The Prime Minister should take his government’s recent pronouncements on terrorism to its logical conclusion.
That many international terrorist organisations not just operate from the Pakistani soil, but are also supported by institutions belonging to the state, is an open secret. One of Pakistan’s paymaster, the United States of America, which has until recently turned a blind eye to the shenanigans of the Pakistani army has started to bitterly complain about the state of affairs. The supposedly all-weather friend, China, is also said to be most unhappy that those which it has determined to be terrorist organisations are operating camps in Pakistan. But when it comes to getting Pakistan to act against the Islamic terrorist organisations that have made a life mission to conduct war against Bharat, both the countries demur. For them hypocrisy is the hallmark of their foreign policy.
At the recent South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) held in Pakistan, Rajnath Singh, Bharat’s Home Minister, made a statement making clear that Bharat considers Pakistan is doing everything to encourage terrorism in Bharat. The following line summarises the crux of the issue: “It also needs to be ensured that terrorism is not glorified and is not patronised by any state.” This statement, particularly the part about patronising, was clearly addressed to Pakistan.
The part of glorifying should be viewed as not only to what Pakistan’s ruling establishment said or did, but what has been happening, and continues to happen, in a certain section of those who occupy the intellectual space in Bharat. And it is here that we would like the prime minister to take his comments to the logical conclusion. While one can rationalise (at a stretch) politicians who indulge in vote-bank politics to go soft on Kashmiri Muslim terrorists, the role of these ‘intellectuals’ is the real threat to peace in the Kashmir Valley.
The proximate reason for the bold stand by Bharat today is the reaction of the pseudo-secularists in Bharat to the killing of the commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, Burhan Wani, by the Bharatiya Army in one of their operations in the Kashmir Valley that took place on July 8, 2016. Lt Gen (Retd) Syed Ata Hasnain wrote:
“For those who may not know, Wani is the most-wanted terrorist in Kashmir Valley, credited with having created a wave of what is called New Militancy in South Kashmir.”
Some in the English mainstream media did provide the people of Bharat the real face of Wani, instead of a supposedly romantic face. For example, Gaurav C. Sawant of the India Today group tweeted:
“This joker Burhan Wani recently issued a video threat to JKP & army. Said abandon uniform or be ready to die. They let their guns respond.”
(‘They’ here refers to the army which did the job that they were trained for.)
Wani was wanted not just for motivating a few Muslims from the Valley to leave their studies and take to guns to undertake a Jihad, but also for murder of members of the security force, and some civilians of the Kashmir Valley. Rahul Pandita (an exiled Kashmiri Hindu and journalist) writes:
“But it is baffling why a section of leftists in India, who are advocates of azadi in Kashmir, would mourn the death of the commander of a terrorist organisation that has not only killed security personnel but unarmed Kashmiris as well, including many from the Hindu minority, in several cases dragging them out of buses and shooting them dead in cold blood.”
However, for the ‘liberal’ crowd, based primarily in Lutyen’s Delhi, he was neither a terrorist nor a murderer. For them, in his death he became a supposed iconic figure, one who is supposed to be revered by thousands in the Valley.
For example, Barkha Dutt, infamous in the Radia tape case and employed by NDTV, instantly jumped into the fray of romanticising Wani, when she tweeted:
“Breaking: Burhan Wani hizbul commander, son of school headmaster, who used social media as weapon of war, killed in Anantnag. BIG STORY.”
The emphasis is in the original. What Dutt does not say is what kind of ‘war’ was Wani waging? The tweet would indicate that he was trying to make a logical argument for the ‘war’ and NOT asking his followers to resort to guns and grenades. The use of the social media was similar to what ISIS is doing world wide – radicalising impressionable young Muslim minds to give up studies and wage a jihad.
Around the same time, Sawant also put out the following tweet on the same topic:
“Top terrorist Burhan Wani killed in Anantnag. Breaking on India Today. Wani was the face of terror in Kashmir. 10 lakh reward.”
