Author: Saadut
•3:13 PM

The quest for people’s power starts from ground. In earlier times politicians would tread dusty roads, disheveled streets, uneven pavements and rural pathways to reach and outreach in their quest for political ground. Spread of political word was handled with a human interface and these repertoires for public audiences were held town after town, village after village.

But did it ever hold true for Kashmir or specifically does this hold true for Kashmir anymore? Kashmir never had any political renaissance to its credit. The armed uprising was a counter to the political mess that Kashmir had been subject to for long: contra effects of the one sided, colonizer mentality, Demon-O-crazy policies of New Delhi in Kashmir. The revolutionary currents that many may have seen in the anti India uprising splintered soon into fragments of convenient political thought. Pre 90 Kashmir power politicians had become camouflaged entities controlled by alien strings, post 90’s they became invincible extremes, pretending alien to ground realities. Late 80's and early 90’s also witnessed rebirth of the other side of political thought which had been alive and dormant all these years. People thought things might change now with political discourse invading our drawing rooms and hopes creeping in our minds.  With the onset of insurgency the power holding political aliens took flight out of Kashmir and started using the New Delhi periscope to monitor and gauge Kashmir, some times fretting other times thundering : but never reconciling to the disconnect they always faced at the ground in Kashmir. Delhi had no choice but to feed them fat in the shades of Lutyens greens, with the eternal hope to re install an overtly corrupt and haywire power arrangement in Kashmir; as long as this arrangement took care of the proxy governance interests of New Delhi here. For those in Kashmir who dreamt of good governance had never got one, and those who dreamt of redemption and salvation from political tyranny neither got redeemed nor any justice. The decades of turbulence created small islands of hegemony and command often limited to individual political thought sphere. Redressal became unheard of and reprisals took control. The divided political thought in Kashmir drove an invisible wedge both between some communities and amidst social networks. People never knew where to look at: for jurisprudence and for reparation.

In a conflict situation truth becomes the first calamity and human loss follows the erasure of truth. In such a scenario thought and power extremes of the conflict resort to calumny, revilement and falsification: leaving innocent victims prone to perjury and slander. Camouflaging truth and vilifying facts became the order of the day. As the conflict strengthened in its roots in Kashmir these political high minds began competing in a high rise mortar & cement race: earlier their face having been elusive to commoners now their palatial enterprises invisible to naked eye. The cavalcades originating for these political high mind islands now encroached upon whole roads while the poor commoners, already been declared a visual sore for the fatigue and barbed wire encircled towers of exclusivity, had to run for their lives for the risk of being trampled by the obnoxious escorts that preceded these ugly cavalcades.  Frequently the faces of the political high minds on both sides of the divide used to be front paged on leaning news papers, either thundering their opponents with decimation, one side assuring Delhi of the ‘all is well’ parable or other side shaking hands in with foreign lands, shaking hands with a well practiced photo ops smile with farther nations dignitaries: the act in picture depended on the political leanings of the conflict extreme, the thought divide they pretended to adhere to.

The commoners were bombarded with statements and claims of imminent peace, of soon to be 'reconciliation', of promised growing diplomatic support to our miseries, of the determination to close the call of the opposite side: and above all of redressal and justice. Each claim specific to the political high mind thought extreme that it originated from. But alas none of this was ever seen or practiced on ground. With the passage of time, the grief of this land kept mounting to colossal levels: but by this time both extreme political sides had expertise learnt the fine art of milking the bigger nation behind their political acts, and all this at the cost of our misery, on our count. Both got their share of bounties in the name of distributable relief from the big power behind their political thought and both of the political high minds bestowed this neighbor backed facility of education & individual opportunities to their kith, kin, created profitable networks out of these : the deserving in Kashmir grazing either the graveyards of looking up to darkness.

The distances between the common people in Kashmir and the political thought on either side became un navigable, travel restriction enforced and contacts limited to power convenience. There was a ‘chalo’ to nowhere on one side where people flocked in hope, to try to walk the road to the promised destination: the journey to Toor for the people of Moses (AS) equaled by effort here in adequate measure by the people of Kashmir but unfortunately sans a Messiah. And as expected the Messiah less ‘chalo’ which were paced on unpaved roads leading to nowhere, exerted and impoverished an already despotized to skeleton humans that were left of our society. No sooner had the winds of enervation started blowing in Kashmir for want of strategy tor channel and mould the discontent and the yearning for change, the other extreme of political high mind started herding gullible commoners to speeches of baffling adjectives, often aimed at media cameras to be replayed in the power corridors of Delhi for political emoluments.

The motor cavalcades of these political high minds have now been replaced by the turbines of jet engines. Earlier they used the concrete and barbed wire enclosures for keeping away the common mans sore eye, now they hardly keep foot on ground Kashmir. So much for the technology shift! The political high minds now prefer talk global, walk high and think at the level of the stratosphere: local thought, ground contact since long done away with. Very few commoners may get to hear the rumble of these jets flying above and fewer still get to hear voices from the stratosphere podium. Somebody tell them, if you are not connected to the roots of Kashmir, how do you expect to reap the local fruit for long? Disconnected from the land, disinterested to read the pulse: with imported attires and unknown vocabulary they have since lost connection to the social grid in Kashmir. It is only by the proxy support of the fighting neighbors that they are continuing to trade us, hoping on our perpetual silence often badly and distortedly mimicking the local talk. Is their globe trotting a race to earn political flyer miles? We have no problems in your flights to newer lands, but for God’s sake don’t subject us to flights of delusion, don’t claim to be our cause champions when you have never wanted to understand our pain. Do not trade on our behalf, when all you can do is trade us for your profits.

Reminds me of the movie ‘Up in The Air’ where George Clooney is a compulsive air traveler because of the nature of his job and has set a target for the flyer miles achievement for himself. After all the efforts and travails, when he reaches the flyer milestone: he donates the flyer proceeds for a family cause. Wonder what fruits would these political high minds fetch out of the disconnected from ground, high flying acts? Are they on the path to amassing enough flyer and power points that could be used to redeem the people of this land from pain and misery?

Seasons of political resistance at ground my have changed but the resolve of the people has not. It is just like changing the attire with the changing season. People still want and wait for a political renaissance, a justice driven social change.

The distances between their stratospheric citadels and our modest dwellings are huge:  un-navigable from our earthly origins.  From such heights they will not see the flying out of the greylag geese and mallards from the marshes of my land; they will not notice the rose-breasted Grosbeak looking out in the spring, whose red colored chest reminds me of spilled blood. For their distances they cannot and will not relate or identify with our condition, no pain will be felt by them: we looked down to from their heights as Lilliputians’. The huge distances between the political high minds and people on the ground mean that the political high minds have still not learnt to read people’s expressions, the prevalent social thought, and understand the collective might of a nation.

When the tsunami shall arrive they will be confronted unawares, unprepared: sweeping their stratospheric citadels with it.

March 16th 2011

P.S : This write up does not club all Kashmir politicians in one bracket, nor does it owe allegiance to any. Some politicians may have good thoughts and intent about Kashmir, but such thoughts and intent have no meaning unless practiced on ground.