The Saga Continues

The Saga Continues
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Six people were killed in Kashmir on the 4th of March, 2018. Surely, by any yardstick, this is serious and must not be whitewashed away. These killings underscore the precariousness of life in Kashmir. The official narrative which has been trotted out seems to be rather inconsistent and may not stand scrutiny. But, regardless of the nature of the explanation(s) proffered by powers that be, the prosaic fact of the matter is that people have died. This not only underscores the fragility of life in Kashmir but also the fact that underneath a patina of surface calm, the conflict in Kashmir lingers on or even simmers. It must be, after years of the conflict and its recrudescence, recognized and realized that there is actually no military solution to the conflict. Militarization only begets militarization is almost akin to a law of physics. And, it is also in the nature of a whirlpool that can only draw all into its vortex. In the ultimate analysis, it is only a comprehensive dialogue that is inclusive and involves all stakeholders, that lasting peace can descend on Kashmir and by extension the whole of South Asia. Bringing in South Asia into the equation is neither a stretch nor is it an exaggeration. It stands to reason that Kashmir is the major sticking point between India and Pakistan; such is the import of the region for both countries that they have vested considerable energies on the conflict. If the conflict actually drags on and its militarization assumes and acquires a more intense hue, then it can affect the regional calculus and the paradigms that create conditions for relative peace in the region. This is insofar as the interstate and the regional dynamic of the matter is concerned. The conflict, it is goes without saying, has taken a toll on the people of Kashmir on a range of dimensions. Be it the political uncertainty that throws life out of kilter here, or the economic morass that has descended upon Kashmir, or in terms of the death toll that the conflict has exacted, all constitute suffering for the people. The interstate dimension of the conflict and the within dimensions of the conflict are overlaid by a politics defined by stasis, complemented by the precedence of the military over the political. These self defeating dynamics need to change for peace to take hold within and without and for the efflorescence of South Asia and its peoples.

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