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Consider This


Not a day passes when there is not exchange of fire on the Line of Control in J&K and, often, there is loss of life, including that of civilians. Pakistan backs terrorist organisations that canvass for funding and recruit openly for strikes against India. Youth brainwashed in jihadi ideology are sent across on what are now increasingly little more than suicide missions against India. Under such circumstances, even while there is no open declaration of war between the two countries, how is it not an ongoing war? Just because the setting is on simmer, the public in parts of India other than J&K remains unconcerned about the gravity of the situation. Except when the bodies come home of uniformed personnel!
If the awareness levels were appropriately high, the pressure would be even greater on the Establishment to respond in a fitting manner. The Establishment does not just mean the Government or the Armed Forces, alone, but also Parliament, the opposition parties, media, academia and other opinion makers. So slanted and ideologically committed is the community of creative people in the bid to seem politically correct that there has been no insightful examination in literature, cinema or the arts of what the people of J&K are going through. Few have the courage to go beyond either romanticising terrorism or finding excuses for the basically fascist separatism on the basis of religion. The plight of the Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs is considered little more than an inconvenient pothole in an otherwise smooth narrative.
If an alternative narrative is subdued, suppressed or non-existent in the rest of India and the world, how are the people of the state expected to keep their heads above the flood? How many politicians and intellectuals in the state have the courage to denounce terrorism and the ideology at its roots? For long it has been thought that bringing ‘development’ to the area would bring people to their senses, but the thrust of it has always been compromised by the ‘adjustments’ made for the separatist cause. Even the downright violation of human rights, particularly those of women, in the state’s laws has been accepted by those who would otherwise raise hell and high-water if something like this were to happen in the rest of the country.
Those more democratically inclined with belief in the spirit of the Indian Constitution are bound to question these existing anomalies, particularly when given the responsibility of governance. From this emerges the change of approach in dealing with the problem, which further becomes visible in action. Voters must also consider this on the day they cast their ballot – if they want the problem fixed.