Shah Faesal, the blue-eyed boy of India’s liberals who would lead the fight for the political rights of Kashmir like no one ever has, called it quits from politics on Monday. As a civil services topper from 2010, Shah Faesal had evoked a sense of hope among those Indians who would rather see the ruin of the Indian state. Faesal joining the politics of Kashmir in 2019 was seen as a radical change for the valley, where the youth would now take the lead to carry forward their soft secessionism against India.
In March 2019, Faesal had launched the “Jammu & Kashmir People’s Movement”. Subsequently In August, the Modi-Shah duo revoked the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir which was provided by Article 370. After the abrogation, his political career stood dismantled even before it could begin. A few days after the abrogation of Article 370, Faesal was detained at the Delhi international airport while he was trying to flee to Istanbul, and thereupon, to the US. The former civil servant– topper of civil services in 2010– was flown to Srinagar and then put under detention with other political leaders of the state.
Perhaps the ten-month long detention has helped knock some sense into the man, who has now quit politics and is tight-lipped about his future pursuits. Reportedly, Shah Faesal is looking to go abroad for further studies. He is also considering joining the administration once again. It is worthy to note that his resignation has not been accepted by the administration until now.
Speaking to India Today, Shah Faesal said, “There is a new reality in Kashmir and we have to come to terms with it. As a member of civil services, I have been a stakeholder in the future of this nation. I can’t imagine why some people would be anti-India. I can’t be seen as a traitor to a nation that has given me everything in life. I want to move on and start afresh. In whatsoever position that is.”
Last year, a day before his detention, Faesal had tweeted, “Abolition of Article 370 has finished the mainstream. Constitutionalists are gone. So, you can either be a stooge or a separatist now. No shades of grey.” Faesal is singing quite a different tune from what he did last year. In February this year, the man was slapped with the Public Safety Act for displaying secessionist tendencies. From being a borderline separatist only last year, to now questioning those individuals who live a life out of abusing India, Shah Faesal has come a long way.
Consequently, Shehla Rashid had also joined the party founded by Faesal – JKPM. In October last year, however, the secessionist activist had quit politics, saying that her continuing in mainstream politics would mean legitimising the government’s decision to scrap J&K’s special status. Perhaps the unwillingness of Shah Faesal to continue in separatist-politics was known to Rashid, who when asked whether Shah would call it quits, had said, “I can’t speak on behalf of anyone else.”
Shah Faesal, further snubbing the remaining separatists of the valley said that he cannot waste his life chasing an ‘illusion’. “Life can’t stop. We have huge challenges of poverty, illiteracy, inequality and unemployment in front of us. I can’t waste my life in chasing illusions when there is so much to be done for the ordinary people. Where will I go next, only time will tell. But as of now, I am sure that I need to move and spread some positivity in my life and the lives of others,” the former administrator told India Today.
The revocation of Article 370 has permanently changed the dynamics of Kashmir’s politics and has left no legroom whatsoever for mainstream politicians to also act as soft separatists. While the political careers of the Mufti’s and Abdullah’s have been destroyed, those who wish to indulge in politics must do so as proud Indians. Shah Faesal’s Ghar wapsi serves as a testimony to the same.