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Opinion
Game plan of BJP-RSS for Kashmir
By Ahmad Zaboor
The demands of autonomy have been characterised as a threat to India's unity and the converse of it which resulted in a concentration of power at New Delhi as a nationalistic move. The political autonomy is becoming a threat to the absolute authority of the increasingly militarised state.



The situation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir continues to be edgy and explosive. It is in this midst that the autonomy given to the State under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and the various privileges that engender from it is once again in the news. The petition challenging 35A, which bestows certain rights to the residents of the State while prohibiting outsiders to purchase immovable property in the State, is before the Supreme Court. The outcome of the decision is bound to affect the already volatile situation in the State. But these privileges are not specific to the State. There are restrictions on the purchase of land in areas inhabited by Scheduled Tribes.

Before proceeding further, it needs to be mentioned here that there is a considerable gap in the critical academic research focusing on why the Sangh Parivar is opposed to the asymmetrical federation as in the case of Jammu and Kashmir. Autonomy to the State is a special case of asymmetrical federation within the framework of the Indian Constitution which was not given fair trial therefore becoming a cause for the alienation of the Kashmir people. The Indian elite, particularly the establishment of the time, was prepared to countenance various forms of malfeasance in Kashmir because of the State's symbolic and strategic significance. The demands of autonomy have been characterised as a threat to India's unity and the converse of it which resulted in a concentration of power at New Delhi as a nationalistic move. The political autonomy is becoming a threat to the absolute authority of the increasingly militarised state.

RSS' Game Plan for Kashmir

In 1931 the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir became the epicentre of confrontational politics as Sheikh Abdullah started the anti-Maharaja uprising which focused on the demand of responsible government and the question of Muslim under representation in various institu-tions of the State. Muslims, despite being in majority, were reeling under multiple depri-vations and when Mahatma Gandhi came to know the sorry state of affairs of Kashmir and the role of Maharaja, he remarked that if the 'Hindu king could not satisfy and allay the discontent of the Muslims, he had no moral right to rule but should abdicate forthwith and retire to kasha'. V.D. Savarkar, on December 13, 1937, lampooned Gandhi for daring to ask Hari Singh to abdicate. He took the line that minority Hindus in Kashmir were part of the national majority with whom they were not cut off. The Hindu Right-wing forces have been obsessed with the land rather than the people. They consider Kashmir a territory, re-conquered from Muslims to be held by force.

On November 2, 2014, the RSS mouthpiece Organiser republished, for obviously the political mileage of the BJP, an editorial it had published on November 6, 1947. This piece revealed the bare bones of the game plan the RSS has at the back of its mind for Kashmir. The curious thing to underscore is that the editorial mentioned everything except the "people of Kashmir" even if the people mentioned are of the Dogra stock. The inclusion of Kashmir, the editorial believed, 'will entail unflinching loyalty of the Dogra which is not only intelligent but equally efficient in military tactics'. The RSS had a plan in its kitty for the vast unoccupied grassland and meadows. It provides vast expanse for the population and, if industrialised, it can absorb a huge population from India. It would help to change the equation of demography. It had been the bastion of Hindu culture and learning. At every spot lies a place of worship. The accession has opened the window of opportunity to resurrect all that culture while simultaneously erasing all that is cherished by people.

Compulsive obsession with land is so intense, that none of the chief executives of the Indian state has emerged out of this geopolitical rhetoric. It is therefore not surprising that whenever there is an uprising in Kashmir, every Prime Minister resorts to the narrative of geography in providing a political prescription. The Sangh Parivar has antidote not only for the ballooning population of Muslims but also for the land, for they have worked out the niceties of the plan as the past can be resurrected and population can be replaced. This might explain even partially why killings, brutal massacres, state-sponsored physical terminations do not cause even a murmur in the conscience of the vast majority of the Indian people, because the Sangh Parivar has the knack to polarise the people on various grounds.

For the RSS-BJP combine, Hindus alone personify the nation; and the nationhood as defined by them is under severe strain. Therefore, the Kashmir Valley must be forcefully main-tained as part of India even though its people there overwhelmingly will otherwise have no say in the system and the BJP refuses to accommodate them as equals.

