Futile, Ahistorical and Purposeless

Futile, Ahistorical and Purposeless
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The Germany Embassy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the INTACH for the restoration of the Ount Kadal, a sixteenth century stone masonry bridge built by the Mughals. This, according to the country’s deputy ambassador, would bring focus on the significance of the Dal Lake as part of the global cultural and natural heritage. In a way, the nature of German embassy’s interest in and attempts to contribute to Kashmir are curious but correspond to type. The interest is curious because it is not clear what the embassy wants to achieve in Kashmir and corresponds to type because Germany and its diplomacy has withered as the country evolved into a staid, inward looking entity after the second Great war. A country that can only look inward can merely be a shrunken power with a corresponding decline in interest in the world without. This is borne out by Germany’s attempts at restoration of the Ount kadal. Shorn of clutter, the bridge in contention is the legacy of the Mughals, (who were guests that overstayed in Kashmir). There then is nothing Kashmiri about the bridge. This is not to say that the Ount Kadal is not part of Kashmir’s historical heritage. But, the question is, what will its restoration do to and for Kashmir? Nothing substantive is the answer. There then is ignorance involved in Germany’s attempts. But, the country and its representatives could, if they had chosen to, do something more substantive and substantial for Kashmir, a region which is blighted by the scourge of unemployment and poor economic conditions. The country has unparalleled expertise in precision engineering and its universities are not bad at all. It could have then either set up units here that could train Kashmiris in the techniques of cutting edge engineering, or in other words, contributed to skill development here. Or, the country could have made pathways to higher education for Kashmiri students easier and seamless. But, nay, Germany and its embassy has chosen to focus on something that is not even superfluous and marginal to Kashmiris’ lives. But, then this might be the natural concomitant of Germany’s world view and horizon of knowledge and understanding, restricted and limited as it is by a self induced, narrow parochialism. The Germany that was the incubatory of the West’s great philosophical and political traditions is no more. What is there is a shriveled entity that can think and conceive only up to a point.