India is on a steady transition of saffronisation after consecutively two massive victories of BJP in 2014 and even with a stronger mandate in 2019, this has invigorated their passion to take a swift move towards Kashmir.
Working towards that direction, on the 5th of this month, Modi led BJP govt unilaterally changed the fate of article 370, which provided a sense of autonomy to the region of Jammu and Kashmir. The tactical move of Modi’s government through the abrogation of Article 370 has forever shifted India’s narrative from being a secular diversified nation to a unitary nation-state.
By scrapping the special autonomy of J&K, BJP has also fulfilled the dream of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, the founder of Bharatiya Jan Sangh and BJP’s political predecessor.
Dr. Mookerjee’s infamous Slogan,’Ek desh mein do vidhaan, do nishaan, do pradhaan nahin chalega (In one country, there can’t be two law codes, two prime ministers and two national symbols)’ laid the basis for Hindu nationalists pet political project of establishing a culturally homogenous Hindu nation.
To the surprise of Hindu nationalists, the existence of article 370 in the valley stood strong in contradiction with Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s claims of an exclusive homeland for Muslims. By giving in to the right-wing religious chauvinists, India’s primary identity of a secular republic is perpetually wrecked.
The Hindu right has presided over to achieve two dangerous self-goals: Firstly, By rejecting the existence of Kashmir, sole muslin majority state of India, the political right has resurrected the numb idea of communal resettlement, stroked by Jinnah in the pre-partition period.
Secondly, Narendra Modi has torn apart the notion of living with heterogeneous identities in a civic polity that India had lived through successfully until recently.
BJP, as well as Its Ideological torchbearer, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)’s hatred against Jawaharlal Nehru, unravel Hindutva’s terrifying vision for India. Since Nehru firmly believed in taking the aspirations of Kashmiris into account. In fact, he had supported Sheikh Abdullah’s National conference over Muslim conference. The later was a supporter of All India Muslim League.
Historian Alastair Lamb in his book Kashmir, A disputed Legacy (1846-1990) noted, Nehru asked Viceroy Mountbatten to release Sheikh Abdullah from prison because Sheikh was clearly not in favor of joining Pakistan’.
Therefore, creating a master narrative against Pandit Nehru will hold a mirror to the Hindutva Brigade, whose exclusivist civilizational rhetoric is nothing but regressive ideals of communalism and majoritarianism.
The RSS-BJP must not forget, Nehru in a letter on 29th April 1947 wrote to Indian Ambassador in China, K.P.S. Menon, ‘ He was in no doubt that eventually, India would have to become a single country, and it could well be that partition was but a stepping stone on the path towards that goal’.
Although, the Hindutva hyper nationalists critical of Nehru’s dealing of Kashmir have seen Nehruvian diverse vision of nationalism as a major hurdle against their self-serving assumptions of victimhood.
Therefore, Ruling BJP’s abusing the political authority through executive orders will not only disrupt democratic governance but weaken the federal arrangements.
These attacks on the constitution will leave the liberal spaces of democracy vulnerable. Modi-Shah’s abrupt unilateral move to nullify the status of the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir may thrill Hindu right in the short term but long term repercussions stand out to be more worrying.
Modi’s tendency of individualization of power, will, in the long run, replace the fair constitutional process with the informal decrees of Hindu nationalists. Hence, the Govt’s hasty move to abolish the autonomy of Kashmir could be illegitimate and autocratic but it was the fulfilling of age-old Hindutva agenda to subvert the autonomy of Kashmir.
Kashmiris right to chart their own future has been permanently shattered. They are historically marginalized and oppressed from 1589Ad, since then they struggle through the eras.
The crude obsession of Hindu radicals to push the aspirations of Kashmiris to the background and bring Hindutva nationalism to the fore passed without any resistance. Thanks to the complete lockdown of the valley.
Post abolition of the special power status, Kashmiris socio-political agency has been diminished effectively. Their distinct cultural, social identities are forcefully assimilated with India. Amidst this, the alienation will widen between state and Kashmiris. The valley would inevitably go through a demographic change. With these changes, the divergent linguistic, social, cultural and economic rights will cease to exist. Kashmiris right to chart their own future has been permanently shattered. They are historically marginalized and oppressed from 1589Ad, since then they struggle through the eras.
Modi’s Govt. has not only bullied and betrayed the millions of Kashmiris but also exhibited scant regard to its own constitutional ethos and UN resolutions, made a complete mockery of the secular-plural values enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
The cheerleaders of Akhand Bharat might rejoice the removal of Article 370 for imposing Hindutva icon, Savarkar’s idea of Indian nationalism, “Hindustan, Hindi, Hindudom” but showing absolute disregard to the ‘complementary socio-cultural identities’ may lead to catastrophic consequences. Abolition of special status, once and for all has changed the narrative from Nehru’s Kashmiris First to Modi’s Hindutva first.
Originally published on www.globalvillagespace.com