Given these two versions, Anand Ranganathan, one of the Lutyen’s Delhi commentators, was confused. And he asked: “So who was Burhan Wani?”
To add to the confusion, a colleague of Sawant in the India Today group, Rahul Kanwal, gave his own version of the reason for the young people in the Kashmir valley resorting to terrorism. He tweeted:
“Lack of economic opportunity and no hope of a better future is creating generation of young Kashmiris who are acutely frustrated and very angry.”
This is not the first time that the people of Bharat have seen such responses from the ‘liberals’ of Lutyen’s Delhi. This time, it was only due to the force of the social media that they are today grudgingly admitting that the terrorism in the Valley is a product of the covert war being waged by various state organisations in Pakistan, directly or indirectly through the state-supported terrorist organisation.
Secondly, the big change in the discourse in the social media, at levels beyond the Internet Hindus, has also now become very clear. Even those whom Dutt would consider to be her logical followers have seen through her game plan and asked her not to romanticise terror. A couple of such persons are Udayan Bose, an international banker based in Mumubai, and Mohandas Pai, ex-Executive of Infosys and based in Bengaluru.
Sadly, instead of dwelling on why such people are no longer willing to accept her words and narratives blindly, she expressed surprise and hurt. While she was so far willing to dismiss statements similar as these two gentlemen, but coming from the Internet Hindus, it is a most uncomfortable situation when the same viewpoint is today held by some occupying the social elite space also. This social elite, mostly English speaking, were considered by Dutt, Kanwal, and others, to be part of their constituency which would lap-up whatever they say as words of wisdom.
In case of Kanwal, an Internet Hindu, Paresh Rawal, suggest to Kanwal the following:
“Kanwal, visit the poor villages of Himancha, Kumaon & Garhwal. People literally have nothing, but they don’t kill others. The work hard and live.”
And Ranganathan commented:
“This fascination we have, of rationalising terrorism, of romanticising the picking up of gun. Che’s Children.”
(Che Guevara was a Marxist revolutionary from South America. Like many such revolutionaries, he started with a noble intention, which degenerated into violence, and often murdering opponents in a summary fashion.)
Like Dutt, instead of dwelling on the feedback that he received, Kanwal tweeted:
“My job as a journalist is to tell the truth as I see it by reporting from the ground. Not to peddle a narrative just because it is in fashion.”
Surprisingly, Kanwal had also tweeted, perhaps in brief moments of sanity:
“Some of the stone pelters getting paid money by separatists is Kashmir’s worst kept secret. Separatists in turn get funded by ISI.”
“Northern Command officers narrate tales of extraordinary restraint being shown by armed forces personnel in the face of extreme provocation.”
“Intelligence Bureau shows ISI control room in PoK directing Kashmir stone pelters. 6 calls intercepted.”
So we have two narratives from him. One, that Wani and others became terrorists because of lack of economic opportunity. And second that the stone pelters are getting funded from, and controlled by, Pakistani state institutions, and that Bharat’s security forces resort to violence only in situation of beyond extreme provocation. Can he tell which narrative is true? Both cannot be true.
Here it is pertinent to quote two tweets from Prabhu Chawla, a senior journalist based in Lutyen’s Delhi:
“Youngsters like Burhan Wani aren’t misled militants. They are just blood thirsty, money-led mercenaries. Who gives them expensive weapons?”
“Wani was yet one more young man who chose terror as business. Easy money. Instant fame. No one asks about sources of guns and money.”
When there is so much information about the motivation of the terrorists in the Kashmir Valley and the forces that are inimical towards Bharat and its people, the likes of Dutt and Kanwal like to bury their head in sand and propagate a narrative that is close to the heart of the jihadi organisations based in Pakistan, operating openly and with immunity. Given what they have said and done, it should not at all be a surprise that the international terrorist, Hafiz Saeed, openly conveyed his appreciation of journalists like Barkha Dutt. That Dutt should say that she is repulsed with this endorsement by Saeed is a clear indication that she does not even want to dwell on the effect of the propaganda that she has made a career in propagating.
