Unending controversies

Prof. A. N. Sadhu
The state of Jammu and Kashmir has always remained in news, both, for good and bad reasons. The beautiful landscape, the charming scenic beauty, dancing streams and waterfalls and crystal clear water lakes and springs besides mountains glaciers and pastures have attracted tourists from all over the world and made Kashmir a most sought tourist spot by the nature and adventure loving people of the world. Kashmir is known all over the world for its unmatching natural environment. Kashmir is equally known as a land of saints, sufis and sages and accepted as Kashyap land after the renowned saint Kashyap Rishi, who laid its foundations thousands of years ago. The state is also known for political reasons,
In the long struggle of India’s independence, the state of J&K did not remain unaffected by the developments taking place all over the country. It did manifest in 1931, when Maharaja Hari Singh was ruling the state. However, the somber influence of the rich tenets of humanity preached by Rishis and Sufi’s, kept people sobre and inspite of some simmering, the state remained, by and large, peaceful making Mahatama Gandhi to observe that ” he sees a ray of hope in Kashmir”. Dogra rulers had brought stability and peace to the state and were kind to their subjects. The administration was welfare oriented and people friendly. When the country was close to getting independence from the British Empire, the Maharaja, keeping in view the welfare of its people and the stability of the state took a thoughful decision to accede to Indian Dominion to let its people reap the benefits of  democracy, secularism and religious brotherhood. But unfortunately Pakistan engineered a tribal armed attack fully backed by its regular army to annex the state by force. This started the unending spiral of controversies so far as the state is concerned. Even when tribal raiders were driven out, the state got partitioned and it opened a lasting animosity  between the two countries.
Even when the state is an integral part of the country by virtue of the Instrument of Accession, there have always been one or the other controversy which has been disturbing the peace  and tranquility  of the state subjects on perennial basis. Even the undisputed accession, has been sought to be made controversial, on one or the other pretext. Subtle distinctions have been made between accession and merger, between emotional and political accession and between limited merger and total merger. To address these issues, sometimes it has been greater autonomy, other times self rule, besides right to self determination, which have been suggested as possible alternatives to resolve these riddles.
Now that seventy years of independence have passed, the J&K continues to be an issue to be addressed in a manner, which will settle it for all times to come. The elusiveness of a permanent solution, has thrown the state, more particularly, the valley of Kashmir, to unrest owing to terrorist activities abetted by the neighbouring country. Precious lives have been lost, property destroyed and peace put at peril.The end to this devastation of life and property does not seem to be visible unless the issue is addressed on rational basis and a permanent halt put to hostilities.
During the last three years, the state has witnessed renewed unrest, particularly, due to ruling alliance where the two coalition parties are of different political ideologies. Many people still keep their fingers crossed on the successful completion of this political arrangement. On the sharp ideological divide, the two parties have resolved not to rake up the controversial issues and concentrate only on governance suggesting the logic that  two regions of the state have given these two parties the mandate to run the government. Political Pandits may raise several questions of this type of rationale, but the political expedience would, at times, demand such alliance, if not for better governance but for a work out of new formulation to stabilize the state and break ice on some existing controversies. The country is keenly watching the new order that is sought to be built on tall objectives of Sab Ka Sath, Sab Ka Vikas  and corruption free India. However, all that has been witnessed so far is undoubtedly high sounding but its real impact on ground will be assessed in days to come.
The latest controversy is raked up on Article 35A. Sharp reactions have already been witnessed on the prospect of dropping this article from the constitution . That it is annexed with the constitution by a Presidential order, will probably make no difference because quite a lot has already happened between 1954 and 2017. I think the suggestion that there should be a larger debate on a wider scale should be well taken because the issue involves sentiments, emotions apprehensions besides the legal prospective. It will require statesmanship, competence and sincerety to address the issue in a proper way. If the present regime has to sense progress, it must bring newness in their thinking.
The stability is always fragile and in constant danger of being lost, if leaders do not act independent of their individual and emotional stands. Let us not allow the controversies to consume more of our precious time. The matter is before the Appex Court. The countrymen have full faith in the judicial system. Our judicial system is free and fair. It is competent of giving the right judgement as is evidenced by its earlier judgements in different matters that have given the confidence to our people of its fairness. There are a few concerns connected with the Article 35A, where justice needs to be delivered. Let us have faith in the Appex Court and hope for a verdict which will meet the expectations of all sections of the society.
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