The 1947 built political narrative on Jammu and Kashmir by the Congress and the National Conference primarily, after gaining forty years of age, was replaced by a powerful fake narrative on Kashmir with effect from 1987.
For an immediate convenience, the results of the State Assembly elections held in 1987 in J&K were asked to be the reason for the “upsurge” in Kashmir valley. It used to be the main pushing narrative to create a well-crafted facade to hoodwink the public opinion across in respect of the emerging volatile situation in the Jammu and Kashmir state, and specifically, the Kashmir valley.
The initial old narrative was based upon the theory that Sheikh Abdullah, National Conference and the Muslim majority community of Kashmir were instrumental in the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with the Bharatiya Union. It kept the reality of the Instrument of Accession signed by the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir on 26/27 October 1947 deliberately at bay and under the carpet.
The political narrative didn’t tell people at large that it was the Ruler alone who was empowered to accede to either of the Dominion according to the Indian Independence Act of 1947, passed by the British Parliament. The people of the princely ruled states were not empowered to take the decision regarding the accession and it was the Ruler alone who had the authority to do so.
The Muslim majority character of the Jammu and Kashmir state grew from the idea that since the majority community decided to “choose” to go to the Bharatiya Union, so the character of the Muslim majority of the state should be guaranteed by the constitution of Bharat.
Congress under Nehru was instrumental to concede to the demand and nourish this fake narrative to the hilt and thus adoption of Article 370 by the Constituent Assembly was the culminating resultant effect of it followed by a surreptitiously introduced piece of fraud (in 1954) called Article 35A.
Having been assured of the utility and continuance of the four decade old fake political narrative on Kashmir by the political and state structures of the country, the architects of the new generation activists used 1987 results of the general elections in J&K as a stop-gap arrangement to bring to the fore the real agenda in the post 1987 era of death and destruction.
Religious fundamentalism, communal extremism and Islamic terrorism were introduced in a very methodical and meticulous manner by the architects of ethnic cleansing in Kashmir. They covered the whole operation by a very powerful political narration, supported not only by the state mechanism but also by the mainstream political structures of the country.
It was not surprising to note that the same narrative was picked up by Pakistan and its cohorts spread along the length and breadth of the world.
The then developments of Romania, USSR and the Europe in 1989-90 were applied as the political lubricants to the fake narrative that ruled the roost for three decades from 1987-88 onwards in regard to the Kashmir scenario. The voices of Jammu and Ladakh were pushed to the background with a design to suit the plan to take the issue of Kashmir to the international political business hub.
The only obstacle that had the potential to challenge this fake narration was the forced mass-exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit community from Kashmir in 1989-90 and after. Therefore, a well orchestrated, clinically crafted and blitz-friendly fake narrative was introduced with all finesse by the merchants of death and destruction in the Kashmir valley.
The facade of four-fold narrative included the following designed, crafted and calculated terminology that had its deep impact on the psyche of everyone concerned. It can be summarised as Militant & Militancy, Migration & Migrant, Jagmohan & KPs and Human Rights violations & Disappearance of youth idiom driven fake campaign in and about Kashmir.
It should not be a matter of astonishment that this facade was at the core of mainstream debate and discourse on Kashmir upto 2008, the year of Amarnath land agitation, in which it was well challenged. Thereafter, it got a rebuttal, though mild, till 2014.
It was only after 2014, the year in which the change at the centre took place, that this facade was forcefully challenged and an alternative Kashmir narrative was also floated. Thereafter, it was in 2018-2019 period that the fake Kashmir narrative was virtually defeated through various means including constitutional, political, diplomatic, legal and on the ground decisive and meaningful decisions and actions.
Having been defeated to a large extent, the fake narrative has yet its skeleton intact and can be found in the cupboard and on the table, thus bringing forth its impact off & on during the discourse, debate, written documentation and communication. The most hit by this fake narrative were/ are administration, intellectuals and sections of media. The common people have by and large come out of its overwhelming weight and impact.
