people or amelioration of the multiples issues of people but as an end in itself. How power works though the system(s) of the administration is through the disbursal of patronage which serves as the tenuous link between the recipients of patronage and power political class of Kashmir. While , generally speaking , the administration(s) in Kashmir suffer from a massive disconnect from the people and so called “ governance” in Kashmir is shambolic, but this problem magnifies itself after the Durbar move. (This happens in winter when the issues and problems actually multiply). Kashmiris then suffer the brunt of the harshness of winter and the non-addressal of issues relating to quotidian life. The people then , as a result, have to be inventive and innovative to cope up with additional burdens as members of the administration move to more warmer and cushy climes. In this sense then, “ Durbar Move” is really moving of the court of the elite few. The larger inference that can be drawn from this is that Kashmiri society actually operates and sustains itself independently from the government. This perhaps is a learned response given the nature of the administration(s). In turn, the point that there is a broader “governance” failure in Kashmir, cutting across administrations and that people have learnt to live and operate in isolation from the administration even suggests that the much touted formula of governance as an antidote to the conflict in and over Kashmir is a non starter or even a chimera. That is, governance and development can never be a substitute for genuine conflict resolution. In the meantime, as “Durbar move” is about to happen, issues will pile up in Kashmir but people, appear to be indifferent to the move.