Anupam Sharma
Aug 11 · 8 min read

At the stroke of the morning hour, BJP (India’s ruling party) decided to scrap Article 370 and Article 35A which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Although a few political parties were opposing this move, the centre managed to get 2/3rd majority quite easily in both the houses. It was really surprising to see AAP(Aam Aadmi Party) voting in favour of the abolition since the party leader, Arvind Kejriwal was against it a few years back. AAP looks very confused when it comes to decision making, much like my Ex.

The ruling party has promised that this amendment will support the national interest of the country and is done with the right intentions, but wait does this statement sound familiar? A similar promise was made before demonetisation as well. Did it work? Who took the blame for the after-effects? It’s still remembered as a very brave and successful step and will be for the coming future generations but we all know what a big failure it was, even bigger than the last season of GOT.

I remember a quote by Milton Friedman that says “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results”, this statement makes so much sense but don’t trust Friedman blindly or any other economist in general because most of them are like astrologers, they give vague predictions and blame you when their theory fails . No two economists and astrologers can agree on the same thing especially when it comes to MONEY.

HISTORY OF ARTICLE 370-

At the time of British withdrawal from India, all the princely states were given a choice to join either India or Pakistan or to remain as independent states. Most of them sooner or later merged with the nation of their choice, but J&K chose to remain A Lone Wolf. But when the snows fell and the white winds blew, the Pakistani army (disguised as tribesman) captured parts of J&K by robbing and assaulting the local people, and this is when the lone wolf realized the importance of pack. Maharaja Hari Singh, the last ruler of J&K, immediately asked Indian Army for help but was asked to sign the “Instrument of accession” first.

Under this “Instrument of accession,” Jammu and Kashmir surrendered only three subjects, which was defence, external affairs and communications to the Indian state and also earned an assurance from India that the people of Jammu and Kashmir through their own constituent Assembly would draft their constitution. Maharaja agreed to all these norms and later on the Indian forces recaptured most of the invaded parts. The remaining part of the land that India could not recover is called POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) (in case you don’t know, this is the part for which India’s Home Minister is ready to die for) and the part India retrieved and Pakistan lost is called IOK ( India Occupied Kashmir) in Pakistan.

This “Instrument of accession” later formed the “Article 370” and the “Article 35A” of the Indian Constitution. Article 370 has three main clauses namely A, B and C. 370A states that If the Centre wanted to extend in the state a central law on subjects included in the Instrument of Accession (IoA) — Defence, External Affairs and Communications or any other, it needed the approval of the state assembly. 370B gives Centre the power to impose rules and laws in the valley but only after the consideration of the state assembly. 370C states that this article can be scrapped off if the majority votes for it in the J&K assembly. Article 35A (which stemmed out of Article 370) gives special rights and privileges to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir like employment within the state, scholarships in the state government colleges, and the right to buy land and settle in the state. [Outsiders can’t enjoy these special rights]

In simple words, you can’t do anything in J&K without the consent of its assembly. While consent is something most of the people don’t understand, I am not surprised to see people celebrating this move. There was this argument the other day that I liked- People of J&K don’t know what’s good for them but we know it. This is a typical Indian arrange marriage scenario, where the bride doesn’t know what’s good for her but her father surely knows.

LEGAL LOOPHOLE OR PRESIDENTIAL RIGHT?

It’s clearly mentioned in the article that the centre needs the approval of J&K assembly to amend it. But, hold on, Is there an assembly in the valley? No, the governor ( Satya Pal Malik) dissolved it months back as three of the rival parties PDP( People’s Democratic Party), NC( National Conference) and Congress came together to form the government. The governor’s office said he dissolved the assembly because any government was unlikely to last long. “The coming together of such parties in a grouping is nothing but an attempt to gain power rather than to form a responsive government.” I agree but a year back PDP and BJP (PDP loves BJP as MARVEL loves DC) both formed an alliance in the state, where was the logic of responsive government then?

