Omar Abdullah recently declared that “Kashmir may erupt any time”! “People in Delhi have misconceptions about cosmetic peace in Valley”. According to him, “Kashmiris’ patience cannot be taken for granted”! Economic development and jobs will not end the problem. The basic political problem needed to be tackled. It was almost like jumping out of the bath tub and running naked shouting all the time “Eureka” like Archimedes. It was a discovery made by him probably nth time! Earlier on many occasions too he had been saying similar things. During the earlier visit of the Prime Minister he had declared in his speech that the Kashmiri boys had not picked up the gun for jobs. In the Parliament he had emphatically stated that the Kashmiris will not part even with an inch of land. Recently he declared that article 370 can only be scrapped over the dead bodies of Kashmiris. During the current year he has made many statements which could be construed as rebellious. However, after following Delhi’s dictates meekly for so long, it sounds hypocritical to now put all the blame on them. The good one is telling Delhi not to hoodwink Kashmiris! Well, Omar Abdullah did make a discovery but only half of it. One could ask him if he has also discovered that it is he and his ancestors that have been greatly responsible for bringing Kashmiris to their present state.
Apart from Omar Abdullah, many other mainstream leaders have started discovering that the main reason of discontent in Kashmir is the basic political problem. While as Omar is publicly voicing these discoveries on a regular basis towards the end of his tenure, the other politicians are making these just a year ahead of the forthcoming elections. Bijli, Panni, and Saddak seem to be forgotten by one and all! This fooling of the common people is now a regular pastime for the politicians of all hues and shades. Kashmiris have been taken for a ride by one and all. A friend while discussing this problem remarked that we are ourselves prepared to be fooled again and again. However, according to him there is another catch in the situation. The people have so much suffered that behind every initiative from any corner they glimpse a ray of light which they think may be their ultimate salvation. But then they get let down and dejected.
In a sense, Kashmir has had never a revolution but only upheavals. For a revolution the first thing is a change in the mind-set. Revolutions occur primarily in the mind and are then physically manifested. These then give rise to leadership which brings these revolutions to culmination. The French had a revolution, the Russians had a revolution and the Chinese had a revolution. The only real revolution in Kashmir in its recent history has been in 1931 but unfortunately the leaders did not bring the revolution to fruition but left it halfway leaving people in total wilderness and chaos with no light at the end of the tunnel!
It is a historical fact that the outsiders have always utilised the local differences and issues to strengthen their hold on Kashmir. It is also a fact that in almost all episodes of foreign rules a section of Kashmiris has not only sided with the foreigners but have in the first instance been responsible for inviting them here. Be it the rule of Mughals, Afghans or Sikhs, it is the Kashmiris who went to invite them here. The Dogras got Kashmir on a platter. The same holds good for the present dispensation. The typical “Nettle Story” of Kashmir which says that “I brought the Nettle”, “I sowed the Nettle” and then “Got bitten by the Nettle”!
Omar Abdullah’s crying “Eureka” discovering the causes of basic discontent just before the elections may be forgiven as it is wont of all politicians to do so but the million dollar question is what is he going to do about it? He could not do anything for Bijli, Pani and Saddak because of the worst governance seen in last couple of decades. The power scenario last winter was deplorable and the worst seen for last few years. It is for the first time that there is power curtailment even during summer in Kashmir. It is reportedly being done under the Chief Minister’s orders to save import of energy!
Doing something about the political agenda seems not only difficult but rather impossible in his style of functioning. His rhetoric without any concrete follow up action has made him “Incredible” like the famous tourism slogan the “Incredible India”! In case he is really serious, he does not have to run out of the bath tub like Archimedes shouting “Eureka!” but has to put on the clothes and take some positive steps. Otherwise he is like the school days fable in which the King is fooled by his advisors saying that he is wearing the finest silk, but a child shouts at him saying, “But the King is naked!”