Mohammad Ashraf | 25 DECEMBER, 2014
The “Wave” peters out!
Loudspeakers but no wave!
Mahatma Gandhi having been pained by the communal carnage in the sub-continent in 1947 had seen the only ray of light in the darkness of the all-round mayhem in Kashmir. Well, the vision of the Mahatma has been reaffirmed during the recent election. The Gujarat wave of Modi had swept the entire India like a Tsunami during the Parliament election. He had hoped to sweep the state of J & K with his Mission 44+ but the valley of the saints has dramatically petered out the “Wave”. The chauvinist corporate Indian media has been crying hoarse about the unusually large voter turnout in Kashmir in spite of fervent calls for boycott and has been terming it as reaffirmation of faith in the Indian democracy and a vote for development. The truth on the contrary is only a re-affirmation of the Kashmiri in his own traditional religious tolerance and the mystic outlook. People came out to vote in large numbers neither for Mission 44+ nor only for Bijli, Pani, and Saddak but also to ensure that the Hindutva “wave” does not enter the calm and serene shores of the land of Kashyapa Reshi! Kashmiris have voted to keep their identity intact!
All but one BJP candidates lost their deposits in Kashmir valley. Congress has been seen as a lesser evil than the trident wielding Hindutva brigade. The wave would not have entered even some parts of the Chenab valley and Pir Panchal but for the division in the regional vote. The BJP candidates who won election from these areas have polled lesser votes than the combined votes of the regional parties. Had these parties been supporting each other, the wave would have petered out on the Trikuta Hills itself!
Interestingly, most of the sitting MLAs who have won the election are the ones who have been devotedly nursing their constituencies and have been always accessible to their constituents. However, in Jammu area, the “Wave” has almost swept everyone regardless of their individual efforts. Even though the “Mission 44+” has remained an unrealised dream yet the polarisation caused by the campaign has created a challenge for the integrity of the state. The State of J & K has been functioning as a single integrated unit for more than one and a half centuries notwithstanding the fact that the entity was not a natural conglomeration but the creation of conquests and the sale of territory. Since 1947, after its dismemberment due to the Indo-Pak conflict over its ownership, it has still remained a single unit because of the interdependence of the three basic units.
Incidentally, the Ladakhis who have been clamouring for the Union Territory status to have direct central control have not voted for the strongest ever central party but for the congress. Probably, because they have already experienced the nuances of the “Wave” through the Sindhu Darshan campaign of the Hindutva brigade which had generated apprehensions in their mind that the new “Wave” could sweep away their Buddhist identity?
Ironically, the situation resembles the one in early fifties when the Kashmir’s tallest nationalist leader was made to perform a political somersault by the extreme rightist elements from Jammu demanding complete integration of the state with the Union of India. The history could very well repeat itself. The challenge is not only to safeguard the identity of the Kashmiris and find ways and means to fulfil their true aspirations on one hand but at the same time cater to the aspirations and sentiments of the Jammu people and the Ladakhis on the other. On the face of it, this may seem a tall order but given the will and the sincerity, it is not difficult to achieve it. The only choice is the combining of all the non-communal mainstream forces. The two regional parties and the other national party have a combined strength of almost 2/3rd members in the house. They need to support each other in forming a government which could give both good governance and safeguard the identity of the state by trying to fulfil aspirations of all the three regions. Are the leaders of these parties sincere enough to rise above their vested interests and fulfil the challenge? That is the million dollar question!