The answer is good governance, not lily livers

Defeatism spreads under ineffective leadership

It is nice to see the Indian Express correctly hold the the nincompoops in the UPA government responsible for allowing the situation to come to such a sorry pass.

Discussions on Kashmir always bring up history. Here’s a little bit of history to help contextualise the current state of state response: probably not since the early 18th-century ruler Muhammad Shah Rangila, who wrote the book on awesomely ineffective security governance, has India had administrators who have been so brilliantly incapable of discharging their basic remit. Needless to say 21st-century India can’t afford Rangilas in government. And all responses to the Kashmir crisis must start with this recognition. Also, let’s ask ourselves: is India to cut and run because of some weeks of violence when years of patient diplomacy, dogged army work and good politics had blunted the hard edges in Kashmir? The country has dealt with violence within before. It has dealt with groups calling loudly for a divorce with the Union. If we decide to take a particular course on Kashmir, what will we do when politicised violence erupts elsewhere? Drawing-room solutions can look pretty and neat. Nation-building, sadly, isn’t always pretty and neat. It calls for clarity and determination. That’s what Delhi — and Srinagar — need. [IE]

Indians should concern themselves with asking who can provide this leadership—and how their current leaders might be persuaded to provide it—rather than boosting the morale of India’s enemies at this time.

12 thoughts on “The answer is good governance, not lily livers”

  1. yes, and the vote bank politics of the Congress Party. Give land to appease Hindu fundamentalists, and take it back to appease the separatists! And blame the BJP for the mess, like they did with Ayodhya.

  2. Nitin: The answer is good governance, not lily livers.

    And a gradual resettlement of “plains people” so that there’s less Kool-Aid flowing down the Jhelum. The current Valley folks cannot think clearly – they’ve got chips on their shoulders that they’re taking all the way to jannat. Either we wait for this generation to wash away – or we take a leaf out of the Chinese and Israelis’ playbook and hasten the process. Occasional international outrage there will be – but we’re in a position to tough it out and solve this one for good. Let’s not take the resettlement option off the table.

  3. Indian state’s first duty is ensuring security to Indian citizens – both internal where the burden can be shared with an alert citizenry that co-operates with the state but especially external which is the state’s monopoly.

    For argument’s sake, if we were to assume Indian citizens == only those who think of themselves as Indian in the first place, even then letting go of the Valley such that this geo-strategically located area become a base for either Pak or any of the big powers would be severe dereliction of its security duty on part of Delhi. That the valley will end-up as a rentier state is likely given how precarious their economic independence case really is.

    The democratic state’s putative solution – that we retain the vale with India while sharing with its people all the political rights and priviliges, all the freedoms and values that accrue as birthrights to all Indian citizens – is the best among any alternatives I have seen presented thus far. That the state faltered in offering J&K more rights than available to the average Indian does not contradict this position. That polls were rigged in the past to favor the Abdullah clan certainly is an issue though.

    India cannot let go of J&K simply because India’s own internal and external security will be itrrepairably compromised with such a move. Realpolitik? Maybe, maybe not. Morally justified? I believe so.

    To ensure better security, India should scrap article 370 and integrate J&K fully into India, whether the valley approves immediately or not is a matter for India as a whole to deliberate upon.

  4. This is an ideal time to scrap article 370. Things cannot really get significantly worse and it will truly change the game. The benefits are far too many to enumerate.

    An interesting question to investigate is whether non-Kashmiri political parties will oppose scrapping of article 370.

  5. I have not thought this completely through, but here it is anyway:

    Institute an explicit provision in the Constitution of India for the right to secede. Such a right to secession should be accorded to any random group that would meet a well defined set of criteria and thresholds.

    I don’t believe for a moment that the Islamists of Kashmir will agree to drop their weapons if the right to secede were institutionalized, but at the very least, this should check loose talk and political skulduggery. And, that in turn, may lead to better governance.

  6. >> —and how their current leaders might be persuaded to provide it— >>

    How do we go about doing this ?

  7. Anuj: Cannot agree more. These guys got lucky that the agitation caught fire. They’re deadly scared of elections. What’s bothersome is that the NC – Omar Abdullah – has also started mouthing secessionist stuff. Guess it’s one-upmanship time in the Valley.

  8. Like I said a few months back, being Indian or pro-India doesnt pay or get you much in Kashmir civil life, even from Govt of India in some cases.

  9. Libertarian – Bothersome, yes, but surprising, no.
    What is funny, however, just a few weeks ago, following his filmy “I am an Indian too” speech in Parliament, Omar was being hailed by NDTV’s Prabhu Chawla as a “transcendent national leader” whose time is nigh, and today Abdullah the 3rd whose clan, in my opinion, embodies everything that is wrong with Kashmir, is only repaying the compliment.

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