Kashmir and the Right to Speech

Separatist Kashmiri Musalman (explanation for the use of this religious word is given in the last sentence of this paragraph) Syed Ali Shah Geelani and publicity hungry Arundhati Roy have given fiery speeches for Kashmir’s Azadi, which the legal experts have found culpable under law. However, some intellectuals like Jug Suraiya have termed it as falling within the purview of press freedom. Arundhati Roy has claimed that she had only spoken what millions of people in Kashmir have been saying for years. She has further asserted. “Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds.” I have called Geelani as Kashmiri Musalman, because he had forgotten all Kashmiriat, and neither made any efforts nor even shed tears when Kashmiri Pundits were being looted, tortured and made to flee Kashmir by Jihadi Musalmans.
Legality apart, the desirability or otherwise of prosecuting the makers of these secessionist proclamations has to be viewed from pragmatic and historical perspective also. So let us consider certain basic truths that the history of nations has taught us.  
Any person, who understands history and has ability of drawing unbiased conclusions from it, can see that India is fast on the path leading to division of the country: and not one but at least three - one of Kashmir, second of  Maoist-infested corridor, and third of the far east. And these divisions will not be due to labors of Kashmiriat (presently an euphemism for Islamic fundamentalism), Maoism (an euphemism for Chinese imperialistic designs), and tribalism (an euphemism for nepotism and sub-nationalism) alone, but also because of Hindu mindset of ultra-liberalism looking for justification even in outright inimical acts. The liberalism of Hindu religion and philosophy emanating from polytheism and a faith that Brahma (God) pervades every particle of the universe is the strongest point of Hindu religion as well as its weakest. This has allowed it to internalize and often assimilate various philosophies– many of them opposed to each other- and thus, contributed to coercion-free acceptance of Hinduism by Indians as well as outsiders and its continuance for thousands of years; but, at the same time, this has often resulted in losing the unity of motivation and purpose by Hindus while facing assaults to Hinduism or their nation.     
Any person, who is not too naïve or too circumvent about the truth, would agree that even secular nations recognize (although they may not say so openly) that adherents of a dominant religion (or a few dominant religions) have greater stake in the integrity of the country and they can be depended far more in respect to their love and loyalty towards the country than others. And therefore, saving exceptions positions needing highest trust are generally given to them alone.
Any person who is not too much of a conceit or opinionated would agree that deployment of security forces (other than required for normal policing) at any place is not a pleasant option for any government; and also that, the conditions for use of force are created not by security forces but by the local populace. However, it is not to deny the truth that occasionally security forces exceed their brief because of fear, revenge, bias or self-interest.
Any person who remembers the history of partition and is not downright anti-national would agree that giving Kashmir to Pakistan because of its Muslim population (either as a gift or in the name of so-called Azadi) would result in the redoubled religious efforts for secession in many other pockets in the country. It needs no elaboration that losing Kashmir would mean losing Ladakh and Siachen also to either China or Pakistan, which will be like keeping your body yourself while donating your head to an enemy.
The Kashmir has legally acceded to India and Indian parliament has ratified this accession. The fact that because of its Muslim majority- original as well as created by Indian ineptness to protect Hindus living there- Muslim fundamentalists aided and abetted by Pakistan are trying to secede should not make a secular nation like India fall in line. It is the national and constitutional duty of every Indian to keep one voice on this issue and those- Muslims, Hindus or followers of any other religion – who profess, advocate or support separatism should be silenced in accordance with the law. The fact that the fundamentalists have made Kashmir a single religion area and, through intimidation, are not allowing any voice other than that of so called Azadi (which will in no time result in domination by Pakistan), to come out, cannot be an excuse for other  intellectuals to indulge in anti-national activities. Interestingly, Arundhati Roy has never spoken a word against the violence and atrocities committed by the Muslim population of the valley.  
It is no secret that during the last two-three decades I. S. I. of Pakistan, fundamentalist outfits like Huji of Bangladesh and Chinese communists have been, singly as well as jointly, burning midnight oil to fracture India in parts. Any permissiveness (which is the bane of Hindu mindset) on the part of Indian government will lend much-wanted internal support to the external aggression. While one should be allowed to speak against excesses, if real, by security forces, no second voice should be allowed on the question of Kashmir’s accession to India. If in the name of the freedom of press we ourselves encourage those opposing Kashmir’s accession, Kashmir is as good as gone; and, if we continue to allow the likes of Geelanis and Arundhatis to support violent secessionists, Maoists’ corridor and Fareast will also be gone soon.   


