J&K: Humbug And Duplicity
B.G. Verghese, writing in the Tribune, explains how political and historical illiteracy, masquerading as patriotism, is dangerous
It is just as well that the absurd pursuit of laying sedition charges against Arundhati Roy and Syed Ali Shah Geelani for saying in Delhi what they and a lot of others have been saying for a long time in J&K and elsewhere has been abandoned. To ask for azadi — if by that is meant independence — is not treason. And asking for it is not going to make it happen. Muzzling free speech, one of the cardinal pillars of an open and democratic society, would be to jeopardise our own freedom. Rather, the foolish agitation of the BJP and its ilk, if anything, gives salience to the separatist’s fatuous parrot-cry that ignores history and ground realities. J&K was, in fact, independent from August 15 until October 22, 1947. Who cut short its independence and who remains in occupation of half the state to this day? ...
The other thing to remember is that for more than a few people, including some in the establishment, the J&K agitation is a sound business proposition that sustains their hearths and ego. Should the matter be resolved, whatever would they do? Like some of their counterparts in the Northeast, they fear peace in J&K. So does Pakistan. Its governing ideology could unravel without an object of obsessive hate while its Army and jihadi ideologues, who hold a hapless people in thrall, would lose their very raison d’etre.
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