A fellow columnist in an article “Fireworks for Obama” postulates that the recent spurt in firing on Indo-Pak border in J & K and the blowing up of a boat laden with arms and ammunition on the high seas are fireworks for the forthcoming visit of Obama during the Republic day celebrations. It is allegedly to convince the US President about the active role Pakistan is playing in fomenting trouble not only in Kashmir but all over India. Incidentally, these happenings have an uncanny resemblance to visit of Bill Clinton when Chattisinghpora incident took place. In fact, subsequently, Bill Clinton in his forward to Madeleine Albright’s book mentioned about the perpetrators of the massacre but that remark was withdrawn from subsequent editions of the book!
That is only one part of the story. The other part is presenting Kashmir itself! The recent election held in spite of an unfavourable situation created by the worst flood in last 120 years witnessed an all-time high participation. However, the participation was a counter to the colossal campaign of Mission 44+ initiated by Modi to sweep J & K for chauvinistically Hindu pro-India party BJP. The unprecedented participation was drummed up through corporate media as a vote for democracy and complete integration with India. Nobody bothered to convey to the world the fact that all but one BJP candidates in the valley lost their deposits thereby demonstrating the complete rejection of BJP and its mandate by the Kashmiris. On the contrary preparations are on to present the coup the grace of the whole mission, a Kashmiri Chief Minister heading an alliance with BJP.
Hectic activities are going on to cobbler a government with BJP partnership. Normally in a hung house, the largest party is called upon to work out the possibility of government formation. In no case, two parties are simultaneously called to explore the possibility of government formation. Before the elections, the BJP had given a very tough anti-valley agenda including abrogation of article 370. The Jammu section of the party had demanded a Hindu Chief Minister from Jammu. However, now they are declaring no pre-conditions for alliance with any regional party. They are prepared to give (temporarily) even moon to get a pro BJP government with any regional party! Once a government with BJP participation is put in place, the Chief Minister may be presented to Obama as the popularly elected representative of a pro-India Kashmir, thereby,confirming that the Kashmiris have voted for India. After this, where is the problem in Kashmir?It is Pakistan which is the main culprit in disturbing the peace. One is reminded of a similar situation in fifties when Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad was presented as a leader of Kashmiris to Bulganin and Khrushchev who were taken in a boat procession on the River Jhelum during their visit to Kashmir. Those days erstwhile Soviet Union was extending total support to the Indian stand in the UN Security Council.
The regional parties clamouring to be BJP partners need to take an overall view of the situation especially about the long term agenda of RSS. Praful Bidwai in an article, “BJP’s real agenda”, mentions that in the BJP’s overall programme, Hindutva trumps “Development”. He cites many examples starting with the conferring of the Bharat Ratna award on Madan Mohan Malaviya, the founder of Hindu Mahasabha. According to Bidwai, “Malviya in 1923 falsely complained “Hindu numbers are depleting”, advocated the “reconversion” of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism. The declaration of Godse as a national hero and denigration of Gandhi as unpatriotic are some other instances. This is already having a reaction in the South where Afzal Guru is proposed to be made a martyr! Bidwai further states, “Bharat Ratna awards apart, the Sangh Parivar is making its overbearing influence felt in numerous institutions of the state, even as its functionaries indulge in hate speech contrasting ramzadas and haramzadas and in provocative acts including ghar wapsi(“reconversion” of Muslims and Christians) through inducements. For RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, these minorities are “our maal” (goods) stolen by “outsiders, which “us Hindus” have the right to “recover”. Even the foreignminister, Sushma Sawraj has demanded declaration of Bhagvad Gita as India’s “national scripture”-a demand incompatible with the Indian constitution.
Bidwai says, “For the Parivar, as for Modi, the top priority is not economic growth, not job creation, leave aside holistic development, but politics-how to deepen and widen Hindutva’s influence and ensure its long-term presence in India, if necessary by coercion and repression”. In view of these glaring facts, the regional parties falling one over each other to be BJP partners need to take a long term view lest they become instrumental for “ghar wapsi” of the majority population of the valley which in ancient times was the most glorious and well known Hindu Kingdom.The apprehension that Delhi may starve Kashmiris to submission may not hold for the new generation which may prefer starvation to “ghar wapsi”! This could very well turn into another episode like the one of 1990!