Own The People, Build Real Connect
A debate is going on over the recent events in Kashmir, particularly in reference to the targeted killings. The opinion makers in media and civil society in the mainland are rightfully drawing parallels between the Kashmir that was and the Kashmir that is post abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which guaranteed special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir within the Union of India. The spurt in violence is genuinely a cause of concern. People are within their rights to compare the then and now Kashmir.
In my book K File: The Conspiracy of Silence, I wrote that political formations that are close-knitted with religion are courageous enough to take unprecedented decisions. We saw this in the abrogation of Article 370. It has globally been observed that right-wing political parties, or those with strong ties with religion boldly tread on a path which others dare not. However, what these formations often lack is the “vision in the aftermath”. It seems that they are unable to comprehend the possible consequences of tectonic policy shifts, and a blue-print to deal with the aftermath.
The recent events are an indicator that the government had little idea about the flip factors it would deal with, post abrogation of Article 370. The government at the Center was counting on the merits of the abrogation. The merits are certainly there.
But the flipside was seemingly not taken into consideration. The administration was only prepared to deal with the situation that could have immediate consequences in 2019. It looks like there wasn’t enough brainstorming over the possible fallout in the long run.
Abrogation of Article 370 has certainly squeezed the space of the adversaries of the state. The adversarial narrative has been pushed to the margins. And of course, the state has restored its authority. There is no more street rule. There UT now has rule of the state-the law.
What still remains the challenge – the biggest challenge in fact – is the converging of the state and the citizens in one direction. That is where the problem lies. The day state owns the people and the people own the State, the problem will be solved.
How does the State own the people? The state must connect with the people and remove real and perceived insecurities, and provide hassle-free administration to the people.