(The two words which describe the present Kashmir situation appropriately!)
The Cambridge dictionary defines “Anarchy” as “a situation in which there is no organisation and control, especially in society, because there is no effective government”. The word “impotence” is defined as, “lack of power to change or improve a situation”. In almost every front whether civil society, or the government Kashmir is in a total state of anarchy. In true sense, left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Everybody tries to escape from facing the real situation in every aspect of life. Let us first take apprehension of an impending flood. Most of the experts have predicted that we may get a repeat of the 2014 flood as practically nothing has been done to prevent the same by all concerned. In spite of the fact that a very high level committee has been constituted by the government under the Chief Executive, the progress on the ground is abnormally slow. No preventive measures can be effectively implemented on the ground unless the work is taken up on a war footing with round the clock monitoring. All the concerned organisations seem to have become impotent both in execution and monitoring. One only needs to take a walk on the embankments of the flood spill over channel from Mehjoor Nagar to By-pass Bridge to practically know the ground situation. So God only can help us!
The same holds good for the worst ever traffic congestion; a free for all on pedestrian foot-paths by goods vendors, wrong parking on most of the roads on both sides of road and the crazy operations of three wheelers and mini-buses. They behave as if they alone are on the roads and think that they virtually own these roads! People are now used to getting stuck in traffic jams for hours at some places like Pantha Chowk, Shalteng, Pampore and many other places. One of the reasons for this mess is the impotence of authorities. It is debatable whether the impotence is due to lack of resources and manpower or for certain political and material considerations! There are umpteen other spheres in which the same situation prevails. Take the instance of drains, garbage, and debris on the roads.However, the worst of all menaces are the hordes of ferocious stray dogs! Menaka Gandhi’s gift to Kashmir is these stray dogs that have made the life of the citizens miserable especially during night.
Coming to the political situation, the less said, the better! It is a self-created mess. Kashmir must be the only place in the world where the country’s best fighting machine is being used to control stone throwing youngsters! Over a couple of hundred Kashmiri young men have lost their lives, thousands have been injured and hundreds blinded in the process of controlling civilian free expression. The unrest is universal in the entire Kashmir valley and the authorities have totally failed to subdue or control it. It keeps on bouncing off and on. A massive military operation is on to eliminate a couple of hundred militants and in the process there is severe collateral damage of civilian life and property. One is often forced to quote the saying of the most illustrious son of Kashmir, Kalhana that the people of Kashmir can be conquered by the means of the spiritual merit and not by the force of soldiers. The Political leaders in Delhi are inducting more and more soldiers with newer weapons but they have failed to suppress the rebellious youth. Again it shows anarchy and impotence! Almost all right thinking people have repeatedly pointed out that the Kashmir situation cannot be resolved by military action. It needs a political solution. Here again one sees distinctly anarchy and impotence! The most distressing is the total impotence of the world bodies supposed to be guardians of human rights and world peace.
The most frustrating part has been the anarchy of the weather. Nature too has gone berserk in regard to Kashmir’s weather. In the end of June, normally part of the short summer, we have almost the winter weather! Thunder storms, cloud bursts, hail and snow in the wrong season shows the weather Gods too have been annoyed with us. They seem to have gone crazy in punishing us!
The tragic part after the loss of human lives and material damage is the damage to Kashmir’s image! From a world known Paradise of the East it has become a living hell! Tourism and many other economic activities have been shattered. The worst fear is there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel itself is choked with Pava fumes! Will Kashmir of the glorious times ever return? That is the million dollar question! In the meantime we are stuck in the anarchy and the impotence as defined in the Cambridge dictionary!
Mohammad Ashraf, I.A.S. (Retired), Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir