Tuesday, May 22, 2018
 News Details
Real ‘Normal ‘Needed In Kashmir

By By B L Saraf

This is the time for the ‘ normal’ to get defined- rather redefined in the convenient terms , sometimes , turning its literal meaning on the head . The phenomenon has overtaken the narrative both at the Centre and in the Valley .Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, describes the currency demonetization process and the drive against the black money as an introduction of new ‘ normal ‘ to the nation’s politico- economic lexicon , displacing the old one which , if we believe FM , denoted “ acquiescence to the financial malfeasance and indolence in state actions to tackle the problem of black money .” We hope this new ‘normal ‘retains the definition and doesn’t relapse into the ‘old one.’

In the Valley , too , we have a redefined ‘ normal ‘ - thanks to the dictates of the separatists and the callousness , combined with the ineptitude , of the governments , that be . For instance ; the normal day time , along with the associated activities , has shifted to the night , week has compressed to two days , and public holidays and the working days have changed the calendar pattern.

Then we have a ‘battle of the normal’s ‘playing out between the separatists and the Union government. The separatists are working hard to ensure that “normal “ doesn’t look usual in the Valley ; the Centre government is laboring overtime to characterize usual activity like , kids playing in the schools , students appearing in the exams and a skeleton traffic movement on the Srinagar roads as a vote in its favor - believing , in vain , that the pain and disruption the Kashmiris have suffered in the summer will be overcome by these signs of the ‘ normalcy ‘ . See the irony , the ‘ normal ‘ has fallen pray to the distortions . For separatists the routine of life is unethical collaboration and for the nationalists it is thumbs up for the government.

Unpredictability has become our ‘normal‘. We in Kashmir , truly , live in the age of uncertainty and era of disruptions , where connotations of the “ usual “ go on changing sides , as unpredictability as the Valley’s weather often changes .Above all , the ‘usual ‘ of Delhi and Kashmir have fallen on bad terms . We understand that the disagreement, in the positions taken, is part of the political. The irony , however , is that these disagreements are asserted as the language of truth , convenient to each other’s position .For either of them , the truth one holds is the only truth .

To find real truth in Kashmir is a real dilemma. Truth has many faces, here. But then we will have to practice “ the art of the possible “ to place real normal near the real truth , and then try to understand them on the principle of compassion , without being judgmental .

What certainly should not be the ‘ normal ‘ in Jammu and Kashmir is the continued adherence to stereotype and the doctrine of Status – quo . Well, it may not be possible to change it withrespect to the geographical boundaries and the administrative arrangements , post 1947 ; but , surely , there can be a degree of resilience in the stated positions, on either side , to bring in some relief to the beleaguered populace . New normal in Kashmir should mean state’s accountability , lesser foot prints of the security forces , at least , in the urban areas , stoppage of detention of the children ,providing space for the Human rights activism and redressal of people’s grievances . Similarly, for the separatists it should not be a part of ‘business as usual ‘to make an academic week just a two day affair.

One ‘normal ‘ that has developed over the period of last two decades and owes birth to the unacceptable conditions must, certainly, be dispelled. We can’t accord acceptance to the idea which dictates , for the communities , a living in exclusion of one another , at the cost of what has been ‘ accepted and been acceptable for the centuries together : that which goes by the name of Kashmiryat .

Jammu and Kashmir will be better served if the ‘ normal ‘ is allowed to live up to its one of the many dictionary meanings - free from mental disorder .

(The author is a Former Principal District & Sessions Judge. Feedback- [email protected] )

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