On Article 35 (A): Reason and Prudence must Prevail. Not Pride and Prejudice

On Article 35 (A): Reason and Prudence must Prevail. Not Pride and Prejudice
  • 2

By Fayaz Ganie

People love to be associated with a glorious history; if they don’t have one, they fabricate one. Real or fabricated people are never ready to listen anything wrong or scornful towards that history. Moreover, majority of them always try to maintain some of the historical conditions as were there in the past and are never willing to give up many traditions and customs. Among the conditions people are not ready to change the geography and geographical settings. If there are any forces or people who try to disturb geographical settings in respect of an area, the people of the area never hesitate to resist and render all sacrifices to make that resistance successful.
Therefore, the history of people should be respected and it must be respected. The history, that needs to be respected, consists of everything that has gone by; it comprises of the places and people, reminisces and events of the past ages and there is an intimate relation with all of them. In fact, the tragic episodes and pain of the past are also valuable assets in the current times of people and nations. Amazingly, we are not fully able to justify this behavior and this treatment given to history, we hardly know why we behave the way we behave in respect of history but in any case we hate to be disassociated with history.
At the collective level , nations are built and national struggles fought to retain the historic status of a people. People have sacrificed their lives to retain a historical status in respect of a country and even wars and freedom struggles have been fought and are continuously being fought to accomplish something which is in conciliation with the history of the nations and people. All the freedom struggles and conflicts and disputes have some or the other relation with history.
India fought her freedom struggle and the main reason given for the fight was that India was historically an independent state and therefore all the foreign rules were illegal and illegitimate. Israel is fighting with Palestinians and there too, history plays a crucial role. In respect of Kashmir and other parts of the world , history is the main reason why these disputes and conflicts are going on.
It is in this respect that Jammu And Kashmir State needs a special treatment. Historically this state has remained an independent state for most part of her history. However, many historical events eroded that independence and the nation eventually came under the foreign rule. The foreign rulers were Muslims and Non Muslims, Mughals and British and many of them ruled the state ruthlessly. In order to satisfy their personal aims and ambitions, they ill treated the people of this state and subjected them to all types of atrocities and cruelties.
It is in this historical background that a special treatment was meted to the State of Jammu and Kashmir once she acceded to Indian State. It was the respect for the independent history of the state that Article 370 and 35A were introduced in the Indian constitution.
This was a meticulously worked out plan by the leadership of India to keep the state within the Indian union. These articles were made as the instruments of national integration rather than of its opposite, as is claimed by many people in India. According to the plan it was felt necessary to transfer only few of the functions to the Central Government and rest were retained by the government at the state level. These areas included the foreign affairs, communication, currency and defense. This sort of arrangement assured majority of the people that the fate of the state is safe in the hands of India.
The assurance that was given to the people of the state that the form of Article 35A and 370 is responsible for all the peace that has been witnessed in the state initially, and since then from time to time. The people thought that their state would have an autonomous existence and their historical realities will not be fiddled with. But, the assurances were never respected the articles started getting eroded at the hands of the same very people who were supposed to guard, and safeguard them, the most recent attempt in this direction is to abrogate Article 35A .
The autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir gradually was diluted. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and other Central Government institutions was extended to the region. Much other central legislations were extended to the state and the government was compelled to rectify many others. This resulted in taking away all the matter and mettle away from the Article 370 and Article 35 A. These articles according to many are like hollow skeletons without life.
Article 35A, which gave special rights to the people of the region is now in the line of the fire. Though the violation of this Article have been reported many times and in many parts of Jammu and Kashmir but this latest attempt could be the final nail in the coffin of this article and the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. It could have disastrous consequences if the judiciary works in a partial and partisan way.
The judiciary is wise enough to see the historical standing of the state and the wisdom behind the inclusion of this article in the constitution of India. If , it , somehow falls prey to the ultra nationalistic tendencies it might turn out a disservice towards the Indian nation than a service, especially under the current circumstances it could set a violent cycle going of turbulence.
Abolishing this article will be a breach of the promise that the founding fathers of India have made with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It would be a betrayal by India with the historical intricacies and realities of the region. It would be a violation of the emotional attachment that people of the region have with their history.
India has not been able to give the people of the region a feeling that they are part of the country and they are part of the largest democracy of the world. This has created a sense of insecurity and suspicion about the designs of India in the region and its people.
Whenever, there is a bit of calm here, the Indian state commits some acts of violence to disturb the peace. When there was everything alright the rigging of the elections in connivance of the Indian state gave, among other things, rise to the armed struggle in the state. When the armed rebels tried to enter in peace talk they were prevented or not given adequate attention. When people wanted equality they were treated as aliens. When they wanted rights those rights were never provided to them. And, when they wanted assurance, the already given assurances in the shape of Article 370 and 35A are feared to be taken away.
Today, when many other challenges are before the Government, the move to abrogate Article 35 A could undo all the work that has been done to build peace in the state. This is an untimely and unfortunate move, to say the least. The state government which has an uphill task to restore the confidence of the people in governance and government cannot afford to face protests and violent protests of any kind. It should be provided a breather to work for the welfare of the people. In case the Article 35A become an issue it would surely take the people of the state further away from the Indian state and the responsibility will lie on the Indian leadership.
The Indian legislators should make these constitutional provisions inviolable and beyond any revisions or reviews by the judiciary. Sane voices in India are expected to take charge of the matter and resolve it in the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author can be reached at: fayaz.greatstep@gmail.com