Saturday, 27 September 2014

PM Modi's US Trip : Why NaMo Baiters are Suddenly Silent

Given the kind of humiliation the American establishment heaped on Narendra Modi while he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, most supporters of Modi and even many opponents had assumed that he would remain cold and aloof towards Americans after becoming Prime Minister. By cancelling his US visa, the American establishment had treated him as a virtual criminal even though not even an FIR had been registered against him anywhere in India. There was genuine suprise and even disappointment among Modi fans when he took no time to accept the invitation of President Obama to be his guest and address the US Congress.

But anyone who knows Modi even cursorily would understand that Modi doesn't let his ego come in the way of pragmatic politics. For all his "desi" thinking Modi shares some essential traits with Americans - the most important being his fascination for and understanding of power - how to achieve it as well as how to deal with power wielders. He knows very well that to appear a tall leader, he must be endorsed by other tall leaders. If he was seen sulking vis a vis the unquestioned super power of the globe, his stature would be diminished. By contrast, the sight of the American establishment reaching out to him to make up for all the insults they heaped on him, raises his stature both at home and abroad. The fact that he did not have to woo the Americans, it is they who wooed him adds to his charisma.

But most important of all, with this one stroke, all the Modi's-Baiters at home and abroad are stumped. It is an open secret that the campaign to demonize Modi in particular and BJP in general was led by NGOs funded by American and European donor agencies with the full backing of their respective governments. Even the evangelical groups which portrayed Modi as a full blooded fascist, as a "mass murderer", did so in coordination with the political establishment of America and European countries. South Asian studies departments of American campuses became the hot beds for Hate-Modi campaign. The Anya Loombas and Teesta Setalvads could mobilize a whole network of Modi tormentors because the American establishment was behind that campaign. Modi understands very well that even Medha Patkar could create havoc for him and Gujarat over Narmada issue not because she had mass support in India but because she had the backing of American campuses, powerful donor agencies and evangelical groups. Whoever America decides to spotlight at once gets catapulted into international limelight. If The New York Times treats you as a star or a messiah of the downtrodden, how can The Times of India afford to ignore you? That is how Medha Patkar and Teesta Setalvad captured the media in India.

Even as an ordinary citizen, if you have an American visa in your passport, no country denies you visa, Likewise denial of US visa to Modi while he was CM led to several European countries also treating him as a persona non-grata.

With this one invitation all of Modi's tormentors have been silenced. 'Sabki bolti band'. All those who ran virulent campaigns against Modi's entry into the US, all those who worked to have even his video lecture cancelled for an American university are now subdued. There are no blackflag demonstrations greeting Modi in the US. No one is screaming at the American government for having invited him. The Indian community in the US is so charged that he is being treated as a rock star. This is perhaps the first time that a Prime Minister of a country is addressing a mass gathering in a foreign country.

Even the mighty Amartya Sen who had at one time led the campaign to have Modi's US visa cancelled, has had his lips sealed. He knows that compared to the lakhs of Indians dying to attend Modi's public meetings, his baiters cannot gather more than a 100 people for a protest demonstration, unless they rope in Islamic jehadi organizations for the purpose. And if Amartya Sen is silenced, how can a Teesta Setalvad or even Arundhati Roy indulge in histrionics?

Since Modi now has gained great legitimacy in the eyes of the American establishment which has been acting as the mai baap of human rights community in India, those who had made a lucrative profession out of running hate campaigns against him, feel orphaned. Their sources of funding may also start drying up.

Thus, Modi's ready acceptance of American Presidents' invitation has managed to defang all those who made his life hell, moved heaven and earth to nail him as the prime culprit of 2002 riots. As long as the UPA was in power, they were confident of achieving their ends through means fair or foul. Even though the Supreme Court appointed SIT cleared Modi's name, even though they did not succeed in getting one FIR registered against Modi, they tormented him through relentless defamation campaigns with the backing of their funders in the West. After the UPA lost power and Modi became PM, their hate campaign lost much of the media support. Yet, Teesta Setalvad & Shabnam Hashmi Gang did not give up their smear campaign. But now with the American government having befriended Modi, they seem as shell shocked as they were at the stunning defeat of Sonia Congress.

