• SumoMe

What happens to a child governed by special rules as opposed to the ones who are abiding by the common rule for meant for all? The child in question becomes pampered, spoilt and his demands become unreasonable. That is what has happened to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This spoilt child of the Indian Constitution and India itself needs to behave, and by the above statement I mean the politicians who are holding the political reigns of the state.

Jammu and Kashmir has been given special exception for over sixty years and this has created a unique position for the state, both physically (in India), and mentally (among the people of the state). Till today I hear from my father, who works sporadically in the state, that the people of the valley address themselves as ‘Kashmiris’ while they refer to the rest of India as ‘Hindustan’. These sentiments are opposed in Jammu where they consider themselves as ‘Indians’. Isn’t it a shocking feeling? The blessed people from the valley think of us as people who are not part of their geography. Can a Maharashtrian feel the same about a Bengali? Will a person speaking Kannada disown a person speaking Punjabi as not being from the same country due to language barriers and geographical distances? I believe with complete conviction that it is not possible.

To begin, Article 370 (An article which gives a special position to the state of Jammu and Kashmir with Constitutional authority) has a heading which clearly states that it is a temporary provision. What is the span of the word ‘temporary’? The successive governments of India, with very sceptical political standards, have blotched this part of the governance with their dubious definition of the word temporary. What was supposed to be a fleeting provision has become somewhat of a permanent rider in the Constitution. Isn’t it the same with the proviso of reservation? Started as a provisional method of upliftment of the backward through education, it has comfortably made a permanent place in our scheme of things. It seems the politicians in their heydays please everyone, with momentary success, and later it seems that it backfires, like in these two cases.

Article 370 gives legislative authority to the state government of Jammu Kashmir in terms of the State List. The Union Government cannot make any laws regarding the state from the Union and Concurrent List without the consultation of the State Government, and which are declared by the President of India, as specified in the Instrument of Accession. Other matters which are not specified in the Lists can only be legislated if the President so orders. With such authority given for over sixty years, will not a state claim for ‘azadi’ from the country it has acceded to?

It is not the people who have been empowered by this article. It is the politicians who are getting themselves richer with power and authority with each passing day. It becomes wholly problematic because the common people, hapless as they are by the constant violence and chaos, do not really understand the political motivations which are presently running as the undercurrents of this Article.

I agree that Kashmir is a delicate matter in relation to the presence of Pakistan, but then again for over fifty years we have battled for it and against a formidable opposition. This gives us moral authority to demand the allegiance of the people of Kashmir. Do they really want a future in Pakistan where governmental lapses and pro-Taliban or pro militant activities are as natural as the process of breathing, eating and sleeping? Even if independence is granted, do you think the state of Pakistan is going to respect the sovereignty of a small state sandwiched between two nuclear powers. Don’t the politicians understand that it might lead to our fourth full scale war with Pakistan, because even if New Delhi remains focused to not get involved, these very politicians at that moment of helplessness will call on the Indian Army to help them.

Where did the call for independence go when the state was rocked by a devastating earthquake? Didn’t the politicians and then people accept the central fundings then, or the donation which came in millions from across the country? It is hypocrisy which is ruling the state. At times of need, the state is India’s beneficiary but when there is a moment of sudden issues, trifling as they may be, the politicians raise the agenda of independence with equal authority.

I ask where these politicians get the gumption from to address a rally in broad day light and speak with spirited conviction to the people asking them to rally around the movement of independence. Isn’t this a mark of sedition against the country? Why can’t our politicians in the New Delhi raise their ire against such deliberate and communalist speeches? Is it not right for the police to arrest such politicians? How can these politicians go free after blatant violation of our Fundamental Rights?
Article 370 provided a sense of security to the state of Jammu and Kashmir when they acceded to the country. It was needed to make them feel inclusive to the fabric of the country, giving them precious time to brand themselves in the democratic colours of India. Yet it seems that the provisions of this article have been taken quite seriously in term of its longevity. The article wanted to provide security before complete assimilation of the state into India, but what it has delivered out of political compulsion is the alienation of the people and had helped the politicians of the state to sprout wings of illegitimate flights towards chaos and unlawful governance.

Sayan Das

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