SYED TAJAMUL IMRAN
The political space in Jammu and Kashmir for the mainstream political spectrum is shrinking, for their failure not only regarding the sentiment of the people but in terms of development end as well. With the result , there are least takers even left for the ruling party like Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) even in its bastion South Kashmir where it stands in shatters.
The main stalwarts of big parties hesitate to affiliate themselves with the parties earlier they have worked for. After the 2016 uprising, mainstream political stalwarts preferred to stay in secured zones like Srinagar or Jammu. As a matter of fact, the election turnout in the parliament by elections held for Srinagar Loksabha seat last year was ample proof that mainstream politics in the Kashmir stands decimated.
The allure of militancy is now becoming the first choice of angry, educated, agitated and economically well off youth in Kashmir and this reality manifests itself across Kashmir. While, as we know, the resistance leadership calls for boycott which previously used to have no evident effect, but with the passage of time , the deception of mainstream parties has made the disillusionment, hence proving that résistance politics is not just a reality but a powerful veracity.
The prominent regional Mainstream political party- National Conference which has ruled the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir for most periods of time and is still viewed as a grass root workers party but it has miserably failed to get its vision document and slogan Autonomy implemented although attaining the full majority in the state assembly, or any of its provisions implemented hence exposing their credibility ; when in power , the NC could never aggressively raise its vision of autonomy as they promised before elections. The party has already got the tag of surrendering the resources of the state to New Delhi for meager returns.
Coming to the PDP , it promised the sky but proved to be an anti climax for valleyites when it entered into an unholy alliance with the right wing Hindutva BJP, the party it had promised to keep away before elections. From the day this party has proven recipe of disaster for the ill fated state. PDP has ceded much ground to BJP and failed to safeguard even basic interests of the people of Kashmir. Public voices, sentiments and protests have been equally crushed with utmost brute force by both parties when in power. When they are pushed into the opposition they become best voice of human rights aptly showing their hypocrisy in broad day light. The result of this inept and inefficient and above all wicked politics played by the premier mainstream parties is before everybody.
The basic political problem of Jammu and Kashmir is narrated with the problem of development or unemployment as has been proven wrong by fact that rich, educated and even employed ones laying their lives. With their declining influence and shrinking space it looks even New Delhi is also giving mostly deaf ear to claims and does not take them seriously.
Resistance seems to be pan Kashmir phenomenon now. The viewpoint of pro-freedom politics has stood the test of time as their narrative of the situation has held firmly on the ground. The writing on the wall for the mainstream parties is clear that if they are really sincere in representing the sentiment of the general masses they must implement their so called agenda for resolution of political issue, recognize the popularity of resistance sentiment prevalent on ground and must represent the same before their masters in Delhi Darbar.
On the other hand of the spectrum, the dwindling mainstream also should make India as a state to introspect its failures in Kashmir as it has always tried to impose its leadership and policies over the people of Kashmir trough the power of oppressive tactics and never really let real democratization happen in the valley of Kashmir. It’s betrayals too towards even its own mainstream men have contributed to its failures in the Kashmir. Even when they try to hoodwink the global audience by comparing Kashmir with war torn Syria, it indirectly also not just highlights but proves the failures of their policies. India needs to look beyond imposing mainstream and suppression, repression of the masses and take realistic steps towards resolution of basic political issue of the Kashmir politically.
The height of alienation towards mainstream in Kashmir can be seen from the fact that despite ceasefire being announced youth are picking arms and see even the Confidence building measures like Ceasefire as just the time buying tactics of the mainstream and nothing else. It simply suggests that the time for makeshift arrangements for the mainstream political thought in Kashmir is over and when one can clearly say that it is the time of walk the talk for the mainstream politics and politicians in the state to make their respective stands clear viz a viz Kashmir issue and must not correlate it to the issues pertaining to the development of the state.
For the moment then, it can be safely stated that the mainstream politics in Kashmir, with every passing moment is becoming redundant and outdated, to say the least.
—The author is a Student activist, founder All J&K Students Union (AJKSU), an MBA, With a Dream of Breaking the Status Quo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.