In no Indian elections to date, including those held in the State of Jammu & Kashmir, has ‘India sans Kashmir’ or ‘Kashmir sans India’ or ‘Kashmir for Pakistan’ been an election issue. Ever. An analysis, for Different Truths.
Here is how it stands. A set of people wants ‘Azaadi from India for Kashmir’. Another set wants ‘Azaadi for Kashmir to join Pakistan’. The second set includes separatists and Pakistan. The first set includes JNU scholar Shehla Rashid and others of her ilk in what Arnab Goswami calls ‘Tukde-Tukde Gang’. How about a third set: Indians who want ‘India’s Azaadi from Kashmir’?
The third set exists as do the first and second. The great unwashed in Kashmir and ‘mainland India’, for want of a better term, don’t fall in any of these sets. They’re pawns waiting to see who checkmates who and who gets to win. Terrorists and militants, they are distributed in the first two sets with the Islamists among them looking for a caliphate to emerge out of the chaos.
The Union of India – the Indian State – is the fourth entity, the most powerful of the whole lot. It’s got the mandate and the machinery, and it’s got the Constitution to digest criticism and attacks of any sort from anyone. The strength of the fourth is that it stands as a solid block and nobody since Partition has been able to develop cracks in the mould. It’s cast in a die that will test time!
In no Indian elections to date, including those held in the State of Jammu & Kashmir, has ‘India sans Kashmir’ or ‘Kashmir sans India’ or ‘Kashmir for Pakistan’ been an election issue. Ever. That’s the strength of the fourth. And the weakness of the first, second and third. The three sets do not have locus standi as long as they do not make ‘Kashmir’ an election issue.
Only democracy, electoral democracy at that, can deliver to them the sort of Kashmir they want – an ‘independent Kashmir; a Kashmir with Pakistan or an ‘India free of Kashmir’. Till then the chaos in Kashmir will ensure that Kashmir remains an integral part of the Union of India. Neither of the first two sets has learned from India’s freedom struggle.
Which of the three sets has the guts to make Kashmir’s status – in any of the avatars they want it to be – an election issue? The set of separatists wanting Kashmir to join Pakistan lacks confidence that the vote will go their way. Otherwise Geelani & Co. would have joined the electoral process, got together to make a political party, and made ‘Kashmir with Pakistan’ an election issue, told people to vote for it and internationalized Kashmir.
The first set seeking ‘full and complete independence for Kashmir’ could have done the same and made ‘Azaadi for Kashmir’ an election issue, a slogan that the entire world would have heard over all the din. But these are lazy people. They embraced victimhood. They don’t get it that if ‘Azaadi for Kashmir’ becomes an election issue and people vote ’yes’ for azaadi, it would be nothing short of a referendum!
The reason why neither India nor Pakistan wants a referendum is partly because the vote may go for the set which wants ‘Azaadi for Kashmir!’ That said, the PDP might not mind joining Pakistan while the National Conference will. What about Indians wanting “India’s azaadi from Kashmir”? They cannot ever get their wish because mainland parties cannot make that an election issue. It will be political hara-kiri. Imagine the Congress or the BJP doing that!
Big chunks of people in many parts of India may vote for ‘Azaadi from Kashmir’ and all communists if they think like Arundhati Roy and CPM leader Suneet Chopra also might. But then, that’s the charge against them: Balkanization of India, the ‘Tukde Tukde Gang!’ They would have to either hide themselves in their caves or migrate to an ‘independent Kashmir’.
Will Arundhati Roy prefer to live in an ‘Azad Kashmir’, give up her Indian citizenship? Hardly likely. For, without being in India, how will she be able to help carve an ‘Azad Adivasiland’ out of central India or fan the many rebellions in northeast India? The Trojan-Horse would be lost to the azaadi-cavalry.
Like said the people, the hoi polloi and the great unwashed, do not count. It is the prominent voices that make a difference. People like Arundhati Roy and the UNHCR hobo from Jordan. Where Congress leaders like Mani Shankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid stand, in which set, is not fully clear because the Congress talks in one language when in power and in another when out of power. The Congress is several-tongued if not multi-lingual!
Given Pakistani citizenship, Aiyar might forget his house in Mylapur, Chennai, but it is unlikely that Khurshid will leave his Uttar Pradesh village. For Aiyar, Pakistan is cure; to Khurshid rejuvenation. The Indian Muslim, whether Azam Khan, fanatic Ilyas Sharafuddin or barrister Asauddin Owaisi, knows he has to remain close to the overturned seat of Delhi Sultanate.
As for Indian communists, they will not leave or give up. They want to get their hands on Nerolac to paint the whole of India red.
That leaves the media and there are those in media who wouldn’t mind Kashmir going its way, alone or with Pakistan, and there are those who would shout blue murder at the hint of such a suggestion. Seven out of 10 Kashmiri journalists would be in the first and second sets and a good quarter of mainland journalists would not mind an ‘India azad of Kashmir’ on grounds of Kashmir bleeding India!
It’s just that the Union of India stands in their way and they can only insert their preference in vague terms in books they write on Kashmir. Mind you, in all of this yak-yak, Leh-Ladakh and Jammu don’t figure. And the Chinese can staple visas as much as they want, their yak-yak not even the hardy Yak can make sense of.
Photo from the Internet