Self-inflicted Injury

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How long must this be allowed to carry on? Why is everybody so casual about this endless self inflicted injury? Some injuries are difficult, if not impossible to heal, and the injuries these blockades, the frequency of which is continually rising, may actually cross the critical line from where there can be no easy return to normalcy or economic health or inter-community relations in the state. As it is, the fledgling private enterprises in the state have been condemned to existence in a limbo thanks to the prolonged acute shortage of electricity, abysmally bad infrastructure including most importantly surface transport, sinking standard of government schools and colleges and not the least the perpetual state of insecurity resulting out of the intractable uncertainty introduced by the law and order situation which has spiralled out of control as well as by the draconian measures and laws introduced to counter it. The latest additions to the state’s overflowing cup of woe are these blockades. Whatever the justification of the grievances that led to these extreme protests, the consequences are proving to be far too damaging and expensive. Things being what they are, it is time for all sides to climb down and rethink the method of agitation without giving up the agitation. Quite obviously the stir is beginning to prove counterproductive.

If all the parties in this faceoff were to step back a step or two each, the vision of a solution should begin to appear on the horizon. On the other hand, if they stick to where they have been standing all the while, and with a government seemingly not interested in doing anything beyond appealing to the leaders of the agitation to come to a negotiated settlement, though it has been made adequately clear on more occasion than one this is never to be if compromises are demanded, the situation can only continue to go downhill. The Central government as well as its eyes and ears in the state too seem simply content in watching the state disintegrate into total chaos for it too has not made a single gesture that it would try and bail the beleaguered state out of its present crisis. It too seems to be waiting for complete public disorder to break out and perhaps even a communal mayhem. What cynicism it would be if the doomsday prophets who have been predicting the fall of what they have termed as a failed state, are actually waiting and watching for some catastrophe to happen so that they can with academic satisfaction claim credit for self fulfilled prophesies.

Since the government obviously would not, or cannot, the all important question now is, do the people in the state have it in them to rise to the occasion and resolve this crisis amongst them? At this moment, obduracy no longer appears honourable or brave. On the other hand, it is the magnanimity of accommodation and flexibility which will go down as the qualities which define courage in this situation. It would also be a fine reward to prove the doomsday prophets wrong, and that the people of the state are able to resolve their common issues amicably in just and reasonable ways. Let the reserve of doomsday prophesies be proven instead. This state is difficult precisely because it is complex and complicated being multi-ethnic and multi-religion. But the victory will be when this complexity comes to be sublimated to ultimately begin to acquire the visage of sophistication. This we would say is the onerous challenge before the people – a test by fire which has the potential to destroy, but if the challenge is overcome, can leave the bondages that bind the spiritual and temporal integrity of the place much more securely. This would have been a lot more convenient and easy had the government been endowed with the vision and commitment called for in such moments. But unfortunately this is not to be, leaving the people to take forward this all-important project of redefining coexistence on their own. For a people who have lived together adjusting to each others’ idiosyncrasies for eons, this should not prove impossible although by no means an easy task. In the meantime, let us appeal to the government once again not to let things carry on the way it has been. Let it be accommodating but when things get beyond a point where the problem begins to threaten public welfare and order in a major way, let it not be afraid to be firm. Even as the matter of feasibility of the creation of Sadar hills district is being thrashed out, let it ensure that the highways are opened up using all the means within its command.

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