Ever since the beginning of Islamic terrorism in the valley, the words used to describe it were chosen very skillfully by its directors, produces, actors, supporters and financiers. Initially, they used to describe it as the guerilla attack by unknown gunmen, armed rebellion and ultras.
With the passage of time, when the world started to recognize the menace as terrorism, words militant and militancy were intelligently introduced as an alternative in the official communications, intellectual discourses and media representations. The common people were made to believe that these were the alternate words and could be used in place of terrorists and terrorism.
Some politicians in the government and outside the government considered it as their duty to popularize these words instead of terrorism and terrorists. A somewhat sympathetic consideration was induced with the use of these words instead of contempt for the crimes depicted by terror, terrorism and terrorists. The practice remains unabated till date at some important levels.
Consequent upon the genocide against the Pandit minorities in Kashmir valley, the forced mass exodus was inflicted upon the Hindus of Kashmir rendering them as refugees in their own country. The official version of ethnic cleansing and forced mass exodus of Hindus was ‘nomenclatured’ as migration and the displaced people or the refugees were designated as migrants.
It was done solely with a design to hide the intent of ethnic cleansing and mass exodus that was inflicted upon the minority communities of Hindus and Sikhs in the vale of Kashmir. The government of Bharat in 1990-91 was so naive in this context that it went ahead alongwith the J&K state government and used the same terminology and even translated the words migrant and migration in its documentation and communication as “pravasi” and “pravas”. It was and remains the most shameful act to describe the human tragedy for which the then governments were equally responsible.
The responsibility for mass exodus was conspiratorially shifted to Jagmohan, the then Governor of the J&K state. It is disgusting to believe that his name was involved in such a fashion by almost all non-BJP politicians and also by his own official machinery in the J&K state.
The fake accusation was immediately picked up by the intellectuals and groups of media and exploited to the hilt. Recently some intellectuals of Kashmir have made revelations and admissions in this regard:
“The Jagmohan theory is the most shameful & classical example of collective lies that we have told to ourselves & the world to defend the indefensible extermination of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir. No amount of apology can undo the catastrophe”. (@hussain_imtiyaz)
“Don’t give me lame excuse of Jagmohan for Kashmiri Pandit exodus. I as a Kashmiri Muslim will not hesitate to say that we Kashmiri Muslims were responsible for the Pandit exodus. It’s not only blot on Kashmiriyat but on whole humanity. Dear Kashmiri Pandits, We are Sorry”. (@TheSkandar)
“Today marks the 31st anniversary of one of the darkest moments in the history of India. It was on this day, 31 years ago when the Kashmiri Pandits were mercilessly driven out of their homeland. Let us come together and remember the day, not with vengeance and hate, but with this understanding that no state or religion should be treated differently, that no crimes go unpunished and no victim is deprived of justice. No injustice is too small and no religion too powerful”. (@MakhdoomiEmaad)
Here it needs to be mentioned that the senior most journalist of the Kashmir valley, Ghulam Mohd. Sofi was the first to reject the so-called Jagmohan theory and called it a conspiracy. Bashir Manzar, Editor-poet sought apology for what was done to Kashmiri Pandits and held the majority Muslim community responsible for the failures in this regard.
A concerted effort was made to espouse the cause of the human rights violations in Kashmir with the help of domestic and foreign human rights traders to defame army, security forces, police and the government. Tonnes of moneys were received from innumerable quarters through hawala etc., to advance the fake campaign.
Those of the youth who went to join terror ranks in Kashmir were enlisted in the columns of disappeared people and an alarm was fraudulently raised to create confusion and concoction with a motive to defame India and the Indian government. A battery of legal luminaries joined the ranks including the former judges to create fake reports and impact the political narratives wrongly for a long period without any formidable challenge
The change in the government at the centre in 2014 and the decisive actions like the 5/6 August, 2019 broke the monopoly and exposed the fake narratives on Kashmir slowly and steadily. Due to an overwhelming negative impact all these three decades, it might take some more time to clean the slate in this respect.
However, an alternative Kashmir narrative is gaining its currency and will get reinforced in the days to come, hopefully. If there was any appropriate time to right the wrongs done for the last seven decades, it is invariably now.
-Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo
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