Shah Faesal – A doctor turned bureaucrat turned politician launched a political party ‘Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement’ in Srinagar on March 17 amidst a very large gathering. The vision document of J&K People’s Movement claims to resolve all “disputes, issues and problems through democratic methods and political processes” which can be termed as a step in right direction considering the resolution of such issues and problems through violence has yielded death and destruction in valley every since armed rebellion took shape nearly 30 years back.
Shah Faesal in his address claims to have support of all the three regions of the state for his political initiative and his vision of “reviving the centrality of Jammu and Kashmir State to the ancient Silk Route civilization so that Jammu and Kashmir can reemerge as a corridor of peace between various South Asian neighbors is worth applauding and praiseworthy.
Seeking adequate political representation for under-represented communities like Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians and Kashmiri Pandits in the vision document can be branded as equivalent and just distribution of political power in the larger context of a welfare state which has a responsibility towards all sections of society, especially those who fail to get their representatives elected due to low numbers.
The party claims to establish “an inclusive pluralistic society with religious, ethnic, linguistic, and geographical diversity and to revive neglected cultural traditions and arts like Dogra art, Buddhist heritage and other folk traditions.”
The party envisions to seek justice for the disadvantaged sections of the society; people affected by violent conflict, people living close to LoC / ALC and International Border, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, single parents, transgender, Mahigeer, homeless displaced people and other depressed classes.
The party claims to endeavor to campaign against evil influence of money power and muscle power vitiating the democratic politics which can be termed as a revolutionary thought considering the politics in contemporary times is neck deep in vices which adversely affects the health of political system in country and state.
The vision document of the party has done some justice to the business community of the state claiming to promote employment, ease of doing business and industrial development. In a step ahead of what other political parties envision J&K People’s Movement claims to reorient education and research towards the demands of Fourth Industrial Revolution and arrival of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and nanotechnology.
Amidst other things J&K People’s Movement claims to focus on job creation, transparency in the recruitment process, equitable regional development something which finds a commonality in the vision documents of other mainstream political parties.
Going through the vision document, it can fairly be assessed that this newly formed political outfit claims equitable development of all the three regions and has a vision of taking all stakeholders of J&K on board for a holistic development of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
However Shah Faesal who delivered his maiden speech upon launching of Political outfit took some conscious deviations from the vision document which his party launched.
Feasal to begin with at one end claims to resolve all matters through democratic methods and political processes pursuing peaceful methods didn’t even utter a word against the gun yielding mercenaries who have led valley into obliteration wrecking havoc for last 30 years.
Infact, Shah Faesal touched a very raw nerve while raking up terms like ‘subjugation and servitude’ of masses for last 150 year while talking about treaty of Amritsar. He invoked Sir Allama Iqbal’s couplet:
“Dahkan, Kisht, Joey Va Khayaban Farukh’tand
Qaum-i- Farukh’tand Va Che Arza’n Farukh’tand!
Peasant, the land, the stream, the avenues sliced,
A nation was sold and how cheap was it priced?!
These words we believe have the potential of confusing the, masses further in already chaotic and confusing times. Shah Faesal must know that enough water has flown down river Jehlum since the treaty of Amritsar was scripted. J&K today is not living under an imperialistic or autocratic rule nor are the masses subjugated in a democratic dispensation of free and independent India. Shah Faesal must understand it was the treaty of Amritsar which led to the creation of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and made it a truly pluralistic dispensation. While talking about a pluralistic dispensation at one end in the vision document, how ethical and just is it to challenge a document which makes the state a bouquet of different flowers from all shades and colors. How can we realize a true plural society with a belief that a particular section of society in state has been subjugated for last 150 years? Such an idea is not only sectarian but is fraught with alienating the other sections of J&K state like Dogras of Jammu, Buddhists of Ladakh and Kashmiri Pandits of Valley whom Shah Faesal and J&K People’s Movement considers an important constituent of this state.
The vision document claims to build a progressive, gender sensitive political institution with traditional values and modern sensibilities to give women equal rights and representation in all spheres, be it constitutional, legislative or administrative. How can Shah Faesal conveniently ignore that the gender biases caused by the continuation of Article 35 A are a grave exploitation of women rights in this state?
Indeed it is understandable that every political outfit has a goal of attaining political power and must address the aspirations of the masses, however while addressing the aspiration a just and holistic view must be incorporated to uphold the aspiration of all especially in a state like Jammu and Kashmir with a diverse and defined religo-ethnic composition. Efforts must be made to deescalate and bridge the divides rather than entertaining a populist sectarian outlook.
J&K People’s Movement needs to take heed from another founder Jb Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah who initially treading sectarian lines converted to pluralistic outfit to offer space and voice to all sections of J&K state. If J&K People’s Movement has to survive the vagaries of political battle amongst the hawks in politics, it cannot ignore to reflect the voice of all regions of state.
We earnestly hope that Shah Faesal tomorrow doesnot have invoke the words of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah again say,
“Woh Waqt Bhi Dekhe Hai Tareekh Ki Gariyoon Ne,
Lamhoo Ne Khata Ki Thi Sadiyoon Ne Saza Payi”