When do we consider something to be special? The answer is obvious, when the thing is not ordinary and not like the others. Giving special status erodes the idea of commonality and equality. I am talking about no material but a state that has been known as less of a place and more of a conflict since the past 60 years. With a fresh row of verbal war between newly appointed Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Jitender Singh and Omar Abdullah, the issue is back in lime light. Jammu & Kashmir is a special state, with a special treatment, a special constitution, special laws and certainly some extremely special politicians who have been using the heat of people’s emotions to make their own meals.
Diverse opinions will drive you insane about the fact that people don’t know anything about it. I am not talking about the people of India in general but of Kashmiri people also. They hardly know what good this article will do to them and what bad has it been doing to them since ages. Except from the people who believe that they can threaten the union government on the basis of this article, no one in the state has ever given a thought to the benefits of this article.
Here are five points that make this article a delusionary one:
The article was meant to be temporary: When the pact was signed and the article 370 was ready, the idea was to control the then present scenario. The article was meant to be abrogated after a certain time which has not come since past 60 years. Article 370 was a temporary legislative measure meant for governance in the insurgent times and plebiscite. But unfortunately the article never got abrogated, making the people of the state live for 60 years in the same sense of alienated atmosphere.
The article is not a sacrosanct : Nowhere in the article or the constitution is written that the article cannot be or should not be abrogated. So, respected CM of the state should stop behaving as if the land was his ancestral property. The article has no such hard and fast rules of not touching the article or not amending it or not abolishing it.
The President’s Role : A very important point to be noted is the provision incorporated in the article that empowers President of India to, “ Transfer powers to the union with regard to such other subjects in the union list and the concurrent list of the 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which the president specified with the concurrence of the state government and “ Extend to the state the provisions of the Constitution of India, which were to be applied to the state with such modifications and expectations as the President would specify.
No relation to the state being Muslim-Majority : Assuming that the article was meant to be protecting the muslim majority character of the state is a baseless thought. For people who assume such things and try to deviate the true sense and meaning of the article that was meant to be a governing tool and a temporary governing tool is shameful. It is a strange thing that an article which was meant for a temporary solution of a problem was given teeth by the hardliners and the so called main stream parties of the state that, it has aggravated the situation.
Sense of non-belonging to Indian state : The big political names of the state will disagree to this fact but even now when someone travels to Delhi from Srinagar, they say that he is going to another country. The fact that the people of the state are fed with ideas of the state having its different constitution and the Indian Constitution being opposite to that is appalling. The article is thought to be their only savior from the Indian Constitution. The fact being, the state is under the Indian constitution and article 370 being a small part of it.
What remains as an unanswered and burning question is that, the article which was thought to act as an insulator in hard times is still acting as an insulator but to the Indian integration. The people of Kashmir can never think of themselves to be Indian first until this article is there and the consequences of this article are staring our nation's integrity.
The writer can be reached on twitter : @shivanibazaz