Published On: Tue, Jan 6th, 2015

Question of Jammu mandate and blame game

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –
People of Valley have been enduring the destruction caused by floods in September 2014 and are still looking forward to the highly hyped and promised rehabilitation. In the same manner the people of the State are being exposed to a daily guess by politicians from Valley and Jammu on the formation of a majority lead government since 23 December 2014. Politicians in the State have always remained an elite class and are addicted to the steroids of personal interests and a quid pro quo either amongst themselves or between Delhi and Srinagar.
One should not have an issue with the electoral entry of BJP in the State other than exercising the common sense to evaluate its aggregate impact on the election results. BJP failed to open its account in the Valley which has always remained at the heart of all interests since 1846. Therefore, a conclusive majority in Jammu makes the BJP less worthy of a conclusive or fairly conclusive trust of the majority of Muslims in the State. One has to follow the arithmetic in electoral process and numbers do have their own importance. But the electoral arithmetic in Kashmir is currently being defined along communal basis by BJP on the strength of its number in Jammu. It is being argued that politics has remained Valley centric as all chief ministers have been from the Valley. BJP maintains that a chief minister from Jammu should be a priority.
Under normal circumstances chief minister’s berth should be an entitlement of any of the three regions. It should not be baptised. However, Jammu and Kashmir has a history and the Muslims of the State are not out of the woods so far. Valley Muslim has a historical grievance against Dogra ruler for his rule.  Jammu on its part has not conducted itself in pre 1947 and during 1947 history in the manner in which the Valley Muslim has refused to contaminate his views about Jammu and Ladakh. Today we find a blame being laid at the door of Valley Muslim for his unwillingness to accept the overbearing influence of BJP in Jammu. It should not be so. Valley Muslim does not have any animosity towards Jammu citizens and it seems to have surfaced for the first time after Jammu Muslim massacre of 1947. BJP has been put in the seat in Jammu by its communal appeal and by forces working in Delhi to keep Jammu and Kashmir in turmoil. There is a risk that after consolidating the Jammu votes on a communal basis, these forces would continue to fragment the Valley Muslim vote in the next elections (if issues remains unresolved) into various sects. There are people working in the Valley, in Delhi and outside Kashmir who have started defining Muslims as Gujjars, Bakarwals, Paharis, Shias, Barelvi, Deobandis etc etc. These forces are being funded by Delhi to fragment and reduce the dignity of vote in Jammu and Kashmir. Every citizen of the State, in particular, Hurriyat, civil society, NGOs and well-meaning people should occupy themselves with this challenge and defeat the forces let out to destroy Kashmiriat preserved by all in particular by the Kashmiri Muslim at the cost of his own continued loss throughout history.
Jammu should not allow BJP to overdo itself on its Jammu mandate. Kashmiri Muslim has all along carried the grievance against Dogra ruler from Jammu. It is an established fact that he may have bought Kashmir for Rs.75,00000 but there is no evidence that he paid this amount and that the Dogra family had any such resources of its own. On the contrary Sir Walter Lawrence reports that only in one year 1871-72 Maharaja raised a revenue of Rs. 66,86,644+Rs.1,13,916 = Rs. 68,00 560 from the poor people (Muslims) of Kashmir. It included taxes on Circumcision, Charas, Dal, Mint, Prostitutes, Coolies, Masons, Carpenters, Sellers of glass bangles, Grave diggers, Comb makers etc etc. So if Maharaja could raise Rs.68,00 560 as revenue in one year, how much he would have raised during 100 years of their rule? Maharaja was able to recover his alleged payment in one year.
It is unfortunate that the Muslim leaders from the Valley have lived on the steroids of personal political interests and have never translated the Muslim grievance into a genuine debate. It is only yesterday that Sir Albion Banerjee resigned as Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir in 1929 and wrote in his resignation, “Jammu and Kashmir State is labouring under many disadvantages, with a large Mohammedan population absolutely illiterate, labouring under poverty and very low economic conditions of living in the villages, and particularly governed like dumb driven cattle. There is no touch between the Government and the people, no suitable opportunity for representing grievances…The administration has at present little or no sympathy with the people’s wants and grievances”.
Mandate of all people has to be respected and treated in equity. However, the various mandates and the narratives that have gone into securing those mandates, could not be taken out of historical context. Kashmiri Muslim has an on-going grievance of his own and a collective case for self-determination with all other State Subjects. It is the Kashmiri Muslim who has a grievance against the Indian security forces and the Delhi government, more than any other citizen from Jammu and Ladakh. He has suffered the death of a generation and in the last 24 years has endured a violation of life, property and honour, never witnessed in the history of Kashmir from 1846-1990. One may accord a credence to PDP and BJP or any other formation coming together for a development but it cannot be ignored that the political narratives were not to secure development and people of Valley have acted as protectionists and have voted out of fear to keep BJP out.
Valley vote at the same time should be respected in the manner in which it has been cast. It is provocative and overindulgence if anyone outside the Valley seeks to interpret this vote as a vote against Hurriyat, commonly classed as separatists or against azadai (yet to be defined). Indian and J & K media bears witness to it that the Kashmiri Muslim voter has explained his vote before voting. The Valley based Kashmiri political parties have also clarified on more than one occasion that these elections bear no relation to the outstanding principal dispute. It is important that the voter and the elected members should follow upon this and make sure that the officers supervising Kashmir in the Delhi do not mislead the Government. Jammu mandate has to be respected but unlike Valley vote it has to accept its communal hue and historical demerits in Kashmir context. A fair balance has to be worked out.
The voice formally raised in writing by Kashmiri Muslims for a social justice in October 1877 has continued to date. In the last 24 years justice for them has turned into a luxury and hard to see on the streets.  It makes all generations uneasy and sad to read the accounts of Mrs. J C Murray Aynsley, “..Such is the lamentable result of our having handed over this splendid and fertile country to the tender mercies of a Hindu bigot, with officials of the same faith as himself, the inhabitants of the country being Mohammedan. History shows us, in the case of our own Queen Mary, and also in that of Philip of Spain with regard to the Netherlands, that no rule is so cruel as that of a bigot over people of a faith differing from his own.” It would be unfair to claim that politics in Kashmir has remained Valley centric. It may have looked that way, but it has never served the best interests of the Muslims in the State. The formations were endured by Delhi to serve their political ends. The situation would not be any different if PDP weds BJP for this term.
Hurriyat and others engaged in the Rights Movement have a higher burden of responsibility in 2015 and beyond.  One of the New Year resolutions and the most important of these has to be  to revisit our work in the Rights Movement (political, militant and diplomatic) and plan ahead so that we do not miss a date with the history. Election boycotts may have outlived their merit and may have been ill thought in the same manner in which the Kashmiris opted for a military confrontation with Indian security forces. They failed to ask the UN to consider the use of military intervention instead. There is no evidence that Kashmiris have made a case for UN to see whether Indian Government was honouring the discipline set for its security forces in Kashmir and that the specific work outsourced to it by UN was being carried out.
It would have been in our interests if instead of election boycotts we had  recognised  the results of the vote in Kashmir to the extent determined in UN Security Council Resolution of 30 March 1951. At the same time Hurriyat may need to recognize the J & K Government for the UN duty outsourced to it to create circumstances for a free and fair vote in Kashmir under the auspices of United Nations. India has to help in providing a law and order. We have moved in times since 1948 and it is time to reconsider, whether Jammu and Kashmir Government still needs the assistance of Indian security forces or it is time to make out a case for United Nations assistance for the purpose.

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