Monday, August 12, 2019

Indian Occupied Kashmir Under Total Extended Lockdown On Eid ul Azha

Indian military has kept Occupied Kashmir under extended and inhumane lockdown on the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha to prevent protests against New Delhi's reckless decision to scrap Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The lockdown is being enforced by over 700,000 Indian troops deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.  People are imprisoned in their homes for several days in a row. There is no Internet, telephone or television.  Delhi rules the region under Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the same law that was created and used by the British colonial power to try and crush Gandhi's Quit India movement. Thousands have died and more than 6,221 people received pellet gun injuries in the seven months following the July 2016 killing of Burhan Wani, according to the Jammu and Kashmir government as reported by The New Humanitarian.  Mr. Modi's actions are not only an affront to the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also in clear violation of India's international and bilateral obligations under United Nations charter and the Simla Accord.   It is time for all sane Indians and the rest of the world to wake up to the serious threats posed to peace in South Asia region and the wider world by Mr. Modi's fascist Hindutva project.

Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir:

Regardless of Article 370, the region of of Jammu and Kashmir remains a disputed territory whose status must be resolved according to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 47 (1948) and 80 (1950). India can not unilaterally alter its status without agreement with Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are are parties to it.  Any unilateral action by either India or Pakistan on Kashmir also violates the Simla Agreement which requires bilateral resolution of the disputed region.

Mr. Modi's actions are not only an affront to the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also in clear violation of India's international and bilateral obligations under United Nations charter and the Simla Accord.

China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, lays claim to Ladakh region. It has objected to India making it a union territory.

India is deploying 700,000 troops with extraordinary powers to detain, torture, blind, injure and kill any Kashmiri citizen with impunity under Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990. It is the most heavily militarized region in the world.

India rules Kashmir using Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the same law that was created and used by the British colonial power to try and crush Gandhi's Quit India movement.

After independence in 1947, the Indian government has made extensive use of the same colonial-era British law to crush legitimate demands for freedom by the peoples of Assam, Manipur, Kashmir and other regions. The Act has now been in force in Kashmir for 26 years.

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's Pledge

Deaths and Injuries:

In the latest Kashmir uprising triggered by the July 8 2016 murder of young Kashmiri activist Burhan Wani by Indian military,  hundreds of protesters have been killed and thousands more injured in peaceful protests.

The extensive use pellet guns by Indian soldiers has blinded thousands of young men and women, even children, during the current wave of mass protests. More than 6,221 people received pellet gun injuries in the seven months following the July 2016 unrest, according to the Jammu and Kashmir government as reported by The New Humanitarian.

Prior to casualties this latest round of protests since Mr. Modi rose to power in New Delhi, there have tens of thousands of civilians killed and hundreds of thousands injured by Indian military in Kashmir. Thousands of bodies have been found in mass graves in Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara districts in Kashmir, according to The Hindu.

Kashmir Mass Graves:

Dr. Angana Chatterji, a professor of cultural and social anthropology at California Centre for Integral Studies who uncovered the mass graves, reported as follows:  “Of the 2700 graves, 2,373 (87.9 percent) were unnamed. 154 graves contained two bodies each and 23 contained more than two cadavers. Within these 23 graves, the number of bodies ranged from 3 to 17."

Scholars, she said, refer to mass graves as resulting from Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, or Genocide. “If the intent of a mass grave is to execute death with impunity, with intent to kill more than one, and to forge an unremitting representation of death, then, to that extent, the graves in Bandipora, Baramulla, and Kupwara are part of a collective burial by India’s military and paramilitary, creating a landscape of ‘mass burial.’

Dr. Chatterji said post-death, the bodies of the victims were routinely handled by military and paramilitary personnel, including the local police. She said that the bodies were then brought to “secret graveyards” primarily by personnel of the State Police.

The International Peoples' Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice, an independent group headed by Dr. Chatterji, alleged that the violence and militarization in Kashmir, between 1989-2009, have resulted in over 70,000 deaths, including through extrajudicial or “fake encounter” executions, custodial brutality, and other means. “In the enduring conflict, 6, 67,000 military and paramilitary personnel continue to act with impunity to regulate movement, law, and order across Kashmir,” she added.

