CAN WE NOT EXORCISE THIS GHOST?
CAN WE NOT EXORCISE THIS GHOST?
| CAN WE NOT EXORCISE THIS GHOST?
t was perhaps with a view to address special ethnic and cultural aspirations of the people of the Jammu & Kashmir State that framers of the Constitution of India had the vision to grant special favors and powers to the State Administration. These helped to protect its cultural and ethnic identity and granted it a working autonomy.
A bicameral Legislative assembly was permitted to the State to accommodate and moderate legislative aspirations of different ethnic groups and cultural castes living in three Divisions of the State. Two houses of the legislature provide checks and balances to sort out differences and ensure accommodation and representation to all sections of the society.
To insulate State politics and governance from mainline national political influences, Article 370 was enshrined in the Constitution of India, which granted and guaranteed Special Status to the State and its people. They enjoy special legislative, executive and judicial powers, unlike in other states of the country, which are governed by uniform civil and political rights. This special provision has unfortunately not only insulated but also isolated the State from rest of the country and deprived it from the benefits of participative democratic development. This has at times even caused denial of basic human rights to its people. Unlike in other states, all Central laws can not be applied and extended to the State without consent of the State legislature.
A special provision authorizing a separate Constitution for the State too was granted within the Constitution of India, to honor and respect cultural diversities of the State.
Even the provision of a separate flag to be foisted along with the National Flag was granted to the State to preserve its identity and respect its cultural sentiments. It is only the President of India who can impose Presidents Rule in the State in the face of foreign aggression, civil disturbance and break down of law and order. Indeed no state in a federation can have such far reaching powers and guarantees of autonomy as Jammu & Kashmir enjoys currently. In this context, to demand and agitate for independence of the Valley is only illogical and ill-conceived.
The hoax of independence was created by secessionists and radical Islamic mercenaries to manipulate secession of the Valley from the Union of India and its annexation with Pakistan on the basis of religious affinity. The demand borders on madness, motivated only by communal frenzy. No self respecting country like India, which is becoming the Power House of the 21st century can concede to such demands. Let it be whatever, the protests and calls for strike and bundhs by such elements who have been working on the dictates of their foreign masters. If such misconceived demands are met by countries to satisfy the fancies of frustrated and rejected politicians, it will be sooner than later that all Nation States will break and disintegrate and will become city states on the basis of ethnic affinities and caste considerations. Thus histories of Nation States will need to be rewritten whereby only religion, caste and creed will decide the boundaries.
In case some fringe sections of Sunni Muslims of the Valley absolutely desire and demand more autonomy, others cannot be held ransom to their demands. Instead, others want to share responsibilities and powers on an equitable basis. They do not want to live like second class vassals of some separatist Sunni Muslims of the Valley. So, in case a dialogue for more powers and autonomy for the people of the State is required, it can not be a prerogative and monopoly of the fundamentalist anti-national elements of the Valley alone. The processes of all dialogue and discussions has to be all inclusive and all embracing, in which all ethnic, linguistic, cultural, social and political segments of the State are equal stake holders and have inalienable and constitutional rights. It can not be the monopoly of only separatists and fundamentalists because even in the Valley their influence is restricted to some small pockets. Such self annihilating forces should stop to dream about independence of the Valley, which is far fetched and delusional and they should realize that they can not mislead people of the Valley for all times to come. They could join the national mainstream and contest elections if they feel that they have the support of the people of the Valley. Only after winning elections can they put forth their workable ideas and suggestions for regional autonomy of the three Regions.
If some fundamentalist elements have clandestine understanding with Pakistan and the Mujahideen to convert the Valley to Nizam-i-Mustaffa, it would be better for such elements to migrate to Pakistan instead, to realize their dreams in another way. The composite, secular and democratic state of India can not afford and allow a theocratic Valley of communalists. India is a secular, democratic, federal country in which all its citizens, irrespective of their caste and creed have equal fundamental civil, political and human rights, which need to be protected and guaranteed at all costs.
Such elements which play ducks and drakes with basic sentiments of the people under some hidden agenda, need to be isolated and exposed. If need be, they should be banished from the country for their seditious acts. It is high time for the country to say enough is enough and forever cremate this ghost of independence/joining with Pakistan, which has been haunting the State since partition of the country.
*P.N.Ganjoo was born in a modest Kashmiri family about 7 decades ago, lost his father early and was raised by his honest, hardworking mother. With her efforts he received his education in Srinagar and went on to serve in various Government Departments before retiring as a senior grade KAS officer.
Presently he is working on his varied interests besides being a consulting Director of a software services company.
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