Eminent Indian writer and journalist Mr. Kuldip Nayar commenting on the issue of Kashmir wrote, “The Kashmiris’ protest, more or less peaceful, is Islamic in tone and tenor. But it seems as if it is a way of expression, not the content. The content is that the Kashmiris want a country of their own.”
He further wrote, “……therefore, there should be no doubt about the real desire of Kashmiris. I could see angry faces when I said in my speech that the Muslims in India would have a hard time if the demand for an independent Kashmir was ever acceded. The Hindus would argue that if after 70 years of being part of Indian, the Kashmiri Muslims wanted independence, what is the guarantee about the loyalty of 16 crores [160 million] Muslims in India?
“The argument that Indian could not jeopardize its secular system by making Kashmir a separate country, which would be 98 percent Muslims, was not even entertained at the conference [held in 2015]. Your Muslims are your problems; was more or less the counter argument.”
Following the sudden attack at a police station in Punjab during July 2015, India’s spy agency – Research and Analysis Wing [RAW] forecasted a possible re-emergence of Khalistan movement in Punjab, where Sikhs had had earlier fought in demand of Khalistan [Holy Land] – a country of the Sikhs. More than 98 percent of the population in Punjab are Sikhs [90 million as of 2015], while Hindu population was just one million with ten million Muslims.
Indian home minister Rajnath Singh = following the attack on the police station in Guardaspur, Punjab said, “Hindu terrorism coined by its previous UPA [United Progressive Alliance] government had weakened the fight against scourge by diverting the direction of probe into the incidents of terrorism.”
As soon as the home minister from Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] conceded his statement in the parliament [Lok Sabha], members of Indian National Congress [INC] stormed the well and it was a scene of protests and disruptions in the House. This prompted Rajnath Singh to attack the Indian National Congress party saying, “Terrorism is the biggest challenge facing the country [India]. Neither parliament not the country should appear divided on this … on the one hand, out jawans [soldiers] making the supreme sacrifice while fighting against terror; on the other we have this noise and disruption. How can the country accept this?”
As the protest intensified, he hit back, “In this House in 2013, the then home minister [P Chidambaram] had coined the new terminology – Hindu Terrorism – in order to change the direction of probe. It weakened our fight. As a consequence, Hafuz Sayeed [founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba] of Pakistan had congratulated the then home minister. Our government will never allow such a shameful situation again.”
On such chaotic situation amongst the political parties in India, Kuldip Nayar wrote, “Parties have reduced politics to the religion. People should assert themselves through liberal organizations or leaders and ensure that the poison of religion and caste dies not spread. If the nation fails, Kashmir and many other parts of India may flounder in the muddy waters of religion. The country is on trial.”
BJP came into power through a landslide victory in 2014, mainly by banking on the image of Narendra Modi [the former Chief Minister of Gujrat anaccused of having hands behind anti-Muslim massacre]. Mr. Modi though left an impression to the Indian voters that his party had chosen the path of secularism instead of upholding radical Hindu doctrine – Hindutva. But only within months of this landslide victory, BJP and its partner RSS had begun the ‘holy mission’ of forcefully getting Muslims and Christians into Hindu religion under the banner of ‘Ghar Waps’ [returning home] policy.The Indian Home Minister and some of his extremist or radical Hindu political associates enforced ban on cow slaughter as beef is forbidden meat to the Hindus. When in Bangladesh, a country of Muslim majority, there had never been anty word (not to speak of a toughen action like ban) on forcing, slaughter and sale of pigs meat [pork] – don’t it very strange for India, which boasts of being a secular nation of imposing ban on cow slaughter and beef, though it is one of the meet items consumed by Muslims, Christians and Jews?
Rajnathg Singh’s radical Hinduist mindset and his mock-secular mask was clearly proved when he wasn’t satisfied by banning beef in his own country [India] but openly pronounced of doing everything possible compelling people in Bangladesh in ‘giving up beef from their dish’. Such actions definitely does not fit on the shoes of secularism that India has been proclaiming to be not only upholding, but championing.
Secularism is the only remedy for a vast country like India to remain where it stands with pride with a huge size of land. Otherwise, any sort of ultra-Hindutva or what Indian National Congress claims – ‘Hindu Terrorism’ would only give fuel to Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Khalistan movement and similar movements in the north-eastern state in India even if continue labeling all such activieis as separatist movement, insurgency or even criminal act.
