Historical Burden

Historical Burden
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The convoluted history of Kashmir, especially in its modern avatar, has created a condition wherein the conflict has become intergenerational. That is, it has been transmitted across generations. The reasons for this transmission pertain to the nature of the conflict: one that is defined by competing sovereigntisms, territorial nationalisms and the aspirations of the people. It is this condition or set of conditions that might best constitute an approximation of the reason(s) of the conflict. What has, in the process, been lost is the agency of the people of Kashmir in both profound and prosaic dimensions. The manifestations of this can be felt across multiple domains. The conflict then shapes the consciousness of the people of Kashmir. Diminished agency along with consciousness shaped by the conflict makes for the defining feature of Kashmir and its people. This condition can neither be redeemed nor restored by opening trade routes nor any related themes but actual redemption can happen by resolving the conflict in and over Kashmir. Admittedly, this is a hackneyed assertion but in the absence of any genuine or even compelling alternative, it is the only robust one. Any other “prescription” that purports to be the “panacea” of and for Kashmir is mere pretence. Kashmiris’ pain then neither is self inflicted nor is it self created. It accrues from the burden of Kashmir’s history. Powers that be, within and without Kashmir, must then not seek solace in fancy phrases but they must delve deep into history and the historical process to know and understand Kashmir’s pain. This can constitute a useful starting point. To make a digression here, and make a general point, almost invariably, no society is free from the burden of history. But, what distinguishes robust and dynamic societies is that powers that be within them made choices not to be prisoners of history. They unshackled themselves from the manacles of history and created new destinies for their people. There is a lesson for Kashmir. Powers that be in Kashmir must take a cue and inspiration from this and create conditions that redound to the benefit of all, especially the people of Kashmir. It is one thing to make hackneyed statements and phrases and another to actually do real stuff. Kashmir and its people can do without the former but the latter is the sine qua non of peace in Kashmir. The rest is something that is flowery and rhetorical.

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