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Missing elements from defunct J&K constitution: Secular govt, equality of status and opportunity, assuring integrity of nation

Nefarious propaganda for Article 370 in the shadows of 'secularism'

If one goes by the reports on abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, as represented in the global media, two things stand out. One, the official word is overwhelmingly in favour of India and Two, the international media is overwhelmingly against India. The difference between the international agencies and international media seemingly arise from the difference in the knowledge of the facts regarding Kashmir. In an official position, for a nation, it is not possible to be standing with fake rhetoric, unless, of course, if you are Pakistan. Media reports filed by journalists with questionable integrity often stay clear of facts and use typical keywords which are appealing to their unsuspecting young audience. So we often find the terms being used against the abrogation of Article 370 are ‘attack on democracy, secularism’ and such. These are modern symbols of liberal thoughts and when any action is interpreted as the attack on the twin towers of Democracy and Secularism, one is tempted to oppose it. With logic and sanity against the continuance of Article 370, the Islamic State of Pakistan which wants to annex Kashmir on the grounds of religious Muslim majority will use these terms more and more in the rhetoric they are attempting to build around Kashmir.

Articles in Washington Post, New York Times and such media houses are deep on rhetoric and weak on facts. The slant is quite obvious when they never mention Pakistan as the Islamic State of Pakistan and always mention Bhartiya Janata Party, the ruling dispensation in India as the Nationalist Hindutva Party. They are wise people and have wily writers. They know to keep Islamic part of Pakistan hidden and to falsely manufacture Hindutva part of BJP is the only way to wrap up the intended balkanization of India on religious grounds in the fine dressings of democracy and secularism. How else can you defend the attempt of an Islamic state to attempt to annex a part of secular nation merely on the ground of commonality of religion?

As the Cambridge Analytica spokesperson in the Netflix documentary, The Great Hack, says that they built their strategy in Trinidad around the laziness of the youth. The same is being attempted here- counting on the laziness and lack of knowledge of the youth to build a world opinion in the favour of a farce. Siddarth Bhatia of The Wire, in an interview with Gregory Wilpert on The Real News, claims that “It’s going to have an impact on India’s secular tradition and India’s secularism”. The interview is headlined as “De Facto Annexation of Kashmir means the end of India as a Secular State.”

The CPM leader, Sitaram Yechury, with 3 seats in 542 Seats in the Lower House of Parliament (5 together with CPI), claimed that the abrogation of Article 370 is an assault on secularism. The president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan claimed that “India is playing with fire by revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and same fire will burn its secularism”. In an article co-authored by NYT journalist Suhasini Raj, published in The Irish Times, titled “Modi’s Kashmir move places India’s secular status in doubt”, she quotes the PM of Islamic state of Pakistan, Imran Khan, “lashing out at Modi, accusing him of promoting an ideology that puts Hindus above all other religions and seeks to establish a state that represses all other religious groups.”

Let us see how the State of Pakistan is envisioned in the constitution of Pakistan, the same state which is represented by Imran Khan as PM and by Arif Alvi as the President, both expressed great worries about how secularism will be negatively impacted by abrogation of Article 370 from Kashmir, which would mean the applicability of Indian constitution in full, in Kashmir, like any other state of secular India. I am reproducing the Preamble of Pakistan Constitution, the country which claims that Kashmir is a part of their territory and how supporting this foolish dream of theirs will be supporting Secularism.

Wherein the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people; Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed; Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah;” –  Preamble to the Islamic State of Pakistan, which is worried over secularism in Kashmir, post abrogation of Article 370.

Now, after the abrogation of Article 370, the Indian Constitution will apply in full, in the state, at par with any other state. Under Article 370, there were provisions of the Indian Constitution which were not applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. India took the shape of a secular nation in 1947 when the Partition of India happened on the basis of Jinnah’s Two-Nation theory and the Islamic State of Pakistan was carved out of it. The secular and democratic principles applied equally across the length and breadth of the nation, except Kashmir, which was allowed to have its own Constitution, even after a legitimate accession, so that it ripens up for full integration. Through 42nd Amendment, the word ‘Secular’ was introduced by Indira Gandhi while India was under Emergency (Ambedkar had opposed it saying that the idea of secularism was anyway inherent in our constitution and imposing it goes against the idea of democracy). The way it stands post-amendment, the Preamble defines India as :

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens – JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation; IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this  26th day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

This is what is now applicable to the state of Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370. Under the limited sovereignty granted to Jammu and Kashmir, article 370, the state could make changes about the extent of applicability of the Indian Constitution and have its own constitution. J&K Constitution officially omitted the applicability of “Socialist, Secular” and “Integrity” of the nation. Thus, the independent constitution of Jammu and Kashmir denied the applicability of “Socialism and Secularism” in the state and refused the obligation to work for the Integrity of the nation. So this is what was applicable in the Kashmir before abrogation-

WE, THE PEOPLE OF the state of Jammu and Kashmir, having solemnly resolved, in pursuance of accession of this state to India which took place on Twenty-Sixth of October, 1947, to further define the existing relationship of the state with the Union of India as an integral part thereof, and to secure to ourselves – JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; and to promote among us all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the Nation; IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this  17th day of November, 1956, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

Between the Constitution of India and the Constitution of Kashmir, the missing parts are:

  • Secular Government
  • Equality of Status and Opportunity
  • Assuring Integrity of the Nation.

Since the minds of the people cannot be moved to support a constitution, a law of exclusivity merely based on the religion of the majority, the same is being attempted to be done in the name of democracy and secularism. As we can see, abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir is the first step toward the restoration of democratic and secular principles by ensuring its applicability. Those fanning separatism today and fanaticism under the garb of democracy and secularism will not tell you the truth, nor would they take you to the abandoned and closed theatres of Kashmir. The dynasties which ruled over Kashmir as if it was some fiefdom from the middle-ages, were prompt to pick the central directives which suited them, like extending the term of assembly from five to six years and never rolling it back. It is for the sake of secularism, we must ensure that any exclusivity based on religion must never come back and the state of Kashmir where a Pandit converting to Islam continues with his Hindu heritage, calling himself Ayyub Pandit is never allowed to drift into the Islamic theocracy called Pakistan.

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Saket Suryesh
A technology worker, writer and poet, and a concerned Indian. Saket writes in Hindi and English. He writes on socio-political matters and routinely writes Hindi satire in print as well in leading newspaper like Jagaran. His Hindi Satire "Ganjhon Ki Goshthi" is on Amazon best-sellers. He has just finished translating the Autobiography of Legendary revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil in English, to be soon released as "The Revolitionary".

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