In a nation, when the leadership at the helms loses the sense of what is sacrosanct about the nation, the governance becomes weird. We have been witnessing this phenomenon in Jammu and Kashmir for quite some time. The way the newly appointed interlocutors on Jammu and Kashmir conducted themselves in their first visit to the State is more a reflection of how the weird and the bizarre has entered the national outlook of those who are dealing with the situation.
The interlocutors entered the scene in the State at a time when a significant section of opinion in the government as well as outside describe the prevailing political atmosphere in Kashmir valley as guided by a mood where “Secession from India is the bottom line”. No sane person can undermine the gravity of the situation on the ground and the degree of difficulty which the interlocutors have to face. But the degree of difficulty of a situation is never a license to trespass into areas which are inviolable.
To break the stalemate and start a process of engagement with the separatists at any cost, perhaps seems to be the prime task which the interlocutors think they have to accomplish. And they have started their work by publicly accepting the major contentions of the separatists across the board, in a hope that the logjam will be broken. These major separatist contentions have been – accept Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed area; accept that only a political solution will bring normalcy which the separatists have unequivocally described as changing the status quo away from Indian position in the state; and accept the trilateral nature of the dispute in which Kashmiri Muslims and Pakistan are an equal party.
It is not very difficult to understand as to why the separatists have still held on to their position of ridiculing the interlocutors and boycotting them. If the major concerns of the Separatists are being met even before any dialogue, why should they even think of relieving the pressures which they realise are weighing upon Government of India.
For any responsible citizen of India it has become more important to understand the mindset of the leadership which is guiding the policy of Government of India on Jammu and Kashmir than the thrust of the separatist strategies. This mindset considers issues concerning the sovereignty of the nation as mostly redundant and obsolete. This mindset considers borders as negotiable. It considers no significant change in the official position if a ‘problem’ is recognized as an ‘issue’ or a ‘dispute’ and labels any debate on such issues as an exercise in semantics. And this mindset ruthlessly seeks to overlook the content of separatism in Jammu and Kashmir. It in fact advocates cohabiting with what is antinational and regressive as the only choice available in the State.
It is in this situation, when such a mindset rules the roost, that the governance assumes a weird form. And we have situations where on the floor of the assembly there are discussions and debates which transgress the Constitution and the assembly starts hinting of assuming plenary powers of even negating the Nation itself. In such a situation we come to a pass where those who head the government mount an attack on the same government and yet remain in the government. We come to a pass where the protection and credibility which the sovereignty of the Nation accords to the representatives elected as per the constitution is abused to mount attacks on the sovereignty itself. The leadership debunks the security forces, demeans and demonizes them and yet as a matter of right seeks and enjoys their protection. It starts respecting regression as a revolution and sees no moral or ethical rationale to defend our nation.
There is no dearth of the people who apprehend that what the Chief Minister said about the accession of the State with India in the Legislative Assembly recently had the full consent of the same forces in the Government of India which prompted the interlocutors to dignify the claims of Pakistan and the Separatists by describing Jammu and Kashmir as a ‘dispute’. These people don’t hesitate to say that the same forces had drafted the ‘Self Rule’ document of PDP and helped in its release in Pakistan through the aegis of the Indian High Commission in Pakistan. These apprehensions are deepening as the Government of India stumbles and flounders in handling the situation in the State.
Are we seeing an assault on the Nation more from within than from outside? Ali Shah Geelani had to be released from house arrest to go and participate in the rally of Maoists at New Delhi. Not arresting Arundhatti Roy facilitated her going to Kashmir to give a call for a rebellion against India. There are many more, even amongst Kashmiri Muslims, who think that as soon as the ‘Intifada’ in Kashmir Valley shows signs of abating, the State government or the Central government, comes to its rescue by virtue of a policy statement or a measure, which acts as a fuel to it and injects new life into it.
“Nations are made not of oak and rock but of men, and, as the men are, so will the nations be”; this time tested adage seems to be so relevant at the present times for all of us and if we choose to overlook it we may loose the nation itself.