While the structural violence woven into the political systems here is pushing the young protagonists to the top of the ‘anger mountain’ every now and then, making them to shout ‘burn the system down’; those who, deliberately or by default, facilitate adrenaline rush in their bloodstreams, remain plagued by a terrible sense of disorientation. They are hard at understanding and articulating how to go about from here. All they have done thus far and are doing even today is going with the waves of public anger and trying to somehow maintain some relevance for themselves and their politics.
There are some who have silenced themselves after recoiling into their caves. Others fire paper missiles once in a while to signal they are alive. And still others take recourse to feigning all kinds of excuses to bail themselves out! This maze of contradictions emanating from the people at the so-called apex is so disconcerting that it is the cause of popular disillusionment and negativism with political leaders of both mainstream and separatist camps. Notwithstanding their self-flattering claims, fact of the matter is that both the camps are in complete disarray and do not really know how to steer people out of their current morass of dejection and hopelessness. No doubt each group and individual feigns as if they are in complete command, but reality is that nobody is. It is the spontaneous waves of public anger and resentment that lends opportunities to varied people to do some politics, which is what they do – nothing less, nothing more.
So many contradictions and innate hypocrisies within the political systems and structures here are the major cause of the popular negativism here. People have seen participatory democracy turn into its antithesis. Elected to power just on the basis of deft electoral management in the wake of widespread boycotts, they have seen so-called public representatives undermine not only the democracy but also subvert the normal and natural processes of law and justice just to appease a particular power block. They are witness to the political panaceas of the past like the formation of the separatist alliances transform into new formations under different trade names.
Disempowered they always were, but the political turmoil of past over two decades have further eroded their powers and added to their disenfranchisement. Just to secure, and fatten their personal ‘pay packets’, the already disunited and disjointed leadership is drifting away to chaotic towards further disunity and disarray with complete disregard for the people’s interests. And see the irony, everybody claims that they prioritize people and are fighting for their “cause”!
Given their anger, alienation and frustration, the Kashmir’s young, which are now the vanguard, have no illusions about the system and those who represent it on either side of the wide political divide. But they have plenty of illusions about the way to change it. They are at cross-roads – and it’s what they do and will do that will give meaning to their lives and to their people and the ‘nation’. But unfortunately, the search for “freedom” does not seem to have any road or destination. It is here that a politically mature and tactically sound leadership could make the difference. But alas that too is missing. Wearing popular sufferings as a badge of achievement, those in the leadership roles here have become habitual of deceit. Instead of playing the game as it should be, they take pride in shouting hollow slogans. Those who are supposed to pass on the torch of experience and insights to the new generation are just not there even though they are physically very much in the thick of things.
So as the young look up at the society and the leaders around them, it is all, in their words “corrupt, materialistic, decadent, intellectually bankrupt, bourgeois in its values…” Is it any wonder that the entire leadership stands rejected in toto? Can anyone actually dare claim to be in command of the people and the situation right now?