Furthermore, the appreciation of Dutt’s projection of the issues surrounding the Kashmir Valley is not just by the terrorists and not recent. In 2010, the late Salmaan Tasseer had tweeted:
“I congratulate Indian journalist Barkha Dutt on her humane views on tragedy of Kashmir and brutalities of Indian Army.”
Taseer was a businessman, and also a politician. He was assassinated by his bodyguard, because the Islamists in Pakistan were displeased with his opposition to the country’s dreaded blasphemy law. But his position regarding Jammu & Kashmir was no different from what the terrorists are holding, as can be seen from the following tweet of six years ago:
“A team from Financial Times asked me solution for Kashmir. I said if mighty Soviets can admit defeat and exit Afghanistan, why not India do same.”
However, six years down the line, there seem to be signs of change in the minds of the ones who are occupying the intellectual space there. There are some in Pakistan who have written articles questioning their nation’s policy of conducting a perpetual war against Bharat. While earlier, the covert war waged against Bharat by Pakistan was viewed as a legitimate strategy by these people, the fact that the state-supported terrorists have included Pakistan also in their field of operation has made them realize that a dangerous policy was being pursued.
In an editorial titled “Sharif’s statement on Kashmir: mere bombast?”, the editor of a Pakistani publication, the Daily Times (July 24, 2016), wrote:
“Rather the masses continue to suffer due to this mentality….By uttering these words, in fact, the PM is challenging the authority of India and inviting more trouble not only for Pakistan but Kashmiris also….What can Pakistan offer to Kashmiris when it is still coping with numerous challenges that are posing a threat to its own stability? Instead of talking about capturing more land, government needs to make AJ&K (Pakistan’s term for PoK) a model state where all Kashmiris happily aspire to live.”
Earlier, on July 15, 2016, in an article titled “Disown jihadist ‘freedom fighters’ in Kashmir”, Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, in another Pakistani publication, The Nation (July 15, 2016) wrote:
“Wani was the offspring of the global jihadist movement that emerged in the last quarter of the previous century, hammering Muslim-majority freedom movements into Islamist struggles wherever the occupying force was ‘non-Muslim’– including Palestine, Kashmir and East Turkestan. And the problem with any Islamist ‘freedom’ movement is that it intrinsically contradicts the very idea of freedom…It is these same liberals – who might not have offered the same courtesy to Hafiz Saeed or Masood Azhar for example – that have bought the Islamist narrative making Wani the poster boy for Kashmiris’ fight. If Wani is representative of Kashmiri Muslims, their Islamic supremacist movement shouldn’t be confused with freedom-fighting. And if the Hizb commander does not reflect the average Muslim mindset, there’s no bigger disservice to the Kashmiri cause than extolling Wani’s ‘struggle’….With Islamists like Geelani and Umar Farooq spearheading the Kashmir movement, and Wani becoming the face of resistance, little wonder that the struggle has continued to diminish in the recent past, mirroring the Palestinian movement being usurped by jihadism as well.”
However, the discourse amongst the pseudo-secularists in Bharat is still stuck in the mould of the past of blaming the Bharatiya state for creating the problems in the Kashmir Valley, and that people like Wani are the genuine representatives of what the young Kashmiri youth in the Valley want. They too have bought the Islamist narrative, and made it their own. Hence, one will not see any of the pseudo-secularists in the English mainstream media in Bharat inviting such Pakistani authors/writers as mentioned above on their TV shows to tell more about their new thinking. Nor will they invite any from the PoK, Balochistan, etc., and confront those from Pakistan who are invited knowing fully well that these latter will give the hardline viewpoint of the Pakistani state.