Indian University Student Protest:

Many enlightened Indians like the Jawaharlal Nehru University students see the brutality and futility of Indian military occupation of Kashmir. At protests earlier this year, many chanted slogans in favor of Azadi for Kashmiris.  "Geelani bole azaadi, Afzal bole azaadi, jo tum na doge azaadi, toh chheen ke lenge azadi! (Geelani and Afzal demanded freedom. If freedom is denied, we will snatch it!)".

New Generation in Revolt: 

During the 26 years of Kashmir under Armed Forces Special Powers Act, an entire new generation of Kashmiris has grown up. This generation, represented by tech-savvy youngsters like Burhan Wani, has seen nothing but repression and violence committed by the Indian military against their people. They are more determined than ever to defy and defeat the illegal and immoral military occupation of their land by India.

Domestic Opposition in India:

Mr. Karan Singh, a member of Indian Rajya Sabha (upper house) and the son of Kashmiri Maharaja Hari Singh who "acceded" Jammu and Kashmir to India in 1947, has said that Kashmir is "not an internal matter" of India. Mr. Singh has insisted on restoration of the dialogue process with Pakistan.

“J&K’s relationship with the rest of India is guided by Article 370 and the State Constitution that I signed into law. We must realize that from the very beginning, J&K, rightly or wrongly, has been given a special position. Now [after] that special position from the original three subjects, there have been a whole series of developments — some may call them positive developments of integration, others may say negative developments of reducing autonomy,” Mr. Singh was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

Strongest reactions to Mr. Modi's decision to annul article 370 have come from top leaders in Indian Punjab and Tamil Nadu. It has inspired fear that the central government in Delhi could take control of any state, strip it of its statehood and impose direct rule without the consent of its people.

Former union minister P. Chidambaram called Modi's action a "cardinal blunder" and a "fatal legal error"."What you are doing today sends a very wrong signal to every state of country", he added.

Tamil Nadu's DMK party leader MK Stalin took to Twitter to condemn Modi's decision. “This is a dark day in the history of Indian federalism. I urge the President of India to not precipitate the situation and not take any further steps in this regard until a democratically elected Government is formed there. The DMK stands with its Kashmiri brothers and sisters and will oppose any assault on federal structure,” he said in a series of tweets.

Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh of Indian Punjab has denounced the revocation of 370 as “totally unconstitutional”. He tweeted that “the Constitution of India had been rewritten without following any legal provisions. Such a historic decision should not have been taken and pushed through in this arbitrary manner...This will set a bad precedent as it would mean that the Centre could reorganize any state in the country by simply imposing President’s rule.”


Indian Hindu Nationalist government of Prime Minister Modi's abrogation of Article 370 is in clear violation of the Indian constitution and international rules governing resolution of disputes between countries.  Indian military has kept Occupied Kashmir under extended and inhumane lockdown on the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha to prevent protests against New Delhi's reckless decision to scrap Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The lockdown is being enforced by over 700,000 Indian troops deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.  Thousands have died and more than 6,221 people received pellet gun injuries in the seven months following the July 2016 killing of Burhan Wani, according to the Jammu and Kashmir government as reported by The New Humanitarian  It has wider implications for India's federal, secular and democratic constitutional structure. It has sent alarm bells ringing in Indian states of Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland and Mizoram. It also threatens to escalate tensions between nuclear armed rivals India and Pakistan when the Kashmiri resistance turns violent and Modi falsely blames it on "cross-border terrorism". Nuclear confrontation in South Asia could result in deaths of billions of people across Asia, Africa, Europe and America. It is time for all sane Indians and the rest of the world to wake up to the serious threats posed to peace in South Asia region and the wider world by Mr. Modi's fascist Hindutva project.

Here's Human rights activist Ajit Sahi exposing Modi's atrocities in Kashmir at Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Sahi says 6 people a day being killed in extrajudicial killings.


Here's another video discussion:

Did India beat Pakistan in the 1965 war from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Related Links:

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US and China Vying For Influence in Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-Japan-US

Pakistan Rising or Failing: Reality vs Perception

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Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said...

" The Indian state has deployed many strategies to counter the 28-year-old Kashmir insurgency. One of them has been to call this insurgency everything other than what it actually is. When thousands of Kashmiris went for arms training to the part of Kashmir under Pakistani control, and lakhs rallied behind them on the streets of the Valley, New Delhi called this “cross-border terrorism”.

