Home turfs vying for re- Calibrated leadership
A A Latief u zaman Deva
The Moitra & Owaisi duo, championing the Constitutionalism, has captivated people in Greater Kashmir and large swaths of public across the country.The combination of eloquence, statistics & rapport with ground realities in Parliamentary debates makes the two cynosure of constitutionists, secular & liberal Segments of pan India society and Indian diaspora transcending the borders.
The mounting pressure on the other parliamentarians and legislators in States & Union territories to perform or perish is manifested by the popular disdain these representatives attract. The way the untruths have gained acceptance or acquiescence with the political, social, legal & economic narratives being peddled by the Hindutva brigade and scant evidence available about attempts being made by the centralists for correcting the visible aberrations etc makes out a strong case for appraisal of the public representatives.
Majority rule an euphemism for Hindu rule
While the mantras of ‘’Appeasement’’ & ‘’Pakistan bogey’’ have been the two prong strategy of BJP even in its ealier avatar of Bhartia Jan Sangh but after 2014 a highly mischievous contour of ‘’ Hindu rule after 1200 years’’ seem to have embraced the Hindu imagination in general and particularly in Hindu Hindi heartland. Pandit Nehru had no qualms in admitting on couple of occasions the raison d’etre for accepting the inevitability of partition in order to avert the prospect of constant unsettling manoeuvring by leadership of Muslim League which exposes the penchant of Congress Party, even on the eve of Independence, for majoritarian rule albeit practically not through the organised peril of minorities.
Given the size of minorities and other marginalised sections of Indian society and their aspirations the system of government would have been federal in spirit as well as in character which didn’t conform with the one envisaged by Hindu nationalists led by Pandit Nehru who, having deep knowledge of Indian history and cultural ethoses, had successfully convinced the top leadership of the Congress about pitfalls of fragile central tier of political set-up in a true federal system as India was riven in fragments geographically in her chequered history except when reigned through a strong central authority like Asoka’s reign followed by Chander Gupt Mayra, Khaeljies and Mughals.
The United India by now would have been either a truly federal state or in constant internal strife like that of Lebanon or Iraq. In a federal set- up the vulnerability of federal Government was a reality in face of competing ideals of Nehru- Patel duo with centrifugal forces represented by Muslim League , Dalits & tribals and to obviate India plunging into perpetual disorder with possibilities of secession in Dravida and north eastern India on the plank of ethnic & linguistic disharmony the Nehru & Patel pair, dishonouring the sensibilities of Ghandi J, pushed for partition for everlasting peace and majoritarian rule Which saw Muslims fragmented into three land mass parcels and India retaining disproportionate geographic area by being a secular & successor state to British India for which muslim leaders devoid of foresight to visualise the future are also partly responsible .
The statement of Pandit Nehru, after acceptance of Cabinet Mission Plan by Indian National Congress & the Muslim League, about retention of the sovereign authority by the Parliament to review it was not an off the cuff remark but culmination of nationalistic ethos of a highly patriot having beholden the future map of India and the scheme about division of powers rendering central Govtt akin, in our times, to the position of Gorbachev who silently & helplessly watched & presided over the disintegration of USSR.
Hence revival of Hindu rule dates back to 15th August 1947 with a difference inasmuch as it was under facade of a non- discriminatory constitutional framework till 2014 and thereafter under misconstrued concepts of Hindutva & nationalism sanctified by compliant, aligned & politicised institutions but legal framework retained hoodwinking the international opinions.
Pandit Nehru had fancied sooner or later the disintegration of Pakistan taking place on the basis of feudal domination in socio- political structures of the Polity disregarding diversity both linguistic and ethnic under the subterfuge of religion which his daughter accomplished by truncating the adversarial country and in a way exploding the myth of two Nation Theory followed by annexation of Siachin during his grandson’s reign contrary to Shimla Agreement committing both the parties to maintenance of status quo on LOC & beyond .
The insurgency/ secession movement in East Pakistan saw unfortunate deaths of seventy thousand people and comparing it with the similar position in Kashmir & Punjab coupled with seldom & occasional acts of violence in North eastern States it is by virtue of the strength and superiority of Indian defence & technology the designs of Indian adversaries failed mainly due to nation building by Nehru- Ghandi trinity which in comparison places the outcome of recent subsisting stand off with China in a category of national shame & yet the support from crony capitalists and Godi media who instead demonise the greatest Indian patriotic post Independence leadership little realizing the standing India had in comity of Nations in conformity with the perceptions for role envisaged for the country then & now which is actually comparison between statesmanship and brinkmanship respectively.
