Skip to main content

Indians 'need to place themselves' in position of Kashmiris to understand their travails

Farooq Abdullah
By Sandeep Pandey*
When the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Farooq Abdullah was absent in Parliament on the day when the state’s fate was being decided on August 5, 2019, Home Minister Amit Shah informed Parliament that he had chosen on his own will not to come to the Parliament. He even went to the extent of saying that he can’t bring Farooq Abdullah to the Parliament on gun point.
Farooq Abdullah had claimed that he was under house arrest. When Rajya Sabha member Vaiko, who wanted to invite Farooq Abdullah to a programme in Tamil Nadu, moved a habeas corpus petition seeking production of Farooq Abdullah before the court to set him free, the government imposed Public Safety Act on the 81 years old politician on 16 September finally formally detaining him.
This implies that Farooq Abdullah was under illegal detention for over a month and the Home Minister lied to Parliament. Two other former chief ministers of state Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are also under similar house arrest.
Amit Shah has also claimed that three families have looted J&K implying that the act of abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A was in effect freeing the people from the clutches of these families. If what the government claims about situation being in J&K being normal and everybody there being happy with its decision, such behaviour of the government only betrays its insecurity about its inability to handle the situation once the restrictions are lifted.
Farooq Abdullah happens to be the son of Sheikh Abdullah, easily the most popular mass leader of J&K till date. Even though Sheikh Abdullah was fighting against the Maharaja of J&K to free the people from his autocratic rule and was sentenced for imprisonment by the Maharaja, when the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession with Governor General Lord Mountbatten he informed the Governor General that he intended to set up an interim government and sought Sheikh Abdullah’s help in assisting his Prime Minister in the emergency situation.
Lord Mountbatten also expressed satisfaction that the Maharaja had invited Sheikh Abdullah to be part of the interim government. Sheikh Abdullah was appointed as the head of emergency administration with the consent of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and the Maharaja and his Prime Minister left for Jammu virtually leaving it to Sheikh Abdullah to defend Srinagar.
The series of events highlights the important role of Sheikh Abdullah in accession of J&K to India. Sheikh Abdullah having received his education in different parts of India, was inspired by the progressive values of freedom struggle and played an important role in aligning J&K with the leaders of Indian freedom struggle rather than with Pakistan. Mohammad Ali Jinnah had laid a claim on J&K because of its majority Muslim population.
By subjecting Farooq Abdullah to humiliation the historical role played by Sheikh Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru is bringing J&K to India’s fold is being sought to be negated by the Bhartiya Janata Party government at the centre. This humiliation of people of J&K can never be understood unless the people of India who support the Narendra Modi government’s decision on J&K place themselves in the position of people of J&K.

Imaginary scenario

Let us imagine that in a meeting of the Security Council of United Nations, United States and England decide that the Government of India is unable to administer the country on the count of having lost control over law and order or the economy going bankrupt and an administrator needed to be sent to govern it.
An administrator arrives from England to India purportedly to help the Indian government administer the country. Along with him also arrives UN Peacekeeping force. Security personnel belonging to different nationalities comprise this force. As they are not familiar with the citizens of India they enforce a regime where they require every citizen to produce an identity card to identify themselves when out in open.
Citizens of India are subjected to routine questioning and examination. The security forces also enter houses for search. At times there are human rights violations by the security forces. When the local population resists pellet guns are used on it in which sometimes even children caught in the crossfire lose their eyes.
Some idealistic youth inspired by historical characters of Bhagat Singh or Chandrashekhar Azad, when try to counter the forces through militant means, are declared as terrorists. They are arrested and tried or sometimes even summarily executed which are described as encounter deaths. The elected government feels helpless in the presence of an outside administrator and the security forces.
By subjecting Farooq Abdullah to humiliation, historical role played by Sheikh Abdullah and Nehru in bringing J&K to India’s fold is being negated
When the revolt crosses a threshold limit, the foreign administrator recommends to the Security Council that Government of India had lost all control over the country and needed to be dismissed. Although Russia and China could have vetoed this decision but they keep quiet as they’re more sympathetic to Pakistani interests. The administrator’s status is now enhanced to Governor General. He promises early elections but keeps postponing them on one pretext or the other.
Suddenly, one day the quantum of UN force is increased, all communication network within the country and with outside world are disrupted, all institutions shut down, all foreign tourists advised to return to their countries and important leaders of all political parties, including Narendra Modi and Sonia Gandhi, are placed under house arrest.
A resolution is passed in the British parliament that India’s independent status as a country is being revoked and henceforth it would be treated as a British colony. For the record consent of the Governor General is taken as the representative of the people of India. The Queen of England becomes its sovereign.
There are some murmurs from around the world but because of the of the management of media all dissenting voices emanating from within India or from outside are muffled. Some Indian citizens are produced on national and international media who support the unilateral decision arguing that British rule was far superior to the Independent Indian government’s rule which essentially allowed the politicians in power to loot the country. All local politicians are painted as villains and British rule is projected as something in the interest of the common people of this country.
If any citizen of India feels indignation with this above described imaginary scenario then s(he) should feel empathy for the people of J&K.
---
*Magsaysay award winning social and political activist. Contact: ashaashram@yahoo.com

Comments

Anonymous said…
Dear Mr. Pandey
Your effort at inspiring empathy for the average Kashmiri is to be appreciated. However, while attempting this, you defeated your own purpose by the imaginary scene you describe... The union government is not made up of aliens from another country. Kashmir is not a sovereign nation in its own right. Even if you try to portray Kashmir as a colonial outpost of Delhi, that narrative fails to resonate (nor inspire empathy) among the vast majority of Indians (whose political support the union government is clearly enjoying) because they view present day Kashmir as a war zone, and not as a place for political niceties.

Maybe, you may need to find empathy towards your fellow countrymen within yourself first. That may allow you to find the creativity needed to inspire them towards seeing things from your vantage point. I am sure the ordinary Kashmiri is going to need a lot of that kind of creativity from a lot of well meaning Indians in the coming days.
Thanks

TRENDING

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.