Whither J&K: Praja Parishad to Syama Prasad Mookerjee Foundation
by Sandhya Jain on 20 Jan 2010 14 Comments

Is New Delhi suffering Elite Fatigue Syndrome?

This is a Designer Disease, which initially afflicted the Secular Brigade. Like all contagions, it is fast infecting the Hindutva Brigade, at least those sections that struggled to reinvent themselves as ‘secular under my saffron skin’ when the BJP-led NDA pulled the patronage purse-strings.


With the Dominant Faction in the Dominant BJP fiercely committed to an ideology of ‘Uncle Sam knows best,’ BJP leaders have privately insisted that some concessions have to be made to J&K Muslims (without telling us why).


Currently, one likely reason is that Washington wants to compensate Islamabad for losing ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan, and the extension of the American War into lawless Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). At the same time, Balochistan has become very unruly. Given the wimpish history of the Indian elite, the temptation to divide and share the Indian Pie seems irresistible. 


But, as the wise old Indian rishis said, you cannot step into the same river twice. Much water has flown down the Jhelum from the time the pompous Jawaharlal Nehru messed up Kashmir under the Mountbatten tutelage, and almost let the UN parcel off further chunks to Pakistan. It was Mountbatten who introduced Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah as a factor in the State in an utterly illegitimate manner, which is visibly at variance with the way the accession of other Princely States was handled. Nehru allowed himself to be conned into accepting the Sheikh and his tantrums, the disastrous and murderous legacy of which is with us to this day.


So weak and stupefied was Hindu society in those early days of freedom that a viable rebellion against Nehru and his impotent management of Kashmir affairs was not possible. Without digressing into the history of those troubled times, a few points may be stated.


Syama Prasad Mookerjee was one of the few perceptive individuals who rejected Article 370 and the special status granted to Jammu & Kashmir, particularly the State Constitution. When the Jammu-based Praja Parishad voiced its opposition to One Country having ‘do vidhan, do nishan, do pradhan’ (two constitutions, two flags, two prime ministers), Mookerjee extended his whole-hearted support to their struggle and set off for Jammu, where he was warned that he was unwelcome.


There are persistent rumours about the role of the associates who accompanied him to that contentious State, but did not accompany him across the border; history will doubtless deal with them in its own way. What is pertinent is that Mookerjee was arrested on May 11, 1953 and died in mysterious circumstances on June 23, 1953, after six weeks in custody.




To return to the Elite Fatigue Syndrome, it is a condition in which those who have excessively fattened themselves upon concurrent patronage from the Indian State and Western patronage routed through scholarships and fellowships and of course the ubiquitous seminar circuit, decide that they can no longer bother with a ‘headache’ like Kashmir. So if Pakistan wants it, and if the Sunni Muslims of Kashmir want to go, then the Indian State and the Indian Army should not hold them back. ‘Free will’ of the people of Kashmir means succumbing to a West-sponsored and engineered secession.


Never has the Indian Army, officially or off the record, stated that it is unwilling or unable to defend the country on any border, no matter how troublesome. How fat, lazy and over-fed elites with no empathy for the nation and its Hindu populace and ethos can decide what can or should be defended and retained, is utterly inexplicable.


One well prosecuted case of Treason against a high profile cad would settle this menace once and for all.




This article is prompted by a deeper concern that well-entrenched ‘secular under my saffron skin’ sections of the Hindutva Brigade may be Uncle Sam’s last hope in re-opening the failed Track II and III that was supposed to give some ‘concessions’ to Islamabad.


The suspicion arises because, despite unequivocal espousal of the old commitment to Akhand Bharat by the new Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat, the local RSS and BJP boycotted the Madhya Pradesh chief minister when he was facilitated in Jammu recently for passing a resolution declaring the entire state an inalienable part of India.
And now, an important RSS think tank, the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Foundation, decided to offer its platform on Kashmir Exodus Day (19 Jan) to a dubious activist going by the title of Editor, Manushi, though the publication is long extinct! The lady’s USP is her association with terrorist Yasin Malik and self-rule proponent Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Indeed, it was to promote the Self Rule Document of the People’s Democratic Party that she conducted a seminar at Nehru Memorial Museum & Library on Nov. 7, 2009, where Yasin Malik was the star attraction (see accompanying report).  

