Farooq sees threat to Kashmir identity

By K.N. Pandita

Addressing a party function at NC headquarters in Srinagar on 20 July, Farooq Abdullah, the Chairman of NC and former CM of J&K has sounded the alarm of grave threat to the identity of Kashmir presumably at the hands of the Central government.

The tone and tenor of the address replicate the threatening speech delivered by his father, Sheikh Abdullah at R.S. Pora in 1953, days before his dismissal and arrest.

Farooq has opened a plethora of accusations, bizarre allegations of conspiracies and blatant insinuations without specifying who his tormentor is. . Let us first sum up the allegations and then proceed to make a dispassionate analysis. These can be summarized as follows: (a) conspiracy is hatched against the State and his party. And hence close unity among people is essential (b) Those who sacrificed their lives for the party, — “whose names we don’t even know, — they were killed with bullets and are even being killed today. Who kills them, Allah knows.” (c) An enemy is working against you (Kashmiris) (d) there is a threat to our identity (e) State is heading towards a crucial trial. (f) forces are inimical to our identity and special Constitutional position (g) enemies want us divided and our unity frustrates their machinations (h) forces contriving to change demography (i) Our youth must come forward and respond to this challenge (j) Army voted in Keran (k) guns of God are faster (l) A flood is coming and will wash them away.(m) media is curbed etc.
This is no hogwash, no claptrap; this is not the eccentric and ‘method-in madness’ Farooq known to his friends and foes as such. This is an outpouring of the heart. Compared with his late father’s seditious speech in RS Pora in 1953, this vocalizations is far more incisive, provocative with the aim of dealing a fatal blow to the tender relationship between the State and the Union.

The speech was not delivered in any public congregation so as to be disowned at any timed as the handiwork of journalistic cartography and classified as distortion. It is loaded with all the purposefulness at his command and meant to be conveyed to the undisclosed recipients as a piece of conviction. It is no oratorical extravaganza but a serious political challenge only inches away from a head-on collision.

Assertively, it is a serious and, of course, an honest expose of the leader of a party with a role in the State’s accession to the Indian Union in 1947. It is the party that ruled the roost for nearly six decades deriving massive benefits, right or wrong, not only from being in power but also giving the State the third generation of dynastic leadership. The ringing of alarm bell by Farooq is meant more to be taken note of by his lineal and political descendant than by the beleaguered people of the valley because the portent is eloquent that the days of dynastic rule are over.

Speeches with this tone and tenor usually indicate desperation overtaking a person who is on the verge of losing political power. And when dynastic potentates foresee the end of their genetic domination they begin to behave like a wounded predator. There is a notable similarity between this speech and the fretting and fuming of Rahul Gandhi after his second ignominious defeat at the husting.

This is a speech harkening the valley majority that their identity, demographic complexion, numerical superiority, personality and everything else is under threat. It clearly tells them that the political activists of his party and generally of the Muslim community are killed by bullets not fired by the militants. It squarely holds the army responsible for casting votes clandestinely in Karen. And it also charges BJP with muzzling the freedom of the press. Finally, Farooq predicts that a “flood is coming which will wash them away”.

Who are “they”, “them”, “their” third person plurals to whom he refers? Who is the “enemy” to whom he refers without naming? What are the contours of the “flood” which he says will wash “them” down, and who will be the targets of Allah’s bigger guns in the words of Farooq?

Evidently, he is not referring to the conspiracy hatched by external forces to destroy Kashmir and its polity. He is not referring to a large number of groups of those terrorists who killed the people labelling them as mukhbir or informers. He is not referring to inter-gang rivalry among the sponsored terrorists leading to a demographic disaster of the valley. He is not referring to the machinations of the handlers of terrorists from across the border and contrived division and sub-division of Kashmiri Muslim society intoWahhabite radicals, pro-Pakistanis, pro- azaadi and also pro-ISIS factions. Not only that even the division and polarization in the Hurriyat was also manipulated by these sources. He does not mean to say that the conspiracy hatched in 1990 removed him from power, destabilized the state, paralyzed the administration, fossilized the police and hence invited retaliation by security forces. He does not mean to say that it was he who had invited the Indian army and security forces to take care of the disturbed areas in the valley. He does not mean to say that under a well-planned conspiracy, public property in Kashmir was extensively damaged, school buildings, libraries, laboratories, judicial complexes set ablaze and reduced to ashes. And finally, he does not refer to the rigging of the election in 1986 with NC in power and the resultant militancy essentially aimed at ousting dynastic rule in Kashmir.

In simple words, Farooq has raised “we” and “they” situation which when expounded means “we the Muslims of Kashmir” and “they the rulers in Delhi” meaning the right-wing BJP. This is a subtle way of creating a dividing line between the Kashmir Valley Muslim society and the right-wing BJP-led NDA government in the Centre. He wants Kashmiris to forget that he and his son both were part of BJP government at one point of time.

A simple inference one can draw from Farooq’s utterances is that unfortunately, he betrays signs of inexcusable ignorance about the sum and substance of the philosophy of secular democracy and expansive and deeply entrenched democratic institutions. Either he does not know that democracy is a safeguard against all injustices or irregularities like changing demography, suppressing identity, dividing or antagonizing people, etc.

Take, for example, the allegations of demographic change and obliteration of Kashmiri identity. In 1982, Abdul Rahim Rather, then an NC MLA, published a 35-page monograph in Urdu titled “Kashmir main aksariyyat ko aqalliyat main badalne ki sazish” Twenty-eight years have gone by when this allegation was widely spread in NC circles. What is the ground situation?

Fertility Tables published by Census 2011 indicate that there were 85,157 live births in the Valley in the year preceding Census According to analysis, “While Total Fertility Rates (TFR) is declining everywhere else, TFR of Muslim women in the valley has increased from 2.6 to 3.9. This means that an average woman in the valley today can now expect to have 1.3 extra children in her lifetime.”

The population of Kashmiri Hindus has declined from 2.7percent in 2011 to 0.01 per cent in 2018, thanks to the rise of armed insurgency against them in 1989-90.
Why has Farooq adopted a warpath against the Union government?. We did not expect an emancipated Muslim politician like him revolting against the verdict of history and thus fall prey to aggrandizement. The age of dynastic rule is over. No manoeuvring even under the mask of democracy can retrieve it.

The idea of using the youth of Kashmir as a safety valve against the crumbling dynastic rule is not going to do him any good. The Kashmiri youth do not exonerate him for all the bad days to which they were made to fall. He has created the burgeoning phobia of conspiracy against the people of the state and threat to their demographic complexion and identity etc only to whip up anti-India passions among them in the hope of instigating another mass uprising and defiance of the law. He calls it the “flood” and hopes that the impending uprising of the youth will wash away the Indian presence in Kashmir. What a fantasia?

And finally, he has the grouse of the BJP government muzzling the freedom of the press. We would like to ask him to name a single newspaper, journal, weekly or a single publication on which the NDA government imposed a ban during its rule. Can he name a single Islamic country where the media is as free as in India?

We still believe that Farooq is not a hopeless case that has become the victim of irrationality. His dilemma is how he can save his dynastic rule over the State. He reminiscences the saga of the Dogra rulers and his father – led the movement against it. That is why he has used almost the same idiom as the Sheikh would use while addressing the masses of Kashmiri people. How sad that instead of joining voice with the progressive rational forces in the Islamic world to fight for democracy, secularism, and inclusiveness, he has taken the opposite direction. Nobody forces him to abandon faith in secular democracy and dance to the tune of the forces of regression.

The End

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