From about 10,000 to 15,000 militants at one point in time, militancy is now run by about 100 youths, mostly Kashmiris. But a resurgent street now complements this residual presence more strongly than ever. Currently, the state is confronted by a new wave of civilian protests coupled with a generation of youth so desperate to pick up arms that they snatch rifles from soldiers and policemen and run to the nearest forest where a small band of militants awaits them. The state and a sizeable section of the Indian media have been trying to explain away this phenomenon by obsessively referring to the so-called radicalisation of Kashmiri youth over the years."

Why does India consistently push the (false) narrative of radicalisation in Kashmir?
No theory has been more forcefully propagated than this one.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - #Article370: Has #India pushed #Kashmir to a point of no return? Autonomy had already been largely stripped away by a series of integrative measures imposed on the state by #India's central governments between the mid-1950s and the mid-1960s.

Indian-administered Kashmir has been under an unprecedented lockdown since last week after India revoked Article 370, a constitutional provision granting the region special status. Sumantra Bose, professor of international and comparative politics at the London School of Economics (LSE), explains why the decision is fraught with challenges.

At the end of October, Jammu and Kashmir will cease to be a state of India.

Last week, India's parliament approved by a large majority the decision by the federal government to split the state into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Union territories have much less autonomy from the federal government than states do, and are essentially subject to Delhi's direct rule.

Almost 98% of the erstwhile state's population will be in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, comprising two regions - the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, which has about eight million people, and the Hindu-majority Jammu, which has about six million. The third region, the newly created union territory of Ladakh, is a high-altitude desert inhabited by 300,000 people, with almost equal numbers of Muslims and Buddhists.

Last week's events fulfilled a Hindu nationalist demand dating back to the early 1950s: the abrogation of Article 370.

Hindu nationalists have for seven decades vehemently denounced Article 370 as an example of "appeasement" of India's only Muslim-majority state. This objection to Article 370 was also congruent with the Hindu nationalists' ideological belief that India should be a unitary and centralised nation-state.

The "reorganisation" of Jammu and Kashmir also reflects a longstanding Hindu nationalist agenda.

In 2002 the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the core organisation of the Hindu nationalist movement, demanded the state be divided into three parts: a separate Hindu-majority Jammu state; the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley; plus union territory status for Ladakh.

Simultaneously the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an RSS affiliate, called for the state to be divided into four parts: a separate Jammu state and Ladakh as a union territory, plus the carving out of a sizeable area, also with union territory status, in the Kashmir valley to be inhabited solely by Kashmiri Pandits, the valley's small Hindu minority who were forced to leave nearly en masse when insurgency erupted there in 1990.

Under the VHP plan, what remained of the Kashmir Valley would then be left to the Muslim majority.

The claim made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah that the autonomy enshrined by Article 370 is the cause of "separatism" in Jammu and Kashmir is disingenuous.


Many democracies have regions with ingrained secessionist impulses: the United Kingdom in Scotland, Canada in Quebec, Spain in Catalonia.

What the BJP government has done is akin to what Serbia's Milosevic regime did in 1989 by unilaterally revoking Kosovo's autonomy and imposing a police state on Kosovo's Albanian majority.

But the BJP government's approach to Kashmir goes beyond what Milosevic intended for the Kosovo Albanians: subjugation.
The Hindu nationalist government seems to ultimately aspire to assimilate rebellious Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir into a form of Indian national identity defined by its movement's ideology.

Riaz Haq said...

Politicians are slow to catch up with world opinion. However, verbally confronting Modi is a good start! In the meanwhile, it's growing into huge PR problem for India that has boarder implications for Indian economy and Modi's political future.

India is now facing its worst economic crisis since independence, according to Niti Ayog Chief.

Riaz Haq said...

#India Is Shooting Itself in the Foot in #Kashmir. The costs to the country’s image overseas are higher than government boosters want to believe. #Modi #BJP

Riaz Haq said...

#Kashmir narrative. According to western media outlets, #pulwamaattack was #Pakistan’s doing, not part of long history of J&K resistance. Since 911 US war on #terror, #India cast separatists as “terrorists” and framed #Kashmir struggle "terrorism" via @cjr

IN MID-FEBRUARY, A YOUNG MAN named Adil Ahmed Dar killed 44 Indian paramilitary officers in a suicide bombing in Kashmir’s Pulwama district. It was the deadliest attack against Indian soldiers in three decades. Dar was from a local village, but the militant group that claimed responsibility was based in Pakistan. Fears escalated of a confrontation between the two countries, both nuclear-armed. “Our neighbor will not be allowed to destabilize us,” India Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. A few days later, India retaliated by firing rockets into a remote part of Pakistan. The White House called for Pakistan to end its support of Kashmiri “terrorists.”