The theocratic states & authoritarian regimes are what they are de-facto and de-jure without pretensions but admittedly with a parallel system aiming at empowering minorities politically, economically and in social stratas as against a system built on deception with scope for perpetually marginalising the marginalised. The biggest omission of centralists and secular cum liberal lobby has been its inability to return in kind without any arrears to Hindutva brigade on the strength of operational outcomes of Nehruien doctrines producing what the Indian Polity actually has been irrespective of the party ruling the country.
Catching the Bull by horns
Ordinarily the Pulwama type loss of security forces in other countries would either bind the ruling party to tactical defensive hard posturing or force the incumbent Govtt to tender resignation but the multi strategist Hindutva brigade turned it successfully into an opportunity to don the mantle of patriotic and nationalistic flavours to the decimation of rival parties moreso in Hindu Hindi Heartland. Whether the post Godra macaberry in Gujarat was due to inexperience of the Chief Minister or fulmination of heartlings for revenge in unfortunate and highly condemnable Godra tragedy the fact remains about recreation & rise of a cult in Gujarat and its replication later on across the country.
The State ,having been witness to savagery, was not entitled to take out celebratory & self glorifying processions under the garb of ‘Gurab Gujarat ‘’ a surrogacy by common parlance for State guided & protected war against hapless minorities suppressed under diversionary slogans like self centered posers/ questions about allegations of rape and burning of properties evoking thunderous ‘’ No” from the frenzied crowds, outside relief camps ‘’ two in & five out / five in twenty five out,” addressing co-religionist opponents as ‘’Begum Sahiba & Shahzada” and same chicanery followed later on by trivialising the tragedy when after fourteen years Puppy coming under the vehicle saddening the persons travelling in was the answer without pointed & specific regret for the horrendous consequences of Godra let alone condemnation.
The pattern repeated by harping on the non- existent facility of ‘’ electricity for graveyards to be extended to ‘’cremation grounds’’ also, incendiary divisive and polarising one line cryptic utterances by senior leaders changing the poll scenario like ‘’ Ulfa tera kam ham nay keya’,’ Bangladesh ke demuck ke jagah Bengal khadi’’, AMU / Jamia kay gadaroh ko goli maro saloo ko”, ‘’ press Lotus to pass current for Shaheen Bagh protestors’’, ‘’ surgical strike in old city of Hyderabad, Indian one”, shifting focus from deficit governance to majoritarian vision of the Party & quite recently in Bengal the House supposedly inhabited by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee not preserved by successive Govts as a monument dubbed as an act of appeasement without any debate on crime incidents, lack of Covid 19 combat strategy initially & later on an apartheid era like campaign against minorities, social disharmony, fragile economy, allegations about India turned into a corporate State, dissent construed as treason, escalation of tensions with neighbouring countries particularly China, shrinking space in relations with foreign countries, debacles in diplomacy, allegations of controlled democracy, use of institutions for political purposes, falling ranks of India in international reports & indexes & host of domestic and international issues.
The charge often levelled about appeasement got debunked more than one decade back in the report of Sachar Committee when it laid bare that 50 percent of Villages with 40 percent muslim population lack medical facilities , educational institutions, face absence of communicational networks & public health related avenues, access to schemes for BPL families farcical, 4.9 % muslim employees in 88 lakh central & State Government employees with about 96 % therefrom in inferior services and the per centage dwindling drastically in case data related to erstwhile State of J&K is excluded, 3.3 % in central Public sector, 2.2 % in RBI & SBI ,4.6 % in security forces and 01 % in Army as disclosed by Mulayam Singh Defence Minister, as he then was, in the Parliament – Army in the report is said to have claimed non- maintenance of data on communal grounds. Ghettoisation is a norm to prevent the dispersal of muslims and in a few cases it has legal coverage on fictional grounds and in cottage & other traditional industries the fortunes are fast receding primarily due to State policies lacking rehabilitation plans like in leather & brassware industries.
In the constitutional & statutory commissions / Boards/Organisations the presence of Muslims is almost missing except one each in Apex Court & Minority Commission. Against entitlement of 76 seats in Lok- Sabah by dint of l4% population there are 27 members only essentially due to apathy in fielding candidates from the community by the political parties even as people vote for leaders and not the parties in general and therefore the argument of winnability of candidates is far from reality.
The position in State Assemblies is no better in any way which the table in the Write up shall authenticate. These findings suggest disempowerment of the largest minority economically, socially and politically and yet raga of appeasement rather than extreme exploitation by one & all. The bogey of appeasement being a hoax raises moral & ethical concerns on its continued repetition in poll strategies by the BJP election after election thus threatening the national political order.