More by :  Mahesh Chandra Dewedy

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Comment Arundhati Roy has challenged the authorities to file a charge posthumously against Jawaharlal too. According to her she said nothing different from what has been stated by Nehru on the subject, at various times. In this regard Roy has referred to the telegrams sent by him to the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and England in the months of October/ November 1947 and his public statements carried by the radio and newspapers thereafter. Then she makes a mention of U.N resolutions to claim innocence . Arundhati Roy 's case is that accession of Kashmir to India was accepted on the condition that as soon as law and order was restored the people of Kashmir would decide upon the question of accession, and that Nehru has committed India to work with United Nations to enable the people of Kashmir to express their will. She then refers to Nehru's statement made in Lok Sabha on 31st March 1955 wherein he described Kashmir as having its own soul and identity, and gave supremacy to the good will and consent of the people of Kashmir on the matter of accession. Viewed so, Roy argues for the Azadi of Kashmiris.
Jawaharlal Nehru can't be prosecuted posthumously , because the criminal law does not allow prosecution of a person who is no more . Even on the facts and circumstances of the case he can't be charged .The matter of Kashmir's relationship with India is too complex to be understood in selectively quoted excerpts of Pt; Nehru's speeches . One has to understand the environment and the political upheaval that prevailed immediately after the independence in the sub-continent , 60 years ago , and what preceded it in the political arena of the Valley . The tribal attack on J&K, aided and abetted by Pakistan made things very murky . Jawaharlal Nehru was a true statesman. His was a statesman -like approach towards Kashmir. The temperament and character of the people of the State and the ideology of National Conference - then the sole representative of Kashmiris-brought Kashmir closer to India . In this regard Sheikh Abdullah is quite candid and clear in his autobiography Aatish e Chinar. To understand Nehru's statements the whole scene would have to be recreated. Nonetheless, we have a number of his declarations to make the Indian position clear, which conveniently have not been noticed. On 24 July 1952 Nehru made a statement on Delhi Agreement in regard to J&K and declared in Lok Sabha ' the accession is complete in law and, in fact, J& K is a constituent unit like any other.'
In his letter No. 368 dated 21 November 1947 to Pak P.M. Jawaharlal writes that as soon as peace returns Kashmir should decide of accession by plebiscite or referendum. The peace still eludes Kashmir. On 29 March 1956 he stated in the Lok Sabha " The talk of plebiscite in Kashmir was ' entirely beside the point ' and there could be no question of holding it until Pakistan had withdrawn all armed forces from the state. He also said that the Kashmir problem had to be viewed afresh because of the American Military aid to Pakistan and added that Pakistan's joining Baghdad Pact and SEATO had invalidated the old arguments relating to the question." Then he went on to say, "Legally and constitutionally , Kashmir acceded to India .This is an undoubted fact . You may criticize the speed, with which this was done, manner of it , but the fact is that legally and constitutionally , the state of J&K acceded to India . Therefore it became the duty of the Indian Union to defend and protect Kashmir from aggression and drive out the invaders …." ( Jawaid Alam in Select Correspondence Between Jawahar lal Nehru and Karan Singh P 195 Penguin / Viking and Sandeep Bamzai in Bonfire of Kashmiriat -Deconstructing the accession Rupa & Co P 68 ) On 13 April 1956 at a public meeting in Delhi , on the occasion of National week , Nehru said that until Pakistan withdrew its forces from Kashmir in accordance with the UNCIP resolution there could be no talk of plebiscite . UNO came in the picture thus.
The tribals of the Frontier , aided by the regular troops and officers of the Pakistan army, invaded Kashmir in October 1947. Consequent upon Maharaja Hari Singh signing the instrument of accession to India the Indian Army intervened and repelled the aggression from ¾ of the Valley. India took the matter to the U.N.O which passed a number of resolutions. On 13 August 1948, the Security Council passed a three -part Basic Resolution and called for a ceasefire. It asked Pakistan to withdraw all her forces , regular or irregular , and permitted India to retain part of her troops in Kashmir. Part 111 of the resolution, no doubt, talked about the future status of the State to be decided by the will of the people, but it was not binding unless the first two parts had been implemented. This was precisely in the mind of Nehru when he made the statement in Delhi on 13 April 1956 regarding India' stand on Kashmir vis-a vis UNCIP resolutions.
Pakistan refused to implement the first two parts and continues to do so till now . It will be profitable to reflect here the relevant clause of the resolution to see how presence of Pak troops in J&K state constituted a material change in the situation from where , till now , Pakistan has not been able to wriggle out .Clause A (1) Part 11; As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu & Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council , the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops, from that State .
On 22 December 1949, the UNCIP adopted the proposals of the President of the Security Council General McNaughton about the demilitarization ,which included the withdrawal of the regular Pakistani forces ; the withdrawal of Indian forces not required for the purposes of security or for the maintenance of local law and order on the Indian side of the cease fire line ; and the reduction by disbanding and disarming of the armed forces of the state of J&K on the one side , and the Azad forces , on the other .
The Northern Areas were also included in this program of demilitarization ; the administration was to be continued by the existing local authorities , subject to the United Nations supervision .

