One of India’s leading political scientist Sumantra Bose, in his book, Kashmir: Roots of Conflict, Paths to peace, succinctly sums up the disposition of Kashmir’s mainstream leaders from 1953 onwards: “Only those who unequivocally agreed to follow the Indian state’s agenda in Kashmir could aspire to office, or indeed, could play any sort of role in institutionally sanctioned politics. The problem is that this situation could be effected only at the expense of the consent of a large proportion of the governed.” As the facades have finally lifted themselves during the past four months, for many of us, who repelled any denigration about PDP, it must be now clear that Mehbooba Mufti is also one of those “unequivocally agreed” leaders despite the free play of stupefying eyewashes that she and her party have been enacting since last 13 years. Surprisingly, our gullible and blindfolded conscience is often tricked in by the exceedingly crafted prankstery and eyewashes of our mainstream parties. If Jumla baazi has become associated with Narendra Modi at the national level, it could be said that this buzz refrain has entirely structured our politics till date. Thankfully, we have now seen how the balloons of Self Rule and preserving of state’s special identity, as concocted by PDP, are finally bursting to dissent below the earth to never rise again. Most of those among us in the left, right and centre who had consciously or unconsciously yielded themselves to this party should now seek an early pardon. This writer is witness to one such instance in which several mosques in South Kashmir looked after by a particular far-right organization were used to campaign for PDP in the 2008 elections. Surprisingly, it primarily the members of this organization that the police is now blaming for spearheading the agitation particularly in South Kashmir.

As armed Hindutva volunteers are enjoying a free outing in the sensitive regions of Jammu province and Mohan Bhagwat bearing full alacrity in challenging the constitutional validity of India’s relationship with Jammu and Kashmir amidst the carnage in valley, PDP seems to have completely yielded itself to Sangh. It is singing its panegyrics with great fervor and loyalty. Mehbooba Mufti is finding the Sangh’s advices a better proposition in dealing with the current grim situation in the valley than the simple but sane approaches of dialogue and reconciliation. These adoring odes sent message of loyalty and trust which betrays even the long distance between what late Mufti Sayeed would often refer to as North and South poles. In her recently sung odes which find resounding resemblances with those of Mohan Bhagwat, Mehbooba Mufti has rather come up with interesting notions which even surpass the essential Indian minimalist position on Kashmir. Both RSS and now PDP seem to be presenting the idea of India through pernicious Sangh ideology which is refuted by a majority of the Indians as like Kashmiris who regard Sangh as everything antithetical to the foundational ideas of the republic of India. One can understand Mehbooba Ji’s compulsions of justifying the unholy alliance of her party with RSS/BJP to save her chair. But if one sees through her recent statements, she has done what Modi is doing in India—totally smearing and distorting certain historical truths for self interests. In yielding to the Sangh, Mehbooba Ji has reoriented the complex question of Kashmir’s accession to India. Till now, we were told that it is the secularism, and secularism alone, which binds India and Kashmir. For the sake of argument here, Indians have a stated position that for the secularism to survive in India, Kashmir has to remain in India. This was first asserted by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1953 when he argued that in order to uphold secularism in India and to defeat Hindu nationalism, Kashmir must stay in India: “We have always regarded the Kashmir problem as symbolic for us, as it has far- reaching consequences in India. Kashmir is symbolic as it illustrates that we are a secular state…. Kashmir has consequences both in India and Pakistan because if we disposed of Kashmir on the basis of the two-nation theory, obviously millions of people in India and millions in East Pakistan will be powerfully affected. Many of the wounds that had healed might open out again.”  When Sangh vows by its communal, fascist and anti-secular ideology, how is it that Kashmir’s secularism is compatible with it? For Mehbooba Ji’s kind information, Sheikh Abdullah did accede to India’s secularists and communists, but not to Sangh and its pernicious ideology. In his lifetime, he could never reconcile with them and often rejected their ideology as standing contrary to the principles of Kashmir’s association with India. In August 1952, in a speech in the State Assembly, Sheikh Abdullah had famously declared: “The supreme guarantee of our relationship with India is the identity of democratic and secular aspirations, which have guided the people of India as well as those of Jammu and Kashmir in their struggle for emancipation, and before which all constitutional safeguards will take a secondary position…I would like to make it clear that any suggestion of arbitrarily altering this basis of our relationship with India would not only constitute a breach of the spirit and letter of the Constitution, but might invite serious consequences for a harmonious association of our State with India.”

PDP, as much of Kashmiris will concede these days, seems to have gone too far in singing paeans for Sangh. But the underlying slant is that by reorienting the essentialist Indian claim on Kashmir by bringing in the till-date absent Sangh in Kashmir’s discourse imbroglio, PDP is carrying out an important task. This is a total betrayal of what the party was affirming till 2015. The lust for power has made this party to forget whatever little morality and principles were left in the mainstream polity of the state. “Jumma Mubarak” has indeed become “Jumma Pathraav”, but haven’t our eyes seen many bloody Fridays.  For Mehbooba Ji and her party, if memory serves them well, must know that Kashmiri youth or civil society members have no love for rumour-mongering and street protests. They only want solution to the political problems according to their aspirations. They indeed desire peace but only when it comes with honour, dignity and respect, not with the absence of these. They don’t want a repeat of 2008, 2010 or even 2016. They don’t want to see New Delhi’s coffers at the cost of the coffins of their brethren. Kashmiris have also seen their mandate being betrayed in 2014 and there is no reason that they won’t see another betrayal despite the faux damage control initiated by the ruling party. Kashmiri’s apprehensions are too sturdy to be allayed because they have seen it all when it comes to the PDP’s dichotomous practices in last one year. They have seen the terrible repression and agony of the last four months. They have seen atrocious justifications of milk and toffee remark for all this. They have seen the characteristic denial disposition of New Delhi. They have seen the Beef controversy being raked up prior to the Eid-ul-Azha last year. They have seen the fate of Zahid Rasool. They have seen the systematic assaults on state flag, constitution and Article 370. They have also seen the armed marches of RSS cadres through the streets of Jammu and communally sensitive Kishtwar. They have also heard from the mouth of Sangh ideologue, Tarun Vijay, about planting “saffron” and bringing “fragrance of Indianess” in the state through proposed Sainik colonies. They have also heard from Sangh ideologue, Subramanian Swamy, writing way back in July 2011 in DNA under the title How to wipe out Islamic terror?, about the grand plan of abolishing Article 370 and settling ex-servicemen in the Kashmir valley. This long overdue design of altering the demography of the state has gathered momentum since Sangh’s intrusion into the state with active connivance of PDP. The spokespersons of PDP would do well to know that Kashmiris have seen too many betrayals, conspiracies and tragedies to believe in their dispellers anymore.

Basharat Shameem is Lecturer in English Directorate of Distance Education University of Kashmir

One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    It is strange that PDP which has power in the state government remained ‘ a mute spectator’ to the events right from its assuming office. It surrendered it’s power to the centre on a platter. The CM has rarely used discretionary powers granted by the Constitution. The government remains a puppet in the hands of the ruling fascists at the centre …