International news outlets, relying mainly on India and Pakistan analysts to explain Kashmir, distorted the reality on the ground. The New York Times, for one, noted that “an insurgency that was once stoked by Pakistan may have taken on a life of its own, as Kashmiris become more disenfranchised and angry at the central government in Delhi and its use of force.” According to the Times, as well as The Washington Post, the BBC, and other outlets, Kashmir is a “disputed territory”; the attack was Pakistan’s doing rather than part of a long history of regional uprisings. These reports—framed, as Kashmir stories have been for decades, in geopolitical terms, as a rivalry between India and Pakistan—failed to recognize the political struggle led by locals, who have rarely seen their home covered from their point of view. “The Kashmiri narrative doesn’t exist at all,” Feroz Rather, a Kashmiri fiction-writer, told me, “because the two states have held it hostage.”


Soon after the Pulwama attack, several members of the Kashmir diaspora sought to change that. Hafsa Kanjwal, an assistant professor of South Asian and Kashmir history at Lafayette College, got on the phone with about a dozen friends and colleagues: How could they amplify the idea that Kashmir wasn’t just in crisis when India-Pakistan tensions were high, that Kashmir has been in a state of war with India for years? Together, they formed Stand With Kashmir, a group that aims to center the Kashmiri perspective, in part by encouraging journalists to quote more local voices. “We are trying to push that there was already an indigenous uprising,” Kanjwal told me.


Kaul described Kashmir as a “mobilizing issue” for the Hindu Right. The hostility has been advanced by online trolls who attack anyone in the press trying to represent the voices of Kashmiris. Reporters and academics have observed that the Modi government and his party uses social-media trolls to target Kashmiris who might be seen as sympathetic to the independence movement. In 2016, Facebook accounts of several Kashmiri activists who lived outside of the region were suspended, or saw posts deleted, after Facebook received complaints that they violated community standards. Modi’s government has, in the past, requested that Twitter block hundreds of users for “objectionable content.” Since it was created earlier this month, Stand With Kashmir’s Instagram account has been suspended four times.

Over the past few weeks, Kanjwal, Kaul, and Trisal have been accused of erasing the history of Kashmiri Hindus or of being terrorist sympathizers, because of articles they’ve written, lectures they’ve given, even for tweets they’ve liked. Kanjwal described this month as a “pivotal moment,” both for Kashmir and the world’s awareness of the situation there. Writing for The Washington Post, she called India’s move the “beginnings of a settler colonial project in Kashmir,” comparing the dynamic to that of Israel and Palestine.

Riaz Haq said...

US Congressman @RepAndyLevin on #Kashmir: #Modi’s actions speak to broader, global concern: the increased acceptance of anti-#Muslim bigotry and dangers posed by ethnonationalists like Narendra #Modi, Jair #Bolsonaro, Benjamin #Netanyahu and Donald #Trump

