Roll Back

Roll Back

Mehbooba Mufti has met with Dr. Farooq Abdullah to discuss and devise ways to protect Article 35 A of the Indian Constitution. The Article in contention is linked or even tied to Article 370 which, from the “mainstream “perspective, accords special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The wee bit of a political reaction by the “ mainstream” political class in terms of Article 35 A comes in the wake of attempts to abrogate the said article. The operative word is “reaction” here. A certain enormity defines these ungainly attempts to abrogate Article 35 A: it pertains to the politics of homogenization and assimilation that is the hall mark and signature of Hindutva- an ideology that the far right party and its allied organizations, the VHP and the RSS , is wedded to. Hindutva seeks to subsume India’s diversity into a broad straitjacket of political Hinduism. Central to the tenets of political Hinduism is “assimilation” Kashmir into the new polity which has a Hindu ingress and character. As such, the BJP will leave no stone unturned to severe those links that accord special status to Jammu and Kashmir and then assimilate Kashmir comprehensively into the Indian Union. The “ mainstream” has just reacted to this ominous and ungainly development. What is needed is a vigorous response which actually defeats these nefarious designs on Kashmir at a time when there are multiple attacks on multiple fronts on Kashmir. It needs to be stated here that the conflict in and over Kashmir is not about Article 370 or what have you, but under the given set of circumstances, attempts to abrogate it are another assault on Kashmir’s identity and politics. While Mehbooba’s initial reaction to the issue is prudent but her potential activism suffers from a fatal flaw: the BJP is her party’s alliance partner. There then is a problem. If Mehbooba’s garner’s support for Article 370, then her alliance partner will get upset and play an obstructionist game. However, there is a way out. This lies in parting ways with the BJP. The price to be paid would be loss of governmental power but the upshot will be that the BJP will be rolled back from Kashmir. The foot hold that the PDP gave the BJP in Kashmir will also be pushed back. In the final analysis, if Mehbooba and her party really care about Kashmir and Article 35A, Article 370 , then this is the only feasible and sensible option.

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