New Delhi: It would no longer assist to blame Pakistan entirely for the troubles in Jammu and Kashmir. The present troubles are mostly of our own making and it can no longer be denied that the state is in the grip of full-blown insurgency. There is a philosophic difference between terrorism and insurgency. Narendra Modi would not know the difference. He occupies a world of rabid binaries. The rest of the Indian establishment nevertheless needs to be alerted. Jammu and Kashmir has just tilted past the dangerous inflection point.

Binaries come easily to persons of science or those without classical education. Scientists mostly take hard line positions. Exceptions like J. Robert Oppenheimer are rare. Scientists are trained to think linearly. They usually visualize nature in colours of black and white. They believe in mathematical absolutes and in the irrefutability of logic. This is funny and absurd because science has barely penetrated the secrets of the universe. Even so, hard scientists have, by and large, two ways of looking at the world. When it comes to ideology, they are as likely as not liable to choose from one of two extreme positions. They would be hard Left or hard Right. Grey areas are unknown to them. In the ranks of hard liners, extremists, terrorists, etc, you would find a greater proportion of those trained in the sciences. They would be natural leaders of such groups. Social scientists would be fewer. Social scientists rarely think linearly. They mostly see grey everywhere. Jammu and Kashmir has just had its first bona fide social scientist, a PhD. in sociology and a lecturer, killed in an encounter with security forces. He was not two days old in the armed struggle when he died. This should come as a wakeup call to all concerned. Jammu and Kashmir can no longer be viewed from the single lens of terrorism.

The roots of the current troubles in Jammu and Kashmir lie in politics: Or rather in their absence. Two political parties run a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. The experience of India is that coalition governments are generally moderate, amenable to reason, and more sympathetic to sober public opinion. Mehbooba Mufti has been in line with this trend. Although her support base essentially lies in Kashmir, she has genuinely attempted to carry reasoned Jammu and Ladakh opinions with her. In this trait, she has taken after her father. But her albatross is the Bharatiya Janata Party coalition partner which has become even more communal after the Kathua outrage. She would be greatly helped if the Narendra Modi government at the Centre were wise and understanding. It is neither. The BJP is determined for the coalition in Jammu and Kashmir to survive as a token. It is not interested in political reform, a lighter security footprint and internal dialogue which are the only means to retrieve the state.

To be sure Jammu and Kashmir has an internal and an external dimension. The external dimension concerns Pakistan which employs terrorist proxies not just to seize the state but to unravel India through the process. Jammu and Kashmir, therefore, is critical to the democratic underpinning and plural concept of the Indian Union. Pakistan is in no position militarily to separate Jammu and Kashmir from India. The partition of the state as an outcome of the 1947-48 conflict is permanent. No Indian government has the mandate to give up Jammu and Kashmir. Internationally, India has reached a level of state power where it cannot be pressured on Jammu and Kashmir. Major Powers, including China, have too much stake in India economically to desire to alter the status quo. Even should they entertain the inclination out of friendship for or an alliance with Pakistan, they know it is a failed project. Equally, India cannot seize Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Any thrust in that direction would result in war and escalate into a nuclear conflagration. In sum, the external dimension of Jammu and Kashmir has only one solution: Maintenance of status quo. Pakistan is not interested in status quo. That is a struggle which will not end anytime soon. The Narendra Modi government’s attempts to browbeat and isolate Pakistan will not succeed. Strategic patience is required and Narendra Modi conceivably does not even identify with the phrase.

Be that as it may, the internal dimension of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be ignored in the meantime. Indeed, internal peace would subliminally influence the nature and scope of the external dimension. Kashmiris have a full understanding of the horror called Pakistan. They would ideally like independence but short of that staying on with India is not so unwelcome. But Kashmir has to be treated as more than real estate. Kashmiris have to be accepted as full citizens going beyond the natural rights available to them in the statute books. Jammu and Kashmir needs organic integration with the rest of the country. That is an impossible project for the Narendra Modi government. This is conceivably the only inorganic government of all the governments that have come to the Centre since Independence. Modi tries to portray himself as the political heir to Atal Behari Vajpayee. He is not. Vajpayee was the epitome of the organic prime minister. He had emotionally broken from the RSS. Narendra Modi stands nowhere in comparison. Jammu and Kashmir would not have faced the present plight under Atal Behari Vajpayee.