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Separatism Vs Universalism
By Dr. Abdul Majid Siraj
I will start this scrutiny of dialectics on separatism coined as dominant doctrines in Kashmir politics as against its opposite universalism by examination of the challenging terms of the two political creeds In Kashmir separatist is a name given to all parties, activists, militant factions, or students pelting stones who are campaigning for session from Indian Union and share the underlying thematic slogans of right to self-determination or simply Freedom.

As a world view scenario separatism sentiments have grown all over the developing nations with inept and corrupt governance emerging as the main cause. Empires crumbled from medieval times like a game of dominos and colonizing States withdrew into their dens only to leave traces of their cultural artefacts behind. The Persian, Ottoman, Roman and British Empires are the best examples. It is in the plebian sects where the first impact is felt and passions surface when the region feels alienated and people are forced to live as second class citizens. By implication these people feel subjugated and aware as common people they will not get a chance to participate in their own governance. They become separatists.

Historically as the imperial powers started withdrawing from colonies, the United Nations conventions passed resolutions and imposed procedural guidance in making sure the countries the colonizers leave behind are well governed and local political structures are in place and institutionalized before they exit. The colony like India was not prepared therefore a transitional government likes of which were installed in India for two years before 1947. Kashmir was decolonized by proxy and first given complete independence then thrown in the fray. It could have been given UN supervision as a mandated territory on that basis.

Kashmir passed through decolonizing period in chaos. Make shift governments half - heartedly installed in the hope of governance. Politics now was a game and in time they can recognize the groups in political arena who want power and hold control over resources. In separatism their demands become louder for help to protect them from adversity, disease, violence and humiliation. Loss of dignity runs deep inside their minds and souls. They rebel and seek to gain more political control as people. The aspirations of separatism surface with antecedent factors exhorting sentiments and playing a part like different language or culture or religion from the rest of the Union.

Separatism takes a hold on people when they are geographically peripheral. They feel remoteness from seat of governance and feel that they do not receive adequate support, particularly demands on economic development. They get a name like Border area. An area which is economically depressed to start with compared to a wealthier State. In states like Kashmir there is the added disadvantage of an isolated natural geographic location where lack of an artery of communication reliable, round the year disables them as a potential industrial hub, making the State non-viable in the world.

Feeling of a fractured society may flare upon their mind for fear of becoming a minority within the Union and lose the charms of cohesiveness in their own language or culture, and history of religious grouping. The perception that exploitation of local resources by national government produces little economic gain for the State. The NHPCA water fiasco has been hotly debated.

Collapse of the relations that bond people to the Union becomes imminent by weakening the political power that rule by fascist political philosophy and presage breakup of the Union or holding the regions together (e.g. the Roman, Ottoman, USSR, Yugoslavia) Perception that the central government at the Union is an awe-inspiring high order of supranational bodies, which led many nationalist groups to think they have a better chance of developing economically if they are independent exemplified by recent events like Brexit or the slogan of the Scottish National Party.

Allocating these political directives to Kashmir the so called separatists in Kashmir deny this allocation to their political grouping because they feel rather than separation they are fighting a war to be united to their fellows in the part severed from them and seek civil and political rights guaranteed in statutes of international law within that communion. Separatism is not their creed which has roots in religion and allegiance or refusal to live as unionists. The synthesis that will surface on retrospection is submission to togetherness.

Universalism on the other hand is a theological and philosophical concept with universal application or applicability. Universalist doctrines consider all people in their formation as equal and claim separated parts to join. In terms of religion, in a broad sense, universalism claims that in all religions there is a universal human quality. Taking Jammu or Kashmir as examples, never has there been a protest in the streets against a rival religion. Universalism claims that all religions run a theme with a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. Believers in Kashmir have dogged allegiance to universalism and salvation, the doctrine that every human soul will ultimately be reconciled to God because of divine love and mercy that works for all religions. People's belief in one fundamental truth of Freedom is a part of the total belief system of universalism. The living truth is seen as more far-reaching than national, cultural, or religious boundaries or interpretations of that one truth (Rig Veda).

In its paraphrasing remark it may be the icons of all religions working for and against the political revolution in Kashmir will recognize the truth that underpins the ethos of freedom, where is its domain? How is its organic form made and where will it end? May be there is a universal cry raised for a universal goal of truth and justice for all people of Jammu and both sides of Kashmir.

Dr. Abdul Majid Siraj

News Updated at : Tuesday, September 12, 2017
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