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Beyond Article 370

Article 370 had to go long ago. Most of the special statuses given to various states at the time of India’s Independence became redundant as time passed. They should have, at least. If they persisted for decades, it means they were not effective and not serving their purpose. So better alternatives were required.

Kashmir was a mistake right from the beginning. Just because the king there happened to be a Hindu, the state became a part of India. Of course, Nehru had a role in that too. It was not, however, “rank hypocrisy” that prompted Nehru to accede Kashmir to India, as suggested by eminent columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar in today’s [11 Aug 2019] Times of India [in his column pertinently titled Next Step: A West Bank in Kashmir?]. Nehru was essentially romantic, and the roots of his romanticism lay in the miscegenated culture of Kashmir. Who but a romantic would describe a place as “supremely beautiful woman whose beauty is almost impersonal and above desire”? Nehru loved Kashmir’s “feminine beauty of river and valley and lake and graceful trees.” Who can blame such a romantic for longing to keep Kashmir with his country?

Aiyar’s argument is that Kashmir didn’t really belong to a communally divided India. It was better to let it go to Pakistan where the Muslims really belonged at that time. When thousands of Hindus and Muslims had killed each other already, when India had witnessed “the greatest migration in history” [the title of a chapter in the classical Freedom at Midnight], there was no logic in assuming that the Nehruvian version of secularism would eventually embrace the Muslims of Kashmir. India never, never possessed even a fraction of Nehru’s romanticism. India was, if anything, downright pragmatic; it was cutthroat pragmatism too.

The Congress should have abolished article 370 long ago and done a lot of things to solve the problems in Kashmir. But the Congress lacked the imagination to do anything more than appease sections of people with sops of various kinds. The majority community of the country hit back with its quintessential pragmatism by electing as their leader a man who has the butcher’s heart and a surgeon’s pretences. So article 370 went. Many other things will follow. Kashmir won’t ever be Nehru’s “supremely beautiful woman”.

As Aiyar fears it may become India’s West Bank. The typical BJP leaders are already gloating about the possibility of “marrying” [raping?] the fair-skinned women of Kashmir. The slightly less typical ones are looking forward to owning the soil of Kashmir. No one talks about the people of Kashmir.

Has Mr Modi done a great service to the people of Kashmir as he claimed in a rhetorical speech that followed the abrogation of the article 370? Given that man’s credentials, it is impossible to believe that. He is more likely to create India’s own West Bank in Kashmir. India can look forward to a lot of violence and massacre in the near future.

Mohandas Gandhi’s mystic inclusiveness and Nehru’s poetic romanticism were very minor errors in politics in comparison with mass murders.

PS. Written for Indispire Edition 286: #article370


  1. Loved the phrase 'butcher's heart and surgeon's pretences'... :)

    1. I'm a romantic too but living in harder times than Nehru!

  2. Your thoughts are agreeable. Nobody is talking about the people and what they have gone as well as going through. It's more a politically expedient move because a UT is ultimately controlled by the Lieutenant Governor who is nothing more than the Union Govt.'s man in the region. That's why the statehood of J&K has been snatched. Now the Centre will rule it by the proxy of the LG.

    1. Let there be peace and prosperity in Kashmir. But is that what BJP really wants?

  3. I don't know about who made an error, but the thing is we have seen Kashmir since 1990...stone pelting, killings and terrorist attacks. The special privileges that were given to it have not been judiciously used. So, it was a good thing in that sense that 370 was done with.

    What will be the repercussions? If Kashmir will become the next West Bank - it remains to be seen? As you said, when Nehru took the decision to merging Kashmir with India, he didn't know what he was taking on, the same way Modi's decision to remove 370 was also taken in good faith, as a means to remove the status quo in the state for the last 30 years.

    Let's be positive and hope for the best. Nobody is thinking about the people of Kashmir - I guess you may be wrong here. People have been thinking about them for the last 30 years, and it didn't do them any good. Let's take the limelight off them and see.

    We do the same thing in parenting. When a child starts putting forward unreasonable demands, the parents do a time out or ignore the child for a while. Maybe it's time we did that with Kashmir too. Give it less importance and engage our minds to other places too.

    1. I would love to share your optimism. But I'm not naive.

      We know what Modi-Shah think of Muslims. We know too much to be naively optimistic.

  4. Replies
    1. I hope I'll be disproved by good tidings from Kashmir. But the state is still under curfew and leaders under house arrest.

  5. I would like to my optimism alive that people wil be able to lead better life above stone pelting and terrorist attacks.

    1. All sane people would like to share your optimism. The ground reality doesn't endorse it, however.

  6. I don't know what is right- Kashmir shouldn't have come to india in the first place or Nehru stopping the indian army at LOC to leave POK to Pakistan!! It's too easy to criticise someone's decision and harder to live with it. Time will tell us who made the right decision.

    1. Maybe its me but I didnt understand whose side you are on.Your first paragraph says 370 had to go and later on you say that it wasnt right. I lived in Kashmir in 2015 when my daughter was living there. It was the best time of my life.Simple peple simple lives simple needs.All the violence is organised politics. I have no news of a friend there since August 5th.I fear for his life :( #wordsmithkaurreads #MyFriendAlexa #BlogChatter

  7. Its a hard post and its even harder to comment on it. i don''t know about anything inside i just hope that people their will get everything what every indian is getting.

    even in a war their are some consequences and this time consequences over this hopefully works for its betterment and their people.


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