The sudden silence of the self appointed guardians of human rights in India reveals their true political worth and weightage. Their lung power, their political clout is all borrowed. The moment they lose foreign funding and foreign patronage, they begin to fade into insignificance. Most of the leading NGOs claiming to be defenders of human rights and minority rights are hot house growths. They have hardly any roots or support base in Indian society. Their clout is largely based on the clout of their handlers and financial backers.

Without having lifted a finger to discipline Indian NGO's who created hell for him, by accepting Obama's invitation Modi has effectively struck at their roots. Even the Indian media which had made common cause with Hate- Modi Campaign, is giving ga-go over Modi's US visit.
Finally, Modi also realizes that good relations with America will give him additional clout vis a vis Pakistan and China. That will lend strength to his efforts to put an end to boundary disputes between these two troublesome neighbours. Most important of all American help will be crucial in solving the chronic Kashmir problem.

And if Modi can solve the Kashmir problem once and for all - which he seems determined to do - who know the man the American establishment hounded and derided as Hitler Mark II, as a genocide perpetrator - may even get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!

The Hug of the Century

A woman found a badly injured lion in the forest. She took it with her and nursed it back to health. When it was better, she made arrangements with a zoo to take the lion and give it a new and happy home.

This video was taken when she returned to the zoo 5 years later to see how her lion was doing. Watch the lion's amazing reaction when he sees her!

Watch and enjoy! (1 minute 20 seconds); You just won't believe the expression on the lion's face unless you watch it! 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

इतने वर्षों बाद भारत माँ को खुलकर मुस्कुराते देखा है !

Poet: Anonymous

जो पढ़ सके न खुद किताब मांग रहे है, 
खुद रख न पाए वे हिसाब मांग रहे है।
जो कर सके न साठ साल में कोई विकास वे
सौ दिनों में ही जवाब मांग रहे है !
आज गधे गुलाब मांग रहे है, चोर लुटेरे इन्साफ मांग रहे है।
जो लुटते रहे देश को 60 सालों तक,
सुना है आज वो 1OO दिन का हिसाब मांग रहे है !
जब 3 महीनो में पेट्रोल की कीमते 7 रुपये तक कम हो जाये,
जब जब 3 महीनो में डॉलर 68 से 60 हो जाये,
जब 3 महीनो में सब्जियों की कीमते कम हो जाये,
जब 3 महीनो में सिलिंडर की कीमते कम हो जाये,
जब 3 महीनो में बुलेट ट्रैन जैसे टेन् भारत में चलाये 
जाने को सरकार की हरी झंडी मिल जाये,
जब 3 महीनो में सभी सरकारी कर्मचारी समय पर ऑफिस पहुचने लग जाये,
जब 3 महीनो में काले धन पर एक कमिटी बन जाये,
जब 3 महीनो में पाकिस्तान को एक करारा जवाब दे दिया जाए,
जब 3 महीनो में भारत के सभी पडोसी मुल्को से रिश्ते सुधरने लग जाये,
जब 3 महीनो में हमारी नगरी काशी को स्मार्ट सिटी बनाने जैसा प्रोजेक्ट पास हो जाये,
जब 3 महीनो में विकास दर 2 साल में सबसे ज्यादा हो जाये,
जब हर गरीबो के उठान के लिए जन धन योजना पास हो जाये.
जब इराक से हज़ारो भारतीयों को सही सलामत वतन वापसी हो जाये !
तो भाई अछे दिन कैसे नहीं आये ???
वो रस्सी आज भी संग्रहालय में है जिससे गांधी बकरी बांधा करते थे
किन्तु वो रस्सी कहां है जिस पे भगत सिंह , सुखदेव और राजगुरु हसते हुए झूले थे?
" हालात.ए.मुल्क देख के रोया न गया...
कोशिश तो की पर मूंह ढक के सोया न गया".
देश मेरा क्या बाजार हो गया है ...
पकड़ता हु तिरंगा तो लोग पूछते है कितने का है...
वर्षों बाद एक नेता को माँ गंगा की आरती करते देखा है,
वरना अब तक एक परिवार की समाधियों पर फूल चढ़ाते देखा है।
वर्षों बाद एक नेता को अपनी मातृभाषा में बोलते देखा है,
वरना अब तक रटी रटाई अंग्रेजी बोलते देखा है।
वर्षों बाद एक नेता को Statue Of Unity बनाते देखा है,
वरना अब तक एक परिवार की मूर्तियां बनाते देखा है।
वर्षों बाद एक नेता को संसद की माटी चूमते देखा है,
वरना अब तक इटैलियन सैंडिल चाटते देखा है !!!
वर्षों बाद एक नेता को देश के लिए रोते देखा है,
वरना अब तक "मेरे पति को मार दिया" कह कर
वोटों की भीख मांगते देखा है।
पाकिस्तान को घबराते देखा है,
अमेरिका को झुकते देखा है।
इतने वर्षों बाद भारत माँ को खुलकर मुस्कुराते देखा है।

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Auratein: Na Ghar ki Na Ghat Ki! : Disinheritance of Women from Family Property

Disinheritance of Women from Family Property
In most parts of our country and among most communities, the belief that the rightful heirs to the family property are sons, is getting stronger. Parents might spend lakhs in buying consumer goods for their daughters as dowry, but very few are willing to give a share of the parental property to daughters. This documentary explores the implications of the growing culture of disinheritance of women in our country.
Though this film was made before the 2005 amendments in the Hindu Succession Act, the issues raised in this film are still valid.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Gap between Promise and Ground Reality: The State of Buddhist Ruins in Vadnagar

During the course of my video recorded conversations with Narendra Modi in 2013 while he was still the chief minister of Gujarat, he had talked with great feeling about the influence of Mahatma Buddha in his life. To quote him:

In Buddhism, I see dharma entrenched in karuna (compassion). I believe compassion is the most valuable essence of life. When I formed the government, these values got ingrained even deeper. What attracts me about Buddha is his inclusive philosophy; secondly, his modernity; and thirdly, his belief in the importance of Sangathan—the idea of Sangha. This underlies all his philosophy. I would often wonder how Buddha managed to reach all over the world. What was it about him that lit sparks everywhere he went, took ordinary human beings towards their kartavya (duty) and appealed to the lower status groups as well? Buddhism does not have too much tam-jham or celebration of big utsavs. There is a direct connect of the individual with the Divine. That entire thought system touches me deeply. Moreover, wherever Buddha went, the region witnessed prosperity. Even though China had a different belief system but Buddha has maintained his influence on China as well.

Thereafter, he went and described the Buddhist heritage in his village Vadnagar and in Mori.

Hiuen-Tsang lived for a long time in the village where I was born. He has written about a hostel in that village where 1,000 student monks resided. After I became chief minister, I got the area excavated and found archeological evidence of things described by Hiuen-Tsang. This means Mahatma Buddha’s philosophy would have had some influence on my ancestors.

We found similar evidence at Devaki Mori near our village. During excavations, they found a gold box, which contains Bhagwan Buddha’s ashes. These are lying in M.S. University at Baroda. It occurred to me that nowhere in the world can you hold the ashes of Lord Buddha in your hand. We alone have this treasure. Therefore, we are planning to construct a big temple of Lord Buddha here at the exact spot from where the box of ashes was excavated. It won’t be built by the government; instead we will motivate private bodies to do it. I want to create an institutional frame work in collaboration with Taiwan, Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Singapore. Its architecture should also have a global appeal, not be limited to traditional Buddhist temples….

We signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Sri Lankan government that they would bring Buddhist tourists from Sri Lanka and we would take Gujaratis for their Ram Trail. This is just the beginning of our attempts to develop the Buddhist heritage and build close links with Buddhist countries.

Ahead of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to Gujarat, an article was posted on PM Modi’s website in English and Mandarian, talking at length about the “Buddhist heritage in Gujarat.”  During Jinping’s visit Modi personally took the Chinese president to a photo exhibition which displayed all that the excavated sites had yielded.  

There is no denying that Buddhism has left a deep imprint on PM Modi’s life.  The enthusiasm with which he talked about the excavation of Buddhist sites led me to take a special trip to Vadnagar to go and see them for myself.  This ancient city with a 2500 year old known history was the earliest capital of Gujarat. It is referred to as Anartpur in Mahabharata and has numerous historic sites, monuments and ancient temples in and around the area.

But instead of feeling uplifted I got one of the biggest shocks of my life witnessing the pathetic plight of the excavated Buddhist ruins. The excavation may have started with much fanfare but the place is so neglected that there wasn’t even a signboard to mark the site.  The excavation itself is incomplete since people have built houses over the site where the Buddhist monastery once stood.

But even the part that is excavated lies in a sorry state with wild grass growing in the dug up portions.  There was a filthy drain flowing right outside the excavation site.  No effort had been made to protect the site. All one saw was a pretense of a fence with broken down bamboos demarcating it from the gali in which it is situated.  These videos clips speak for themselves.

Today (September 19, 2014) I called some people in Vadnagar to find out if things had changed since I first visited the site in June 2014. I was told the place was cleaned up in anticipation of the visit of the Chinese premier. A Chinese delegation had come a few days prior to Xi Jinping’s visit to inspect the historic place. Some amount of cleaning was undertaken in honour of their visit. The wild grass that had grown following the monsoon was removed and a guard appointed to watch over the place. People of Vadnagar are convinced that things will improve now that Chinese and Japanese collaboration is being sought in developing the Buddhist heritage sights of Gujarat. 

However I do wish India showed capability to protect its heritage on its own strength as well. I would be ashamed of showing such a shabbily maintained site to foreigners and pleading with them to do justice to its lost glory.

The open drain bang outside the excavation site

There wasn't even a signboard to mark the excavation site when I visited the place in June 2014

Excavated ruins remained neglected since they were dug up 5 years ago
The immediate neighbourhood of the excavation site

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Sharaab: Kaun Pilaye, Kaun Rukaye?

A Critique of Government's Liquor Policy in India
This film challenges some of the popular myths about anti-liquor movements in India, for example the belief that these are primarily led by women against men. The film reviews the dynamics of anti-liquor movements in four different states: Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh and examines the key role played by men in initiating protests and struggles to rid their villages of the liquor menace. It also tries to explain why most anti-liquor movements start off by targeting drunkards but soon turn anti-government. The film examines the role and response of the state machinery with regard to spreading liquor consumption.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Dahej: Majboori ya Zaroorat?

Dowry: Compulsion vs Need?
In India, the common perception is that dowry is a social evil. For women in particular, it is considered to be a curse. On one hand, it has been demanded repeatedly that the government should pass stricter laws to abolish the custom of dowry. But the very people who make such demands are unable to answer why the anti-dowry law that was enacted in 1961, and made even more stringent in 1984 and 1986, has remained unsuccessful. Why is it that even after so many decades of pronouncing dowry illegal, the culture of dowry has become stronger and more widespread? Why is it that even those who condemn it are not able to withstand the growing power of this custom in their own families? Is it a disease that has gripped people against their wish? Or does the problem lie elsewhere? These are some of the questions answered in this film.

To watch this Programme :

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Next Time, Don't Walk Away

The testimony of the friend of the Delhi gangrape victim on Zee News held up a disturbing mirror to our society. The gross callousness, cowardice and voyeurism displayed by the bystanders, as well as the cars and autos that passed by the badly injured gangrape victim and her friend, proves the truth of the popular saying: "yatha raja, tatha praja (the quality of the rulers determines the quality of the subjects)".
However, in a democracy — even a flawed one like ours — citizens cannot disown their responsibility and wait for rulers to set things right. A democracy gives you some scope to turn this saying on its head: "yatha praja, tatha raja (the quality of the subjects determines the quality of the rulers)".
A common reason given by people coming to the rescue of victims of violence or road accidents is that the police not only harasses such do-gooders, but also tries to implicate them in the accident. As perverse as the police is in India, my experience tells me that the police know the difference between honest and crooked citizens. The real problem arises when the police are already on the scene but neither doing the needful nor letting citizens help the victim.
My first encounter with the voyeuristic tamashbeen mentality of citizens was when I was eight or nine. I had gone to Connaught Place in Delhi with an aunt who was just past her teens at the time. We were walking in the inner circle of CP when we saw a car moving at high speed hit a young man with such force that he was sent flying in the air before he crashed to the ground. People picked him up from the street to prevent him getting run over by other cars, but did not go beyond dumping the profusely bleeding and badly injured man in the verandah of CP's inner circle. They just stood and watched as though it was a scene out of a movie. I suggested to my aunt that take him to a hospital in a taxi but she pulled me away, saying it was not good to get involved in such situations. I was too young to have my say on that day.
Bus smashes boy's head, The body lies unattended on the road
But the memory of that writhing body and citizen passivity left such a deep imprint that without any formal declaration, I made a vow to myself: I would never walk away when a fellow citizen needed my help. Since then, I have taken several accident victims to hospitals. As luck would have it, in each case the person's life was saved due to timely medical help, even when the victims had suffered brain haemorrhage.
Since I began doing it much before I came to own a car, it was always auto rickshaw drivers who agreed to carry the victim to hospital. Car owners did not help even once. All I had to do was to assure the auto driver that I would assume full responsibility for taking the injured person to hospital and that his name would not be brought in at all.
Here is a somewhat melodramatic but true to life example of the deadly consequences of our indifference to fellow citizens. I was still a student in those days, and was travelling on a Delhi Transport Corporation bus when I saw two young men bleeding on the road after their two-wheeler was hit by a speeding bus. I got off the bus and rushed to the accident site. A big crowd had gathered around the injured men. A few motorists also stopped to have a peek. None of them agreed to help me take the two men to hospital. I waved at every car that passed by. None stopped. Finally an auto driver agreed on condition that his identity would be protected from the police. The doctors at the hospital told me that since both had suffered brain haemorrhage, further delay in medical help would have meant certain death. Imagine my surprise when two months later, the two young men, along with their respective fathers, came to our house to tell me that both of them had passed the accident spot and seen me trying to stop passing cars to carry the victims to hospital. They too had stopped momentarily, looked from a distance at the injured men, but decided to drive away, thinking, why invite trouble?
The elite cannot build islands of prosperity and safety for themselves amidst a sea of lawlessness and uncaring citizens. This callousness doesn't stop at unknown victims of violence or accidents. It also extends to immediate neighbours, close relatives. It saddens me no end when people from far and near places phone Manushi to say my daughter, sister or such-and-such woman in my neighbourhood or extended family is suffering daily beatings and might end up dead. In most instances, families and neighbours expect distant organizations or the police to come to the woman's rescue.
A more effective way of combating domestic and other forms of violence is for each neighbourhood to create its own helpline and rush to the rescue of the woman being battered. Once families know they are being watched by their neighbours, who will not hesitate to bring in the police if the abusive behaviour is not halted, they do invariably act with more restraint.
Even the best police force cannot be a substitute for a caring and vigilant neighbourhood. For example, when a young man in my old neighbourhood was caught trying to molest a teenage girl, leading families in the neighbourhood simply blackened his face and made him go around the block of houses in his underpants with folded hands saying, "I seek forgiveness for my misbehaviour". This happened 25 years ago, but the message went home good and proper. From then until I left the area, one never saw young or old men indulge in offensive behaviour. I don't think a police or court case would have achieved the same result. In fact, it would have traumatised the victim further and in all likelihood led to acquittal, or her withdrawing the case due to the soul-destroying legal process one is subjected to.
However, such exemplary social control mechanisms can evolve only when we maintain active links with our neighbours and develop a culture of routine acts of sharing and caring. By living atomised, disconnected lives, we are endangering our own lives. Our families spend a great deal of energy in teaching us to be good sons, responsible daughters, caring sisters, mothers, wives, husbands and so on. Our schools and colleges hammer us to be good disciplined students. But neither family nor educational institutions train us to be responsible citizens, starting with our own neighbourhood. Instead, we discourage our children from getting involved. If we all take charge of our neighbourhoods, the rest will follow automatically.

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Ups & Downs of Indo-Pak Dialogue : Need to Tune into Kashmir’s Changing Political Reality

G Parthasarthy has a point when he writes that “a diplomatic engagement with a neighbor having territorial ambitions has to be carefully calibrated and executed” given past history, it is imperative that dialogue with Pakistan better not be a knee jerk reaction.  It must precede proper home work and coordination between various branches of the government so that they don’t work at cross purposes.

However abrupt cancellation of the dialogue after having started it in haste using Pak Ambassador’s ritually meetings with Kashmiri separatists is in bad form and communicates a very negative image of India.

While there is no doubt that the Pak Ambassador’s invitation to Kashmiri separatists in the midst of fragile secretary level talks amounted to deliberate and avoidable provocation to sensibilities within India.  But it is well known that this act of cocking a snook at India is a product of the diseased in internal politics of Pakistan.  The anti-India lobbies within Pak are already out with their knives and guns aimed at Nawaz Sharif alleging that he is being “soft” towards India on the one hand and ready to betray the interests of Kashmiri separatists who have always counted on Pakistan to fight their battle.  That is why the annual ritual of “consulting” pro-Pak Kashmiri leaders had to be undertaken to reduce the pressure building us at home.

It is an open secret that in comparison to India that elected government in Pakistan is a light weight in comparison to the clout of Pakistani army, the Pak intelligence agencies a whole range of terrorist outfits propped and supported by them.  But the liberal opinion within Pakistan is in favour of peace with India simply because they realize that Pakistan is sinking under the dead weight of its corrosive hostility to India.  This hatred has been the founding principle of Pakistan from the time of Jinnah himself.  Though even the most liberal intelligentsia daren’t question Jinnah’s wisdom openly, but there is a growing realization among this section that if Pakistan cannot be at peace with India, it cannot be at peace with itself either.

In such a situation, the knee jerk fashion in which the dialogue has been unilaterally called off by the BJP government has given a big boost to the anti-India terrorist organizations within Pakistan on the one hand and brought the otherwise marginalized Kashmiri separatists centre stage.

Letting one’s enemies dictate one’s political agenda amounts to strengthening them beyond their actual worth.  It has sent a very negative message to the international community that whereas Pakistan is responsive to the “aspirations” of Kashmiri Muslims, India keeps them at bay because it is afraid of them.

Instead of taking such deep offence at these rituals meeting of Hurriyat factions with the Pak Ambassador, India could well have laughed it off saying: “The Separatists have to keep knocking at the doors of their mai-baap in Pakistani simply because the people of Kashmir don’t pay heed to them; any more.

It is well known that secessionist forces gain strength in Kashmir only when the Central Government allows electoral rigging and helps install a corrupt and tyrannical state government.  Omar Abdullah’s government has inflicted innumerable wounds on Kashmiri people ever since it came to power in 2008.  That is the only reason, a section of Kashmiri youth are using the Hurriyat platform to vent their frustration, without really being enamored of Hurriyat’s own ideology and politics.  During PDP regime, the same people left the Hurriyat in a larch and put Separatist urges behind them simply because Mufti Mohammad Syeed provided and relatively clean and more accountable development oriented government.

