Thursday, June 26, 2008


Two news items this month have brought to centre stage the blatantly communal outlook of Kashmiri speaking Muslims and ‘Chinese speaking’ Communists.

First, there was a news item that Muslims had refused to shift a small mosque on a tiny patch of 1200 square feet of land next to the Kolkata airport runway, forcing a redrawing of the entire Rs2000 crore map to upgrade the airport. As a result, an extra 25,000 square metres of land has to be acquired and crores of extra rupees have to be spent on building a detour and knocking off the top floors of several high rise buildings as per the new plan. This mosque was constructed only 30 years back and only about 30 people offer prayers here daily, 100 feet away from one of the runways.

Commies who are in power in West Bengal have deviously washed their hands off the issue, saying that the land belongs to the Airport Authority of India and the Centre should take steps to get the mosque shifted. The Chief Minister who was approached a couple of months back said that his “hands were full” and that the issue could be addressed later.

Cut to Kashmir Valley which has been witnessing “communal” riots for the past few days. Make no mistake: these riots are nothing but communal; so what if no Hindus have been left in the valley to battle with Kashmiri Muslims in the rioting? These communal riots are between Muslims and ‘Hindus’ represented by the security forces doing an unpleasant job in as secular a manner as humanly possible.

The Kashmir riots are against transfer of 100 acres of forest land to the Amarnath Shrine Board for constructing prefabricated huts for the lakhs of Hindu pilgrims who visit the holy Amarnath cave in the Valley for just two months during summer. The state government had earlier approved the transfer of the land with the full agreement of its coalition partners.

But, this transfer of land to a Hindu body for providing facilities to pilgrims, has been blown out of every logical proportion as a “conspiracy to settle non-local Hindus in the state with a view to reducing Muslims to a minority.” For a people who have systematically driven out all ethnic indigenous Kashmiri speaking Hindus from the Valley in an unashamedly communal manner as the government watched helplessly, even the making of such a claim is preposterous.

Indian commies were totally silent when Kashmiri speaking Muslims were throwing out Kashmiri speaking Hindus. In fact, like many other hypocritical, ignorant and blind-to-Muslim-communalism opinion makers and politicians, they blamed Pakistani and Pakistan trained terrorists for this first mass communal expulsion of locals after the partition of India. Worse, they kept buying and playing up the long dead idea of ‘Kashmiriat’ to pretend that Kashmiri Muslims never wanted Kashmiri Hindus to go; they were actually secular, but were helpless to do anything for fear of terrorists. That these terrorists had not dropped into the Valley from Afghanistan or Chechnya was conveniently ignored to overlook this blatant communalism of the majority Muslim community.

What is the commie response to present communal upsurge in Kashmir Valley? You guessed it. They have called for a review of the forest land transfer in “view of the sensitivity of the issue because of unfortunate controversies.” So, whether it is Kolkata or anywhere else, commies have a clear, communal view.

This is the ‘secular’ politics of India’s commies. To them, being secular means being anti the majority community. Even though most of today’s communist leaders were born Hindus, they take great pride in denigrating the religion. A few months back, West Bengal Chief Minister went to the extent of calling Ram, revered by millions of Hindus as God, an imaginary character. Would he or any other of his atheist friends ever similarly dare to question the existence of Allah only because the Prophet experienced Him alone in a cave; will they even think of similarly ridiculing the birth to a virgin and resurrection of Christ? No, although all religions are founded on some miracle or the other, they will make such statements about Hindus alone because there will be no fatwas for their blood, and these ‘blasphemous’ views will warm the hearts of fundamentalist Muslims, whose votes they are after.

Kashmir has always been about Islam, right from 1947. Sheikh Abdullah opted for India with almost dominion status because he knew that opting for Pakistan would spell the end of the identity of Kashmiri Muslims. Had Kashmir gone to Pakistan, migrants from India and Punjabi settlers from Pakistan would have quickly turned it into an extension of Punjab, consigning him and the Kashmiri language and identity to the forgotten dustbin of history.

