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|July 17, 2002||
The woes of Jammu and Ladakh
The very talk of separating Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh is falling in line with the two-nation theory,' said Omar Abdullah to PTI as reported in The Asian Age, Mumbai, of July 1, 2002. He also said, 'These leaders [of the RSS and VHP] do not know anything of Kashmir.'
Well, well, well, Abdullah III, 32, has a lot of reading to do. And if he only yields his acidic tongue to the printed words of history, he will learn of three major realities --
That is why the PTI report in The Asian Age, Mumbai edition, dated November 27, 2000, wherein Abdul Rouf Ganai, co-convener of the Jammu Kashmir National Front, denied that his organisation's demand for the state's trifurcation was 'communal and RSS-backed'; in fact, in support of that denial, Ganai stated, 'Both Hindus and Muslims of Jammu are treated as second-class citizens by the Srinagar-based elite.' Equally important was his belief that 'Jammu Muslims are ethnically and culturally different from the Kashmiri Muslims. We are closer to the Hindu Paharis, Gujjars, Dogras and Punjabis.' So what is all that cock and bull about 'Kashmiriyat' that we've been brainwashed with all these years by cunning politicians and two-penny pen-pushers?
Another outcome of Srinagar's domineering suzerainty over J&K all these long, long years is the PTI report in The Asian Age, Mumbai edition, of June 19, 2000, which announced the Ladakhi Buddhist Association's plan for observance of a 'black week' to oppose the 'rule from Srinagar'. That report also quoted a senior leader of the LBA as saying, 'The Ladakhis are apprehensive that the proposed step for greater autonomy for the state or to restore the pre-1953 position will ruin the interests of Ladakh people who have been clamouring for Union territory status for a long time.' So what is behind all this clamour of the Abdullahs for 'greater autonomy short of azadi?'
This Ladakhi agitation against Srinagar's domination dates back to 1952 when Sheikh Abdullah presented the state's budget to its Constituent Assembly, forgetting Ladakh altogether; when Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, head lama of Ladakh, protested in a strongly worded speech, Abdullah asked his speech to be expunged from the records on the ground that it was in English and not in Urdu. Bakula was the one who recently retired as India's ambassador to Mongolia. The reader -- and Abdullah III -- will discover that fact and more in Arpi's above-referred Rediff Special that is as much a succinct narration of Ladakh's tribulations as it is a tribute to the courage of the Ladakhis and to their love-cum-loyalty for the Indian nation.
It should be clear to the impartial observer that the latest RSS resolution advocating J&K's trifurcation is not rooted in communal soil, but in the discrimination practised against the Jammu and Ladakh regions by the long line of Wazir-e-Azams ruling from the seat of the Kashmir valley. Below is evidence of that discrimination as spelt out in two signed newspaper articles: one in The Tribune of August 27, 2000, written by Hari Om, history professor at Jammu University, and the other in Tarun Bharat of July 7, 2002, by M G Vaidya, chief spokesman of the RSS.
Why, Vaidya says the RSS report recommending the trifurcation of J&K is based on the views of 48 delegations expressed to the Sangh's three-man committee headed by the chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court.
In fact, when Abdullah III alleges that the demand for trifurcation is communal because it gives the signal to Pakistan that the valley is up for grabs, it is he who is hoist with his own petard. His reaction mirrors his belief that the Muslims of the valley are all pining to be gobbled by the fundamentalist, India-hating neighbour of ours, and that we, the people of India, will meekly comply. It would seem then that apart from ignoring the 55-year history of our nation's blood, toil, tears and sweat lost in defending Srinagar against the evil designs of Pakistan, the young man hasn't studied even the recent MORI poll of J&K. Tsk, tsk.
Abdullah III has the democratic right to oppose the trifurcation of the state that has become his dynasty's monopoly. We are not Pakistan to fetter that freedom of his. But may we have some logic, not rhetoric, for that opposition? And some explanations, if not solutions, for the half-century of woes of J&L?
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