Kashmir: The Politics of Confusion

Views from Srinagar

Suhail Ahmad

THE claims of the militants that braid cutting has been strategically carried out to block the interface between the public and militants doesn’t go well either, with the logic that such acts have grossly spread across north and central Kashmir (including Srinagar) as well, where militant presence is exponentially dormant if not completely absent. Besides, the hunch that such acts are carried out by a bunch of psychotic outcasts doesn’t make any sense either, coz the number of such psychos is bound to be handful only unless they travel with the speed of light from south Kashmir to north and then center, back and forth.
Having explored the cultural and psychological dimension of braid cutting, it just looks so unscientific and naïve to believe in such so called “professional blasphemies” a false flag narrative predominantly endorsed by the state based establishments. Fact of the matter is that a political discernment to this confusion makes most sense. Remember the haunting 90s when those so called “ghosts and witches” would wreak havoc across Kashmir, the present scenario reflects an incognito déjà vu’.
JD Slingers in his famous book, “Catcher in the Rye” most aptly insinuates, “It’s funny, all you have to do is say something nobody understands (virtually confuse them) and they will practically do anything you want them to do”. What does confusion do? In simple words, confusion disorients the cognitive capability of an individual and thus makes him/her prone to taking wrong decisions. But why would they confuse people? There can’t be an explicit answer to this confusing question, especially when this development (braid cutting) is apparently (only) weakening the already fading ruling parties and their reign in Kashmir which makes the whole affair even more confusing. But in this vicious circle of Psychological Labyrinth, let’s not forget that politics is all about balancing the cost-benefit ratio, or it could also be a stint of diversion politics, wherein actors in power divert the attention of people from other bigger issues. What are the bigger issues in Kashmir, Article 370, Art 35-A, non-relocation of hydro-electric projects, in fact the list is unending. Kashmir is not the only place wherein the politics of confusion has been brandished time and again but most of governments all across the globe have tactfully used this design of confusion to diversify the nature and direction of conflicts, for example, middle-east imbroglio, more specifically Syria, is there any person on the face of earth who can most audaciously or confidently pin point which state or non state actor is supporting which party to the Syrian conflict, answer is a big No.
The politics of confusion and uncertainty undermines people’s perception of all the very important developments taking place around the political and economic domains. It is actually based on a theory that in a state of confusion since most people don’t understand the game of uncertainty and thus have no idea how to solve it, they eventually end up giving up and live with it. No one is sure what is real or unreal, it is a strategy of power that keeps any opposition constantly confused, a ceaseless shape-shifting that is unstoppable because it is indefinable. Vladislav Yuryevich Serkov (a very powerful political diplomat in Russia and also considered by many as political advisor of Putin), called it as “Non linear war”, a war where you never know what the enemy are really up to or even who they are. The underlined aim is not to win the war but to use the conflict to create a constant state of destabilized perception in order to manage and control.
Has this reign of confusion got something to do with more and more feminist involvement in the political affairs of Kashmir? Indian national media would incessantly broadcast how girls have lured and ultimately led to killing of various militant commanders, likes of Burhan Wani, Sabzar, Abu Dujana and Khalid Bhai; besides, what distinguishes the political calendar of 2017 is the extensive political participation of women in street protests all across Kashmir including the educated lot. Is this rampant feminist political participation seen as a futuristic threat by them, no doubt their participation in the past can’t be taken out of the equation, but it’s just that this year in particular saw the women transcend the threshold.
Has this muddle of confusion got anything to do with infuriating the youth of Kashmir, a dilute exhibition of which was observed when a police officer was mob lynched, which eventually leads to Kashmiri killing Kashmiri, a Mephistophelian tactic used to divide societies and to kill its strong value system holding its people together. This is how erstwhile empires would control people by breaking down their value systems and once these baseline values are gone, people turn out individualistic which eventually leads to a loosely bound social configuration highly vulnerable to outside evil designs and manipulations. It might look like a “make in Kashmir” fantasy but if one closely follows a pattern recently brandished, it makes some sense. Let’s for example talk about the military domain of politics, major General Rawat recently emphasized publicly which was somehow very unconventional, “I wish these people instead of throwing stones at us, were firing weapons at us. Then I would have been happy, Then I could do what I want to do”. It is a very disturbing statement, with an aim to infuriate people and instigate them to unleash that part based on very strong emotions and sedate the cognitive part. Similarly, military recently released several videos and surprisingly made them viral on social media where they were seen brutally beating youth, why would a disciplined army do this that too going against a very strict protocol, only aim seems to instigate youth. The uncharacteristic hasty metamorphosis of young people turning violent against each other is basically a reflection of the: failure of the state authorities and desperation on part of the general public since police has literally been able to do nothing to crack any braid cutting case, then is this state failure a self initiated process to serve its deep seated political objectives, remains an enigma.
But what is serving their purpose very well is, when the people of Kashmir start taking law and order in their own hands, which is objectively wrong but subjectively the disappointment reflected both by the state as well as police gives people no choice but act an instantaneous collective vendetta, what is called as mob prosecution, an asinine emotional eruption reprimanding the alleged on the spot, ironically it is all heads with no brains, that is what a mob eventually turns out to be.
But why is it that police could arrest several alleged young people involved in the killing of Ayub Pandit within a span of few days without any public assistance (rather the alleged most probably would enjoy a public insulation), and why won’t the same police crack any braid cutting case when whole public is on their side? Why won’t the police carry out night patrolling in some very sensitive areas? Paradoxically there is again an unending list of queries a common Kashmiri is confused about, which actually makes the whole state of mind even much more confusing. Are they intentionally letting this widespread braid cutting havoc snowball into a massive catastrophe, first to persuade the general public to see it as the most serious issue (trivializing other issues) and then finally crack it to regain lost public credibility which might let them score few political points. Along the lines of all this series of conundrum, fact is any fool can know but the point is to understand.

—Courtesy: RK

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