The invitation from the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Foundation said there would be a discussion to mark two decades of the most atrocious exile in the world. The chief guest was the new BJP president Nitin Gadkari; other speakers included former Governor Jagmohan; Ladakh Union Territory Front president Thupstan Chhewang; All India Kashmiri Samaj president Moti Kaul; journalist Prerna Koul Mishra, and Ms Madhu Kishwar, Editor, Manushi.

Anyone can see Kishwar is a misfit in this gathering. Attempts to accommodate her were made by extending the gamut of the meeting to include a discussion on the ‘Autonomy Report.’


Which Report is this? Since Autonomy is a plea of the National Conference, and Self Rule the terminology used by the PDP as part of the same quest for the retreat of Indian sovereignty over Kashmir – the question assumes immense significance.


Given the BJP’s inexplicable decision host Gen. President Pervez Musharraf at Agra – in the grandest ever reception granted to any Head of State in independent India – the party can no longer be taken at face value.


Needless to say, curiosity over the Foundation’s intentions drew an unprecedented crowd, though Kishwar is otherwise a complete non-entity. But some of the crowd had experienced the disgraceful conduct by her and colleague Ram Jethmalani at Teen Murti on Nov. 7, and wanted to know what BJP and RSS were up to. Much resentment had already been conveyed privately to the Parivar leadership.


One Kashmiri Migrant sent a message to the Kashmiri Pandit community, which I was privileged to receive. It stated:


BJP is observing KP Exodus Day on 19th January in Delhi with a big programme in Constitution Club. I have seen big elation on this within a section of our community. I also appreciate them for at least awakening to the significance of our Exodus Day. It is a different matter it has taken them full twenty years to get out of their slumber.


I am, however, searching for certain answers to satisfy my curiosity and hope some one will enlighten me,

1.       Why this sudden need for observing Exodus Day?

2.      What is the objective behind this programme?

3.      Is there some internal BJP politics playing a game?


If my apprehensions behind above questions are unfounded then,


1.       Will BJP President declare its official stand on the return of displaced Kashmiri Pandits in clear terms without using oft repeated clichés, honour and dignity; full security etc?

2.      Will the BJP President make his organisation's stand clear on the geo-political aspirations of the displaced Pandits?

3.      Why have the organisers failed to include a genuine representative of displaced Kashmiri Pandits in the panel? ( With due apologies to the AIKS President, many believe he is in the panel not by virtue of being a KP leader but essentially because of being a senior functionary of  J&K state BJP)

4.      Why is BJP being apologetic about the programme? If it is not so then what was the need of including a known supporter of secessionist organisations in the panel?


This is a holistic summation of the community’s reservations about the meeting.


The high point of the meeting was when Nancy Kaul, convener, Daughters of Vitasta, who was insulted and humiliated by Kishwar and Ram Jethmalani at Teen Murti, asked Kishwar to first read out to the audience the Report she had prepared and submitted to the government regarding her Multi-Party Dialogue on J&K, wherein she blatantly supported Self-Rule in J&K (see report, which is self-explanatory).

Madhu Kishwar denied making any report. Nancy Kaul waved a copy of the same, at which she retorted that someone should teach Kaul the difference between a ‘ghoda’ and a ‘gadha’ (horse and donkey).

No more need be said about her personal culture and her intellectual abilities.

The fracas, however, served the purpose of scuttling any attempt to treat the integration of Jammu & Kashmir with India as re-negotiable. Closing the Kishwar chapter, Foundation director Tarun Vijay said ‘we don’t believe in talking to terrorists’ (read Yasin Malik), and speaker after speaker made a forceful articulation of the problems of Hindus from the State. Thupstan Chhewang excelled with his exposition on the plight of Ladakh and its desire for the free flow of the Indian Constitution in that oppressed region.

Foundation president Bal Apte displayed some agile intellectual footwork by converting the ‘autonomy report’ into a discussion on the Justice Saghir Ahmed Working Group on Centre State Relations, and rejecting the same. The ruse was quickly adopted by other speakers as well, leaving the secular agenda, if any, well and truly beached.

The piece de resistance came from BJP president Nitin Gadkari who (by design?) arrived after the Kishwar fracas was over. He unequivocally reiterated the traditional RSS - Jana Sangh commitment to the State where Mookerjee sacrificed his life so that India did not sacrifice the State. Gadkari rejected all talk of autonomy in any guise, and promised that BJP would never allow the Saghir Ahmad report to be implemented. 

It is to be hoped that this is the last word by RSS–BJP on the issue. Intellectual skullduggery is best left to the Secular Brigade.

The writer is Editor, www.vijayvaani.com
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