A case of ego crisis

Identity is not a trivial issue. This becomes important for the consequences like waging proxy war, actual war, and hatred or detest for others when the identity is under threat. If we look at history of any conflict then we find that there had always been identity crisis either at macro or micro level that had been the reason for all ill wills. Had there been no dissipation of energies, loss of resources- time, money, infrastructure, human life and loss of overall peace, I would have not got chance to think deeply of identity and its connections.
How identity subjective to self-identity; and what others think of one can be so influential? The power relations, social standing and ego seem to be the most appropriate answer to the query. Identity is created through the social interactive process due to different reasons which can be exercising power, education, religion, profession, marriage, occupation, origin, affluence, etc. Power is the capacity to rule others or subdue others. This enhances the element of Ego. Ego is something which gives a sense of superiority over others. The sense of superiority is mostly a belief. Beliefs are the thoughts which are not necessarily true, passed on to generations down the line based on sometimes weird logics like colour of the skin and even religion. When others considered to be inferior somehow gets a chance to be in power the beliefs get challenged and so does egos get shaken. Social standing defined as what others think of the level of prestige associated may also be felt declined.
Identity, power, ego and social standing are also related to culture. Culture represents everything that signifies shared values, beliefs, symbols, traditions and customs, language, etc. among members of the group. The cultural features give the group members a shared feeling of belongingness towards each other and to the overall group brand or their common identity.
The above can be represented in the following linkage framework
Power, Ego, Social Standing Identity Culture
The linkage thus shows that power gives ego, which gives social standing and identity. However, identity is created and strengthened through the two important means namely Power and Culture. So if one needs to have social standing one needs to be either powerful or culturally strong or both.
Now contextualising the above, the Kashmir problem can be analysed. Kashmiris at present have power as leadership is from Kashmir; Ego is there in Kashmir both due to power and due to fundamentalism considering itself as superior over rest of the religions. Kashmir people have high social standing as promoted highly worldwide, the identity of Kashmiri is well known to the world than Dogras and Ladakhis. This identity is derived because of the political power, promotion and due to strong culture represented in language, handicrafts, symbols, etc.
So, a big question arises if all good is there in Kashmir and when the development is at high, though diplomatically considered irrelevant by kashmiris, then why the problem of unrest is there? What is that “historical” which is mostly referred by the younger generation of Kashmir whenever some intelligent discussion is done with them to understand the problem? The reference by many calling for “Azadi of Kashmir” to ” Kashmir does not need development, we have historical reasons to call for azadi” made me to self-educate to know history. The historical interface helped me to catch the “problem” that has historical connections as it occurred in past. Instead of being handled there only, it has been passed from generation to generation alike cultural values which has created the present situation of confusion and complexity. The problem is of “Shaken Egos” which was done once vehemently by Abdul Qadir in July 13,1931 through the rhetoric speech surcharging emotions with the feeling of self-disgrace of being under the rule of King who is non-muslim, by giving references to the holy scripture of their undue behaviour of subduing themselves to infidel or apostate. The venom of that day from history was spread like fire vandalising at mass level and putting havoc on the lives of non-muslims. The venom of that day from history has been passed incessantly as a cultural norm to next generations till date. The mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits is a testimony to the above argument. How do those making proclamation for the so called “Azadi” can turn their eyes shut towards the reality of their inner conscious being which is just intolerable to the human value of happy co-existence.
If people of Kashmir do want to create solution for current Kashmir problem and want to save the generation from the implications of conflict then there is a need to adopt a progressive approach. Kashmiris need to be practical about what do they want? Is this the so called “azadi” for restoring the shaken egos of superiority put under the so called threat due to the Hindu Dogra ruler for 100 years? Or do they want immersion with so called sympathiser, the failed nation Pakistan? Or do they want to co-exist with India, emerging with a good standing in the world. They need to visualize the answers to all the options to make a discerning solution. If “azadi” is the choice both from India and Pakistan, then the ego wins and restored. The ego of superiority shall strengthen the Islamic fundamentalism. Kashmir people have to think that after having been so much developed by India (the development which they undermine now like anything), are they really the takers of Islamic fundamentalism? Do they wish to regress to antiquity?
If they want to immerse or co-exist with Pakistan, Do they see bright future with the failed nation? The nation which has the culture of befooling common people by creating false propaganda and engaging mental and physical energies of gullible people into the destructive consequences.
Do they want to co-exist with India? The co-existence which has given opportunities to grow with rest of the world along with the benevolence of development packages for the overall good.
Kashmiris especially the civil society needs to decide at the earliest to stop the losses that are being made in the present unrest. If J&K as whole is analysed in the context of power, ego, social standing, identity and culture, then it is learnt that other regional identities belonging to Dogras, Ladakhies and Paharis have poor social standing due to either lack of power in political sphere or lack of proper representation and restoration of cultural symbols or both. It is a thankful situation that their egos are not that high to give them superiority over others nor their cultural values make them to adopt regressive approach of passing on venom down the next generations. However, they do need to create social standing to be heard by attaining equality which they can have through balance in political sphere and through restoring their cultural expressions.
(The author is Assistant Professor Department of Tourism & Travel Management)