Collective Trauma

Collective Trauma
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Trauma, defined and described as a psychic injury, on account of exposure to extremely stressful events is, in reality, very hard to identify, especially when it is happening. And, the effects of trauma pan out actually after the traumatic event or exposure. There are forms of trauma. One is individual and the other collective. The range of individual traumatic events includes accidents (minor or major), exposure to gory incidents, emotional disturbances, and other abnormal events. Unfortunately, the effects of trauma remain for life in one form or other, either in vivid or residual form. The same typology applies to collective trauma, which may be defined as trauma suffered by a given society on account of sustained exposure to stressful events and incidents. This appears to have a resonance in Kashmir where conditions are far from perfect and where exposure to events induced by these very conditions appears to be inducing a collective trauma of Kashmiris. The collective trauma appears to be happening in a very subtle and non obvious or even asymptomatic way. This is where the danger lies given most victims of trauma neither understand nor are able to identify the problem until it is unfortunately too late. The phenomenon is more acute in the context of Kashmir where explanatory factors for trauma and other related issues often times fall in the domain of anything other than the obvious. Moreover, even if some degree of abnormality is detected in an individual, it is either glossed over or hidden for fear of stigma. Now, this is insofar as individual trauma is concerned. What about collective trauma in Kashmir? At a collective level, the first step is or lies in identifying that we are in the midst of trauma. But, the question is: what next? Perhaps prayer(s) and spiritual upliftment would constitute one major approach to deal with the issue. Inherent to prayer and spirituality is solace and inner peace. But, there are also other aspects to the whole saga. The problem, especially in terms of Kashmir lies in its convoluted politics thereof. If the problem lies in lies in politics then the antidote lies in politics too. But, the issue is: what kind of politics? The answer is as obvious as can be: a clean and vibrant politics that is informed by sobriety, prudence, wisdom and sincerity and which redounds to the interests of all.

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