Here it is pertinent to quote from an article titled “Will Indian Media get ‘Aazadi’ from the fake narrative on Kashmir?” by Sunanda Vashisht:
“On August 2, 2016 Mehbooba Mufti delivered a speech that is probably the most important speech of her career so far. Addressing the civil society in Baramulla on August 2nd, she spoke without the usual restraint that is seen in politicians who are in power. She rebuked her audience for turning blind eye to the reality of Kashmir today. She rued the fact that mosques were being used to coerce and threaten women and children to come out and protest. She was distressed that young girls were being stopped on streets and were asked to dress ‘modestly’. She wondered what would happen to a land where a 10-year-old is so steeped in fanaticism that he can slap a senior citizen. She expressed anguish that Kashmir could go the same way as Afghanistan, Syria and Libya. ‘Syria has Azaadi then what are guns doing there? Do we want to make Afghanistan of this Jannat that we have?’ She asked angrily. And then most importantly she made no bones when she said ‘Is there a saazish to keep our children illiterate, unemployed so that it is easier to hand them stones?”
A little further Sunandaji writes:
“I found the speech on Facebook where it had been posted on the official account of the Chief Minister. The Indian Media that is ever so sensitive to reporting on Kashmir completely ignored this speech. Why? Because this completely goes against the carefully crafted narrative that has been built by the faux Liberal Media and academia.”
As I had said, the pseudo-secularists in Bharat are stuck in their own manufactured narrative of the past – a narrative no different from that of the Islamists. They had propagated it even before the Islamists were prominent on the world scene. This narrative enables them to make a living by trying to project that they are the protectors and benefactors of those whom they have labelled as victims. Recently (April 16, 2016), Chetan Bhagat, an author who writes English-language drama novels wrote an article with the title “Letter to Kashmiri Youth”. His essential message was: “Even if you don’t like India, here’s why your best bet is to integrate J&K with it”. Near the beginning of the article, he wrote:
“Sure, the experts will jump on me now. Experts who have made the Kashmir problem their fiefdom. However, if the problem were indeed solved, how will these people stay relevant? Hence, they always attack any solution with their elitist ‘this is too complicated an issue’ stance. They love complicated. It gives them another conference to attend. You suffer with complicated, as the problem never gets solved.”
As anticipated, Bhagat did get jumped upon by the ‘experts’ in Luten’s Delhi. Their intention was to ensure that the views expressed did not receive the due attention from people like Bose and Pai – a project that they are finding more and more difficult to implement. One has to wonder if for these ‘experts’ think that they will have to close shop and make an honest effort to make a living.
Recently, an extremely radical Islamic cleric in the UK, Anjem Choudhary, has been convicted for radicalising many Muslims to take to violent jihad. In a report “Questions raised about BBC giving Anjem Choudary a platform for his controversial views” (The Telegraph, 16 August 2016), Martin Evans writes:
“Ignoring warnings about offering the firebrand cleric the “oxygen of publicity” Choudary became a regular on many of the (British Broadcasting Corporation’s) flagship news programmes including Newsnight and Radio 4’s Today. During his trial Choudary described how he would “bait” the media with controversial statements and relished appearing on air. The court heard how he had hundreds of media contacts who he would tip off before high profile demonstrations and stunts, including 31 journalists from the BBC….. In 2015 one of the BBC’s most senior journalists was widely criticised when he appeared to draw comparisons with Choudary to Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill.
Criticising government plans to clamp down on fanatics, Mark Easton, the corporation’s Home Editor, said extreme views were needed “to challenge very established values”…. Last night Miqdaad Versi, Assistant Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain, said on Channel 4 News: “In reality, he didn’t have that much of support within Muslim communities but what happened was that many places within the media were allowing him and providing him a loudspeaker to spread his hatred which he wasn’t able to do within mosques across the UK.””
The English mainstream media in Bharat seems to be following the ‘hallowed’ footsteps of a ‘reputed’ news organisation. Glorifying terrorism is a world-wide phenomenon. The fact that this glorification hurts those in the Muslim community who wish to get along with their lives is of no concern to the media.
