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; today, a modern multinational state such as India can command the legitimacy of its citizens only by the power, persuasiveness and attraction of its political arguments.”

“Kashmir’s latest unrest needs to be seen in context, wherein the politics of New Delhi and Srinagar has lost favour with the Kashmiris. It is easy and convenient to blame Pakistan, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), dissident parties in Kashmir and the Opposition People’s Democratic Party for the troubles. Indeed, they might have even committed their own acts to fuel the unrest. However, the fact remains that it is the National Conference-led Jammu and Kashmir government’s deplorable poverty of politics that has set Kashmir alight again.”

“In 2000, the NC pushed a resolution through the State Assembly demanding autonomy that was rejected in totality by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government in New Delhi, which termed it “anti-national.”

“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.”

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