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Nehru in his letters exposed how RSS and Sangh's policies alienate Kashmiris

Their dislike for the secular policy of government of India continues to this day.

 |  5-minute read |   19-08-2016
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The news of deaths of some brave security personnel and fellow citizens in Jammu and Kashmir has become a routine affair. Parliament has repeatedly discussed the issue during this period but without offering a way out.

In between, the so-called nationalists have become increasingly bitter towards the agitation of Kashmiri people on different social media platforms. This bitterness is reciprocating in a similar multitude of hatred from the Valley.

If we look at different opinions on social media on the current crisis, a lot of them are criticising Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's policy on Jammu and Kashmir. But few are talking about the disruptive policies of Jan Sangh and RSS which made the situation worse in the Valley in the early 1950s.

Also read: Why the Sangh Parivar and Modi bhakts love to hate Nehru

Ghulam Nabi Azad, a Kashmiri and leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, made a passing reference to this part of history when he said, "Aap ke qadam jahan jahan padate hain aag lag jati hai."

azadbd_081916053257.jpg In Parliament, Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke about the disruptive policies of Jan Sangh and RSS which made the situation worse in the Valley

The then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru described this situation on August 15, 1953 in his address from the ramparts of Red Fort, and later described it in a letter written to chief ministers of states on August 22, 1953, after the death of Jan Sangh leader Shyama Prasad Mookerjee during Kashmir agitation, and after putting his close friend, comrade and then J&K prime minister Sheikh Abdullah in jail, where he was to remain for 10 long years.

Nehru wrote:

"It is easy to be wise after an event. But, when events follow each other in quick succession, each leading to the other, it is difficult to stop or divert their course much. How and when did this deterioration lead to the final crisis? It is difficult to draw the line, but there can be no doubt that one of the most powerful elements at the back was Praja Parishad, Jan Sangh agitation, which created a great effect not only in Sheikh Abdullah's mind but in the minds of the people of the Valley. This agitation embittered them and it appeared to them that the Jan Sangh and its supporters represented the prevailing sentiment in India and this frightened them. The people began looking in other directions. Sheikh Abdullah became peculiarly bitter and rather lost his moorings. We can criticise Sheikh Abdullah for going astray and forgetting the principles on which he had long stood, but that does not help much in understanding a situation which at first gradually and then rather suddenly confronted us. This situation was primarily the result of this communal agitation which went on in Delhi, in the Punjab and in some other parts of India for many months. Thousands of Kashmiri labourers, who came down to India in summer, went back with bitterness in their hearts. They spread to the villages. We see here the dangerous result of wrong action. It is true that some of us condemned this agitation repeatedly in Parliament and elsewhere, but it is also true that many vaguely sympathised with it, not realising the dangers inherent in it. And so, we have to suffer those consequences and those dangers."

Nehru saw it as a triumph of communalists.

He wrote:

"The situation developed as some inevitable tragedy which could not be stopped. It has left a bad taste in the mouth and I have felt unhappy, for much that has happened has not been good, and a long trail of consequences will flow from it. If we believe as we have done and must do, that the people of Kashmir must decide their own fate, then obviously things have happened which have weighted the scales against us. Some of our friends in the past have often demanded what they call 'strong action', not realising that what is always necessary is wise action. We see here in this matter the unfortunate triumph of communalism."

This was not the only letter.

Also read: India needs a referendum more than Kashmiris do

On January 27, 1953 Nehru wrote:

"The Jammu agitation, about which I have written to you previously, is again a remarkable instance of folly or of mischief. A person of ordinary intelligence can see that this agitation must prove harmful to the interests of Jammu and India both, and plays into hands of Pakistan. And yet, outwardly it is carried on in the name of closer union with India. The whole question of Jammu and Kashmir state is, as you know, exceedingly intricate and is tied up today with international affairs. For any organisation to start an agitation which must necessarily impinge on the international factors to our disadvantage is the height of unwisdom. And yet certain communal organisations in India, notably the Jan Sangh, the RSS, and the Akali Dal, have thrown their full weight in support of this agitation. It is clear that the objective of these organisations is not confined to Jammu and that they are aiming at bigger quarry. Their dislike of the government of India and secular policy that it pursues is so great that, in order to injure it, they are prepared presumably even to do harm to our relationship with Jammu and Kashmir state."

Their dislike for the secular policy of government of India continues to this day.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, dubbed by some people as the right man in the wrong camp, maintained a policy of "Jamhooriyat, Insaniyat and Kashmiriyat" much to the chagrin of RSS and right-wing leaders. But today the Hindu Hriday Samrat is challenging the legacy of Vajpayee by asking, Kashmiriyat is important, but is it larger than Hindustaniyat or Bharatiyata?

Clearly, it is hair splitting. It only shows that right-wing leaders only like Kashmir, not its people or its culture or Kashmiriyat, as remarked upon by Azad in his Rajya Sabha speech.

Had Nehru been alive, he would not be surprised to see that the attitude of rightists has further alienated people of the Valley.

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Assembly Elections 2018

Writer

Piyush Babele Piyush Babele @babelepiyush

Special Correspondent with India Today. Covered agrarian crisis and rural India for a decade.

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