JAMMU BATTLES FOR INDIA AND
A DEMOCRACY OF EQUALITY
Will this mark the beginning of an “India’s Revolution”?
|Police chase away people defying curfew to take part in Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti's victory rally, in Jammu on Sunday, august 31, 2008 . ............................................................................................... Photo By RAMAN RAINA...
| n today’s flat world, who does not know of India and that it is a free country and a democracy. However, is it truly so - for its majority population and patriots? In consideration of the continuing disenfranchisement faced by the majority population of India, I believe that India has got freedom but has not embraced it and has established principles for democratic governance but does not practice these.
Depending upon your personal experiences and situation, you may accept my viewpoint or you may not. To provide some background, let me bring India’s history including its’ becoming an independent republic into the context of this discussion.
The Indian subcontinent has a long history, was the nucleus of vast empires and major trade routes and was known for its commercial and cultural wealth. It was home to some of the oldest civilizations and the birthplace of major world religions including Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The people and wealth of the subcontinent attracted invaders who used their religion as a force and suppression tool; coerced religious conversion, changed demographics and made the entire subcontinent a battleground. Subsequently, after a long period of colonization by the British, the subcontinent got independence and was divided on the basis of religion, with Muslims demanding and getting their own country, Pakistan (the Eastern parts later became Bangladesh). India became one independent part and was conceived as a free, modern and democratic nation state. Yet, the basic spirit and ethos of India’s ancient religions allowed Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam to remain and become part of the country's diverse culture.
Cut to the present! A parliamentary federal republic consisting of 28 states and 7 union territories, India is today the 2nd most populous and 7th largest country in the world. Officially, it is the Republic of India and the largest democracy in the world. Yet, this democracy functions much less on common interest of the nation or even individual interest and much more on the interests of vote banks. Unfortunately many of these vote banks are based on caste and region, which divide the majority Hindus and religion, which unites the minority Muslims. The result is that there is a large breed of pseudo-secular politicians whose politics does not consider national or human interest but panders to the single vote bank that can make or break a political party’s fortunes, the Muslim Vote Bank. This appeasement is so deep that Muslims from the breakaway Pakistan and Bangladesh have been moving into India in extremely large numbers (changed demographics of several Indian states), preferring India to their own country. The politicians have welcomed them, making them instant voters and further consolidating and strengthening this single most influential vote bank to them. The situation has the portents for major, civil strife all over India.
Yet, there is not much wrong in this situation in the eyes of the pseudo secular politicians, who live for the power that they enjoy. The majority community is facing the heat and has ever reducing say in matters of governance. Are you aware that the majority community does not even have a say in the management of its temples and the donations to temples are used to fund the religious affairs of others? Calls for separation from India are strong where the demographics based on religion have already changed and elsewhere, terrorism with a basis in religion is ever increasing, with the attackers being able to strike and kill at will.
This is the created or allowed environment in which half a million Hindus were forcibly expelled from the Muslim majority Kashmir Valley. The world has remained silent since! Recently, these Hindus and others from many parts of the world were even being denied a pilgrimage to their shrine at Amarnath Ji, and the present central government was being complicit in this crime. This would have been another commonplace occurrence in India and would have met with just a typical sigh from the most conscious Hindu. But for the people of Jammu!
They stood tall to battle for India and created a people’s movement for a democracy of equality. The response and sacrifices of the people of Jammu over the past two months have helped me understand why the Dogras were known as The Warriors and Jammu is called the City of Temples. By the time this piece goes to publication, the Dogra warriors and their forcibly evicted Kashmiri Hindu brothers may have won that first, single victory for the religious rights of the majority population of India.
The purpose of this writing is not to seek powers for those in religious majority in India to the detriment of those in religious minority. One who suffered in Kashmir as part of its Hindu religious minority would not wish suppression of fellow humans and countrymen. It is instead recognition that the people of Jammu may have started “India’s Revolution”, which would secure equal consideration for all Indian citizens and ensure nationalism from people of all its regions, castes and religions. Nationalism is derided sometimes as a far rightist doctrine or political movement but in the context of India’s Revolution, the movement would forge a united and honest political community which will under common rules and laws for all citizens of all regions secure a progressive common destiny of the people. The people of Jammu have shown the way, with Hindus of all hues, Muslims, Sikhs and all other communities mobilizing under the Indian flag and destroying the flippancy of the government to national and patriotic interest while it mollycoddled separatists and terrorists. India’s Revolution has started with Jammu and when the same thought will occur to another state and then another, it will usher the new era of Indian nationalism. It will preserve life and freedom and ensure the well-being of India’s every man and woman.
Considering what a revolution means though, it cannot be a vague process with special considerations, appeasements and indeterminable time frames. India’s revolution will be an insurrection which immediately needs to get rid of discriminations such as Article 370, get laws and standards applied uniformly and do what it takes to create security for India’s citizens, businesses and institutions. It will be a truthful rebellion, a non-violent revolution, as in Jammu, that will transform the political landscape of India ending in a smooth, democratic change at the helm.
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I agree with you that we need to get rid of discriminations such as Article 370 and get laws and standards applied uniformly and do what it takes to create security for India’s citizens, businesses and institutions. Jammu has shown us the way and exposed the discrimination. Hope the Indian masses will vote for only those parties which will work to get rid of Article 370.
Added By Ashok K. Sapru
The shining light with promise and hope has emerged from Jammu. We all hope that the political landscape of India will be transformed sooner than later.
Added By Anill Kaul
Excellent article.I am glad you confronted the malaise that is eating India. We need to address these issues strongly and you have done just that in a wonderfully written article. Sunanda
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Added By AJAY H KAUL
If Indian Nation State has to consolidate and survive,it is essential to exorcise the ghost of Article 370 from the Constitution of India.
Added By Pushkar Ganjoo
Added By Lynn Monisha