Jammu and Kashmir: A Quandary of Resonance and Alienation?

Image Source: Nituparna Rajongshi

Somehow Jammu and Kashmir haunts the imagination of most Indians.  Being a hauntology, its bifurcation as well as the unceremonious repealing of article 370 has put several Indians into an ecstatic stupor. For a moment, the economic slowdown that afflicted all of us has ceased to be our major concern and what is thought to be an integration of J and K is thought to be a major victory.  PM Modi is hailed as a superhero.   The opposition is fuming and the people of J and K seemed to be caged with military presence, political leaders arrested and no internet connections yet no one has a thought about their plight as several Indians begun to joke about their new prospects of buying land or marrying fair Kashmiri girls.  These bold insanities pass off as normal and natural responses to what has been construed as a fitting action to the excesses enjoyed by the Kashmiris.  Thus, one can notice how different people resonate differently with the sad event that will decide the fate of the people of J and K. Most people exhibit celebration. From little that we know from the Kashmiris who are outside J and K, the ruthless action of the Government is all set to further alienate the people of Kashmir from us. 

It seems that we, the other Indians and Kashmiris share a mixed relationship of resonance and alienation with each other. The sphere of commonality between Indians and Kashmiris was constricting for some time. This shrinking is accentuated by the interference by Pakistan and terror it exported into J and K.  The new political investment of our Government in J K does not promise any dividend in terms of normalizing alienated relations. While most Indians resonate happily with the decision of our Government, there are questions whether the action of the Government will create a sphere of resonance that would bring Kashmiris closer to us Indians.  It is said that the high handed unilateral action is set to desynchronize us and the Kashmiris. Several political observers predict that would only increase our separation and fuel the conflict.  It might turn Kashmir deaf and silent to us.  We shall use the resonance theory of society Hartmut Rosa to analyse the situation in our country.  We are resonance seeking beings. We vibrate, feel joyful and integrate with conditions, things, and persons with whom we find resonance. If we reflect closely on the condition of our country, we can notice that the axis of resonance seems to have given way and alienation is ringing alarm bells.  All forms of alienation have an imperative to see the other / antithesis unfavourably. Perhaps, we and the Kashmiris have gone through this process for a long time and it is threatening to accelerate in the days to come. This is why J and K will continue to haunt us for a long time. 

The alienation experienced by Kashmiris is complex but we can share a common rhythm with it on the basis of alienation experienced by us in our own different contexts.  The minorities, the Dalits, the women and the tribals who suffer at the hands of  Hindutva led by masculine Hindu supremists might find a sharable space with them.  It is from a deep sense of pain of alienation that we can feel the thirst for practices that would build resonance and consequently belonging among our people.  The condition of resonance is disturbed for now. It does not mean that there is no possibility of generating emancipating conditions. It being a two-way process, it would require mutual confidence-building measures.     It is with the growth of mutuality that we can beat the limiting horizons that afflict J and K relations with India and attempt to generate therapeutic conditions for resonance to recharge the people to people relations between us and the Kashmiris.  Alienation can grow into a cold world of disengagement.  This is why all effort has to be made to build a dialogically open environment.  But it cannot be one-way channel. Unfortunately, the politics of the centre has been worked through a single channel. Hence, it is very difficult to bring about conditions of resonance in the near future.  

We have to be aware of the fascist impulse in us that considers our own as insiders to the national community and relegate others as outsiders.  It is these fascist tendencies operating on all sides of the divide that have affected the peace process and caused further alienations.   It creates isolated fields of resonance that alienate its others. All forms of fundamentalisms have these tendencies to isolate resonances.  This is why fascist regimes use resonance generating techniques. Hence, it is important to analyse how it is working in the current ruling dispensation.  Since we are always immersed in resonance laden relations, it is vital that we discern the kind of relations that we build.  If our relations are alienating some part of our own citizenry, it important to work to generate all-embracing fields of resonance. What is happening to J and K teaches us crucial lessons. Our life is a quest for resonance. Let’s work to build the resonance that brings all Indians together. Maybe the inclusive quality of or resonance can assist us to evaluate how we build our communities and our nation. Hence, critique of the kind of resonances we build will be of great importance to building a strongly bonded India.   

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao