Friday, November 28, 2014



          In 1967, Organiser, a publication of Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh, published in its October issue an interview of Madhava Sadashiva Golwalkar, the second Sar Sangh Chalak of RSS, who served this hard core right wing organisation for 33 years from 1940 to 1973.

          In reply to a question, Golwalkar said that time : "There is only one way to keep Kashmir – and that is by complete integration. Article 370 must go; the separate flag and the separate constitution must go too. If it is necessary to have, President’s Rule is a temporary thing. Within a year or two there will have to be fresh elections. And the new Vidhan Sabha may be more rabidly communal than the present one. But as I see it, the basic question is whether we want to keep Kashmir or not. Since it is decided that we must keep Kashmir, all necessary steps must be taken to implement that decision. If the border area of NEFA can be centrally administered through the Army, why can’t the border area of Kashmir be administered the same way for the same strategic reasons?"

          The interviewer asked him, 'what the world will say?' Replied Golwalkar, "We must decide what are our vital national interests and then proceed to safeguard them. We must not bother too much about so-called world opinion. Do you think it is favourable to you even now? Did this ‘world opinion’ favour you over Junagadh or Hyderabad or Goa? Bharat must be governed by Bharat’s interest and not at the bidding of foreign opinion, which is only a reflection of foreign interests." Then he added, "I say if we don’t integrate Kashmir, and lose it, this very world opinion will call us fools. To formulate policies on the basis of the world opinion will be like repeating the story of the old man, his son and his donkey."

          For all these years, RSS and its sister organisations and its political masks Jan Sangh and Bhartiya Janta Party have been singing a chorus against Article 370 and telling the nation and the world about how big a foolishness it was that the leaders of the time inserted such a provision in our constitution. BJP was vouching to remove the Article the day it will come to power. Cursing Congress for the 'Himalayan Blunder' has been the most favourite every day discourse of Sangh-Mandli after independence.

           But now life seems to be coming to full circle for RSS-Kutumb. During the election campaign for 2014 Loksabha elections, the then prime ministerial candidate and now the prime minister of a government with clear majority Narendra Modi, called for a debate on Article 370 which defines the provisions of Indian Constitution with respect to Jammu & Kashmir. Now, amidst the campaign for the assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir, his Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said in a public rally at Kishtwad that the issue of Article 370 should not be raked up in these elections as it is a national issue that needs a serious debate.

          BJP does not know what to do with Article 370 now? It is difficult to chew its own words. To remove the Article from the constitution is not easy. To hope that it will die it's natural death one day is an indefinite hope. To keep mum on 370 is not possible for BJP in a long run. Therefore, keeping in mind the electoral contingencies BJP is now saying that the final decision it takes on Article 370 will be on the basis of the concurrence of J&K Assembly. It was never that difficult for BJP to contest a election in J&K and raise the issue of Article 370 till it was not enjoying absolute power in centre. It was easy for BJP to play the blame game over this issue to defame the opponents and make a promise to please the vote bank it has created by spreading divisive politics. But what now when several of BJP candidates are freely expressing their views against the abolition of the Article and some of them have even went to the extent of making statements that they might pick up the guns if anything is done to abolish the Article?

          I don't think Narendra Modi is unaware of the fact that at the time when Article 370 was being included in the constitution, even Shyama Prasad Mukharjee initially supported it. It is only after the intervention of RSS that Mukharjee backtracked. One does not realise the nitty-gritty of things when does not have the actual responsibility of managing a complex nation as India is. Article 370 has its history and is an unbreakable link to J&K. The deliberately delayed realisation of this fact by RSS and BJP is now compelling them to start a national debate on the issue to gain time in a hope that they will be able to create some face saving formula in time to come. But, then, let us all wait to see the outcome when curtains of India's biggest political controversy come down.

          Any meaningful debate on Article 370 is bound to separate myth from reality and fact from fiction. BJP's suggestion for such a debate is in itself an indication of its change of position on the issue and like an acceptance of the fact that RSS and its affiliates were making an unnecessary hue and cry over this issue for last six decades. Sangh Parivar tried to create an impression that Jawahar Lal Nehru and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel had different views about Article 370. But it is other way round and the synergy between Nehru and Patel on the matters of governing India is evident in the negotiations on 370. During the drafting stage the Article was known as 306-A. It was in October 1949 when Sheikh Abdullah turned his foot down on certain clauses of the Article and tried to create a serious crisis. Nehru was away on a visit to America. Gopalswamy Ayangar was negotiating with Sheikh and felt very disturbed. He was a minister without portfolio in Nehru's cabinet and was a former Diwan of Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir. In Nehru's absence, Ayangar immediately went to Sardar Patel and briefed him about how frequently Sheikh changing course. Patel finally managed the crisis and navigated the amendments. It was Patel who ensured that Article 370 become the part of Indian Constitution.    

No comments: