Karan Singh’s Theater of the Absurd

Karan Singh’s Theater of the Absurd

Welcoming the Legislative Council’s resolution declaring the birth anniversary of his father Maharaja Hari Singh- the erstwhile ruler of Jammu and Kashmir- as a state holiday, Karan Singh criticized ‘attempts to brand’ the state’s erstwhile ruler as ‘communal’. Singh speaking at a book launch also alleged that the National Conference (NC) was responsible for spreading ‘poisonous rumours’ about his father and the Dogra rule in the state. The scion of the princely Dogra family added that ‘Peace prevailed in the state during the rule of the Dogras. In 100 years of the Dogra rule, bullets were fired only once…that too because the shops of Kashmiri Pandits were probably being looted. In the firing, some people were killed and that is being celebrated as ‘martyr’s day’. Karan Singh’s scurrilous remarks are scandalous in the sense that he is attempting to twist Kashmir’s history to fit his distortionary prism. This malicious attempt goes against the gravamen and grain of Kashmir’s modern history. Customary, traditional, conventional and scholarly views and takes on Kashmir’s history- especially in the Post Treaty of Amritsar avatar- converge on the overt Hindu nature of rule over Kashmir. Perhaps best encapsulated in Mridu Rai’s eminently scholarly oeuvre, ‘Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects: Islam, Rights and History of Kashmir’, Kashmir’s modern history was the story of collusion, intrigues and coercion all aimed to maintain Dogra suzerainty over Kashmir. The British, for geopolitical reasons and the ‘Great Game” granted the Dogra Maharajas latitude and leeway in ruling Kashmir. The implicit or at times even explicit bargain between the British Imperialists and the Dogra potentates appears to have been in the nature of indirect rule over Kashmir. In this schemata, what appears to have been the guiding motto was that as long as the Maharaja’s rule kept away the Russians and maintained a patina of order , the British would look away and not intervene and interfere with Dogra rule. This bargain allowed the Dogra rulers sufficient space to employ overtly religious devices to maintain their suzerainty over Kashmir. Kashmiris were denied their rights- political, economic, social and even legal. Dissent was crushed and stifled and for all purposes Kashmiri Muslims were viewed and treated as denuded and dispossessed subjects. This state of affairs continued till Kashmiris demonstrated their first inkling of nationalism and resistance against unfair and illegitimate rule in the watershed datum of 1931. Questioning all this and impugning motives and agendas amounts to denigrating and demeaning Kashmir’s modern history. Karan Singh might have spoken out of pique , anger and peevishness; he may have personal scores or even political points of difference with certain players but he has no right to question and twist Kashmir’s history to his predilections and prejudices. Kashmir or even the state of Jammu and Kashmir needs an honest, critical reappraisal of its history-both in retrospect and prospect- to attain the much needed perspective and closure that its denizens so need. The rest is baloney and falls in the realm and theater of the absurd.

One Response to "Karan Singh’s Theater of the Absurd"

  1. SKChadha   January 30, 2017 at 8:05 am

    “This bargain (by British) allowed the Dogra rulers sufficient space to employ overtly religious devices to maintain their suzerainty over Kashmir. Kashmiris were denied their rights- political, economic, social and even legal. Dissent was crushed and stifled and for all purposes Kashmiri Muslims were viewed and treated as denuded and dispossessed subjects.”

    Oh …. what a narrative ! Isn’t it the case of entire Muslim Rule in this land including that of Mughals? ….. 😀

    Reply

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