Views from Srinagar
SINCE decades, the tactics of war are used against people mutinous to the authority. It is but natural to see power(s) reacting in a quite jumpy and unnerved way to any kind of resistance. And when resistance attempts to cross the flashpoint of “control”, the war of ideas ensues. Besides military prowess, the battle is played with intangible weapons, crafted out cleverly and cruelly, to yield ‘results’ in an amazingly short time.
The whole war machinery gets activated. The tactical dealing embedded with harassing maneuvers becomes an indivisible part of crushing strategy. From holding an entire population hostage to the blocking of information outlets, the war machinery tries to plug up even the breath of the dissenters. Gagging of media to sheer human brutality, the silent stifling is organized with dexterity. Propaganda mills start churning out the ‘loyalist language’, manufacturing readily available lies and liars. Power corridors mastermind designs, crass and subtle, to confuse the nonconformist vanguard, and pressurize them to break off and retreat.
Livid and frustrated, war machinery henchmen even turn arrogant in their outpourings and outburst. Statements and counter-statements; briefings and meetings; speeches and sermons: the ‘bravado’ becomes ludicrously high and mighty. The myth of invincibility gets reinforced. Smothering every voice seems an easy and painless task. Mistakenly!
As far as dissenting people, they are covertly forced to blanch off everything: Perceptions. Ideologies. Viewpoints. Dreams. Visions. And, the indefatigable stand and assertion of allied worth and dignity. The onslaught is tricky and scheming, overpowering too many minds to engineered outlooks and judgments: Autonomy, 53-position, Self rule, opening of trade-routes, talks (backchannel) and blah blah.
However, the cave-in is never complete for the very nature of any resistance that can only sustain on the pragmatic plank of requisite skills and discipline. Advancing with great clamour and then suddenly and simultaneously falling silent, is not at all a good indication of a well-organized resistance. It is tactical decision-making, political wisdom and shrewd leadership alone that can confront the machinations of the magnitude of a full-fledged covert war.
At times, the situational watershed emerges in resistance. The whole gamut of strategy calls for a paradigm shift. If a particular way invites more trouble, the recourse to something that is understood and equally forceful becomes inevitable. If the idiom of peace gets response through operational war machinery, what is the point of experimenting in pacifist laboratory? The misadventure is tantamount to mockery.
Hawks are never admirable. No sensible person wants to be so. But when situation pushes people to the wall, and even rips them off, the detested alternatives become working probabilities. The question arises: is it diabolically contemptuous to answer a brick with a bullet or a bullet with a bullet? In both the cases, the mantra of ‘Ahimsa’ seems defeated. Perhaps the countries, communities and cultures are not what they were some 60 or 80 years ago. Sophistication of state machinery and strengthening of radical forces has undermined the meaning of anything that is peaceful and unarmed, especially in a country like India.
That we need a discourse on peaceful protests, non-violence and blah blah from perpetrators of some of worst ever crimes of the last two decades, ranging from Gujarat to Kashmir, is ironical as well as a sad commentary on our collective amnesia.
Serving as counterweights in opposition to those who surreptitiously encourage and manipulate bloody anarchy, the dissidents do not have to prove to be capable of nothing except committing historical blunders time and again. The impulsive restiveness of any flustered nation can be channelized for task fruition in a spate of events that are small sequences of a long drawn struggle. And prudent are the ones who grab it, using appropriate strategy, to step ahead on a dicey path.
The crafty adversary, the collective state of societal character, the economics and the sustainability of plunging whole population in to an unending protest are something that need serious thought and no resistance camp has resources and political acumen, sorry to say, to decide such things.
Moreover, most importantly, the dissenting masses have to guard against gullibility, not allowing barely credible quarters to control their decisions and destinies. Mature politicking needs to take over ultimately instead of buck passing, if at all we have any.
As rightly put by someone, ‘Kashmir is the world’s beautiful prison’, and of course, to add, managed by the ‘world’s largest democracy’. The endless agony of the people of this ‘beautiful prison’ has to have an end. Eventually. That’s what history should narrate to our posterity.