The predecessors of BJP Govtt are largely responsible for abysmal position of majority of stakeholders from out of minority community and the grudge against the existing rulers is for not humanly addressing the faultlines who instead harp on appeasement which is stoking communalism without any basis but enables them to reap rich harvests but how long and at what cost? The political debate is at its lowest in the country and entry of PM ought to raise levels but what has happened in the past & currently under way does not befit the stature envisaged of World ‘s largest democracy.
At domestic level the advisable course for the BJP would be to implement the recommendations of Committee constituted during Mr Atal Bihari Vajpaiye regime under Chairmanship of Justice M.N.Venkatachaliah for suggesting ways & means for political empowerment of Muslims within the framework of the constitution and in face of PM’s motif of ‘’Sabka saath, sabka vikas & sabka vishwas ‘’ customise the schemes for imparting quality education to younger generations of the Muslim community to enhance their literacy rate & employability and to enable them to participate in Nation building through level playing opportunities and monitored process introduced under relevant schemes for doing away with the ghettoisation aiming at better living standards in friendly environments and motivational services for partaking the benefits from the available opportunities in industrial sectors otherwise at the hustings in the end or more precisely before the historians in future the slogans will be concluded as classic theatrical demagoguery. It is here the depressed people yearn for Mohua Moitra & Owaisi like representatives.
Percentage of Muslim population
☆ out of 991 total legislators of BJP in legislative Assemblies only 03 muslims & none from out of 303 members of Lok-Sabha. The Council of Ministers at national level with strength of 58 includes 01 Muslim only against minimum share of 7+.
“Leadership Confused” & Generational loss
The display of ‘’arms” in the uprising akin scenario of 1990 resulted in three months the arrival of entire Indian political spectrum, led by Devi Lal the then Dy Prime Minister, in Srinagar with reconciliation for a set up in the State short of Independence but obduracy of people who mattered at that point of time has confronted us with sinister driven 5th August 2019 augury burying simultaneously the mainstream also Who are left with nothing to stand for in the sub- nationalism wedded territory of JK unless they redefine their vision for the future relationship with GOI & pledge themselves for its realisation through democratic movements. This was not the first set back for centrifugal forces who were aware of treacherous events of 1953, 1964, & 1984 undertaken by their fellow travellers turned accomplices of integrationists yielding nothing to the State constitutionally including the fruitless development of 1975 in centre State relations and yet did not muster the courage for coming forward to reap the benefits the favourable situation would have unleashed in 1990 itself . The addressal of the internal dimensions with the political cum constitutional package by carrying along the Dogras and Buddhists would have obviated the horrendous loss of human resources , immovable properties & unhealthy consequences suffered/ being suffered excepting the subsistence of external dimensions involving Pakistan & China with whom on the basis of territorial adjustments, including settlement on Siachin on the basis of framework agreed upon by the two countries during Rajiv Ghandi reign, some type of de’tente might have fructified pending final settlement in accordance with Shimla Agreement as the domestic economy in early nineties was in tatters and defence highly vulnerable due to disintegration of USSR wherefrom the spares for armaments were not available nor the bulwark of defence in diplomacy and military might the hallmark of mutual support the two Nations had exhibited during indo-Pak war of 1971. The collapse of communist regimes beginning with Poland and disgraceful retreat of USSR from Afghanistan propelled the sentiments wherever existing for freedom which had its impact upon the young generations without realising that the defeat of USSR was not solely the fallout of unprecedented sacrifices offered by Afghans but partly due to sophisticated arms supplied by USA & NATO together with petro dollars from Arab countries under active involvement of bordering neighbourhood. If this was the perception of principal characters involved from JK the 2nd party to the festering wound underestimated the resolve of Indian Govtt , Indian political Parties and people to retain JK whatever the costs Unlike the disinclination of Russian people to hold central Asian nations.
The opportunity offered in propitious circumstances in the backdrop of Indian weaknesses was lost partly also due to limited understanding of critical aspects of the region by the champions of permanent settlement in JK and meanwhile India overcame the tedious period and by now people in the country have turned ultra nationalists mindless of constitutional propriety manifested in their support for unconstitutional deoperationalisation of Article 370 & fast strategic changes in World order narrowing down to non unilateral modifications in borders/World Map except in case of South Sudan and East Timor for the reasons of convergence of religious affinities of real power yielders against emerging two Muslim countries.
Great Nations in conformity with existing realities plan future by reference to the past serving as it does in the form of lessons only as to where gone astray while steering the country towards the destination but alas no truths unearthed so for in the sub- continent about watershed developments of the past moreso relating to JK.
In Kashmir: Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace Sumantra Bose fixes the number of casualties suffered in JK at 40000 on the basis of Indian estimates & 80000 by Huriyat claims ending 2002 while in the legislative Assembly during Question Hours in July 2009 the deaths/ Killings have been reported at around 47000 which includes 7000 personnel from Police, Para-military forces and Army apart from 3400 disappearances but the crime statistics in India as put out by National Crime Records Bureau & reiterated by the PM on a couple of occasions during 2019 places it around 40000 with break up of 25000 militants, 5000 police and other security personnel and 10000 civilian.
