Mohamed Sayid Malik
The political imbalance triggered across Jammu and Kashmir by the political-constitutional implosion of August 5, 2019 continues to produce tremors in various spheres of public life.
The ordinary citizen is bewildered and frightened by the flood of torrential daily official announcements and orders touching every sphere of personal and public life.
J & K’s promised state restoration to Union Territory, if and when it occurs, is unlikely to address most of these concerns, worries and anxieties.
At this point, the only thing that seems clear is that J & K’s full-scale independence isn’t even a remote probability.
Some even say that the model, if and once put in place, could be more or less similar to that of the constitutional structure of the state of Delhi.
Mainstream politics have been in the doldrums for two years. Although organizations apparently do exist, they are beset with an uncertain future.
The action of August 5, 2019 practically pulled the rug out from under their feet, leaving them hanging in the air. Their edifice as well as their political program, although nuanced in a different way, drew its vital force from the special constitutional status of the State which was hammered to dust.
Their future has a big question mark hanging over it; not only with regard to their future political perspectives and programs, but also their very existence under radically changed rules of the game.
The next major development expected in political circles is the result of the demarcation of assemblies (constituencies) currently underway. Almost all of the major players in the game betray deep concerns about this.
The arithmetic of political power is bound to be changed substantially because of this factor.
In the previous agreement, the Kashmir Valley had a numerical advantage that is about to be neutralized or rendered ineffective as the State Boundaries Commission decides on its final recommendations.
The uncertainty over this has effectively crippled mainstream politics as well as its practitioners, now in their third or second generation of repealed constitutional processes.
Without a doubt, their Gupkar Alliance has managed to jump into the fray and participate in recent district-level polls and garner substantial popular support, but that hasn’t helped them consolidate their ground-level gains. Their immediate electoral gains were largely consumed by condescending political manipulation.
Pro-establishment groups, however, are bending over backwards to demonstrate their relevance in filling the void on the ground.
The hectic surface activity makes things appear to be moving on the ground. But you don’t have to go too deep to detect its superficiality in the larger context.
Their strength has been tested in district-level polls and the result has been consistent with the general impression that it is not – at least not yet – so easy to dismiss the dominant element entirely. of yesteryear, and even less to see him definitively behind him.
This, however, does not in any way mean that the old order is combat capable or invincible.
The history of Kashmir is full of all kinds of surprises. Diet after diet set in and disappeared without a trace.
This is essentially a post-1953 phenomenon. It was in this year that the first and deadliest assault was launched against Article 370 and its political-constitutional symbols as well as its “special status” superstructure.
The BJP is openly committed to this act of demolition and has done so with consummate skill accompanied by shock and awe.
Whether intentional or unintentional, the resulting imbalance today not only engulfs the political arena, but covers the whole gamut of daily life.
Suddenly the political climate changed and brought in its wake a number of unknown phenomena loaded with all kinds of fears and anxieties.
Its unpredictability seems worse than that of the pleasant but notoriously temperamental weather of the valley.
Surprisingly, New Delhi does not seem in a rush even after releasing almost all the main leaders of the traditional parties and letting them move.
Their fate is not enviable. The old order on the ground has disappeared and the new ground has not yet been drawn.
The pre-2019 political scenario of politics has gone with the wind and the authors of the new scenario do not seem in a great hurry to oblige the tormented.
The official mass media as well as the local press have become accustomed to marketing available products because quantity seems to have replaced quality in the dissemination of “news and opinions” for mass consumption.