So, what is this dil (heart) asking for more from Pradhan Mantriji? Here are some suggestions:
- Let the truth about what exactly is happening in the state of Jammu & Kashmir come out. Namely, that the terrorism is restricted to the 5 districts in the Kashmir Valley, out of the total 22 in the state. And that too amongst the Muslism, it is the Sunni, and not the Shias and the Gujjars, who are involved. In geographical terms, the Valley forms only about 15% of the total land mass of the whole state.
- Whatever documented evidence available to establish the Pakistani link to the terrorists operating in the Kashmir Valley should be made public. We do realise that everything cannot be disclosed, since it might compromise those within PoK and in Pakistan, who are providing intelligence information to Bharat because they realise that this is in the best interests of the people in these areas.
- When those who romanticise the terrorists in the Valley say that the government must talk to the people of the Valley, inform that the government talks to the people of every part of the state. For decades, these other people have been complaining how the politicians in the Valley, who have monopolised the positions of political power, have treated them in a discriminatory way.
- Keep on highlighting that the Bharatiya security forces use utmost restraint in their operations. While there would be a lot of inconvenience to the people of the area when any operation happens, it should be highlighted that the number of such instances are very, very few. And that the alternative methods are worse by a huge factor.
- There will be ‘analysts’ in the Western think-tanks that will try and rubbish many of the above facts and interpretations. But then they are the same ‘experts’ that jumped on Bhagat, and they should be ignored.
- Just as Prabhu Chawla has asked the question of funding for the terrorists like Wani, there is a need to ask the source of funding of various ‘intellectuals’ who think that it is perfectly legitimate for them to glorify terrorism. For example, based on publicly available documents, one of the TV channels that takes a lead in glorifying terrorism is NDTV. It has clocked huge losses of around Rs 200 crores, even as the salary bill for the senior staff is quite large. There is a need to find out how the losses are funded. In one of the queries that was sent to them about investment that it received, the channel is supposed to have said that it is selling dreams. It should be recognised that the channel has a viewership of only around 2,00,000 in Bharat. Given the large viewership of the Bharatiya language channels, one has to wonder why advertisers even think of using the English channels as part of their portfolio for advertising and sponsorship of events. This comment applies not only to NDTV but also to many others. If the pseudo-secularists want to be agenda-driven, they should do it on the basis of their own funding or from private sources who have the same agenda. If they are doing it from society resources, then their loyalty should be the society and not their agenda.
- The Pradhan Mantri said that the youth of the Kashmir Valley should be provided with laptops rather than stones in their hands. The pseudo-secularists have rubbished this statement – and they would have to do it, because if this happens the problem will become simple and they will lose their relevance. This line of thinking of the pseudo-secularists should be exposed, and reinforce what the present Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, had said. Ignore these pseudo-secularists, and go ahead with the programmes of developing the whole state, and not just the Valley.
- We suggest to the government not to get swayed by the ‘intellectuals’ in Lutyen’s Delhi. These people are in an echo chamber and they hear only their own voices. They give no credence to the large amount of comments that they receive not just from the Internet Hindus but many others besides. In the latter group, there is a strong contingent who live outside Delhi and hence not part of the echo chamber. The government must follow its own convictions.
- To give an idea of what the people of Bharat think, please see what Nitin Gupta, through the medium of a dark comedy, has to say in this video:
VLOG – How To Solve Kashmir, Modi Ji! (9m 30s)
- When people like Bose and Pai publicly stand up to the pseudo-secular propaganda of romanticizing terrorism, it should be clear that increasing numbers of social elite are not with the latter. People have a mind of their own, and have sifted the wheat from the chaff. Internet has enabled the democratization of debate, and many of the voices censored by the mainstream media are now being heard loud and clear. The pseudo-secularists have become irrelevant to the needs of the society. And the social elite too are calling them out.
We firmly believe that there is a need to improve the quality of intellectualism in our country. We know that it is not job of the people in the government. However, whenever any of the ‘intellectuals’ insist on playing dumb, they must be called out – not by taking any legal action against them, but asking them to base their words and actions on facts and truth. We do believe that there are some who have the ability to perform their dharma to the society, and do not really wish to play dumb.