By K.N. Pandita
“Word impossible is in the dictionary of fools”, said Napoleon Bonaparte. The will to do is the most powerful weapon one can wield. When there is no will to do, hundred and one pretexts can be carved. Leadership gifted with power to do will inspire, motivate and get the things done. That is what the Chief Minister has done in past few days. Is he a changed man? Has he got inspiration from the unseen? Has he the gift of the gab? Is he poised to be the messiah of the poor, deprived, helpless and needy people? Will he be able to pull Kashmir chestnuts out of fire? New questions are coming up and new assessments are made about the next three-year tenure of Omar Abdullah.
He does not need to be divinized; that is not what we may intend to do. The State is passing through a dark phase of violence unleashed by a small misled and misdirected section of society. But the administration has overplayed its impact by surrendering everything to it, duty, power, courage, initiative, decision and delivery. What is more, negative approach of dissenting political fragments and particularly the opposition’s ambivalent response to militancy bordering on political opportunism exacerbated disorder in the state. They left no stone unturned to inject total frustration and despondency among the broad sections of people. It seemed that the people had been forced to lose self-confidence because their will power was weakened and their aspiration for a prosperous life demolished …
History of nations tells us that many a time when a people are engulfed in clouds of darkness, uncertainty and imbecility, nature does provide safety valve in the shape of a leader gifted with virtues of courage, initiative and vision. He rises above human weaknesses, takes upon his shoulders the burden of exceptional responsibility, extricates the flock from the morass of despondency and with fortitude and cautious steps leads it to safe destination. He carries with him not only his supporters and followers but also his opponents and detractors, just by the sheer force of his personality, conviction and cast iron will. Fortunate is the nation that can find a leader of such parts.
The task before Omar Abdullah is stupendous. First and foremost, it is to prompt the people to rebuild their withered self confidence, and clear their vision that stands blurred by two-decade old syndrome of violence, fear, deceit and hatred. On the island of darkness he has to carry the lamp to illuminate obscured minds and darkened thoughts. Then will follow the task of helping his people reconstruct the culture of humanism and spiritualism, the enduring factors that bind people together in their march to peace and prosperity. War throws up great generals and peace throws up great humanists. It is the great humanists that are the real architects of our country’s glorious civilization. The State has a very special place among the States of the Indian Union. It has immense potential in terms of geography, history, culture, resources and manpower. While we take pride in our past contribution to the civilizational fund of India, we need to make fresh input for its enrichment, the new India that is in making. It is secular, democratic and egalitarian India experimenting empowerment of identities, groups and regions to let them grow and bloom in freshness.
The young Chief Minister has his style of running the State. He is not a prisoner of stereotypes: he is not a wobbly disenchanted person on Kashmir’s political stage caught up in Hamlets “to be or not to be” set of symptoms. In the context of tribal invasion of Kashmir in October 1947, the Defence Committee had met in Delhi on 26 October and for hours debated the question of sending or not sending troops to defend Kashmir. The Generals (all British) were not interested. When the meeting was about to come to close and the mood was of not defending Kashmir, the then Home Minster Sardar Patel, after observing complete silence for the entire period, said the historic sentence, “Generals, road or no road, I want our troops in Srinagar tomorrow morning.” In imitating the mood, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, after finding that utter chaos had gripped power supply system to the valley, called in his subordinate workforce and said,” Engineers, road or no road, snow or no snow, I want power to be restored within 24 hours.” The mission was completed and the rest is history. This is the man of determination and the man of decision. This is the leader Kashmiris will live and die for. And to do his job with finesse, the Chief Minister will have only one sentence for the Prime Minister: “Mr. Prime Minister, give me the tools and I complete the mission.”