I first visited India in 1978, fresh out of high school. I traveled widely with my dad, who was then Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. We visited, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Agra, in addition to the neighboring countries of Nepal and Bangladesh.
The impact on me was immediate, overwhelming, and literally life-changing. I fell in love with India. When I went to college, I became a religion major with a focus on the Buddhist philosophy of India and Tibet. I went back again and again, spending a year in Utter Pradesh during college and a summer in Karnataka and traveling around — including in Kashmir and Ladakh — during graduate school.
In a beautiful country where there is so much to experience, I was struck most of all by its religious pluralism and raucous democratic culture. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists — different peoples living together under one democracy. Imperfect, to be sure, but still a remarkable example of overwhelmingly peaceful coexistence amidst superrich diversity.
The India of Narendra Modi is not the India I fell in love with.
Prime Minister Modi, a Hindu nationalist, earlier this month made good on a campaign promise to strip Muslim-majority Kashmir of the privileged status it has held under India’s constitution for 70 years. In revoking the contested region’s autonomy, Prime Minister Modi may have broken Indian law. He has trampled democratic norms and fundamental human rights. And he has heightened long-simmering tensions between India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed powers.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has hinted that this could have dire consequences, warning, “if the world does not act today…(if) the developed world does not uphold its own laws, then things will go to a place that we will not be responsible for.” The threat of renewed violence between India and Pakistan is, of course, deeply troubling. And Pakistan’s human rights violations also demand attention.
But Modi’s actions speak to a broader, global concern: the increased acceptance of anti-Muslim bigotry and the dangers posed by ethnonationalists like Narendra Modi, Jair Bolsonaro, Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump.
Modi’s moves with respect to Kashmir, while alarming, do not come out of left field. After all, in 2005, the Bush Administration denied Modi entry into the United States on account of his failure, as chief minister of the state of Gujarat, to intervene during a 2002 outbreak of horrific violence against Muslims. Approximately 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed. A New York Times report published that year noted that Modi “offered no consolation to the state’s Muslims and expressed satisfaction with his government’s performance. His only regret, he said, was that he did not handle the news media better.”
Modi’s record on violence against Muslims hasn’t improved with time.
Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch published a report detailing “a violent vigilante campaign against beef consumption and those deemed linked to it” in India, where many Hindus consider the cow sacred. Nearly 50 people, mostly Muslims, were killed as part of this campaign between May 2015 and December 2018. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hasn’t helped matters; according to the report, “police often stalled prosecutions of the attackers, while several BJP politicians publicly justified the attacks.” Perpetrators are so secure in their belief that they’ll face no consequences that they post videos of beatings on social media. Sadly, their certainty has proven justified.

Riaz Haq said...

#India excludes nearly 2 million people from Assam citizen list. #India has passed law that grants citizenship to people who moved to India from #Bangladesh, #Pakistan and #Afghanistan as recently as 6 years ago - as long as they are not #Muslim @AJENews

Nearly two million people have been excluded from a list of citizens in India's northeastern Assam state, raising fears they could be rendered stateless.

The list, known as the National Register of Citizens (NRC), was published on Saturday after a years-long exercise aimed at identifying legal residents in the impoverished border state.

A total of 31.1 million people were included in the final list, leaving out 1.9 million people, according to a statement from the Assam government.

"The entire process of NRC update has been meticulously carried out in an objective and transparent manner. Adequate opportunity of being heard has been given to all persons at every stage of the process. The entire process is conducted as per statutory provisions and due procedure followed at every stage," it said.

The government said it carried out the mammoth exercise to detect and deport undocumented immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, but critics viewed the exercise as an attempt to deport millions of Muslims, who make up a third of the state's population.


The BJP governs Assam and critics say the NRC process reflects the BJP's goal to serve only people of the Hindu faith.

In January, India's lower house passed legislation that grants citizenship to people who moved to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan as recently as six years ago - as long as they are not Muslims.

Critics say the BJP was planning to pass new legislation to help Hindus who have been excluded from the NRC get Indian citizenship.

Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah, Modi's right-hand-man, has called for the ejection of "termites" and said before the BJP's thumping re-election victory in May that it would "run a countrywide campaign to send back the infiltrators".

Samujjal Bhattacharya from the All Assam Students' Union, a key driver of the NRC, said the register was necessary to protect Assam's indigenous "sons of the soil".

"We are not ready to live here like second-class citizens in our own motherland," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Dear PM #Modi, #India's #Economy Needs Strong Policies & Not Headlines. #Manufacturing from growing more than 12% in the same time last year, to stalling at 0.6% now. #Car sales have crashed to 20-year lows. #Indian Central Bank: "our economy is ‘grim.’"

In a stadium in New Delhi, on August 29, prime minister Narendra Modi said, "Whether it is the boardroom or Bollywood, whoever is fit touches the sky. If the body is fit, the mind is hit."

The banality, of course, is par for anybody who has lent an ear to Mr Modi for nearly a decade. But cruel reality check hit India less than 24 hours later.

In separate missives, the official statistical department released data that said India’s economy was in dire straits: growth during the (first) April-June quarter, was 5%, the lowest since 2014-15 when Modi stormed to power.

At the time, he accused the previous, Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA-II) of pouring sand in the machinery of work, wealth and aspiration. Modi promised achhe din, or better days, ahead. That has proved to be a mirage.

Manufacturing, around 16% of India’s economy has collapsed: from growing more than 12% in the same time last year, to stalling at 0.6% now. Car sales have crashed to 20-year lows. Manufacturing responds to demand from either consumption or investment.

Consumption, now around 60% of the economy, has also fallen: sales of low-cost biscuits to innerwear are down. Incomes of around 70% of Indians who depend on farm and farm-related activity grew barely 2% in Q1, compared to 5.1% in the year-ago period.

The growth of construction, which employs much of India’s vast army of ‘unorganised’ workforce has nearly halved, from 9.6% to 5.7%.

Meanwhile, on Thursday India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), reported its own take on the economy. It says our economic scene is ‘grim.’ Stripped of jargon, this is what it says: Sometimes, economies go through happy or bad times, depending on peoples’ moods and how well the rest of the world is behaving.

Also Read : The road to $5 trillion economy with 5% growth rate?

Where Are Meaningful Economic Reforms?
This can be set right with shock reform, changes in tax or interest rates, buying and selling government debt, manipulating currency trades. Intended goal: to break out of a ‘cyclical’ downturn. Otherwise, economies can choke on bigger problems, for example a lack of functioning markets in farm produce which causes 40% of the stuff to rot, or the absence of banks in the hinterland, which forces people to borrow from moneylenders at cut-throat rates. Policy wonks classify these failures as structural hassles.

Every village idiot knows the way out of income slowdown is meaningful economic policy, not blocking communication lines in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir or listing 2 million Assamese as ‘illegals’.

But the Modi government has reacted to the crisis with, first, blather: “The government is alive to the situation and has taken several measures on the slowdown of Indian economy. The slowdown in growth is due to endogenous and exogenous factors,” said Krishnamurthy Subramanian, our top sarkari economist.

Now, Subramanian isn’t the brightest lightbulb in the room, but his words must reflect something about the regime’s willingness to battle an economic crisis. So far, an Alfred E Neumanesque, “What, me worry?”

Riaz Haq said...

#Kashmir Is a Dress Rehearsal for #Hindu Nationalist Fantasies. The joy stems from the humiliation of Kashmir’s #Muslims for daring to be different and the thought that this is a warning signal to all of #India’s Muslims. #BJP #Modi #Hindutva #Fascism

Activists chanted in the center of Ranchi, the capital of the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand and my parental city: “Kashmir azaad ho gaya aaj” (“Kashmir has been freed today”). The activists were celebrating the deathblow to Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy struck by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Aug. 5. They were not the only ones; much of the Indian public shared their vulgar joy.

It’s not the assimilation of Kashmir—whose autonomy in practice has long disappeared, diluted over the decades by military and bureaucratic means from the center—that brings this excitement. It’s not even the thought of giving the finger to India’s old archenemy, Pakistan, for daring to court U.S. President Donald Trump over Kashmir. The joy stems from the humiliation of Kashmir’s Muslims for daring to be different and the thought that this is a warning signal to all of India’s Muslims that the Hindu body politic is resurgent and unstoppable.


The brutal swiftness of the move has shown that through the use of a narrative of national security, the BJP can break opposition parties and secure overwhelming parliamentary support, spur its grassroots workers, and keep the jingoist media on board.

The brutal swiftness of the move has shown that through the use of a narrative of national security, the BJP can break opposition parties and secure overwhelming parliamentary support, spur its grassroots workers, and keep the jingoist media on board.The widespread support for this act of constitutional vandalism shows that there is little hope of checking the BJP on other divisive domestic issues, such as the building of a grand temple to the Hindu god Ram on the site of the former Babri Mosque and taking away the existing rights of religious minorities to be governed by distinct personal laws on family matters including marriage and inheritance.

Riaz Haq said...

Arundhati Roy: "If #Indians believe it was ok for #India to militarily intervene in #EastPakistan (now #Bangladesh) in 1971, why is it not ok for #Pakistan to do the same in #Indian Occupied #Kashmir" #Modi #BJP | Upfront via @YouTube

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump's silence on #Kashmir sends a dangerous signal. #Modi and #Netanyahu willing to resort to incendiary and threatening language against the #Muslim. And both are abetted by the active support — or telling silence — of Trump. #Hindutva #BJP #India

Just when we thought we’d seen every trick in the illiberal democratic playbook, along comes a particularly unnerving new one: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to remove the long-standing autonomy of Kashmir, the northern region at the heart of India’s 70-year dispute with its western neighbor, Pakistan.

The region was awarded to India during the 1947 partition that divided the subcontinent into two new states, India and Pakistan. But according to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was to be granted autonomy over most governance issues, aside from defense and foreign affairs. Article 370 was largely honored until early this month, when Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, a member of the BJP party of Modi, followed up on the prime minister’s crackdown with a series of orders revoking the state’s autonomy.

Overnight, Kashmir’s historic status was lifted, and a communications blackout was imposed. Since then, thousands of Kashmiris have been arrested by Indian federal authorities.

There is, of course, a backstory to the Indian government’s actions. Muslims constitute nearly 70% of the population of the state and, therefore, represent a constant irritant and threat to the Hindu nationalists of Modi’s BJP, who aspire to achieve ethnic purity in India. Now that Modi has consolidated power with a landslide election in 2019, he is moving rapidly and boldly toward realizing the BJP vision of a Hindu India — one that bears little relation to the vision laid out in India’s Constitution, which guarantees justice, liberty, equality and fraternity to all.


Now, Modi has followed suit in Kashmir. While the world’s attention was fixed on a host of other vexing issues — mass shootings in America, Brexit chaos, and climate change, to mention a few — Indian troops swept in, ostensibly to ensure security and prosperity to the restive area. The world has barely uttered a peep.

Given the ineffective response, first with Crimea and now with Kashmr, it may only be a matter of time before another of the illiberal squad strikes. Netanyahu, currently immersed in a fateful election campaign, might decide, say, to annex the West Bank.

The parallels between the Israeli-Palestinian situation and that of India and Kashmir are striking. Both are byproducts of attempted partitions after British imperial rule. Both Kashmir and the West Bank contain populations deemed hostile and undesirable by the ethnic purists in their respective countries. Both Modi and Netanyahu have shown themselves to be willing to resort to incendiary and threatening language against the Muslim populations in their midst. And both are abetted by the active support — or telling silence — of Trump.

What would Trump do if Netanyahu went ahead with his periodic pledge to annex the West Bank and its nearly 3 million Palestinians? Would he and his fellow illiberals sit back and crow that this is the new way of the world?

Perhaps so, and that is why the rest of us must rise up in protest each time illiberal leaders attempt to expand their powers in illegal and undemocratic ways. We must support civil society organizations that fight for the equality of their countries’ citizens, regardless of race or ethnicity. And we must insist that democratic countries honor the noble principles enshrined in their constitutions and other founding documents, for they are the best antidote to the xenophobia, racism and discrimination of today’s illiberalism.

David N. Myers teaches Jewish history at UCLA, where he directs the Luskin Center for History and Policy. He is also president of the board of the New Israel Fund.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian nationhood: a #masculine fantasy. In the #Hindutva imagination, while the #Kashmiri #Muslim man is the ‘Other’, Kashmiri Muslim #women are objects of fantasy. #Modi #BJP

A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Only then is it done, no matter how brave its warriors nor how strong its weapons — A saying among the Cheyenne, an indigenous people in America.

Since the abrogation of Article 370, there has been much naked gloating about Kashmir’s ‘annexation’ in the rest of the nation. Even more disturbing has been the explosion of misogynistic jokes about Kashmiri women on Indian social media.

The entire discussion around Kashmir has reduced it to a political and economic issue. In doing so, what we miss is that nation states are violent masculine projects, and that they are played out on the bodies of women. In this way, they mimic the logic of colonialism, marked by patriarchy and sexual violence. This is ironic because nation states like India have been founded by defeating colonialism.

The sexual fantasies that have been unleashed around Kashmir —the top Google searches in India immediately after August 5 were ‘marry Kashmir girl’ and ‘Kashmiri girls’ — are thus not innocent. They are misogynistic. But they are also deeply tied to the political arena of nation-state building. The flurry of videos on TikTok and Facebook by men declaring that they will marry Kashmiri women — something that a Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker openly asked his party workers to do — or buy property in Kashmir, are also linked to the larger ‘nationalistic’ goal of changing the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir.

Of course, the women are not humans, with voice and agency, but are reduced to the status of material property. It does not matter what Kashmiri women think about marrying all these men. This is what is reflected in the BJP lawmaker’s supreme confidence and the resounding applause with which his exhortation was met with.

Yet, we cannot trivialize these fantasies, for the consequences of nationalism and State-building for ‘others’ who do not fit neatly into them are real and terrible. That is why the entire focus has only been on how Kashmiris have been unjustly getting special privileges at the cost of the rest of India, and not on what it means to live in the most militarized zone in the world.

