Following unprecedented move on August 2 of Jammu and Kashmir government of shortening and curtailing Shree Amarnath pilgrimage in Kashmir and deployment of additional security forces in the state especially in the valley, coupled with an unusual calm and balmy but suspenseful atmosphere, rumour mills or to be specific, mills of speculations, conjectures and guess work were seen in near full optimal production mode. “Was that all for taking some drastic decisions by the Central Government or was it for aerially striking terror launch pads along and deep near some PoK areas? Was the state going to be bifurcated or delimitation processes started in the right earnest ? Something must be on the cards regarding the much hyped 35A and 370 but one of the former CMs had warned that any “tinkering with these clauses amounted to touching with bare hands a heap of ‘barood’ which meant not only the hands but the entire body getting blasted “, hence that could not be the possibility” ….were all types of hypothesizing going on especially in a hush hush manner and even through social media all these days till August 5. Analysing all that ‘spectacle’ , a story told by elders in our school days came nostalgically in the mind.
It was something like ……a person at a distance of less than half a kilometre from Srinagar’s one of the bridges , Zaina Kadal suddenly but hysterically started running and moving his arms up and down, towards the bridge and shouting pointing to the onlookers on both the sides of the road that “Thukh ” was flowing under Zaina Kadal . Whosever heard and saw him, left behind whatever work one was looking after and started running exasperatingly towards the direction of the Zaina Kadal to know , see and wonder about the “Thukh” flowing . Barbers who had work in hand and had finished only “one side or portion” of the assignment, left their customers on the principle of “As it is where it is” and started running towards the said bridge to know what was that strange thing all about. Hundreds reached and hundreds of others came to know about “peculiar development” at and under Zaina Kadal since the news spread like wild fire. The actual spot having attained so much importance and curiosity, however, was as usual normal and the waters of the Veth (Jehlum) flowing with graceful gait under the bridge. The people could not find the naughty attention seeking but seemingly incorrigible guy who had made all the fuss .
The matter did not end until this word “Thukh” would be deciphered was, what the disturbed assemblage resolved but till now, that has remained a mystery as flowing water of the river Veth ( Jehlum) , and the mysterious word had no connection inter-se whatsoever and it descended on one inference that the witty but a bit delinquent type of guy had just played a prank and that also in a canter but one thing in the literature of the rustics it left ingrained, was ‘much ado about nothing’ or later, very commonly known as “Khabar-e- Zaina Kadal”. In other words, that means unsubstantiated news or information or a rumour which should not be relied upon. Has the institution of swearing between friends, immediate relatives, neighbours, sellers- buyers, marriage brokers and their clientele, landlords- tenants and lenders- borrowers etc taken place only to instil confidence and belief in a thing which otherwise would be taken as ‘a thing which is not’ or a replica of ‘April fool’ or seriously speaking, a joke or a rumour? That is an area for research scholars to find out the exact reasons and the basis thereof.
So long as the suspense remained in unsuspended animation and things unfolded only on late morning of August 5 in the Rajya Sabha when the Union Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the most important J&K Reorganisation Bill about Jammu and Kashmir (state) which was preceded by issuing a notification by the President titled as Constitution order 2019 (Jammu and Kashmir) which scrapped Article 370 and hence Article 35 A too getting rendered invalid. Such a masterstroke move of the Government was unexpected in respect of its levels in contents and vast purposes , all speculations made till that time remained in a state of complete uncertainty- at times between friends and between those over ambitiously indulging in “things of politics’ leading to trading of hot words at some moments . Everything settled down completely by the evening, when the Upper House passed it more conveniently than expected, even when the arch rivals of the Modi Government like the AAP, BSP, TDP cast their votes in favour of the Bill in addition to the members from YSR-Congress, BJD and AIADMK parties. It dawned that an ordinary Bill was not passed in the Rajya Sabha but what it all meant hovered around the fact that Narendra Modi had scripted history and the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir had been dismantled after it had considerably overstayed . Those of the enthusiasts who had floated different theories and indulged in kite flying and proven having been somewhat near to the actual happening, bore a pride of a special category “See, I was doubly sure about it” etc . The following day , the Bill getting passed in the Lok Sabha by 351 in favour and 72 against made a real history of great importance only after August 15, 1947 and after Oct 27, 1947 respectively.
Not entirely in the lighter tone, this time “Zaina Kadal” (gossip) proved right and whatever rumours were making rounds centring around scrapping Article 370 (including 35A) , proved right . As regards speculations about bifurcation of the state, it proved very partially right as none imagined it getting stretched and very rightly so to the unimaginable proportions of Jammu and Kashmir becoming a Union Territory with a legislature and Ladakh also a UT but without a legislature and directly under the Central rule . The moral of the story is that rumours or the speculations at times, agreeably rarely, looking to the circumstances and the immediate solutions needed, could prove right even if partially. The other immortal moral of the story , a serious one and a lasting one, is that temporary arrangements could never be taken for granted to be of a permanent nature , non negotiable and non retrievable . Even N.A. Gopalaswami Ayyangar while drafting Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that granted autonomy or special status to Jammu and Kashmir state had later stated that it was a purely temporary arrangement for Jammu and Kashmir. Even Nehru had predicted that the arrangement would get worn out and waned to its non existence in the course of time but right from 1954 till August 5, 2019 , no one gathered political will and strong determination to address this issue. Article 35 A became null and void along with going away of Article 370 , the former dealt with ‘permanent residents’ of the (state) of Jammu and Kashmir and providing special rights and privileges to them.
Anyway , with repealing of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status , dual citizenship, two constitutions, two flags and two penal codes would be consigned to pages of history and in the words of Prime Minister Modi, “J & K is now free from shackles , and new dawn and better tomorrow awaits.” Let us not give too much credence to unwarranted and unjustified statements given in the august House by some Congress leaders , one describing the scrapping of 370 as equivalent to “chopping India’s head” and the other demonstrating being out of the depths by bringing in the role of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, Simla Agreement and even Lahore Declaration. The role of other Congress leaders like Bhuban-eshwar Kalita, Janardhan Diwedi, Jyotiraditya Scindia , Milind Deora, Deependra Hooda , Anil Shastri and others to realise the importance of the scrapping of Article 370 and sensing the mood of the people is a welcome step which further strengthens healthy democracy and the idea of one India and full integration of Jammu and Kashmir like never before, without any sort of riders. Let violence, mistrust, fears and hate now be replaced by love , respect , compassion and inclusiveness.