In most of the South Asian countries there is a virtual disease of worshipping personalities and promoting dynastic succession in all spheres of life including the ruling set ups. Be it Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan or India, the story is same. Political leaders are anointed virtually as kings and queens and allowed to rule in a dynastic succession. In many of these countries claiming to be democracies, the reality is quite the opposite. These countries more or less function as erstwhile Kingdoms with the worst kind of nepotism. Quite often stalwart leaders rise from the masses and lead people to emancipation but subsequently they indulge in nepotism by perpetuating their dynasties as the future rulers. Some have even been treated as lifelong rulers throwing all principles of democracy to the winds! Invariably, most of these nepotistic rulers have had violent or disgraceful ends!
Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos; Dr. Sukarno and Megawati Sukarnoputri; Solomon Bandaranayke and Sirimavo Bandaranayake; Mujiburahman and Sheikh Hasina; Zulfiqar Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto and then the whole Nehru family from Jawahar Lal to Rahul Gandhi. A continuous chain of nepotistic and dynastic rulers! The worst has been the India’s Nehru family. For almost half a century they have ruled the country making it a dynastic succession similar to the old times of kings and queens. Indira Gandhi was even presented to the simple village folk as a Goddess! The Nehru family has finally met its nemesis during the recent election. Similar is the Abdullah dynasty of Kashmir. It is an unfortunate and tragic tale of nepotism and dynastic rule. This dynasty too has met its nemesis. Had Sheikh Abdullah not been raised to a virtual colossus and worshipped by Kashmiris, the story of Kashmir may have been different. The most ironic facet of this tragic story is the highly guarded tomb of this colossus! He is probably the only dead not being worshipped by the allegedly dead worshipping Kashmiris!
One would not blame Kashmiris too much about the personality cult. It is in the psyche of a Kashmiri. For almost 5000 years Kashmiris have been ruled by kings and queens. So in 1947 it was but natural that Kashmiris were looking for a king to rule over them. Unfortunately, the king betrayed the very people who had anointed him as a virtual emperor! There is a strange dichotomy in this whole affair. Kashmir is a Muslim majority area. Islam is totally opposed to personality cult and the dynastic succession. Some say that Kashmiris did not convert to Islam but adapted Islam to their traditional way of life which they always refuse to give up! Unfortunately, this personality cult and dynastic succession has seeped into all the institutions including the religious ones. Many civil institutions have also developed same personality cult involving lobbying and political manoeuvring.
The tradition of royalty and dynastic succession has been introduced by the West in the Islamic countries particularly in the Middle East for their own personal interests especially those related to energy sources. They started with the Saudis who have a fully entrenched and well-guarded royalty surviving because of the American support. There are supposed to be 5000 Saudi Princes. Many other Muslim countries have suffered or at present suffering from this dynastic succession. It is in total contrast to the days of the Prophet (PBUH).
Kashmir has had a revolutionary change in the recent times. The new generation does not seem to be fond of personalities. They are more inclined towards ideology and convictions. This is the first step towards total emancipation. We have to be emancipated from these personalities and dynasties to allow us to move forward. It needs a change in the mind-set. People must say good-bye to “Brinjal and Gourd” slogans. There should be no more “Alle Kare Wangan Kare, Bab Kare!” The youth have to first study the history of the nation, understand the present situation and the path to the ultimate emancipation. They must then take practical steps to realise the goal of their convictions through capable, honest and sincere leaders. If a leader commits a deliberate mistake or misleads, he is to be discarded and a new capable leader chosen. The days of the blind following are over. The new age is of inquisitiveness, enlightenment, self-respect and the dignity of the individual as well as the nation. If the new generation follows this principle meticulously, we are sure to reach the goal of total emancipation.