Discrimination by the law is unjust, on that account both Article 370 and 35A, did not have a place in present-day India. Special status by definition is discriminatory and particularly hated by the Indians who live outside J&K and did not benefit from its provisions. The gripe, however, has been getting relentless support from the view that anti-India sentiments were breeding freely in a land that enjoyed at the cost of the rest of us (Indian). The idea of ‘one nation- one flag- one constitution’ is a legitimate one, the fact that it is being received so well by Indians is a satisfactory proof, for most. I’m not going to challenge the constitutionality of the move which is being seen as not only bold and decisive but also nationalistic by the supporters of the government; because I still hope that, nothing that is unlawful beyond a reasonable doubt is going to stand the legal scrutiny by the Apex court. So if it is indeed wrong, the supreme court with right it by a verdict. What I’m hugely concerned about is democratic decency or should I say morality in governance, though. Hyperactive Indian media most of which is appreciative of everything that Mr Modi does, according to them, even the way the man breathes is the real Indian way to inhale and exhale, has already told, retold and in some cases even misread the history of Kashmir coming together with other 540+ princely states to form the union of India as it exists today, doesn’t require my endorsement. Everything that gets done, unknowingly but definitively, forms the basis of what will be done in the future and that aspect of it alone, should encourage the whole of the democratic world and not just India to ponder over this historic decision.
Does the end justify the means in your world?
Well, if it does, then there is no space for a conversation, you can leave this page right here and move to other titillating arguments that are being screeched from the rooftop to further the agenda of those who are strong enough to shape the narrative of the nation. But then if you are part of the minuscule minority that does value method just as much as the result, then you and I should spend some more time on this together. We know how the BJP cleverly, formed the government with Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP and then pulled back support midterm to push Governer’s rule. We are fully aware of the arguments that were given to support delaying of fresh elections in the valley for as long as 13 months. Truth is that if it had happened, not only Omar would have seated the CM’s chair one more time but made it practically impossible for BJP led NDA to abrogate 370 and annul 35A. So the masterminds, amended article 367 to elevate the legislative assembly to the stature of constituent assembly, in this case, and then letting Indian parliament surrogate for state assembly of J&K, then it took consent from the representative that it had appointed to the state itself and then superimposed president’s notice to make what we know has happened. Does it smell of a coup? A constitutional coup, yes, of course, it does!
The monument that made Kashmiris hide their inhibition on their way to what we (citizens from the rest of the country) call the ‘mainstream’ has been obliterated, to be never erected back again. An attempt will have to be made to remove the debris of the destruction, as step one, of infusing clarity into what is perhaps the most chaotic intricacy of independent India. Here are a few things that will be found in my view.
Shattered Pakistani Dream: This is a delightful thing to find, not because, as Indians, we must eschew everything from across the border but because their claim on Kashmir has been illegal, immoral, and evil to say the least. Pakistan sponsored terror has claimed more than a hundred thousand lives and uncountable souls disturbed with their untimely and tragic demise. Two complete generations have been burning in the unholy fire. With this move, Mr Modi has comprehensively briefed the world that he is determined to take back whatever is rightfully ours. Fatuous offer from President Trump for mediation has also been answered in a BOLD and CAPITAL NO! Pakistan which is begging for 6 billion dollars and is willing to surrender its economic sovereignty for such a petty sum is in no position to deal with it. Even if PM Imran tries, he will wipe himself off the face of Pakistan for real and for good. But I suspect he would, anyway.
The Kashmiri groups: Mainstream leaders, the Abdullah clan, Mufti mandal, and new breeds of politicians that mushroomed months before the general election of 2019, now have before them the rare opportunity of finding a fresh account to shine their politics on but because it will essentially require shaping people’s perception towards accepting what has been done, it will be twice as difficult for those guys because for long they have survived by passively supporting the idea of either freedom from both India and Pak or Freedom from just India. PDP has been most notorious. The separatist will use this development to their advantage, for them this decision must be equivalent to striking a pot of gold. They will use it to inflame anti-India sentiments. Deflecting ordinary citizens may appear an easy task in their wicked lab, they will go for no just regular citizens but also those who have been for a long time pro India. The third category is the poor people of Kashmir; they will find themselves in a split again. They will need to make choices yet again; we hope and pray that they choose the republic of India over everything else.
The corpse of democracy: Let me in most certain and unequivocal terms say that the manner in which this ‘operation’ was carried out is by no means one of the finest display of democratic spirit. It has not only been undemocratic, rash, ill-thought of but also against the federal structure and soul of our parliamentary democracy. A few years ago, I would have never imagined something like this but then realities of today are different in which anything is possible. Democracy is a government of the people, for the people and by the people. And where were the people in this decision? They were locked in their own homes, their street was combed by the unprovoked imposition of sec 144, they were completely cut off from information and all modes of communication. Phones were dead, the internet was not yielding anything, even the democratically elected representatives of the people were confined in unexplained home arrest. The entire world watched Indian parliament steamroll abrogation with the force of brute majority in both houses of the parliament, barring the very people it impacted. Already guarded streets of Kashmir was supplied with more troops. Rest of India celebrated and congratulated PM Modi and his friend Shah. Integration of Kashmir with rest of India is being sighted as the prime objective of this move by the government, then we can safely say that this marriage does not have the consent of the people of Kashmir; rest of India seems happy without it, which is worrisome.
I’m not even wanting to comment on the irony which surrounds supreme leaders address to the nation, in which he spoke about Kashmir for 40 minutes, all of us heard him but the affected people of Kashmir did not have access to the television broadcast.
I would have also applauded this decision if the government displayed the will to listen to the people of Kashmir. If it called for consultation, allowed mainstream politicians to freely voice their opinion both for and against the move if it did not lock people and communication down; I would have supported Mr Modi. Remember, numbers are on the side of the BJP, allowing democratic ways, would not have made it difficult for them to win it in the voting in both houses of the parliament, yet he made the deliberate choice to move unilaterally, disregarding rich democratic traditions of the largest democratic country on the face of planet earth.
Abrogation of Sec 370A and annulment of 35A would have then become a good example; currently, it is not! Article 3 of the constitution was also not spared from the legal trickery, a full-blown state tore down into two union territories. HM Amit did announce from the floor of the parliament that statehood would be restored as normalcy returns. It is anybody’s guess that in 70 years with 370 on the situations did not get normal, would it ever become so after it getting revoked? For all practical purposes, this is what is going to be the design of the northernmost part of our country.
What this regime needs to know is that while Kashmir can momentarily deflect attention from the failing economy and mounting unemployment, it will never make people forget the questions around falling rupees and rising debt, permanently. It would have been awesome to hear from Mr PM on that as well, in the address that he submitted to the nation!