Skip to main content

Success of 'political' Hinduism: Kashmiris being depicted as antagonists of rest of India

By Anand K Sahay*
There are times in history when facts call attention to themselves; they assert their independence in all its amplitude and are in no need of the crutch of interpretation. Such a moment is visible in Kashmir now. Merely by being on the table, the facts there taunt the regime’s proclamations.
At such a time it ceases to matter that the Supreme Court should be unseeing and should conduct itself in unhurried, complacent, fashion, mindful only of the technical routine, superficialities, and of the urge to be seen on the same page as the government, as though nothing exceptional occurred on August 5 and imagining that nothing came apart in Kashmir on that fateful day.
Thus, it is of little consequence to the top court that around 250 habeas corpus writs, many of them in respect of children, should lie with the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) High Court, practically unattended. A habeas corpus writ denotes urgency. However, at the current rate, their disposal could easily take a year or more.
By then the world for the people of Kashmir would have altered forever, with Kashmiris becoming indifferent not just to India but to the idea of India, to the foundational values of our republic in which they had placed their trust 70 years ago instead of simply stepping over the line and joining the Islamic Republic next door.
The ugly truth our citizens in Kashmir have been confronted with since the first week of August continues to grow hideously in size. The message they receive, subliminally, is that in their case the very idea of justice is no longer in the landscape of the possible.
This impression is reinforced by the fact that the country’s top court has not just waffled on habeas corpus, it has postponed hearing the constitutional petitions that challenge the Modi government’s jettisoning of the core of Article 370 and creating two Union Territories out of the present J&K state, a decision which takes effect on October 31, to mid-November, in order to be overly-solicitous of the government and give it one more month to frame its reply.
By then the decision to dissolve the state of J&K would, in effect, have become irreversible, making the constitutional challenge mounted against it pointless and irrelevant. This Supreme Court would be remembered in judicial annals for abetting the current goings-on, and overlooking the constitutional view that a state of the Indian Union cannot be dissolved.
An ordinary recitation of the facts should shake the government out of its slumber, but this seems too much to expect in the present case. This is because regime propaganda has prevailed, and that fills the government with hubris.
The message Kashmiris receive, subliminally, is that in their case the very idea of justice is no longer in the landscape of the possible
But the facts won’t go away – namely, that around 4,000 people in Kashmir- professionals, businessmen, and politicians of every shade, and not just the separatist Hurriyat Conference – have been locked up. The valley’s Juvenile Justice Committee has informed the Supreme Court that as many as 144 children were booked under the draconian Public Safety Act.
After weeks of shutdown, schools have been ordered open because the government is keen to advance the new surrealism that life is back to being normal. But children do not attend, partly out of fear of the men in uniform who are now thought to number a few hundred thousand in the valley, and partly because, for Kashmir, quiet disobedience has emerged as the new paradigm of protest.
The matrices of defiance are changing when gun-toting men in uniform populate every street of every town in the valley. At the present juncture, Kashmiris are unlikely to present themselves as objects for target practice.
In the eyes of sympathetic and unsympathetic observers alike, the Kashmir arena is apt to resemble a vast military encampment rather than a platform that instils amongst the populace greater security awareness and raises hopes of economic development in conditions of peace, the big promise made by New Delhi and touted internationally.
Mobile phones and the Internet still do not work 60 days on, and people are unaware of events taking place only metres from their homes. Landline phones have indeed been restored, but not many people have these outdated instruments. Severe restrictions in Kashmir, some of which will draw human rights concerns, are not opposition propaganda, as some in high political executive have maintained. They are frighteningly real.
But in the rest of the country, people are ignorant of the history and the current reality. With high-pitched, violent, religion-based, nationalism being presented by the highest in the land, a whole new vocabulary is purveyed through the pliant sections of the media which reminds us of Orwell’s “1984”.
Thus, Article 370 of the Constitution, which has been scrapped for all practical purposes, has been falsely converted into a “temporary” provision in the public perception (and this is being canvassed abroad) by those at the highest levels of government, and is thus presented as a fit case for abrogation. 
Two judgments of the Supreme Court – the first by a constitution bench in 1968, and the second by a two-judge bench in 2016 – which have emphatically pointed out the opposite, are being suppressed. The apex court too is silent on this. 
A whole new vocabulary is purveyed through the pliant sections of the media which reminds us of Orwell’s 1984
In order to kowtow to the political bosses, the media refuses to make a critical analysis because the people of Kashmir, doubtless on account of their religion (which is bad-mouthed by adherents of today’s dominant ideology), are practically been seen as “the enemies of the people” of India, and are therefore deserving of no consideration, let alone the protections available to all as a matter of right in a democracy.
A little-known fact is that the official doublespeak, dutifully reproduced especially in the television media, was being beamed to the people in the Valley day in and day out, right through the communications clampdown. In Kashmir, the people saw themselves being demonised everyday by high-pitched television anchors who assumed the mantle of religious warriors, not journalists discharging their professional responsibility with scrupulousness.
It seemed as if shades of the normative ethos of the Third Reich – which targeted people of a particular faith – and the Russian gulag, when Big Brother decided that being locked up, beaten, and denied basic rights, was best for the people, had been resurrected.
A perceptive Kashmiri fruit-grower said to this writer recently, “Over the years, the Valley has protested many actions of the government in New Delhi. But it is for the first time that the people of Kashmir have been depicted as antagonists of the people of the rest of the country. The story has been converted into people against people.”
In 1947, the dominant Hindu political elements in J&K did not urge Maharaja Hari Singh to merge his kingdom with India. Instead, they acquiesced in his ambition to try and remain independent. When that gambit failed after the attack by Pakistani raiders, monarchy was ended, and political power passed to the people via Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference, the Hindutva outfits violently agitated for Kashmir to be dissolved into India.
Seventy years on, that communal goal has been realised, riding roughshod over the Constitution. The so-called rationale of security and economic development being trotted out is for the birds. Political Hinduism has notched its most significant victory in independent India, surpassing the Ayodhya demolition.
---
*Senior journalist based in Delhi. A version of this article was first published in the Asian Age

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Pradeep Bhattacharya, who spent his life for the cause of working masses, rational thinking

By YS Gill*  At 11:30 pm on May 3, 2021, I lost my best friend and comrade Pradeep Bhattacharya. He spent his life dedicated to the cause of the working masses and rational thinking. A person of thorough scientific outlook and a well-read student of Marxian thought, he was a walking encyclopedia and could speak on a wide variety of topics from art and culture to science, philosophy, history and politics.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”