In private even Separatist leaders admit the solution of the Kashmir problem can only come through the BJP government.  Narendra Modi as the icon of development oriented politics has ignited even higher hopes that Atal Bihar Vajpayi once ignited among Kashmiri Muslims.  One sign of this is that for the first time in Kashmir’s history that well known public figures like Sajjad Lone have openly made common cause with the BJP and many young people, even in places like Pulwama, which has been a secessionist stronghold, are openly joining the BJP.

During his election campaign itself Narendra Modi had applied balm on Kashmiri hurt by promising them that the Valley too would witness unprecedented economic upsurge and job creation under BJP regime.  This had created a palpable sense of optimism among the Kashmiri youth.  Since the last 30 years Kashmiris have witnessed from very close the internecine warfare among various secessionist groups and factions.  Their rivalries and mutual hatred is also not a secret any more.  Kashmiris have now come to see that the secessionist sentiment is kept alive only through the power of the guns wielded by pro-Pak groups.  They have seen the lavish lifestyles of secessionist leaders who are believed to be getting hefty pay off from Pakistan on the one hand and keeping swords hanging over their heads on the other.

Some of the leading lights among secessionists live under the security cover clearly show they don’t fear the Indian government.  If there is anyone any fear, it is the terrorist outfits propped up by Pakistan.  Moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq went so far as to openly declare Syed Ali Shah Geelani as the man who got Mirwaiz’s father murdered.  He also publicly alleged that even his life was in danger from the pro-Pak militants connected to Geelani Sahib.  One hears knowledgeable Kashmiris say it openly that even if by some mishap Kashmir got azadi, Hurriyat factions would do to each other what Hamas and AlQaida are doing to their co-religionists.    

Most important of all, Kashmiri Separatists have themselves voted with their feet and pockets in favour of India.  They may get hefty pay offs from Pakistan.  But where do they invest this money?  Not in Peshawar, Lahore or Karachi but in buying properties in Jammu, Delhi, Pune, Mumbai etc.  They may send the sons of poor Kashmiri families across the border to get arms training from Pak.  But their own children come to Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune to study and look for jobs or business opportunities.  Many of their children practice law in Indian courts.  You won’t find them inclined to do business in Karachi or even Lahore.

The moderates among Hurriyat are today clearly inclined towards the BJP.  Most of hardliner Geelani Saheb’s colleagues are also tired of acting as the puppets of Islamabad because they see no future for their children in that game.  Geelani Sahib’s and Yasin Malik’s election boycott strategy will work only as long as the outrageously corrupt and insensitive regime of Omar Abdullah is in place.  But NC is likely to be wiped out and replaced by the far more democratic PDP in the coming election.  BJP too is set to make big inroads in the hitherto unexplored Laddakh region in addition to its political base in Jammu region.  A caring democratic regime in Jammu will mean the likes of Yasin Malik will see their space shrink to nothingness as happened after the 2002 election.

Kashmir is also yearning for Modi’s mool mantra  -- Sushasan (good governance) and Vikas (development – just as the rest of India has put their faith in this promise.  Pro-Pak leaders like Yasin Malik are able to flex their muscles only when there is malgovernance in Kashmir.  The answer to the Yasin Maliks hobnobbing with Pak, is not to boycott dialogue with Pakistan.  The appropriate remedy is honest and fair elections, good governance and speedy economic growth with speedier job creation.

In short, the appropriate answer to Pakistan’s disruptive politics in Kashmir is to ensure that the ordinary Kashmiri trust and is happy with the governance model – both in Delhi and Srinagar.  Thus the solution to the Kashmir problem does not really lie in the hands of Pakistan; it lies within India’s power and control.

Madhu Kishwar

Madhu Kishwar
इक उम्र असर होने तक… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …اک عمر اثر ہونے تک

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