The Jews had to live in diaspora scattered all over the world for two thousand years. It took a long time for the Jews to understand that history follows a set rule: Might is right. Since ‘might’ depends on many factors, they had to learn the rules of the game the hard way. However learn they did! They understood that in order to confront the might of the enemy, they need to turn their attention to the dynamics of political process which in turn is dependent upon a matrix of economic processes. They understood that in order to survive in the world of pagans and opposing cultural and civilizational ethos, they had to enter into the system and negotiate their point from within the architectural hierarchy of politics rather than stay outside the fabric of the system and wait for the Messiah to come to deliver them out of the hell of their own making. They entered the pagan socio-political fabric however much they disliked it and since they were inherently genius, they were ultimately in a position to negotiate their point in a win-win manner.
In doing so the Jews, centuries down the line, laid the foundation of a robust economic system that was ultimately accepted by the Europe to create the modern banking system. The banking system strengthened their position and helped them negotiate the political issue surrounding their ‘land of forefathers’ that had dominated the Jewish psyche ever since the time of exodus. They had to go through a lot of trouble and turbulence but they were successful in the end to attain their political end. All the trouble and turbulence that the Jews suffered over two thousand years in exile in diaspora did create deep seated scars in their consciousness and this burden and past baggage is still weighing heavily on the collective mind of Jews. They should learn one more lesson and this time from Nelson Mandela. He buried the past and adopted the noble path of reconciliation. The Jews attained their goal but they should not behave like and reenact the behavior of their past oppressors. Once again they are treading a dangerous path.
Kashmir is going through convulsions and crisis identical in many aspects to that of 1st century AD Israel. The Jews were defending ‘Kashruth’ and in doing so became reckless and belligerent and insensitive to the existing-at-that-time geopolitical situation. They had to pay a heavy price for their rank belligerence. They could not recover from that loss and trauma even after 2000 years of struggle that ensued after their ill-fated defeat. What they recovered is only a fractured legacy after all these years of humiliation at the hands of other nations and people. We in Jammu and Kashmir are also trying to defend ‘Kashruth’ in our own way. Should we learn a lesson from the history of Jews? Should we repeat the mistakes that the Jews committed when they stood at crossroads of history? Or should we learn to unlearn the old and effete habits and be pragmatic and rational to masterly adapt to the changing geopolitical scenario and shifting power balance?
I believe we should relook at the existing jumble and rumple through the prism of rationality and cool-minded calculus. Seven decades of politico-economic disarray and disorganization are an egregious example of mis-governance coupled with irresponsible societal indifference towards political process with consequent loss of the sense of belonging. We are moving backward in to the history rather than gaining any palpable forward momentum. The evidence and the data depict a glaringly pessimistic scenario. The only things that have changed or rather show a progressive and positive change are the population figures and the overall literacy rate. Unfortunately the increased literacy rate has failed to produce an educated society. What it has been able to produce is nothing but the dangerously increasing unemployment rate. Such an unhealthy trend has in turn pushed the society to the brink of a dangerous civil war. Anybody who gets an opportunity to have professional education of any sort wants to leave this place. A dangerous trend of emigration is underway. The people and especially the youth, who can’t leave the state in search of a better life, are stuck here against their wish. They find themselves deeply entrenched into chaos and confusion.
Is this not a shame that in 21st century, when the world is preparing to embrace the cutting edge advances of artificial intelligence but the valley is reeling in darkness during the mercilessly harsh cold of winter? Is this not a shame that in 21st century we are still lacking the proper road and transport infrastructure? Is this not a shame that we are not in a position to impart state of the art education to our young generations? The big question is how are we going to get along and handle the uncertainty and threat that are looming large upon our fate?
I, for myself, believe that hitherto existing political system based on confrontation, inefficiency, blackmail, corruption and fear has not and cannot take us far. A radical overhaul had long been overdue. This seventy year old machinery is just like a dying horse. Not much can be expected from it. Enough is enough. Much blood has flown down the Jhelum. We cannot afford to continue spilling the innocent blood. After all how much blood can this land, our land of paradise, absorb? Its rich face is already mantled red with blood.
We do urgently need to come together. The educated class is duty bound to take the lead – join hands, sit together and hammer out a united and strategic front or organization and come up with a concrete framework for the solution of our long pending issues and problems. We need to focus our attention to building an intellectual infrastructure that will prove instrumental in providing an honorable solution to our problems. The need of the hour is to change our perspective and take responsibility for our mistakes and also take responsibility to build the bridges of reconciliation to help the reconstruction of destruction. How long can we continue to pass the buck? We can’t afford that any longer. The buck has to stop somewhere. And it does stop here, with us!
Author is Cancer Surgeon and President JK Unity Convention