Abrogation of Article 370 – A significant achievement
Now, it’s nobody’s case, in India, to argue for Article 370 along with 35 A (to have remained) as Parliament approved in full majority for the removal of it and even the state governor assented for it. All these years the Congress and other secular parties batted for Article 370 to remain, mainly out of their own appetite to garner minority Muslim votes in the Valley and in the rest of India. It’s they who have made Kashmir a problematic issue and started feeding themselves upon it.
Way back in 1994, Communist-Marxist columnist, Mohit Sen (who is now no more) in his column on ‘Kashmir’s problem’ admitted Pakistan’s role, both in undeclared or not so undeclared war on India, for years together, against India’s unity and sovereignty, has its peak point in Kashmir. He also writes, “It’s not sufficiently realised by very many that the so-called insurgency in the Valley is not aimed so much at detaching it (Kashmir) from the rest of India. That, of course, is one of its targets. But the primary objective is to demonstrate that the Indian national state can be challenged and defeated on its home ground and, even more important, that its very base can be eroded by the increased communalisation of society, first of all in Kashmir itself”.
Look, that piece on Kashmir was written in ’94. Though a Communist (by their very nature Communists are internationalists) , Mohit Sen agreed to and expressed in no uncertain terms the gravity of the issue. From that time onwards to now, the situation in Kashmir aggravated by leaps and bounds with the entry of Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, of late, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda in India that have been making inroads and causing terror attacks. Fidayeen attacks of Al Qaeda, lone wolf aggressions, suicide bombers sponsored from across the border have been causing frequent turmoil and loss of lives. So, the abrogation of Article-370 by the government is a bold initiative to put a check on the menacing macabre activities of Pakistani terror groups.
Now that, the special Constitutional provisions of the J&K having been repealed and the state is made into two Union Territories, the government is concentrating on bringing normal life to the Valley. As we are all aware, Kashmiri’s identity is Kashmiriat. That identity should be protected in J&K, now a UT. In any case, the prime minister has guaranteed to that effect in his latest speech. Like every other state: Tamil Nadu has an identity of its own. Similarly, Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and other states have their own identity. Those are specific forms of Indianness. The specificity of Kashmir is its culture of Kashmiriat. The secularists equated wrongly this (Kashmiriat) – an ethnic identity – with that of Muslim identity. To keep up that identity they used to ask for autonomy for the state through Article 370. As a matter of fact, autonomy is not needed to uphold identity, that has been proved in the rest of India.
Discrimination and Differential Treatment: The special status that was given to J&K, was not granted to any other princely state that merged with India during the time of Independence. They ( the princely states) also had signed the identical Instruments of Accession as was done by Raja Hari Singh in the case of Kashmir. The differential treatment was questioned many times earlier. The answer given was that, ‘that particular state (J&K) was not yet ripe for integration’. The time has become ripe in the Republic of India, after 72 years, with the BJP led NDA. For the ruling dispensation to take action, the geopolitical situation is propitious externally and internally the government has the deep desire to improve the state.
35 A is, something that is said to have surreptitiously entered the Constitution with no Parliament approval. This provision has been an impediment for reservations to Dalits and Adivasis in the state, women have also been robbed off their property rights, if married someone (from the rest of India) other than Kashmiris and none of the Indians have a right to buy land there etc. All these privileges given to J&K, defy ‘Equality of citizens’ guaranteed under the Constitution. One may put forth a point that some such special privileges are given to a handful of other states, why not in J&K? But the fact remains that Kashmir-kind of problems have not arisen from them to repeal.
Pakistan is at a fixation: The mainstream parties in India other than the BJP, are always wary of Pakistan. Right now Pakistan is in a dilemma of what to do. All its attempts to internationalise the matter of Kashmir turned futile. Till the other day, Pakistan was day dreaming like: ‘America is going to step in, UN is going to pass a resolution’. It’s all proved to be illusionary.
The entanglement of J&K issue with the United Nations didn’t deter this government from taking the step for integration. The Indian government has done on the Indian side of Kashmir, so, therefore, the US, Russia, UAE and other nations considered it as an internal matter of the country. Why talking about the present, the first prime minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru himself during his address to a special delegation (on Kashmir) said that Article 370 of the Constitution will disappear by getting eroded and eroded (Samvidhaan ki dhara 370 ghiste ghiste ghis jaegi).
When asked clarification about the ex-prime minister (in those days, it was called so) of Kashmir, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed saying Article-370 of the Constitution to be a permanent provision and Kashmir’s destiny is tied up with it, he ( Pandit Nehru) said his own statement (suggesting erosion Article 370 with the passage of time) was to be taken as the correct one. Hence, the present government corrected a historical mistake. That’s good for the country provided peace prevailed in the Valley in the days and month to come. The government is making all out efforts to ensure that- much needed peace.
I am Indira Garimella living in Hyderabad. I hold a Master’s Degree and M. Phil (in English) with M.Ed. I worked as PGT in English in Government run Residential Schools. I have been associated with Pragna Bharati, Hyderabad. I am one of the office-bearers in the Organisation. I have been a keen observer of National Politics and also write letters and articles to the English and Telugu newspapers from time to time.