The two regional parties are expected to get sizeable majority in present election but may not be in a position to form a government on their own. Can they give Narendra Modi nightmares by joining together? In ancient Kashmir wood had been one of the most popular building materials used for constructing both palaces as well as ordinary houses. Kalhana mentions lofty wooden houses as one of the five most well-known attributes of ancient Kashmir. The most common and ancient way of joining two pieces of wood is a tongue and groove joint. The use of wood has been replaced by cement concrete and even if we use wood, we join it by nails or adhesives like fevicol!The loss of tongue and groove joint has also psychologically affected our political as well as social life. It has got totally disjointed and has gone virtually to pieces. The main reason for this has been mushrooming of egos, false pride, and jealousy. Right from day one of the ongoing freedom movement started in 1931, there has been a split at every stage. The parting of ways has been apparently for ideological reasons but in reality the under lying cause for every split has been a clash of egos. Humility and submission to truth seem alien to us. Each one of us wants to be a leader and not a follower. The result is that we have a leader in every nook and corner but hardly any dedicated followers. If the aim of all those struggling for last so many decades is to achieve the basic right of self-determination, then why do we have so many parties and factions of parties? It is simply because of the clash of egos.
A friend wrote sometime back that two Kashmiris cannot walk even ten steps holding each other’s hand. There are dozens of external agencies from both the sides interested in keeping the pieces apart. The reason is that none trusts Kashmiris. We do not even ourselves have faith in us! In the latest phase of the struggle which started in 1990, initially great unity was shown by one and all and a single united face was presented to both the local people and the outside world. However, the joints in the pieces did not last as these did not form tongue and groove joints and the pieces were scattered all over.
However, what is wrong with the other stream of politicians? The so called main stream which too has local involvement. Again a clash of egos or rather clash of “families”. There are only two main stream regional parties claiming to represent the “true” aspirations of the people. According to them the aspirations of the people are within the existing external framework. They would like to get the people a place of honour and dignity within the present political parameters. But so far they have failed to achieve even this limited goal. Again the problem is their failure to complement each other. They are wasting their energies in confronting each other even though their professed goals are same. They present a perfect example of tongue and groove and should have normally joined long back. The differences are only of nomenclature. One is pleading for the restoration of the already agreed autonomy within the union which has been totally diluted over the years while as the other calls it the “self-rule” with an undefined external dimension.
Both have an interesting composition contrasting with each other. One has a good material of old stalwarts but inconsistent and fickle minded leadership devoid of political acumen. The other has seasoned leadership with political sagacity but no substantive material. They have rather a collection of defectors. The two could fit in easily as a tongue and groove joint and become a formidable combination which would make our common adversary feel very uneasy. If only they would rise above the “family” and their egos, they could make a difference. By taking a united stand they could have easily got the suffering masses some interim relief. Do they have the sincerity and the urge to serve the people and heal their wounds? Yes, only to the extent of professing it for their own selfish goals. The last 60 years of uncertainty which have made them go round in circles have not tempered them and made them realise the bleakness of the future. By all accounts both do not seem to have any future in the ultimate disposition of Kashmir. They still have a chance to change it if only they see the writing on the wall.
It would be in their own interests to give up their hypocritical stances as well as mutual confrontation and come out openly in support of the true aspirations of the people. This will either make the other umpteen parties professing to be popular saviours of the people totally irrelevant or force them to coalesce like tongue and groove joints in wood to maintain their credibility. Either way it is the common people who will benefit from such an eventuality. Is there anyone to take such a bold initiative? Usually this comes from the “Intelligentsia” but in our case unfortunately they are paralysed in a deep freeze! Someone or something needs to de-freeze them!