Kanayalal Raina
26-Dec-2010 10:24 AM

Comment Superb! Well articulated!

Two comments:

1. The Hindu word for God is Brahman (not Brahma). This is just a trivial observation but if you plan to publish this article (which you should) then you may want to fix it.
2. How should the Indian Government handle the Arundhati Roy issue?
I think deep down we all know that Indian Government is basically weak in its public mandate, resolve to take proactive steps (on Maoist, Separatists, Pakistan & China issues) and the degree of commitment to nationalism by all its coalition members. Whether it is a Hindu phenomenon, Indian (historical) phenomenon, or result of centuries of colonization or yet other phenomenon can be debated, but there is no denying the fact that we are pitiful in our nationalistic feelings. As you so well pointed out that even in a secular society the representative for the government come from the dominant religions of the land and as such influence the function of the government with their total personality (intellectual and spiritual). The secular setup provides the legal framework to protect the minorities and helps shape the all inclusive thinking of the majority. With this as the back drop, since Hindus are the majority, one can conclude that they are also very much responsible for the weak nationalistic outlook certainly when you look at the majority of leaders they elect. This is not a religious issue. It is an intellectual issue. Hindus have a long way to go in committing to nationalism in a secular framework. The Indian Government simply reflects the weakness of the lack of resolve of its majority constituents.

As far as Arundhati Roy issue is concerned, I believe that Indian Government should not take any direct action on it. There is plenty to do in legal covert ways to address any fallout from this. Paying any open attention would only give this issue more weight that it deserves. However, the intellectuals of the Indian society should take it seriously and sound their voice of reason and show the apparent fallacy in her statements and those made by the separatists. I believe that part of our problem is inaction (perhaps born out of habit of tolerance or indifference out of helplessness) on part of our intellectuals to take these issues head on and voice their stand in any medium at their disposal. At least our young minds would be exposed to alternative views. I also believe that in the long run reasoning, rationale and truth will win.

I am so glad you are speaking out on these important issues.


Gopal Singh
31-Oct-2010 19:24 PM

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