Happymon Jacob in New Delhi

From The Hindu: “The Poverty of Politics

“The ongoing unrest in Kashmir is the result of a failure of politics, political courage, conviction and empathy. If Kashmir burns time and again, it is because politicians in New Delhi and Srinagar have failed to extend a powerful and convincing political argument to the Kashmiris. Gone are the days when a nation state could demand the undiluted loyalty of its citizens by force and coercion.”

“The previous two years of mainstream politics in Jammu and Kashmir have been marked by a post-2008 election euphoria that has led to a misplaced sense of triumphalism in Srinagar and New Delhi regarding the victory of democracy and the defeat of dissent in the Valley. The politics of indifference and complacency took root in place of a realisation that this sense of relative stability could be used to usher in a programme of political reconciliation and peace. Mainstream politicians in the Valley forget what has always been true in the case of Kashmir: peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of justice…”

“Peace and normalcy cannot be measured by poverty levels, or by other well-cited numbers such as the number of deaths by police fire. These statistics cannot capture the extent of political alienation and the severe psychological trauma experienced, especially by the post-1989 generation that has grown up in the shadow of guns and bloodshed. No amount of economic largesse will tempt this generation to buy unconvincing political arguments.”

“Many of those in New Delhi and Srinagar who swear by the argument that Kashmir should be resolved “politically” because it is a “political issue” fail to comprehend what this really entails.”

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