From Nehruvian Principles to Modi’s Vision

By Zaman Bajwa


November 2018 marked the process of politicization of the Kashmir Issue when the BJP government under the political approach instructed by the far-right Machiavellian leader Modi, India imposed governor rule by undermining section 53 of J&K’s constitution and hence, dissolving the state’s assembly on the premise of the political divide. Next year on the 5th of August, India abrogated articles 370 and 35A by installing a presidential order. On the other hand, the state’s legislature of J&K was absent to lobby its disapproval of such an unjust and non-constitutional move. This decision was rectified and hence uphold by the two-thirds majority of the lower house, Lok sabha.

It was an effort made by Hindutva-claimed politicians to further the ideological aims to normalize Jammu and Kashmir as an internal matter and further eyeing on Azad Kashmir on which Pakistan laid its claims. However, the realist agenda of the BJP claimed that the granted special status to Kashmir was not permanent in its nature rather Article 370 and 35A can be reserved according to the circumstances. They justified their actions by blaming the current leadership of Kashmir and charged them with corruption and pickpocketed for their interest. Moreover, the socio-economic conditions of the country were left unattended.

What is the pertinence of articles 370 and 35A? Article 370 granted autonomous power to Kashmir which was added in the year 1949. However, power over matters related to foreign policy and defense of the country lies with Delhi under this article. On the other hand, article 35A made part in 1954 restricted non-Kashmiri from gaining citizenship in Kashmir. This act not only breached the constitutional framework of India but also flew in the face of International law, non-observing the 1948 resolution on the Kashmir issue by the United Nations.

Such an act taken by the Indian parliament depicted their motive to make demographic, legal, and geographic changes to Kashmir. However, International law clearly states that neither Pakistan nor India nor any country which are party to the dispute, cannot make such changes until and unless a referendum is carried out. Adding more to it, this violation also weakens the roots of subcontinent transformation into independent states as the Simla agreement of 1972 framed that no one can make unilateral amendments to the legal status of Kashmir.

Stretching the timeline, this mission was instituted back in the 2014 election as a political approach adopted by the Modi government to reverse the status. However, the Indian government suffered from securing majority seats and the turnover was lowest. BJP entered into a coalition with the majority party. However, in the last instance of pre new election, BJP withdraw from the entente and hence the elected government was dissolved. In this way, Modi obtruded Governor Raj on Kashmir.

The most important aspect that requires consideration is that reversing these articles not only revoked the special status but also the legal status of the state is abrogated and hence the state of Kashmir itself is demarcated administratively into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir valley and second is Ladakh region. This division further brought changes to the administrative law as laws related to the purchase of land in the Kashmir region is altered for the non-Kashmiri Indians, a stepping stone towards the demographic changes in Kashmir and an agenda to integrate Kashmir into the Indian region.

This blunt move of the BJP government was opposed by the last Chief Minister of occupied Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti who exclaimed that the current sufferings of Kashmir are due to the mistake made by the fore-father by not joining Pakistan instead of India under the two-nation theory of Sir Syed. Even voices were raised from inside India against this act. Shashi Tharoor, congress leader commented on this unjust act and that Modi’s actions proved Jinnah was right. Furthermore, the Indian famous novelist, Arundthan Roy compared the Kashmir situation with that of Palestine and Indian aggression with that of Israel.

These moves are hard to tackle for Pakistan since India has been internationally more influential and has established an anti-Pakistan discourse demonizing it as being undemocratic and supportive of extremist factions in Kashmir termed by them as “terrorists”. Thus, the future of Kashmir may not be defined by negotiations between Pakistan and India, or by International pressures or resolutions. As history suggests, revolutions are usually bottom-up, and similar may have to materialize in Kashmir. Grass-roots movements and political groups would first need to walk towards a single page since even now there are inherent differences midst them. Once all Kashmiris agree on one solution, only then can they exert influence on Pakistan, India, and the international community to accept their word.

Since it is apparent that India is violating human rights in Kashmir as Kashmiris are used as a human shield and have kept people under lockdown with an increased military presence after the revocation of the articles, much of it gets hidden under the economic incentives it grants to the international market. For instance, the trades midst India and the USA have been around $90 billion in the past year making India one of the largest trading partners of the US. Similarly being a huge market itself, even OIC member Arab states are hesitant to openly speak up while they are also preoccupied with their conflicts including the ones in Yemen or Syria.

The paradigm shift has been made in Indian policy from upholding the soft image in form of Panch Sheel, Nehru’s five guiding principles to the hardliner Hindutva Nationalist policy of Modi. India appears as the swing state in the region by creating security obstacles for the immediate rivals like China and Pakistan in order to culminate China’s economic projects in the region. Which, India militarized the Ladakh region and revoked articles 370 and 35A.



The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.

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