Of late, “liberals” in India are quite active on the Kashmir issue. It started with supporting ‘bharat tere tukde honge’ slogans at JNU and went on to mourning death of terrorist Burhan Wani, who was killed by security forces in Kashmir.
Currently the same set of people are busy supporting Amnesty over holding an event where ‘azadi’ slogans were shouted and ‘Broken Families’ of Kashmir Pandits were erased from the history. They are also explaining why it is futile to raise the issue of human rights violations in Balochistan, as was done by Prime Minister Modi in his Independence Day speech.
We can reject their statements and deeds by calling them “anti national”, but that will be too simplistic thing to do. They are not issuing those statements or indulging in those activities to troll the nationalists, but because there is a well thought strategy behind that.
The strategy is multi-pronged and is being implemented by various stakeholders. Some are willingly part of it, while some are being tricked into it in the name of liberalism and human rights. Currently it is focused around setting a future narrative where these reactions will fit in perfectly.
Let’s just look at four of these reactions and the kind of narratives they help build:
1. “Let’s not underestimate Pakistan”
JUST IN | Lalu Prasad Yadav: If we continue fighting on POK, they will take our Kashmir also
— News18 (@CNNnews18) August 13, 2016
Coming from Lalu, this might appear funny, but in the core of it is the strategy to appear well meaning by suggesting India to focus on internal issues and not take unnecessary panga with Pakistan. The plan is to paint Pakistan as a country that has some might that the ‘hypernationalists’ can’t see.
This will be taken forward by articles that will selectively quote from the UN resolution on Kashmir and the Shimla agreement, and caution how India could face international backlash by raising such issues.
Some will argue that this will internationalize the Kashmir issue and put India in a tenuous position internationally and that it will be a great fall from the position achieved during the previous regime.
The narrative will aim to undercut India’s clout and shield Pakistan from any diplomatic aggression that India may try.
2. “Forget Balochistan, think Kashmir”
6 protestors dead in Kashmir in 24 hours but WTH let’s go sort out Balochistan since we are doing such a good job in J&K at the moment!!!
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) August 16, 2016
This reaction is very simple, efficient and effective. Logically it displays the same spectacular emotional appeal as “Why launch Mangalyaan when there are poor and hungry in India” argument, but it is much more potent than that.
It helps in the narrative that India is doing a hugely apathetic and shoddy job in Kashmir. This is further used to justify the separatist violence, which is shown as natural reaction to this Indian apathy. It completely ignores the role of Pakistan and the Jihadist ideology in instigating the violence.
A part of this reaction is where Kashmir is replaced with other problems of India. The strategy is to help in building a narrative that Balochistan is not a big issue and India is raising it just to be even with Pakistan – music to Pakistani ears.
This again shields Pakistan from any diplomatic aggression by shifting the focus inwards.
3. “Two wrongs don’t make it right”
— Sudheendra Kulkarni (@SudheenKulkarni) August 16, 2016
A nation that backs separatism thru terrorist violence in its neighborhood will soon face the same problem. Let’s make S Asia terrorism-free
— Sudheendra Kulkarni (@SudheenKulkarni) August 16, 2016
Although these two tweets presented in continuation and representing a continuous thought look innocuously moralistic and preachy at best, they come from the factory of marshmallows with a bitter gourd candy core. It talks about “a nation that backs terrorism” and one would presume the reference is to Pakistan… or is it?
With the immediate backdrop of India raising human rights violations in Balochistan, the craftily ambiguous message could well be for India. Even if it is for Pakistan, it predicts “the same problem” i.e. “separatism through terrorist violence backed by India”.
Set of people coming up with this reaction are more futuristic in their approach. They are preempting not only any diplomatic offensive, but even an armed offensive against Pakistan. Loud TV debates will be held where entire platoons of sharp shooting “humanist” voices will be aiming at a lone BJP spokesperson, who will be fighting them and then a very bad throat.
Questions like “Do two wrongs make a right” and “Has India lost the moral high ground” will dominate prime time debates.
And when there is next terrorist attack in Pakistan, Hafeez Saeed will pick up clips from these debates and prove how India is already a terrorist state – all because Modi talked about human rights of those living in Balochistan.
4. “The bad army, the good terrorist”
Likes of Gen Bakshi & Gen VK Singh have post retirement, rendered questionable the impartiality of the armed forces https://t.co/YOAxVYuMr4
— SANJAY HEGDE (@sanjayuvacha) August 13, 2016
This is the most sinister reaction and it helps in creating a narrative that sets the ground for the second partition of India. It is the most futuristic one, and most pernicious one. It does not paint the state or the Indian army as a single unit of evil, as was the case with “two wrongs don’t make it right” reaction, but seeks to divide it into saffron evil and under-the-command-of-saffron evil.
Since an average Indian still respects the army (despite the best efforts by the ‘secular-liberals’), the strategy is to fool him or her by not appearing to blame the army in entirety, but just focusing on the ‘black sheep’ who give army a bad name.
This bad ‘saffron army’, represented by the likes of Gen VK Singh and Gen Bakshi, will become the new ‘root cause of terrorism’, which was earlier either the Babri mosque demolition or the Gujarat riots. And it makes sense to push this narrative, because those two root causes never applied to Kashmir – the Kashmiri pundits were killed and driven out of valley before Babri mosque was demolished or 2002 Gujarat riots happened.
So if and when Kashmir gets azadi, the resident liberals at Lutyen’s Delhi won’t be under pressure to paint the entire army as villain and risk being hated by the average Indian. In this narrative, the villain will be the black, or the saffron sheep of the army. The Islamists of Kashmir won’t be the villain.
The Lutyens liberals grudgingly have to blame Jinnah for the 1947 partition, despite them wanting to blame only the RSS. They don’t want to blame any Jinnah again. So if and when Kashmir gets azadi, the blame shall rest entirely with the saffron war machine infested with evil Hindutva ideology.
Burhan Wani will be the Bhagat Singh in the history textbooks of Islamic State of Kashmir, and our Lutynes liberals are working towards the first draft of that chapter.
These are just four types of reactions and consequent narratives that I’ve covered, but many fronts are opening up, many more narratives are in the making. If there is to be strife, it shall have to be dealt with on the ground by the leaders and their forces, and in the intellectual space by free minds who care for each other’s and the nation’s future.
Or maybe the war has already begun.