The latter result of collateral damages and acts of trigger happy lot. Most of the slain victims were in bachelorhood and should they not have become cannon fodder for war machines the population through them would have grown by atleast 80000 to 120000 and as such by now based on official figures about casualties the actual number of people lost in the population is 1.20 lakhs to 1.60 Lakhs with recurring impacts on demography in the long run. Apart from deaths in encounters & other operations there are allegations about killings resulting in from fake engagements, custody, torture, disproportionate use of force & targeted attacks by counter insurgents which have continued to remain shrouded in mystery in general.
The humen tragedy witnessed got accentuated by ambiguous politics practiced by almost all political parties and politicians by imparting currency to contradictory political narratives or by practising deceit eloquently leading to harbouring of false beliefs instead of balancing the words spoken with deeds while holding authority. The common refrain mastered during last three decades that “”This is our programme but in case the other side has better of it at the end of day we shall be delighted” did not create congenial setting for mainstream politics to grow into an ideology for countering the most dominant narrative & in the process we have a Polity built on ad-hockism whose consequence is incompatible governance due to denial of or self serving inertia for legitimate interventions for discharging the duties expected from civilian Govtts. On appraisal of the performances one is not countenanced with even some what satisfying scores in enforcement of human rights and accountability as cases are replete where writ of the State accompanied with action would have foreclosed for all times to come the scope for repetition of gory incidents and fudging the framework of governance.
A dream merchant may succeed in enticing the public who have been in search of alternatives for long but such occasional dispensations prove to be short lived as is established by the introduction/ emergence of hydra headed like political characters and their faster shrinking fiefdoms though momentarily affecting the extent of political manuerability by local leadership.
In contrast the unbelievable happening in Sri-Lanka through the institution of Chief Minister when office is functional and in its absence the leadership of the political party headed by the person who is C V Vigneswaran, a Tamil former Judge of the Supreme court of the Country & later on Chief Minister of Northern Tamil heartland after decimation of Tamil separatist insurgency in a brutal attack by Sinhala majoritarian State.
Outclassing the other States of the country in effective governance and Performance which the hostile central Govtt has been admitting but simultaneously unambiguous charter being chased regardless of Sinhalese sensibilities but without surpassing the rubicon. The interventions with central Govtt Ministries & other main pillars of the State are classic examples for ensuring good deliverable governance and punitive measures wherever warranted in circumstances of cases covered in his agenda.
A Clear enunciation of party positions on Human rights, role of UNHRC, International criminal Court on alleged war crimes , desirability for referendum in North & Eastern Tamil occupied provinces to the exclusion of majority community inhabited in rest of the country, fight against Islamophobia, polarisation and reaching out to Muslims of Eastern Province with option for separate territorial Units, rehabilitation of victims of civil war ( not terrorism), Self dependence & economic development in autonomous Tamil provinces, relationship with Tamil Nadu, dual citizenship for Tamil refugees in India , pro active services by Tamil diaspora and Interventionistic facilitating role for India.
He is not superficial in policy formulations but is armed with all its tits and bits without any change in pronouncements be the occasion in Colombo, Jaffna or Chennai . The beauty of the script is in its support from GOI who have been engaging Sri Lankan Govtt about its implementation under nomenclature of devolution unmindful of Sinhalese outbursts of one Nation one system coupled with the lack of locus standi for interference by neighbouring & foreign countries in the internal matters of the country and C V Vigneswaran & his party Illankar Tamil Arasu Kachclu have not found any one in the country meriting the honour of being declared as man of millennium or Person in twentieth century comparable with Prophets or eulogising some one as the singular person capable of settling Tamil problem and yet due to perseverance, actionable commitments, unambiguity in Party philosophy & programmes , absence of flattery but measured statements consistent with political cum religious ideology & highest standards of Probity & morality he is a respectable Tamil Lankan in the country.
Our celebrated leadership can pick up lessons from C V and his political organisation lest substitutes’ of Akashi Bhat D/o Sanjay Bhat IPS crop up in the forlorn land who in that eventually would be well advised in advance not to foray beyond India in their pursuit of ideals dear to million. However in the event of the relevant levers in the political parties and other non- partisan Groups turning blind eye to the case against usurpation the alternative for utilising the good offices of friendly countries could be one of the last options though not favoured but onus for that not to happen on countrymen by abjuring the indifference exhibited sofar.
The author is former Chairman JKPSC and can be reached on aaluzdeva_221256 @ymail.com