Time for Congress to win over nationalist camp
by Dost Khan on 30 Dec 2009 8 Comments
Sageer Report pro-separatist

Today’s Congress is not the Congress of Pandit Moti Lal Nehru (1928), who knew the nature of the Indian problem, who knew the nature and implications of the Muslim League politics, and who rejected outright the suggestions in favour of communal electorates and creation of three new Muslim-majority provinces of Sindh, Baluchistan and North West Frontier Province; and advocated not just joint electorates, but also the need for a unitary structure, also invested with residuary powers.


Today’s Congress is not the Congress of Subhash Chandra Bose, who wanted to achieve the country’s independence through all means and at the earliest; who stood for secular and democratic values; who didn’t discriminate between communities on the ground of religious denomination; who worked and died for national unity and integrity; whose re-election as Congress president in 1939 at Tripuri was described by Mahatma Gandhi, whom we call the “father of the nation” as his “personal defeat” on the ground that the Pradesh Congress Committees had defeated his candidate Sitaramayya; who, convinced it would be difficult for him to discharge his obligations towards the nation as Congress president because Gandhi was unhappy over his re-election, quit Congress and formed the Forward Block to fight for the national cause.


Today’s Congress is not the Congress of Indira Gandhi, who showed Pakistan its rightful place in 1971 by facilitating the creation of an independent and sovereign Bangladesh out of Pakistan; whose armed forces made 93,000 Pakistani soldiers, including generals, raise their hands and lay down arms before the fast-advancing and brave Indian soldiers; who withdrew her party’s support to Sheikh Abdullah in 1977 on the ground that the government was indulging in activities not conducive to national health; who dismissed the government of Farooq Abdullah in 1984 on the ground that it had become a “threat to national security”; who was given unqualified support even by the RSS and BJP stalwarts like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who called her “Durga,” and who later fought to restore law and order in militant-infested Punjab before succumbing to the bullet. However, later a democratically-elected government came to power in 1992 under the brave Sardar Beant Singh. The nation gave Indira Gandhi unstinted support notwithstanding the fact that she had declared Emergency in the country in 1975; had pinned faith in the unscrupulous Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at Shimla in 1972 resulting in the conversion of a magnificent victory into a diplomatic defeat.


This is also not the Congress of PV Narasimha Rao, who would speak less but work hard for the unity and integrity of India; who in collaboration with J&K Governor Gen. KV Krishna Rao would break the backbone of radical Islamists and separatists in Kashmir and organize very successfully the 1996 Parliamentary and Assembly elections in the state, with not even a single terrorist-related incident taking place anywhere; who examined the implications of the demand in favour of pre-1953 politico-constitutional status for J&K and did nothing to implement his Burkina Faso “Sky is the limit” statement; and who did all he could to tell everyone in Kashmir that he meant business and would not tolerate any non-sense.


Today’s Congress is something all together different. It doesn’t mind handing over the office of Chief Minister to the National Conference, a votary of semi-independence and a party known for its bias against Jammu, Ladakh and non-Kashmiri Muslim minorities, for a full term of six years, with the local Congress leaders not mustering courage to open their mouths and fight for the long-term interests of the Congress party in the state. Today’s Congress doesn’t mind extending a helping hand to those in Kashmir who are demanding greater autonomy and self-rule, or a dispensation outside the secular and democratic constitutional organization of India on the ground that Kashmir is a Muslim majority area and cannot have any kind of relations with New Delhi.


Today’s Congress doesn’t mind making common cause with those in Kashmir who are denouncing the Indian Army and demanding its withdrawal from the state on the ground its presence in the state is unlawful and illegal, and that the withdrawal of the Army and paramilitary forces from Kashmir alone could provide “breathing space to the Kashmiri people” (read the followers of a particular religion).


Today’s Congress does not mind talking to those who want the borders between India and Pakistan to become soft and the Actual Line of Control between the two parts of J&K to become porous and irrelevant; who want New Delhi to share sovereignty with Pakistan in J&K; who want dual currency system in the state; who want economic independence for the state; and who are talking in terms of supra-state measures.


Today’s Congress is controlled by those who are themselves saying that they are for a “non-territorial” solution. In other words, who are out to make ideological compromises with those whose ideology is primitive, backward-looking, regressive and intolerant. In other words, they themselves are saying ‘borders are just a line on the map.’


Today’s Congress doesn’t mind hailing Justice Sageer Ahmed’s out-and-out anti-India, anti-Jammu, anti-Ladakh, anti-displaced Kashmiri Hindus and anti-Gujjar and Bakerwal Muslims and pro-autonomy and pro-self-rule report drafted, approved and submitted by one man to the Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister – a report which is likely to be considered by the State Cabinet on December 30 [today].


It is true that it is only JKPCC chief Saifuddin Soz who, unlike Union Health Minister and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, has hailed the report and publicly acknowledged that “his party’s stand is clear and the stand is that it doesn’t mind considering the concepts of autonomy and self-rule”. (Azad told media persons in Jammu only the other day that “I will not make any comment on the report as I have not seen it”.)


The open support given by the JKPCC president to the highly biased and unsettling report, and the stony silence of the Jammu-based Congress leaders and ministers, indicate that the Congress high command stands for whatever Justice Sageer Ahmed has recommended. Had it not been so, the JKPCC president would not have commended the controversial report; the local Congress leaders and ministers would have by now surely raised much hue and cry.


Yet the Congress is committing a grave mistake by making pronouncements which are not desirable; which would surely harm the long-term political interests of the party not only in the state in general and Jammu province, its core constituency, in particular, but also across the country because the nation is not prepared for a sell-out; for any kind of compromise on the Indian position on Jammu and Kashmir.


The Jammu-based Congress leaders and ministers must assert themselves, taking into consideration the stark reality that the people of Jammu are up in revolt against the report, against the Congress and against the National Conference. The shutdown observed by the people of Jammu on December 29, 2009 is proof. They should not ignore this shutdown. They had ignored the national sentiment in Jammu in 2008 and had suffered the people’s ire. They should not commit the same folly again.


They must throw this report out lock, stock and barrel and work for the separation of Jammu and Ladakh from Kashmir as this is the only way left to show the separatists their rightful place. It is time for them to follow Moti Lal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, and Indira Gandhi, who had also opposed the idea of the Mughal Road, and PV Narasimha Rao, and save Jammu and save the nation.     


The author resides in Jammu & Kashmir  

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