NaMo: Incredible Politician, Weak Leader

The Prime Minister should be thanked for his kind visit to the Valley of Kashmir, which was preceded by a visit to the Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world, where both India and Pakistan spend billions from their (limited) resources to maintain strategic positions of no consequence to a vast majority of their people should a permanent peace prevail.

Perhaps, the PM did not see it appropriate to mention to the rest of India the need to continue the presence of thousands of troops at that altitude, which serves little purpose other than to pose a perpetual pollution threat to Pakistan’s water resources. He also made it a point to visit Siachen before coming to Srinagar to meet the people of the Valley grappling with the flood aftermath, a good 46 days after the floods hit, and many days after most of Srinagar had returned to badly damaged homes – thereby establishing the order of his priorities: the jawan before the awaam. Special thanks are due to him for that.

Many Kashmiris were greeted with words like ‘Modi has given a lot to Kashmir, you guys must be happy!’ or, ‘Modi has said it, he will do it.’

I do not share any such optimism. First, visiting Kashmir on Diwali, a festival which is of little relevance to Kashmiris, be they Muslim or Sikh, and of secondary importance to the Kashmiri Pandits, since their festivals are slightly different. The visit was timed to his convenience, not the convenience of the people. It was timed to demonstrate to the people of India, that the PM chose to spend his in Kashmir with jawans and the Kashmiri awaam, as opposed to the people of India, or his own family in Gujarat. May I argue that the TV time he got on Diwali was of major consequence? May I also argue that the PM decided to spend time in Srinagar because the soon-to-be-held elections of the State Legislative Assembly are on his mind? May I say that it would have been more sensitive and more appropriate to have spent this time on Eid? Or any other day, rather than a Hindu-festival? What if the Vice-President of India, a Muslim, would decide to spend his Eid with flood-sufferers in Assam? Or with those hit by landslides in Maharashtra? It would mean nothing to either, since they would not have been celebrating the festival in the first place, but I would not hesitate to say that the Vice-President would have been called ‘communal’ and ‘insensitive’ by the very people cheering the PM now.

Second, the symbolism: A Hindu PM decides to pay a visit to the Muslim-majority state on a Hindu festival. It would not matter much had it not been for the fact that the current PM is himself a product of the RSS school where people are taught to treat Muslims as second-rate, lapsed rulers of India who deserve to be crushed and segregated as historical revenge for the alleged suppression of Hinduism during Muslim rule in India. What was the PM proving? What was the PM proving by NOT visiting the people of flood-hit Assam? Why? Were they not a part of India?

Third, the simple lack of funds: The State has asked for Rs 44,000 crore, the PM had released Rs 1,000 crore initially, and now Rs 545 crore more with an additional Rs 175 crore for hospitals. Thanks. And the media played this up, again and again, as though the Indian PM had done Kashmiris an immense favour by ‘donating’ this money. It has rightly been criticised by all hues of politicians in Kashmir.

Fourth, bad-mouthing those asking for revoking AFSPA: The out-going Chief Minister of J&K had staked his entire tenure on trying to get the Act revoked.  This has yielded no fruit at all. Countless times, this column has argued that a simple, reversible decision could go a long way in assuaging the fears of Kashmiris, and represent a genuine attempt at healing their wounds. No. Such appeals fall on deaf ears. Instead, the BJP leader in the Rajya Sabha went on to criticise the Chief Minister of J&K saying that he was ‘pandering to the separatists.’ This, in effect, makes asking for the revocation of AFSPA, by a democratically-elected CM of an Indian State, an anti-national move. What is the principle of democracy anyway, sir? Was it not meant to mean a government of the people, by the people, and for the people? Obviously, and the PM remains oblivious to this fact, the genuine demands of Kashmiris remain undemocratic. They evidently are not Indians.

Sad of the PM to play the game Kashmiris have been a victim of all over again. He is not as bold as he claims to be.

