Shah Faesal putting cart before the horse

Binoo Joshi

Shah Faesal seems to be living in  a  world of his own making  because  his thesis against the Indian state vis-à-vis  Kashmir is deeply flawed. This man who  topped the IAS in 2009-2010 and became a national hero coming out of Kashmir , is now a convert to the ideology in which he is unable to sift facts from fiction . For the past one week, ever since he quit the services and decided to plunge in politics , has been saying so many things , one contradicting the other , and straddling  on so many  standpoints , that it has become very difficult to discern as to what does he want  to do  for  Kashmiris .

He is wrong on so many things . First, he is wrong about himself . He has come out as a man afflicted with one-eyed view of the things  that he is know-all person and the others whether in the separatist politics or those contesting polls  have no idea how to take  the  Valley out of the quagmire in which it has been sucked into .

There is a clear danger that his self-contradictory  propositions to address the Kashmir issue , and attempts to flirt with the “mainstream” or electoral politics , while  claiming that the separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference   represents the real sentiment of Kashmiris , will cause further disillusionment  among the youth . And, instead of bringing out a road map for them  how to  spring out of the violence and build their future in a peaceful and promising society , he is seeking to push them  further downhill .

Here it is how and why ?  There is no denying the  fact that  the  youth of Kashmir that is picking up guns  today , particularly after the killing of  militant commander Burhan Wani  in July 2016 , is not worried  about the absence of the light in his home, no water supply in the neighbourhood or bleak chances  of any work in his kitty anytime soon . He has picked up the gun because there are  no options before him. The romanticism of gun delivering him a Kashmir solution is also as misguided as the theory that he is disconnected  from the day-to-day needs in his life .

This is a serious problem . The gun versus gun theory has failed in practice . The violence breeds violence , or at least a sentiment for the violence  swamped  landscape that is seen and believed as a  ground to tease and embarrass the adversary . In this case, it is the state of India . It is absolutely correct that the hatred against India is peaking , because the idea of India , that the successive governments in New Delhi and  the “ elected  governments” in Kashmir , have not  been able to  germinate in Kashmir because  they had been living in their own make believe world  as do the gunmen  and the separatists.

His theory  about the parallel  space for the separatists and the election-oriented politics  is also flawed , because there is a competitive narrative in which one side would like to  win against the other . Howsoever , the mainstream  may  plead for the dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference , but there always is keenness to derail the whole process . This kind of politics was experimented during the first spell of the  Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s rule from 2002 to 2005 , when separatist leaders were allowed to move and speak out their mind . Syed Ali Shah Geelani, an iconic separatist leader  who stands for complete accession of   Kashmir with Pakistan ,  went from place to place   asking the people to fight for the right to self-determination . The audience became thinner and thinner with every rally that he addressed . The people lost interest in that . Mufti’s politics was to render the separatist camp irrelevant , despite the fact that he  pitched for dialogue between them and the government of India . That happened  but  again  the Hurriyat not only stood divided on the issue , but it also created  both hope and doubt among the people because the dialogue process landed in no-fly zone .

Kashmir has shown time and again that the electoral politics , whether the traditional or the new  or what Shah Faesal calls “ reimagining”  is not working . There is a need of doing a lot of home wok .  This homework has to be done by the stakeholders . No stakeholder , big or small, with guns or  simply with the radical  ideologies or those striving for peace – often dubbed contemptuously as status-quoists. –  is interested in doing that . reaching out to the youth has been reduced to a cliché . Without homework  giving the theories is like putting cart before the horse.  And that simply doesn’t work.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *