not with goli.’ With words, not with bullets. That’s how New Delhi would deal
with the people of Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi solemnly declared from
the Red Fort on August 15, 2017.
days back, New Delhi’s Governor in Kashmir had assured Kashmiri leaders that
the sudden military bump-up, instructions to tens of thousands of Amarnath
pilgrims to leave Kashmir at once and go back to their distant homes, and the
shut-down of phone and internet services in the Valley did not amount to signs
that anything major was to happen.
the morning of Monday Aug 5, an important article of the Constitution was
excised without discussion. Loud cheers greeted the deed, which formally and
surgically removes the last vestiges of Kashmiri autonomy.
non-BJP parties applauded the not very noble step. A Shiv Sena MP expressed
confidence that a future Akhand Bharat was on the horizon which, to begin with,
would absorb the portion of Kashmir that Pakistan occupies and the restive
Pakistani province of Balochistan.
that this constitutional change is no big deal, only an acknowledgment of
long-existing reality. But there is celebration and pride. ‘India’s integration
is finally complete,’ it will be said, ‘How happy the soul of Sardar Patel must
be!’ (No, it won’t. But that is another discussion.)
Tibet Autonomous Region is swiftly converted, following a quick short speech in
the People’s Assembly in Beijing, into the Proud Chinese Province of Tibet, or
the Proud Chinese Territory of Tibet, there would surely be celebrations in
many parts of China.
long-ago days when Indians were demanding freedom from the British, some of the
latter, led by a certain Winston Churchill, would reply: ‘You want independence
only to crush the weak and the small among you.’
‘AND I WAS
RIGHT,’ Churchill may be heard roaring somewhere.
long-ago days, champions of a Hindu nationalist ideology opposed to efforts for
Hindu-Muslim partnership used to say, ‘See how Hitler deals with a difficult
minority!’ In more recent years, such champions have been saying, ‘See how
Israel deals with a difficult minority-dominated area.’
imitation of the Israeli example, it is possible that Kashmir’s absorption will
be followed by the settlement of Indians from other areas in and near the
Kashmir Valley, especially in the Jammu region, perhaps with the goal of
turning the Valley’s majority Muslims into a minority in the single Union
Territory of Jammu & Kashmir that has been launched in tandem with the
abrogation of Article 370.
the law of force, and there is the force of justice. The former acts swiftly,
the latter takes time.
great deal of time, as Indians knew when they were fighting for freedom, as the
Dalai Lama and his Tibetans know as they struggle to retain a modicum of
autonomy, and as the Palestinians know as they strive to retain self-respect
even as more and more of their lands are taken over by a steam-rolling power.
only a few examples. Millions in the world have spent entire lives gulping
humiliations. Eras where nations and societies permit weaker sections to
dissent are in fact relatively new in the world’s story.
Some of us
innocently thought that in India such an era would last forever. Holding that
belief, we walked proudly in the world, holding aloft banners of ‘Democracy’
and ‘Human Rights’. Now we will fold up the streamers and lower our heads.
India applauds the absorption of Kashmir. Marchers holding banners of
‘Resolve!’ and ‘National Greatness!’ will be welcomed with drumbeats. Modi’s
favourable numbers will rise.
majority is not always right. For centuries, the practice of untouchability in
India and of slavery in the US received fervent majority support. The people of
imperial Britain voted again and again for governments that promised tougher
action against rebelling colonies.
India, if strict laws did not exist, discrimination against women and Dalits
would receive open majority support even today in many a village, taluka or
No doubt terror
attacks by Hamas injured the cause of Palestine’s liberation. Terror attacks by
Kashmiri extremists in the name of azadi alienated many Indians who might
otherwise have supported a large degree of Kashmiri autonomy.
that hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits fled or were forced to flee the
Valley was a huge gift to India’s champions of absorption.
serious flaws do not take away forever a human being’s right to govern herself
or himself. The same is true for the right of an area’s people to offer consent
to rulers or withhold it. They are human beings, not robots.
abrogation of Article 370 confirms the charge of interest in territory and
unconcern for people. It also signals the abandonment of any policy of winning
Kashmiri hearts and minds.
words, Union Territory, say it all. But the law of karma has not yet been
abrogated. In the end, the arc of history is not kind to those who treat with
contempt the dignity of a dissenting people.
Source: The Citizen