Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Making Leaders Out of Cheaters

Tajamul speaks about the great injustice perpetuated by general public

(Mr. Tajamul Hussain, 53, was born in Srinagar. He went to the Government Higher Secondary School in Nawakadal, Srinagar, and the S.P. College, Srinagar. He attended the College of Engineering, Andhra University, Waltair, the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), New Delhi, and the Forest Research Institute. He is a freelance writer.)

Let’s Challenge Our Leaders

Historically, excessive admiration has led us Kashmiris to worship leaders as demigods for the cult of personalities, petty jobs and a few rupees. So to say, for ‘haaka boudh’, we would betray our faith to those into rule us and lead us who for decades failed to deliver, repeatedly sold and resold us.

The very faces that repeatedly disappointed/betrayed our nation, cause, trust would tomorrow be our saviours suggesting thereof that we are a 'confused-mass-of-protoplasm'. The recent killings (spin doctors dub them the result of our agitational terrorism, as a part of military neologism) ran more than a hundred mark; the loss of property and business valued at several thousands of crores. A section of people is overly optimistic about the hype created of ‘Azaadi’. The pessimists question why sacrifices of jaan, maal, izzat (life, property, honour) have been allowed to go awry, ditto in the past. They blame the failure to the ‘ineffective leadership’ for the bankruptcy-of-innovative-ideas to fight the Machiavellian political manoeuvres of the opponent. Some accuse ‘toxic’ leadership for (always) swerving from policy and principle. The dog-like followers (despite quite familiar with the wrongdoings of their leaders) that quite often slip up take a wrong turn and go off the rails, give an impression as if nobody knows as to against whom we are, Delhi or ourselves.

Leaders may attempt to depict themselves as the only ones who can “save” their followers. In the process they would stifle the constructive criticism and teach supporters, sometimes by threats and authoritarianism, to comply with, rather than to question their judgment and actions. With the riotous use of couching-the-word-abilities and holding hands in glove with the opponents, these so called torchbearers would attempt to mislead (rather deceive) the hapless stock of the followers through deliberate untruths and misdiagnoses of issues and problems, subverting structures and processes of the system intended to generate truth, justice, and excellence. They won’t hesitate in engaging in criminal acts. Building totalitarian or narrowly dynastic regimes, undermining the legal processes for selecting and supporting new leaders, failing to nurture other leaders, including their own successors or otherwise improperly clinging to power, identifying scapegoats and inciting others to castigate them, failing to recognize or ignoring and/or promoting incompetence, cronyism, and corruption; and behaving incompetently by misdiagnosing problems and failing to implement solutions to recognized problems are their character traits (innate/acquired) to name the few.

The kind of leaders, notoriously famous for abusing the leader-follower relationship leave the followers in worse-off conditions than when their leaders were not there. By virtue of the dysfunctional personal characteristics and destructive behaviours, they would often inflict reasonably serious and enduring harm on their followers. Initially they would charm, but ultimately end up in manipulating, mistreating, and undermining their followers, engaging in a wide range of destructive behaviours that may include corruption, deception, cheating, criminalizing, scandalizing, indulging into unethical activities and/or deliberately feeding their followers the illusions that enhance the power of these unscrupulous leaders and impair the capacity of the followers to act independently.

As a rule of thumb, our lemming’s obedience would always provide an opportunity for our leaders to exploit us for personal gain and aggrandizement to unapologetically destroy Kashmiri nation (and the character of its inhabitants) they were offered to lead. Many of us followers do recognize our fault of rearing these unscrupulous creatures and then keep on sheepishly tolerating them and their behaviour. Why do we accept, often prefer, and sometimes even create ineffective leaders by pushing sincere leaders over the line requires an analysis? Strong yearnings for leaders would keep on percolating up unconsciously in us to send us in search of leaders who can comfort our fears. Anthropologically speaking, at the most primitive end, the followers experience physiological needs for food, shelter, and other basic necessities of life. The hierarchy progresses through the needs for safety, love, esteem, cognition, aesthetics, and self-actualization to finally culminate in transcendence. Driven by more pragmatic needs, our desire to share in additional attractive benefits….like political access and organisational perks that those leaders can provide….have incidentally been the ones we would most easily recognize and commonly cite as the factors that hinder our escape from leaders.

Our existential anxiety and craving for a life of meaning would render us exquisitely susceptible to leaders who insist that they can keep us safe, instil our lives with significance, and ensure our eternal. Leaders who promise us an orderly, predictable, and controlled world can seem very attractive when everything around us appears to be disintegrating. Our leaders would always offer us grand illusions that articulate grandiose, unrealistic, and privileged utopias and we have always participated in their grand illusion as “the Chosen” to appear as our omniscient, omnipotent saviours. As followers we are quite often mistaken of the utopian dreams of toxic leaders to get ensnared in their noble visions of ennoblement. In the political realm, of course, toxic leaders frequently employ the resources of government, including the military, to enforce their rule over more sceptical and less compliant followers. Hamstrung by our multiple needs, we would create rationalizations that convince us we cannot oppose the leaders, eventually hardened into internalized control myths, dictating why the followers should not attempt to challenge the destructive leaders. These and still other psychological needs have made us seek and respond to leaders who assure us they can fulfil those longings. Our fear, that we are personally powerless to challenge leaders, normally contributes to our reluctance to confront them. While followers would busily engage in controlling their own impulses to resist, leaders pursue their unimpeded destructive courses.

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