4 Responses to "NaMo: Incredible Politician, Weak Leader"

  1. Mazo   October 27, 2014 at 12:53 am

    India is a Hindu MAJORITY nation – Eid is meaningless and is often not even a holiday. Diwali is the LARGEST festival in South Asia – larger than Eid, larger than any other festival and is celebrated across India by not only Hindus, Sikks and Jains but ALSO by Muslims and christians.
    Being a Mohammedan – you are clearly IGNORANT and ridiculously so when you claim that Diwali is not of any consequence in Kashmir – considering that Kashmiri Pandits, the Sikhs, the Buddhists and the Jains celebrate Diwali in the state of J&K. Muslim Majority does NOT mean – MUSLIM only.
    A Islamist who is uncomfortably with a Hindu PM visiting god-forsaken wretches whose contribution to India is MINUS in terms of worth and then claiming that Indians (not Kashmiris) would feel offended that the Muslim Vice President of India visiting Maharastra or Assam on Eid would be taken as an “offense” by Indians is clearly ascribing his own inferiority and small-minded mentality to the rest of India. Sorry, but the Vice-president visiting anywhere on Eid or when ever he choosed to would be HIS business and people wouldn’t be concerned on the date but rather the outcome of his visit. Indians are not like the narrow minded zelots that you seem to be Dr Omar Akhtar. We have moved past such petty symbolism to things more substance.

    Further, the fact that he visited Kashmir at all is a testament to his outreach – he has NO NEED to visit Kashmir, no NEED to even sanction the 1000 crores he has and certainly no need to meet local businessmen or others in Srinagar. The “state government” can demand any amount, it not compulsory or required for the center to provide.

    If the people in Kashmir feel they are being humiliated by the PMs visit on Diwali or they are not getting what they are “owed” by the Central Government in India – they are FREE TO LEAVE anyday and at any time to POK and stay there. Nobody is forcing Kashmiris to basically “squat” on Indian land in Kashmir and eat food grown in India and use Indian infrastructure, and Indian aid and Indian schools and Indian products and take jobs in Indian companies.

    Reply
  2. Ankur Barot   October 28, 2014 at 1:35 am

    Dear Doc,
    Thanks for your as usual idiotic view. I believe that you and people like you should better go to Pakistan and live peacefully. It was Indian Army gave you a shoulder when you were facing the worst nightmare of your life. And today as usual you are free to speak your filthy words. Where were your so called akas when you needed the most? They were having a party on the other side.
    There are thousands of Hindu who visit ajmer sharif or haji Ali dargah.
    So it’s humble request to you to keep quiet and let people live happily here and you are most welcome to go to your cross border akas who calls you Muhajeer.
    It suits you best.
    I hope you have got the answer.

    Reply
  3. Rahul Patil   October 29, 2014 at 12:07 am

    I’ve always been amused how people in Kashmir play the victims game. They blame politicians of being croony n evil while they’re the only one in This world Who’re free frm anything evil.
    Let me get to the point. 44000 crore isn’t chana bhatura. J&K dosent provide any money to the country but keeps asking like ‘little oliver wants some more’ We’re going through tough times n if the writer was in touch with budget session he’ll himself know how govt tried it’s best to give little to EVERYONE! Then there was HudHud n Assam floods. Do u even feel little shame to b asking for 44000 crore n then making fun of us for not giving that much money?
    Our army has been asking for some budget allocation for years on now n still they’re just making due with whatever they get.
    When the poor people of Kashmir were grappling with floods help came from ALL OVER THE COUNTRY! You can confirm it from ur NGO’s, even indigo airlines n others allowed 1000’s of kgs (not an exaggeration! ) of donated stuff to Kashmir. Thankfully sanity will someday prevail n the REAL people of Kashmir who’ve seen the truth will get voices n sham people like u Who’re ruling the media n politics of Kashmiri will falter. Jai hind

    Reply
  4. Kako   October 30, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Dear Mr.Akhtar,

    The article you’ve written is clearly symbolic of your narrow-mindedness and nursed hatred for anything Indian in your so called dictionary. While nobody thinks Kashmir to be a separate state from India, people like you are hell bent on proving otherwise. It was, is and shall always remain integral to the hearts of every Indian.
    Dividing people on the basis of festivals is sickening. You clearly are either influenced by the wrong people or a dumb quack with an idiotic ideology.
    Anyways, I have many Kashmiri friends who are much younger to you but a zillion times more sensible.
    I wish people stop listening to radical elements like you and your propaganda falls flat on its face revealing your real identities and parasitic mentality.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.