Right now, there is a presidential rule in the state which means the Governor will replace the Chief Minister as the chief executive of the State and the state will fall under the direct control of the Union government. So, if the centre wants to change any law they will have to consult the governor now. And guess what who appoints the governor, the government at the centre i.e. BJP. So, BJP asked itself whether we should remove article 370 or not and BJP itself replied “Yes”. It’s like I asked myself whether I should go to GOA this summer, and I replied: “Yes, I should.” [But then my father came in between and we all went to Vaishno Devi, leave it that’s a different story]

WHO SHOULD BE BLAMED FOR THIS: PATEL, NEHRU OR MY DAD

There is a history that BJP has read and there is a history that Congress has read but then there is a history that we all should read. (By reading, I don’t mean reading your WhatsApp or twitter forwards) .There are various articles and books which say, Patel was an inclusive member of Article 370 like this one [ https://theprint.in/opinion/ironical-that-bjp-wants-article-370-revoked-sardar-patel-was-its-architect/74804/ ] and at the same time there exists a narrative which says, Nehru, created trouble in J&K, India is not a veto power because of Nehru, Dhoni couldn’t make runs in the world cup because of Nehru etc. The only way this can be confirmed is by the reincarnation of both Patel and Nehru. But the point is will the people hear them? Will they accept the truth? [ In case you didn’t know, truth is not what you see on Zee News every day]

REORGANISATION OR DISSECTION?

According to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 the state of J&K will be bifurcated into two union territories (UTs) namely J&K and Ladakh. This bill will come into existence on October 31, the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel [This is a better gift than the statue] and till then there will be a presidential rule in the state.

However, Ladakh will not have any assembly of its own or legislature but will be administered by a lieutenant governor appointed by the Central government. On the other hand, J&K will have its legislature, it’s own elected MLAs and its CM. Also, there will be a lieutenant governor appointed by the Central government much like Delhi and Puducherry. There will be a lower house in the UT but there won’t be any upper house. In short, J&K will lie somewhere between a state and a union territory and ‘IF ‘things are under control, it will be given the status of a state once again. I like the word ‘IF’, I use it very often[not as frequently as ‘JAI SHREE RAM’ though] but there is a sense of surety attached with ‘if’, that things are UNCERTAIN.

WE NEED J&K MORE THAN J&K NEED US

J&K is surrounded by three nuclear countries namely India, Pakistan and China, it also shares a border with Afghanistan and Tajikistan. So, if you see, it is a very crucial terrain from a strategic point of view. And also if the valley is left as an independent state, Pakistan or China will likely try to invade it, much like they did in the past, and that will put India on the backfoot.

Once we lose Kashmir, there are high chances that we lose Khalistan, North East, West Bengal and other important regions as well.

A decent margin of state and central government’s money is invested in the security of J&K. Once things become peaceful there, we can spend this money on building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

ROAD TO HAPPINESS IS NOT UNDER CONSTRUCTION ANYMORE

Kashmiri Pandits, who were forced to flee the region when the militants attacked them, can now settle in their homeland once again.

People of J&K will enjoy the same rights as anyone else living in other parts of the country. [Can’t promise much about freedom of speech but let’s imagine it is there, imagination should not have any barriers]

There will be a proper functioning RTI [Right to Information] in the valley, now people will get to know how much land each of their local political leaders has.

With the scrapping of Article 35A, there will be industrial set up in the region. The employment opportunities will grow and as more people come and visit the place, the tourism sector will get a boost once again. More Indian and international movies will be shot, so the chances of bumping into a film celebrity at the airport will increase.

More government and private universities will be set up in the region. As a result, the education standard will improve. [I hope the students get a good history teacher and all politicians should be banned from teaching history everywhere.] Also if things are peaceful, there will be fewer holidays for the students but not to forget there will be a minimum 75% attendance criteria they will have to fulfil.

ACCEPTANCE AND TRUST ISSUES

:- Kashmir has a Muslim majority population and the ruling party has already expressed their desire of building a Hindu nation. This could create mass tension. :- There has been an increase in the mob lynchings across the country and even if the government doesn’t agree, there is a sense of hatred for the Muslims and the minorities. :- All their democratically elected leaders are under house arrest right now, their supporters can come for protests anytime. :-35,000 soldiers were deployed to Kashmir before the decision came out and not to mention, how much they hate AFSPA [Armed Forces Special Powers Act]. :-There have been multiple cases registered where J&K people have been beaten in other parts of the country because the locals considered them ‘terrorists’ and ‘anti-national’.

:- The amount of hatred has grown enormously on social media, especially Twitter, some threads talk about marrying Kashmiri women and taking revenge and all of these profiles have one thing in common [love for one common political figure]. :-With the UAPA bill [any individual can be termed as terrorist ‘IF’ the government thinks so] being passed now and the extension of NRC citizenship bill coming shortly, J&K people will always be under suspicion. With so much to question and so much at stake, the ambiguity still exists- Will the people of J&K accept us?

There is this lovely quote by P. Sainath that sums up everything — “Between fake optimism and cynical pessimism, there is a small place called ‘hope’ and we must live there.” Hope for the best and help J&K people wherever you see them. Keep smiling and keep spreading happiness :)

Anupam Sharma

Written by

Writer on weekdays and standup comic on weekends.

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