Mohammad Ashraf | 4 MARCH, 2015
The Bear Hug
The bear hug
At long last after a wait of more than a couple of months, Jammu and Kashmir has an elected government. According to the new Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed it is the meeting of the North and the South Poles. Hopefully it does not turn into an equatorial meeting which would be too hot and uncomfortable!
A picture of Narendra Modi hugging Mufti Sayeed was splashed all over the media just before the swearing in of the new PDP-BJP government in the state. A bear hug that carried its own symbolism. The moot point is whether the hug is really a positive bear hug and a lasting one or a proverbial bear hug?
Both leaders took a pretty long time in preparing to embrace each other. If one studies the body language, it appears that Mufti Sayeed was not very comfortable with the initiative coming from PM Modi.There have been many opinions and comments about this ideologically incompatible alliance.
On the positive side, it is said that this is for the first time that the two regions have come together to fulfil their aspirations notwithstanding the fact that some of the aspirations are diametrically opposite. This government claims to represent both Jammu and Kashmir. And that a strong and stable state government backed by an equally strong and stable central government can do developmental wonders. Well, that may be true if both have the sincerity of purpose and honestly implement their mandates.
On the negative side, it has been alleged that both the sides have receded from their main agendas simply to capture power at all costs. For the BJP it was an excellent opportunity after the Delhi debacle to show some positive gain. Kashmiris have been extremely alienated and this provided an opportunity for the ghar wapsi of the estranged people even though not in terms of the declared long term agenda of the RSS.
Everything in Kashmir, from electric power to roads and above all the environment is in shambles. The most immediate task is prevention of future floods which has so far been totally neglected, resulting in some fresh breaches and waterlogging of the city. Another nightmare is swine flu that the Kashmiris have been coping with, without a government in place.
Both sides have agreed to put controversial issues on the back burner. It will not bedifficult to control the state machinery if the rulers really want to do it. After all they are constitutionally supposed to control the state actors. However, the main headache would be controlling the non-state actors who will be working from all sides. This too can be done if the two sides are sincere and do not work only to score points over each other.
To ensure honest implementation of all these measures and give succour to the troubled and suffering people, they have to first of all tackle corruption head on without any fear or favour. Honesty like water flows from top to down below. If the top is honest, the people below will too have to become honest. If the top is corrupt, the honest people below cannot survive.
One can forget the movement forward on the ultimate solution to the political problem in Kashmir. It too has gone to the back burner. People having expectations of the final solution from the mainstream parties are being hypocritical. Their maximum contribution is lessening the harassment on the ground and improving the day to day living conditions. On this count one would have to watch the performance. It will not be fair to pass judgement regarding the governance and stability of the set up at the moment. However, they need to understand that there are many pitfalls and they would be doing a tight-rope walk.
The swords of Damocles would be always hanging over their heads. Mufti Sayeed caught in an embrace with PM Narendra Modi needs only to be reminded about the Kashmiri proverbs, “Kakun Haaputh” and “Haapath Yarazz” which for him needs no explanation!