Opinion: Scrapping Article 370 May Work, But What Happens To Kashmir’s Valleys?

I think repealing Article 370 might turn out to be a good idea, in the long run. No doubt, the step is unconstitutional. But I am one of those who does not consider the Constitution to be the Bible. A book of codes should not rule. The Vedas should not rule. So the argument that ‘it is unconstitutional’ is not acceptable to me, in special cases.

No doubt, the step is thoroughly autocratic. But I don’t think a step is bad just because it is autocratic. In a democracy, anyway, lobbying overshadows the ‘real’ opinion of people.

We do believe in constitutional values even though they were not made for ‘us.’ But we should never forget that they are a collation of man-made rules. Some make sense more than others. I am talking about practicality here, I guess.

Kashmir And The Kashmiri Community

Kashmir is an issue. Kashmir was always an issue. Nothing was done about it for a long time. So the neo-liberals used to flake the government. And the army was also flaked. Neo-liberals flake every step of a government in every nation across ages. They like their lifestyles full of affluence and are able to enjoy neo-liberalism because they are affluent. They love having long discussions and hence, flaking those in power is a way of passing time for them. And it is easier today, with Facebook and Twitter.

You just have to use the words already dancing around, and gain respect from everyone at the cost of those who are really suffering. Like fascism. Not many understand it but use it everywhere, as if it was the first word they learnt from their mothers. In other words, it is a kind of religion. A religion with no set book.

Believe me, most of us who are against the revoke want to feel elite. So, they have to accept the popular opinion of being against Modi. Only a few really understand (I do not claim to be one of them), but those who really do, also provide a partial analysis, because they consider it one of the many steps by the Modi government against minorities.

But what about the Kashmiris? Won’t they lose their way of life? Yes, they will. The same way the Himachalis have, Goans have, Kannadas have.

It was a breach of contract the Indian federal state had made with the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir in 1948. But terrorism in a state is worse than a breach. Secondly, is there a way to know that the will of the J&K leadership in any way was also the will of people of Kashmir in 1948? So to me, the idea that something (at least something) is being done is welcome.

But wouldn’t it have been more constitutional/logical to hold polls? And ask the junta what they really want? Yes, it would have been more constitutional. But was it possible? Was it logical? No. The current situation and the presence of arms in the valley would have made it impossible. Even today, Pakistan (quite openly) says that is against India’s step. What does it mean? Why so much interest in Kashmir? How will it affect Pakistan if J&K loses its special status?

An army vehicle stands guard at Srinagar. It is a common sight in the state’s capital to see civilian life dotted with khaki. (Photo: Piotr Wojtkowski/Public Domain Pictures)

The Path Ahead

What now? No infiltration. Less bloodshed at the hands of terrorists. Lesser grip over Kashmir? Bigger environmental crisis? All of these.

Neo-liberals say that there would be more bloodshed if J&K loses its special status. What is the logic behind this? Let’s see. I think there might not be so much bloodshed. Terrorists will be thrown out, and then normalcy may come to reign in the region.

When Amit Shah (whom I personally dislike, by the way) says that those against the said revoke are those whose children are studying in the UK and America, I find a tenor of truth in it. I feel that after an initial chaos (which will be written about and discussed at length by intelligentsia) a peace will begin to reign in the conflicted region.

Borders would be stronger. If anything, J&K might turn out to be a simpler state, like Arunachal Pradesh, like Rajasthan. Yes, there may be the usual crossing over, but the case would be much easier to handle than it is now.

Should J&K be given full countryhood? No. Because our neighbours may send their armies for occupation the second the region is given freedom. And then… you know what I mean, right?

So, I would hope the ‘intelligentsia’ understands for the time being that Article 370 was an unnecessary and defunct article in the Constitution. Any country which has a ‘special state’ will always find it hard to handle it. Which other country has a special state like J&K?

Democracy was given a blow yesterday. But sometimes democracy is not viable. If one is so blinded so as to worship democracy so much that they are unable to see the bloodshed in J&K, then I find a lack of logic in the viewpoint.

Something Is Better Than Nothing

In fact, I don’t even like Agha Shahid Ali as a political poet. In my opinion, he could never get close to the problem of Kashmir. He spent his life in America. So much of his work was sentimental and I feel he was nowhere near his idol, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, who actually fought against regime. Ali was affluent. He had resources. He was used to a certain way of life. And just like me, commenting from far away. (Of course my father is in the armed forces, and posted in Jammu currently, but let’s not count that.)

I find that every ism is stupid. Every case should be handled on its own merit.

As far as Kashmir is concerned, doing nothing was worse than doing something, in my opinion. I may be wrong at various places (according to you). But considering my knowledge of the subject and personal experience, I still hold my opinion. But am always ready to mend it if provided with sound logic. So one might find another article, here on YKA, in which I may speak against the revoke.

I was always against Article 370. And I wanted it to go away. I truly believe that this means more opportunity. Many other countries may have separate states for their religious minorities, but they are not secular either!

India is secular. Just by that logic, it should not have a special state for just one community to thrive. The idea is anti-secular, that a state should be considered special just so that its majority may feel freer. It is akin to accepting that the BJP is right in trying to be make India a Hindu state.

I feel that the Kashmiri community will benefit from the citizenship the rest of India enjoys.

My Worry For The Valley

There is one thing that worries me. The cost on the environment. The way the BJP will mess with the pristine valleys of Jammu and Kashmir for tourism and its resources. In other words, it can be said that the conflict has done one good thing for the region, which is keeping the environment safe from the claws of development.

Soon, the metaphorical beauty of Jammu and Kashmir will fade away. There would be buildings and concrete all over (like Himachal), which is sad. But I’m also of the opinion that any Indian government would have destroyed the earth if they were given the chance.

Governments, anywhere and everywhere, thrive on the immolation of the earth. Only those governments are ‘environment friendly’ that are ‘developed’ enough to afford it. In other words, whose people are already living affluent lives at the cost of years of environmental degradation.

But again, don’t you think that the government has the backing of the “rich” who will really gain from Jammu and Kashmir being accessible?

Think about it. Was it Amit Shah, or was it Ambani? And aren’t you yourself trying to make more money, be more affluent?

I love the way it was handled, by the way. In a cold, calculated way. No mass civil wars. No unrest. The intelligentsia will only write from their closed air-conditioned rooms. They were never a threat. The politicians under house arrest will be given portfolios and they will be happy, once again. In other words, those already in power will go back to accepting things, because in the long run, there will be more topics to gain social points from. Amit Shah may be the devil, but he is also a cold-hearted Chanakya. Respect, bro.

Featured image for representative purpose only.
Featured image source: Amit J Sangekar/Wikimedia Commons.
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