Maladministration in Kashmir is not due to Article 370

The Union Cabinet, in its meeting on July 4, 2000, rejected the autonomy resolution of the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir. Delineating the rationale for it, L.K. Advani writes in his autobiography "My Country My People" 'granting pre-1953 constitutional status to the state as demanded by the National Conference, would reverse the natural process of harmonising the aspirations of the people with India'. The grammar of truth is that the hollowing of the constitutional integrity of Article 370, overtly and covertly, has broken not only constitutional propriety and integration, but in its process it has sapped the emotional integration of the people of Kashmir with the rest of India. In our times it is dicey to hold down by force any sizeable population permanently. In the semantics of functional politics, the term national integration means and ought to mean 'cohesion and not fusion, unity and not uniformity, reconciliation not a merger, accommodation not annihilation'. The Indian Government gave precedence to the latter rather than the former perspectives while dealing with Kashmir. This political behaviour is intrinsic to the political parties across the board but abhorrent to the Kashmiri people. The essential question is: when the Indian state has failed to harmonise the aspirations of the Kashmiri people under autonomy, how can it happen without it?

For the RSS, Article 370 has provided an effective protective cover on the misdeeds of the anti-national elements, like corruption, nepotism, malad-ministration. Political forces that demand autonomy and consider it as an antidote to the Kashmiri problem are treated as anti-nationals when viewed through the rose-coloured spectacles of the RSS. While those who demand its abolition are considered as nationalist, reflecting the shallow construction of the narrative on nationalism within India by the Sangh Parivar. By that logic corruption should have been a localised pheno-menon limited to Kashmir, and absent throughout India as the rest of the States do function without any protective cover of special status. The fact is that corruption, maladmini-stration has become intrinsic to the governance of the Indian state for a long time. Corruption has been used to glue the fragmented societies, as spoils are shared across the board creating a corroborate class which helps to turn the democracy upside-down.

The RSS believes that in the name of preserving the Kashmiri culture, Kashmiri people are fighting the Indian state through autonomy and self-rule. This they treat scandalous as the State is bordering enemy number one, that is, Pakistan. The RSS is of the view that Muslims are multiplying in strategic areas of our country, say, Kashmir which constitutes a threat to India. Wouldn't same fussy logic be used by Pakistan to usurp the State as the majority of people are Muslims? According to K.S. Sudarshan, a major RSS ideologue, all those who talk of building India on the basis of composite culture are "sons of Macaulay". They must comprehend that no culture can be composite. In fact, India can only be a Hindu Rashtra based on the single stream of Hindu culture. Hindu society had lived since time immemorial and the same people had built the life-values, ideals and culture of the country. The underpinnings of composite culture have been eroded with saffronisation of textbooks by borrowing heavily from a single religion.

The migration of Muslims from Bangladesh and migration of Hindus from Kashmir, love-Jihad are considered to be part of the Muslim scheme of Islamisation of India. The RSS stands for a militant and muscular brand of Hinduism aiming at the creation of a nation for the Hindus and by the Hindus. The RSS believes Muslims in India are threats to the formation of a Hindu nation along with Communists and Christians, all foreign exports. M.S Golwalkar's knowledge was so shallow that he failed to recognise or overlooked the fact that atheistic traditions like Charvaka and Lokyuta schools were indigenous in origin and held water for a considerable period of time. At the heart of Sangh's combined project has been the goal of creating a political majority with distinctive cultural dimension. The cohesion RSS believes, should be based on the rejection of cultural pluralism.

For the BJP, Indian secularism, as practised, is pseudo-secularism-catering to the demands of Muslims only despite the fact Muslims face multiple deprivations and have been at the bottom of development, as pointed out by the Sachar Committee. It has sought to eliminate the safeguards of the minority groups if not to eliminate minorities. It frequently invokes nationalism to legitimise its actions, rendering other minorities invisible. Therefore it should not be surprising as Minority Affairs Minister of BJP Najma Heptullah, while occupying the office, said that "Muslims are so large in number to be called the minority in India".

(The author, hailing from Anantnag in J&K, is a Lecturer in Political Science.)

—(Courtesy: Mainstream)


News Updated at : Thursday, September 7, 2017
 
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