Article 370: Between Rhetoric and Reality

Article 370: Between Rhetoric and Reality

Mehbooba Mufti has stated, in the Assembly that those opposing J&K’s special status enshrined in the Article 370 of Indian Constitution were “anti-national”. Mehbooba added that, ‘she was aware that some people were trying to use judiciary to scrap the legislation which gives J&K unique constitutional status and that those who are doing it are harming India and its interests. It is pertinent to note that last week, Omar Abdullah had told the House that BJP might use judiciary to scrap the Article 370. The alarm that is being sounded out by the respective party chiefs about scrapping or abrogating Article 370 – a provision that accords and protects the special status of Jammu and Kashmir- is well and fine. But, in the final analysis, this alarm is more rhetorical than real. Consider Mehbooba Mufti and her party , the PDP , first. The PDP is in alliance with the far right nationalist party, the BJP, which, in turn is an offshoot of the Sangh Parivar- the RSS and the VHP- whose cardinal political plank is the abrogation of Article 370. The Parivar views Article 370 as an impediment to Jammu and Kashmir’s full ‘integration’ with India. Given that the PDP is in alliance with the BJP and has formed a coalition Government with the far right party, what import does Mehbooba’s statement make? Nothing but rhetorical insinuation is the answer. Similarly, Omar Abdullah, the leader of the National Conference’s tocsin caution falls in the same category. While the alarm might chime well in the Assembly and make news, but the import is lost in quotidian practice of politics in Jammu and Kashmir where all ‘mainstream’ parties merely pay lip service to Article 370 and become mute spectators to the said Article’s dilution. It may be stated here that Article 370 appears to have been diluted gradually and subtly over the years and only its core elements stand. But these too are sought to be broken down and abrogated by the BJP and the Sangh Parivar. This is the prosaic reality of Article 370 and the tepid politics over and around it. Ultimately, Article 370, among other things, is about identity and its protection thereof. In a world, where identity politics is back with a vengeance against real and perceived assaults against identity- the fundamental marker of human beings- the BJP’s attempts to abrogate Article 370 stretches credulity. However, given that its abrogation constitutes a main plank of the party’s ideology and given that the BJP’s pre election campaign promises flounder on the rocks of reality and its poor governance performance so far, it stands to reason that the party would seek to abrogate the said Article. If this be the case, then it becomes imperative upon ‘mainstream’ parties to move beyond mere rhetoric and adopt political practice over Article 370 that is real and genuine. The alternative- spurious and synthetic debate or discourse over the article in contention- is a recipe for disaster!

2 Responses to "Article 370: Between Rhetoric and Reality"

  1. Bhaijaan   February 2, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    *”… it becomes imperative upon ‘mainstream’ parties to move beyond mere rhetoric and adopt political practice over Article 370 that is real and genuine. “*
    Don’t let timidity deter you from spelling out the measures of “real and genuine political practice” as opposed to mere rhetoric that you advise .
    Bottomline: people of India want to know how did an expedient mechanism such as Art. 370 become the enduring part of their Constitution? Also, how long do the protagonists of this article, especially the Abdullahs, intend to continue their parasitoidal existence on their backs? It should be obvious to any person with commonsense that such distinctions between citizens coming from your state and the rest do in no way ameliorate living conditions of the former and, in fact, keeps them from participating in the wider playing field.
    Sooner than later, there will appear on the scene a no-nonsense “Trump” to take the bull by the horns and make it clear to those who find it hard to live alongside, shoulder to shoulder, with other Indians to please find greener, hospitable pastures, Islamic or otherwise.

  2. SKChadha   February 1, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Deliberations and debate on Article 370 and 35A (whether in favour or against) is the core of Indian Federalism and freedom of speech. How it can be Anti-National? Mehbooba Mufti is yet to mature in politics to understand that legislative discourse is different from political statements.

    The provisions of Article 370 were only ‘Temporary and Transitional’ in corrector. The Constitution of India (CoI) came into existence only in 1950 wherein there was no ‘Special Status’ to J&K. It is quite clear from the then heading of this Chapter and Article 370? The word ‘Special’ in Chapter XXI of Constitution was inserted only by 13th Amendment in case of ‘Nagaland’. Hence, harping upon time and again that J&K has some ‘Special Status’ is flawed.

    Article 370 is only a matter of negotiations and negotiated settlements about Central-State relations and hence political in nature. There is nothing above national unity and integrity for 1.2b Indians as also enshrined in J&K’s constitution act section 3. The issue of State Autonomy is also a false flag as the J&K is already having Autonomy more than what is available to other States of India? To me, it is the more autonomy which is spoiling the State and in this connection the State Constitutional Act Chapter IV is required to be looked into. The media of valley is silent on the specific rights mentioned in this chapter and the duties imposed on State in this connection?