Perverted parlance on Jammu & Kashmir issues

published on August 13, 2010
Ashok Chowgule
Vice President, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, India

As always happens with many issues relating to Jammu & Kashmir, the media and the intellectuals project them only with respect to a small section of the people living in the Kashmir Valley. For them the rest, particularly those in Jammu and Ladhak, just do not exist. Nor are the views of the people in the rest of India are of any concern to them.

Thus, the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits, who were ethnically cleansed from the Valley in 1989, receives comment only as an aside. A secular fundamentalist, Teesta Setalvad, probably expresses the attitude of her group, when she said: ” For, while there are the hapless and forgotten Kashmiri Pandits also displaced and bitterly abandoned in Jammu and Delhi camps, they have been innocent victims of foreign-bred mercenaries not home grown terror bands; terror bands who moreover speak of a narrow sense of Indian patriotism and nationhood.” (Teesta Setalvad in the Rajiv Gandhi Sadhbhavana Award, 2002, acceptance speech, 20 August 2002.)

Recently, there was an agitation in the Kashmir Valley against providing land for the Amarnath pilgrims. This provision was done with the full concurrence of the political and government machinery in Jammu & Kashmir. At the last moment, some of those with strong sympathies towards the secessionists, objected to it, for purely political reason.

The 200 acres that was selected to be made available for the comfort of the pilgrims during the two months of the pilgrimage, was projected as one that would change the demographic character of the Kashmir Valley. Clearly it was implied that the Valley was to be an exclusive preserve of the Muslims.

This perverse argument was lapped up by the media and the intellectuals, without giving it any thought. The area is not exactly habitable, except duing the summer months. Hence, a large permanent presence would not be feasible. Furthermore, even if habitable, the number of Hindus who could be accommodated would be a fraction of the population of the Valley. But then, any argument by the secessionists is to be accepted as true – such is the way the media and the intellectuals function.

Probably the only secular-fundamentalist who was able to sift the wheat from the chaff was MJ Akbar. In a moment of sanity, he put the Hindu case concisely when he wrote: ” But there is always a flashpoint lurking in the subconscious, waiting to explode. The trigger is hurt, a grievance that emerges from a perceived sense of injustice. The Hindu who has quietly watched mosque and dargah expand around him, explodes when a few acres are denied to pilgrims on the arduous trek to Amarnath. He has seen Haj Houses sprout around him for Muslims on their way to Mecca. These rest houses are not temporary structures created for the two months involved in the two-way journey for Haj; they have become permanent community centres. He asks a question: why should he be denied a place for tired feet on the way to Amarnath?”  (M.J. Akbar, Why Mumbai is the heart of Muslim terrorism, Covert, August 16-31, 2008.)  He then wondered as follows: “Is it a punishment to be a Hindu in India?”

The media and the intellectuals pretended that the Hindus have no case. And when the Hindus in Jammu came out in the streets, it was the Hindus who were condemned.

In the context of the terrorism by the Naxalites, there was another moment of sanity in the secular discourse – this time by the home minister, P Chidambaram. The English daily, Pioneer, reported as follows: ” Chidambaram also came down heavily on the sympathisers of Maoists for providing intellectual and material support. In a strongly worded statement, he blamed the organisations and intellectuals who advocate for Maoists and urged them to condemn the heinous killings. “I would like to hear the voices of condemnation of those who have, erroneously, extended intellectual and material support to the CPI(Maoist). It is only if the whole country rejects the preposterous theses of the Maoists and condemns the so-called ‘armed liberation struggle’, then only we can put an end to the menace of Naxalism and bring development and progress to the people in the conflict zones,” said Chidambaram. ” Every attack of this kind exposes the true nature and character of the CPI(Maoist). Their goal is to seize power. Their weapon is violence. No organisation or group in a democratic republic has the right to take to violence to overpower the established legal authority. Unfortunately, this simple truth has escaped a number of well-meaning organisations that find ‘legitimacy’ in the armed liberation struggle carried on by the CPI(Maoist),” added the Home Minister.” (Pioneer News Service, “Under-preparedness did cops in: Centre”, The Pioneer, February 17, 2010.)

Replace the words ‘Naxalites’ and ‘Maoists’ with the appropriate terms for the secessionists in the Kashmir Valley, and you would have a statement that would explain the situation in Jammu & Kashmir with equal force!

The media and the intellectuals have appointed the secessionists as the leaders of the Muslims in Kashmir Valley. Not once have they questioned their right to speak as such leaders. Not once have they asked for the opinions of the non-Muslims in Jammu & Kashmir.

When they talk about Article 370, they do not state that the heading clearly states that it was a temporary provision, and was expected to be deleted in due course. They do not state that the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru of the Congress party, had said in the Parliament that the article has been erorded, and would soon vanish from the Constitution.
[ COMMENT: The exact words of Pandit Nehru, in Parliament: ” Samvidhan Ki Dara 370, Ghiste Ghiste Ghis Jayegi” . ( Article 370 of the Constitution, will get ERODED, by constant use. )  REF: “A SECULAR AGENDA” – Arun Shourie – Rupa & Co. ]

When there is a mention about the plebiscite, there is no reference that there was a prior condition that had to be fulfilled – namely that the Pakistani army had to withdraw from the Pakistani occupied Kashmir. Furthermore, there is no talk about the fact that the demographic character of the PoK has been changed, which would make the plebiscite in that part a fruitless exercise.

The media and the intellectuals pretend that the resolution in Parliament, passed unanimously during the time of the Congress government under the prime ministership of Narsimha Rao, is imaginary one. This resolution was first proposed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the BJP, as the Leader of the Opposition. But the prime minister suggested that it should be put forward by the then speaker, Shivraj Patil of the Congress party, so that it would give a better emphasis of the mood of the people. And it was supported by the political parties of all hues.

Issues get resolved on an enduring basis only when the analysis is an informed one, and facts are not fudged to suit an agenda. The intellectuals and the media in India have ensured that this will not happen.

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