It is a fact that majority of the people in India, including the Hindus may not like seeing any ban on beef. At the same time, leaders and supporters of BJP-RSS duo can argue – if Christian missionaries can continue getting Hindus converted into Christianity [even Muslims and Buddhists are also being converted on a regular basis) – if Muslim missionaries can continue their religious conversion activities – where is the problem if even RSS is doing that? They also can ask – what is the reason behind alarming decline in Hindu population in Pakistan and Bangladesh since past seven plus decades? Isn’t it because Hindus are being regularly persecuted by the Muslim majorities in both the South Asian nations? To be honest with my pen – I must not turn-down any of such arguments. Actually I cannot. Hindus in particular are in extreme vulnerable situation in Pakistan and Bangladesh, which have been forcing them to illegally migrate to India at least to find safety of lives. Attacks on Hindu temples; grabbing of Hindu properties and numerous forms of hostilities on the Hindus are regular phenomenon and in most of such heinous crimes – Muslim leaders in Pakistan and Bangladesh either remain mum or turn blind eyes. Hindu prosecution is Pakistan may have reasons because that is basically an anti Hindu Islamic Republic with majority of the population having radical mindset. But, why such things should be allowed to happen in Bangladesh – which truly is a secular nation?
But of course, none of these unfortunate realities give any ground to India in shifting from being secularist to a Hindu state. Radical Hinduism or Hindu Terrorism can be rather suicidal act for a huge country like India.
Mr. Kuldip Nayar speaks of ‘independence’ of Kashmir. But, I will definitely disagree with this theory. Why in the world the people of Kashmir demand separation from India? Why the populace in Pakistan occupied Kashmir are not demanding separation from Pakistan? Actually in the name of independence of the Kashmir in India, there is a tricky game of ultimately getting in united with the Pakistan occupies Kashmir and contribute in enlarging Pakistan’s map. Nothing else!
In my personal opinion, no insurgency movements inside India – be it Kashmir or Punjab or the so-called seven sisters in the north eastern part of India will ever be successful. India is strong enough militarily even to handle such illegitimate demands. We must not forget how Russian successfully handled the insurgency in Chechnya. Even a peaceful demand of the Scottish people of getting separated from United Kingdom and emerge as an independent nation was rejected by none but the Scottish voters through a referendum. I am almost sure that the so-called demand of independence are no popular opinion even in Kashmir, Punjab or the north-eastern states in India. Actually all of these are game of anti-India forces from across the borders. Yes, Bangladesh is not any part of such wrong game. Rather, Dhaka has been extending all out support to New Delhi in combating anti India insurgency.
Though in return – unfortunately, New Delhi has only played the role of deception and betrayal with Dhaka. Indian Border Security Force (BSF) are routinely murdering Bangladeshis; there are mockery and nasty game with the issue of water sharing; rather India is silently implementing the controversian river linking project titled Inter-basin water transfer links ‘Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga’, which will connect trans-boundary rivers and divert water to Southern Indian states thus diminishing the water flow in Bangladesh’s rivers like the Teesta, Jamun and Padma, and badly affect country’s environment and economy.
Though Bangladesh and India share 54 common rivers, the upstream India is not paying any heed to this basic issue of water sharing with Bangladesh. The above mentioned river-linking project will not only provide large irrigation and water supply benefits to Assam, Poshchim Banga [West Bengal] and Bihar but will also make available large quantum of water for transfer subsequently to southern states in India thus ultimately letting Bangladesh turn into a desert. It may be mentioned here that, as per the joint communiqué signed by the two Prime Minister of Bangladesh [Sheikh Hasina] and India [Dr. Manmohan Singh] in 2010, the trans-boundary rivers would be managed basin-wide and that Indian cannot do it alone. But the reality is – India is doing that – unilaterally!
Well, that is the ‘gesture’ New Delhi is showing to Dhaka for cordial supports and cooperation Bangladesh has been extending to India since 2009. This may not really bother the people of India but of course it will fuel anti-India sentiment in Bangladesh. It also will put the government of Sheikh Hasina into huge discomfort.
New Delhi surely has the capacity of combating any sort of insurgency inside India. It also can exhibit hegemonic and hostile attitude towards the neighboring nations – especially Bangladesh and China. But, will it ultimately bring any good result for India at the end of the day? Once India turns its friendly neighbors into foes through deceitful and hostile actions, neighboring nations at one point may lose enthusiasm in cooperating with India. Yes, New Delhi may thing, what Dhaka can really do even if the Indian policymakers choose the path of deception with Bangladesh? The answer is straight and clear! Dhaka in that case will shift its eyes from New Delhi to Beijing, Bangladesh-China relations will be moved towards newer heights in a faster pace. China can really transform Bangladesh into a strong country – both economically and militarily. In that case, countries like United States and Russia would also feel interested in helping Bangladesh in every possible ways.
If this is what BJP, Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh and the Indian policymakers sincerely want to avoid – they must stop considering Bangladesh as a small and weak nation. Depriving a nation like Bangladesh in various ways and showing hostile face would never bring good result for India at all. Indian policymakers should kindly remember – Bangalis are the nation of braves and heroes. They wont remain mum forever if oppression, hostility and negligence continue with them. War of independence in1971 is just one bright example. Bangalis fought and defeated the mighty Pakistan army. Indian policymaker – please take note of this!