Thursday, August 17, 2017 | 12:55 PM


Seeding Confusion

Friday, February 3, 2017
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Seeding confusion for subverting the resistance movements is an old trick.  It is a lethal weapon that the dominant forces have been using for altering the paradigms of the struggles for justice. For subverting the resistance movements, and dissuading the struggling people from their goals the dominant forces confound the public mind by imposing the alternative discourses and conjuring the dominant phraseology. For, fostering and fortifying the dominant discourse and giving currency to the State sponsored phraseology the powers that be look for hirelings from various strata of the intelligentsia- more particularly from academia, media, and bureaucracy.  Interestingly the state has now been engaging the serving of members of the elite services also for doing the job. 

The struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for their fundamental right from ab initio has suffered because of the alternative discourse conjured by the powers that be and the vested interests. In 1924, the subjugated overwhelming majority of the State drafted a blueprint for their struggle. That called for the restoration of their fundamental right - the right to shape their destiny. The blueprint was again adopted in 1932, at the birth of the Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference, the first political organization of eighty percent population. Interestingly, the Indian National Congress leadership particularly Jawaharlal Nehru played a dubious role in altering the narrative born from the platform. For altering the popular narrative, he engaged a host of communist ideologues and intelligentsia from B. P.L. Bedi to Rajinder Singh Bedi. In fact, these alternative narratives worked as a catalyst for the division of the state in 1947 and birth of the Kashmir Dispute- thus birth of what Alastair Lamb has called 
Kashmir Tragedy- the trauma and suffering of the people of the state.  

The imposing of the “dominant discourse” and coining of the new phraseology for denying the people their cherished right did not end up with the ending of the autocratic rule. Nevertheless, it was vigorously pursued after November 1947. For changing the history and contents of the Kashmir problem and befuddling the public after 1990 more alternative narratives were disseminated and propagated for procrastinating of the Kashmir problem. New phrases were added to the political lexicon of Kashmir. 

In the early nineties,  a new discourse of syncretism- ‘amalgamation of various faiths and practices’  under the umbrella of a newly coined word Kashmiryat ’ was propagated as an alternative narrative to seed confusion in the minds of the people struggling for the resolution of the Kashmir Dispute. As rightly said by a contemporary historian, ‘it is politically empty term when studying Kashmir.’ (Rai)   There could be no denying religious tolerance has been a part of the social ethos of Kashmir but to describe it syncretism with political motives is not in consonance with the historical realities of the state.  Millions of taxpayers’ money were expended for propagating the dominant discourse. The services of scholars, teachers, journalists, filmmakers, videographers, and cleric were hired. Some big names like Bohra reformists and scholar Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer were also sponsored for the job. In 2006, Engineer along with a team from his institution the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism arrived on a mission to Srinagar to influence the Kashmiri mind. In the College of Education, he held a two-day seminar on Kashmiryat. He sounded ridiculous explaining Kashmiryat to Kashmiris through his prism- the dominant discourse.   

True, the phrase persists in the dominant discourse and is occasionally picked by credulous “leaders,” but it stands punctured long before. In fact, it had no impact on the main narrative of the state. On seeing, the dominant discourses stumped on the crease the powers that be  introduced a new phraseology that included phrases like “mainstream parties,” “Separatist” and “stakeholders.” In the print and electronic media, these phrases were subtly introduced for strengthening the dominant narrative and weaving confusions around the internationally recognized modus operandi for the resolution of the problem. 

Some weeks earlier a fellow columnist, Dr. Javid Iqbal in his column in this newspaper, had dwelled on the political dynamics of the phrase “stakeholders’ and also analyzed the dangers inherent in it. Like the word Kashmiryat the phrase “stakeholders’ was also introduced in the early nineties and a section of intelligentsia had been engaged to give a fillip to the phrase. It was used in academic discourses and also picked a popularized by some leaders. Nevertheless, the phrase coined to neutralize the historicity of the Kashmir Dispute had failed to get as much currency as the word Kashmiryat that was played up to the hilt by all the Prime Ministers for past two and half decades.  It got a new fillip after the 2010 mass uprising. That besides taking   Kashmir Dispute out of 4-point formula discourse had also internationally revived the debate on the right to self-determination and UN resolutions on Kashmir. This dangerous word was propagated by the team of interlocutors appointed after 2010 mass uprising for suggesting steps for addressing the Kashmir. The team instead of suggesting a solution of Kashmir problem on democratic principles also chose to seed confusion in the problem by invoking the phrase ‘stakeholder’- breaking the people into bits and piece of religion, sects, tribes, castes and sub-caste, interestingly enough it even called the army and para-military troops stationed in the state as the stakeholders to the problem. 

The 2016-intifada, the longest ever intifada has alerted the powers that be to conjure yet another dominant discourse. Counting the human losses and suffering during the five months it is trying to give a sense of defeat to people and propagating phrasing like “dignified exit from the conflict.”  

Such tactics have not succeeded in defeating the resistance movements in the world but containing these movements temporarily. History stands as testimony from the day Spartacus rose against the slavery to Nelson Mandela’s war against the apartheid; it is the people that have triumphed.