Precariousness of Life

Precariousness of Life
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The precariousness of life in Kashmir was yet again underscored by the killing of a Sumo driver in Kupwara. The young man, who was responding to a call to a ferry a patient to the hospital, was killed during an ambush laid for militants by the Army. While some might justify the gratuitous and unwarranted killing of the man, at the peak of his life, as “collateral damage”, and others might condemn by way of a ritual condemnation, but this would not detract from the fact that life in Kashmir is precarious and contingent. This precariousness and contingency emanates and accrues from the militarization of the conflict in and over Kashmir. By way of a corollary, the world view that emerges from this is the viewing of the conflict in zero sum and maximalist terms which, in turn, does not brook or countenance resolution of the conflict. The result is a militarized gridlock where people like the Sumo driver not only suffer but are made to pay the ultimate price. The question is: will this ever end ? And, can there ever be absolute security of life and limb in Kashmir? While there is no such thing as absolute security, even in “normal” societies, this assumes a poignancy in conflict ridden societies. However, the fact that security (of life, limb and property) is relative does not exonerate powers that be from its provision. But, there is a catch here. Security in Kashmir cannot be actually be provided by anyone either is relative or absolute terms. It can, in either case, descend on Kashmir when the region is conflict free. Once Kashmir is conflict free, the militarization of the conflict will be given short shrift and will, in the process, be obviated. The question now is: how can Kashmir be conflict free? The answer, as obvious, as it is, stares us in the face: it can only happen when the conflict in and over Kashmir is resolved. This assertion might sound hackneyed, clichéd and repetitive but it, actually, is the only antidote to the gratuitous loss of life and limb in Kashmir. The corollary that follows from this assertion is that let minds get concentrated and let a conflict resolution paradigm that redounds to the benefit of all stakeholders and especially the people of Kashmir be instituted. A stitch in time, as they say, saves nine.

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