Hindutva: Anathema to self-determination

  • The solution remains a plebiscite

In the wake of the1948 war between Pakistan and India over Kashmir, it was the latter which took the issue to theUnited Nations Security Council. The Security Council after deliberating on the issue formed the United Nations Commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP) to have the dispute resolved. The UNCIP adopted an epoch making resolution on 5 January 1949, granting the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir and calling to settle the question of accession of the state to either Pakistan through a plebiscite to be held under the auspices of the UN.  Since then 5 January is commemorated as the day of self-determination for the people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Indian Prime Minister, accepted the UNCIP resolution, and in his communications to his Pakistani counterpart and in his statements in the Indian Parliament repeatedly promised to allow the people of Kashmir to exercise their right of self-determination. However India did not cooperate with UNCIP in creating conditions for the holding of the plebiscite. Sir Owen Dixon, the head of UNCIP, resigned in protest against Indian attitude on the issue. Later the Indian government reneged on its commitment and in 1957 manoeuvred a declaration of accession of the state to India by the constituent assembly of Indian-Occupied Kashmir and took the stance that Kashmir had become an integral part of India. The UN, however, through its Resolutions 91 and 122, repudiated the Indian claims, maintaining that the question of accession of the state could only be resolved through a plebiscite held under the auspices of the UN. It is pertinent to mention that before this development the Indian government, in accordance with an arrangement agreed with the political leadership of Indian-Occupied Kashmir, had inserted article 370 in the Indian Constitution which granted special status to the state with its own constitution and legislature.

Over the last seven decades India has persisted with its stance that Kashmir was its integral part, but no Indian government ever dared to scrap Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, not even after the launch of the freedom movement by the Kashmiris in 1989. However the BJP government headed by Narendra Modi, a staunch follower of the RSS philosophy of Hindutva, not only scrapped Article 370 of the Indian Constitution ending special status of the state, but has also made it part of the Indian Union in defiance of UN resolutions and international law.

Since 5 August, the people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir are under virtual siege and the Indian security forces continue extrajudicial killings, kidnapping and rapes of women with the impunity given to them by draconian laws like the Disturbed Area Act, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act. There is an atmosphere of chaos and fear in the valley. The blatant violation of human rights in Indian-Occupied Kashmir have been unraveled by two reports of the Human Rights Commission of UN and the international media. The situation in Indian-Occupied Kashmir is an affront to the conscience of the world community. India has also adopted a hostile posture against Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly warned the world community about the threat posed to peace and security of the region by the Hindutva philosophy. The situation warrants immediate intervention of the UN and the world community.

The RSS philosophy of Hindutva is essentially anti-Muslim and an anathema to self-determination. Its followers were bitterly opposed to the Partition of the Subcontinent. French political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot, specializing in South Asian affairs, particularly India and Pakistan, points out that the ideology of the RSS along with other Hindu nationalist movements such as the Arya Samaj and the Hindu Mahasabha, thought of Muslims, Christians and the British as “foreign bodies” implanted in the Hindu nation, who were able to exploit the disunity and absence of valour among the Hindus in order to subdue them. However, majority of scholars believe that RSS was actually formed to fight the Indian Muslims.

The RSS believed that Partition was a result of a mistaken soft-line towards the Muslims, which only confirmed the natural moral weaknesses and corruptibility of the politicians.

The RSS and Jana Sangh, a nationalist party, took complete advantage of the 1965 war with Pakistan to ‘deepen suspicion about Muslims’, and also encashed the growing unpopularity of Congress, particularly in the Hindi-belt, where a left-wing alternative was weak or non-existent. The major themes on the party’s agenda during this period were banning cow slaughter, abolishing the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and legislating a uniform civil code.

The RSS-dominated Jana Sangh started making alliances by joining anti-Congress coalitions. It became part of the 1971 Grand Alliance and finally merged itself with the Janata Party in 1977. The success of the Janata Party in 1977 elections made RSS members central ministers for the first time (Vajpayee, Advani and Brij Lal Verma) and provided the RSS with an opportunity to avail the state and its instruments to further its ends. The differences between the coalition partners led to the formation of a new party called Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 1n 1980.

The BJP did not have much electoral success in its initial years and was able to win only two seats in the 1984 elections. After L.K. Advani replaced Vajpayee as party president in 1986, the BJP also began to rally around the Ayodhya campaign. In 1990, the party organized the Ram Rathyatra to advance this campaign on a large scale. Advani also attacked the then ruling Congress party with the slogans such as ‘pseudo-secularism’, accusing Congress of misusing secularism for the political appeasement of minorities, and established an explicit and unambiguous path of Hindu revival.

The Ayodhya issue and the related communal riots which polarized the electorate along religious lines, helped the BJP make good progress in the subsequent elections of 1989, 1991 and 1996. Finally the BJP won the elections in 2014 and a diehard disciple of RSS, Narendra Modi, who is known as butcher of Gujrat for the massacre of Muslims, became Prime Minister of India. Modi adopted a belligerent posture towards Pakistan which gave boost to his popularity and enabled him to win the 2019 elections with a thumping majority. On 5 August 2019 he finally managed to fulfill his pledge by ending the special status of Indian-Occupied Kashmir, followed by its annexation to the Indian Union and the promulgation of a new domicile law meant to change demographic realities of the state. In his address to the nation on Indian Independence Day he boasted that he had done within 70 days which could not be done in 70 years and that he had fulfilled the dream of Vallabhai Patel of United India.

Stripping 1.9 million Bengali Muslims in Assam of their Indian citizenship, promulgation of Citizenship Amendment Bill and the pogrom of Kashmiris are also outcomes of the implementation of the fascist and supremacist ideology of Hindutva.

Since 5 August, the people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir are under virtual siege and the Indian security forces continue extrajudicial killings, kidnapping and rapes of women with the impunity given to them by draconian laws like the Disturbed Area Act, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act. There is an atmosphere of chaos and fear in the valley. The blatant violation of human rights  in Indian-Occupied Kashmir have been unraveled by two reports of the Human Rights Commission of UN and the international media. The situation in Indian-Occupied Kashmir is an affront to the conscience of the world community. India has also adopted a hostile posture against Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly warned the world community about the threat posed to peace and security of the region by the Hindutva philosophy. The situation warrants immediate intervention of the UN and the world community.

The writer is an academic. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

Malik Muhammad Ashraf
Malik Muhammad Ashraf
Malik Muhammad Ashraf is an academic. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Must Read

PM, GB CM discuss mega project to convert region into int’l...

ISLAMABAD: Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Chief Minister Khalid Khursheed called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday and discussed in detail the mega project to convert...