22 June, 2021

Hope’s Yoke

Progress is being made in J&K, but don’t expect miracles

Critics expect Sharma (right, with Governor N.N. Vohra) to solve the ‘problem’ in one fell swoop.
Photograph by PTI
Hope’s Yoke

Each new event or initiative in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) opens floodgates of sentimental commentary dominated by desires and exp­ectations, or by ideological proclivities, rather than any direct confrontation with reality. Much of the commentary on the Centre’s latest ‘initiative’—appointing Dineshwar Sharma as its representative to “initiate and carry forward a dialogue” in J&K—falls into this these categories.

The most counter-productive trend in the current discourse on the ‘Kashmir problem’ is the search for magical solutions —one ‘formula’ that will ‘solve’ the ‘problem’. This is wrong at every level. There is no ‘Kashmir problem’—there is a complex of problems, each of which requires different, often divergent, initiatives. There is the problem of terrorism, of separatist mobilisation and violence, of subversion, of communal radicalisation, of polarising politics, and of course, the proxy war waged by Pakistan; there are problems of...

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