Mr Chidambaram, How Much Autonomy Would Be Enough?

Instead of challenging anti-nationals, Congress leader P Chidambaram is placing hurdles in the path of the newly-appointed interlocutor and throwing balloons of shamanistic ideas purporting to buy an illusory peace by yielding before the jihadis. The government has just appointed an interlocutor - former intel chief Dineshwar Sharma. Let him begin work - he should be given a free hand to hold talks and explore possibilities of peace. Instead of making his task easier, self-appointed solution providers are making his job difficult by making unnecessary comments that even Mr Chidambaram's own party is wary of being associated with.

Mr Chidambaram often quotes various verses from the immortal classic "Thirukural" (created by Thiruvalluvar, the great Tamil poet-philosopher) to present his case. This time, while advocating autonomy for J&K, he violated the spirit of "Thirukural" and the Indian nation, undermining the very essence of Thiruvalluvar's life and philosophy. Nothing surprising for a Congress who began India's tryst with destiny with corruption charges like the jeep scandal in 1947, and losing 1.25 lakh kms of Indian territory to the enemies. For them, Indian territory is just a piece of land whose importance is judged by what it gives to them in return - and if "not a blade of grass grows there" (Nehru's infamous quote in Lok Sabha on debate on Aksai Chin), why should they be worried about it? Mr Chidambaram took his cue rightly from his party's tallest leader. But here, let's talk about what he meant by "autonomy" and how he negated the message of "Thirukural" which he loves to quote.

He forgets that Kural 747 warns that a country must be able to defend itself from treachery. This Kural warns against those who undermine its defenses from within. That's exactly what Chidambaram is going - undermining the country's unity and soldiers' morale.

Three kurals (sacred stanzas) of the great Tamil saint-philosopher Thiruvalluvar sum up how a nation should be defended and remain alert against traitors. Kural 745 says a good fort (country) is the one which is unconquerable.

Kural 746 says "an ideal fortress (country) should possess warriors with the courage to defend it."

Mr Chidambaram, by advocating autonomy to Kashmir, has emboldened traitors and insulted warriors who give their life to defend India and keep the honor of the tricolor intact.

He failed the test of "Thirukural" on all the points on a country's defense explained so clearly by Thiruvalluvar. He was our Home Minister and hence must know the deadly terrain and circumstances a soldier has to live in to thwart any action by the enemies. When he advocated autonomy for J&K, did he even ponder for a moment what impact his statement would have on the morale of the soldiers? Forget the party, forget your ideology, because a party or its ambitions can't be bigger than the nation. Being a senior Indian leader, his statement carries weight and it make a difference.

Does he think soldiers in J&K are fighting a meaningless, foolish war - or are they defending the motherland against the machinations of traitors funded and trained by enemies? Does he think the J&K imbroglio is due to insufficient authority given to its leaders and that if more autonomy is given, more would be the chances of having a nationalist, happy and prosperous people there? And does that apply to Jammu and Ladakh also, or for him, does J&K mean just the Sunni Muslim Kashmir Valley? Then what about the Hindus exiled from that Valley? Do they have a stake in any offer of autonomy to Kashmir, or they are just irrelevant?

He has proved to be exactly the sort person who would be described as undermining the country's defense from within.

J&K has already got the highest levels of autonomy in many crucial segments that no other Indian state enjoys. It has a separate flag, not available to any other state. It has a separate constitution and no Indian law passed by the parliament is applicable to J&K unless the state assembly approves it. No other Indian state has this privilege.

The state has separatists, traitors who speak against the Indian nation and a media that publishes articles and editorials that read as if they have been written by authors from across the border.

No text book in the Valley carries the Indian national anthem in the beginning or in the end, as is done in rest of India. I saw it when we inspected Valley schools; as a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on HRD Ministry, I pointed it out to the Principal Secretary, J&K. His reply was, "Sir, it's a good suggestion, I will have it examined."

The freedom of expression is limitless in J&K, more than any state that is still ruled by the Congress. So much autonomy is there in the Valley, Mr Chidambaram, that members of armed forces and para-military organizations get insulted by jihadi crowds and no one from your party has ever said a single word condemning such elements and organisations. When Lt Ummer Fayaz was murdered and later SSP Md Ayub Pandit was lynched at a mosque, there was no editorial condemning the incidents in local papers and demanding harsh action against the blood-thirsty terrorists.

In fact, nobody uses the word "terrorist" in the Valley - for the media, they are dreamy-eyed "militants" who get draped in Pakistani colours when shot dead by our forces.

So much is the autonomy, Mr Chidambaram, in the Valley, that it is the first and perhaps only state in the world where the language people speak day and night - Kashmiri - is not recognised as the state language and they imported Urdu to be declared their official state language! So much autonomy that none remembers Maharishi Kashyap who founded Kashmir, and hence the name. Show me a text book where they remember their founder Rishi's name?

So, please elaborate now, who needs more autonomy? Soldiers on the ground level, to take firm decisions against anti-national elements or the terrorists demanding 'azadi' from India? Should we go back to the pre-1953 position?

The autonomy they have today makes it possible that none from the rest of the country can buy a single inch of land in J&K and those soldiers who shed their blood to defend the state and risk their lives to save them from natural calamities are not allowed to even have a small apartment or a colony in J&K. The moment it is proposed, huge protests by traitorous organizations are held.

So much autonomy is given to J&K that those citizens who are Kashmiris, but happen to be Hindus and came here in 1947 are not given state citizenship fearing they would "disturb" the Muslim majority status of the province.

So just how much more autonomy would be enough, Mr Chidambaram?

Kural 728 says "Those who can not effectively speak good things in an assembly are useless however educated they are" (might be).

And Kural 730 says "Those who fear the assembly and can not express (their views) convincingly resemble the dead."

(All translations taken from "Thirukural", translated by M.Rajaram, Foreword by Dr A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, Parliament Library)

Tarun Vijay is a BJP leader and former MP from Uttarakhand. He is also President of Students and Youth for Thiruvalluvar, Tamil Nadu with a registered membership of 2.2 lakh students.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
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