Nehru was also a Kashmiri. He too had a stake in protecting Kashmiri identity. Unfortunately, he had no religious identity to understand that Sheikh Abdullah had a second Muslim identity too, an identity which was the stronger force influencing and guiding him and his fellow Kashmiri Muslims. Nehru's surprising blindness to the power of religion which had consumed all other identities in the partition of India, led him to the series of blunders due to which Muslim Kashmir is still stuck painfully in Secular India’s throat.

The arrest of Sheikh Abdullah in 1953 was not India’s betrayal of the confidence of Kashmiris. It was Nehru’s only possible response to the double-faced Abdullah’s communal betrayal that his secularism had initially blinded him to. Having successfully used India to avoid being swallowed by Pakistan, the then Sher-e-Kashmir(Lion of Kashmir) wanted to free himself of India too! That is why all elections in the Valley were rigged. India’s leaders had no face to publicly admit that secularism had failed miserably again in a Muslim majority Kashmir that was not willing to accept 'Hindu' domination by being a part of ‘Hindu’ India. The Plebiscite Front(earlier avatar of the National Conference) was determined to undo the mistake made in 1948 through a plebiscite. How could the Indian Government allow it to win elections on that plank and still morally justify keeping Kashmir with India?

Since 1947, the moment you cross Banihal and touch the Valley in Qazigund, locals have been asking whether you have come from ‘India’. To them Kashmir has always been distinct and separate from India. They may be getting everything from India, often heavily subsidised, but that is only because India wants to keep them, not because they want to stay.

Many armchair analysts who have never stayed in Kashmir anonymously among Kashmiri Muslims at any point of time, including the years before the insurgency physically manifested in 1989, naively believe that the problem is a political one. That is why some, after reading a book full of lies and historical inaccuracies, written by a Kashmiri Muslim, believe like well behaved and ‘moral’ school children that India needs to apologise to innocent Kashmiri Muslims for the many injustices done to them. Nothing can be farther from the truth. The sooner we realise it, the better, so that at least the many romantic notions of a ‘just’ settlement are discarded.

Insurgency in Kashmir is nothing else but the AK47 face of the Muslim fundamentalism and communalism that has driven all social and political intercourse there after the partition of India on a communal basis, due to the ‘illogical’ accession of Muslim majority Kashmir(at least the Valley) to Hindu majority India in violation of that basic principle. This Kalashnikov-isation would probably never had happened had Zia ul Haq not become the President of Pakistan. He gave the concept of Jehad a new meaning and the power of a gun to achieve the one national objective that has consumed Pakistan almost completely: getting Kashmir to merge with Pakistan.

The unexpectedly strong reaction in the Valley to the transfer of ‘Muslim’ forest land to a Hindu body for use of pilgrims should leave nobody in any doubt that implacable Muslim fundamentalism, actively promoted and encouraged by Pakistan, needs to be faced squarely and neutralized effectively. Paradoxically, many of these Kashmiri Muslims who are protesting so violently own some of the most lucrative commercial and residential properties in prime locations in all major cities across the country. Those who are in any doubt need only to walk to, say Mount Road and Spencer’s Plaza in Chennai, to get an idea of the kind of money involved.

It does not shame these guys in the least that their non-Muslim brothers in the rest of India have never created any difficulty for them outside Kashmir, not when they were killing and throwing out native Hindus from the Valley, not when body bags of soldiers killed in the Kargil War were coming home, and not now when they are so violently opposing the transfer of just 100 acres of forest land to a non-Muslim religious trust.

In many ways, Secular India’s marriage to Muslim Kashmir is like the marriage of the Centrist Congress party to the Socialist Left: Janus-like partners who are ideologically always looking away from each other, with the much smaller one sparing no effort to bully the bigger one at every possible turn. Like Kashmiri Muslims, commies want and demand more than their full share. But, ask them to give even an inch for the partner and they will bite your hand off.

India has paid a heavy price by continuously pandering to Kashmiri communalism, sometimes out of a peculiar sense of secular guilt and often due to the inexplicable blindness to religion of those who matter. Yes, the majority community needs to display some large heartedness when dealing with the human angle of the vexed issue. But to keep doing so in the face of increasing hostility and a totally uncompromising attitude is not going to help either the misguided Kashmiri communalists or the nation in the long run. Indian commies have, as always, taken a view which is not in national interest as perceived by a vast majority of Indians. They need to be also contemptuously ignored.