Women in particular are affected, for they are subjected to not only the patriarchy of the nation state but also the patriarchy of their own community. It is important to remember here that the women of the Kashmiri villages of Kunan and Poshpora, raped allegedly by the armed forces, are yet to receive justice even after 28 years of the crime. Human right violations and extra-judicial killings have occurred under the cover of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act not only in Kashmir but also in other theatres of recalcitrance like Manipur.

Justice is also yet to be delivered in the brutal rape and fake encounter killing of Thangjam Manorama despite the order of an interim compensation by the Supreme Court. The killing had led to an unprecedented protest by Manipuri women in the nude. In 2014, a judicial panel in Manipur noted that “Crimes against women, more particularly relating to sexual harassment committed by armed forces, are now increasing in some states like ours.”

It is time to recognize that sexuality and gender power, often taking violent forms, are as much a part of nationalism and nation-state building as their political and economic aspects. In the Hindutva nationalist imagination, while the Kashmiri Muslim man is the ‘Other’, Kashmiri Muslim women become objects of fantasy.

Riaz Haq said...

#SiliconValley's #Indian #American #Hindu Congressman Ro Khanna rejects #Hindutva, asks fellow Hindus to speak for "equal rights for #Hindus, #Muslims, #Sikhs, #Buddhist & #Christians.” via @SanJoseInside

by Amar Shergill

There was a political shift in the South Asian American community last week which arrived quietly but will have consequences for years to come. It reverberated from its origin in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party with implications for the United States, India and world geopolitics.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) tweeted the following on Aug. 29: “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist & Christians.”

The quote seems innocuous without context, therefore, a brief political summary follows.

The history of the South Asian subcontinent is complex with language, religion, ethnicity and caste that predate America by several millennia. The Indian democracy has been managing this complexity with mixed success since its colonial independence in 1947. In fact, violence against minorities has often been a path to electoral success. Although there are many examples, the most recent and infamous are the 1984 Genocide of Sikhs in Delhi and the 2002 Gujarat Massacre of Muslims.

In recent years, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won elections by pairing violent political rhetoric with virtual impunity for those that engage in the rape, torture, murder and oppression of Indian Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ravidassias, and Hindu Dalits. (See the US Commission on International Religious Freedom Reports for detail.) Modi’s political party (BJP) and its cultural counterpart organizations (RSS, VHP, etc.) form the backbone of the Hindutva movement. However, in deference to the complexity of India, we should note that this is not simply a religious conflict. Hindutva is a fascist and supremacist movement similar to white supremacist movements in the US. It mobilizes around a virulent religious ethno-nationalism, holding that India is a homeland for only Hindus and uses violence to intimidate compliance around its economic and political policies.

Every organ of Indian democracy is in crisis under Hindutva and progressive movements across South Asia have been mobilizing to ask the world for solidarity as they continue to bravely resist the volatile conditions in the region. Further, Modi and the Hindutva movement have set upon a path to influence U.S. policy from within the American political system, which brings us to recent events.

Last month, Caravan published a longform exposé by South Asian analyst, Pieter Friedrich. The article sourced and detailed decades of Hindutva organizing in the US and their development of political allies. At the top of that list is Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, also a candidate for the US presidency, who has cultivated deep ties to the Hindutva movement. She attends their events in India and the US, solicits money from American Hindutva organizers, and even invited their leaders to her intimate wedding ceremony. As an apparent term of that bargain, she does not engage in criticism of the Indian government and often advocates its positions during US policy debates.

On Aug. 12, the author of the Caravan article tweet-replied to a Gabbard campaign post, providing a link to the piece. Khanna also replied. The exchange is provided below:

Khanna’s statement was immediately recognized by South Asian politicos as a seismic shift in Indo-centric politics. He is the highest ranking American elected official of Indian origin, with a deep understanding of and connection to South Asian politics, and, yet, he stated in decisive moral terms that the dominant political ideology of India must be rejected as a matter of fundamental human rights.

Riaz Haq said...

A moment of reckoning for #Indian #Americans. A dominant section of #Hindu Americans linked to #Hindutva politics are attacking #Sanders2020 in support of #Trump. But #SiliconValley's Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal have denounced Hindutva. #Kashmir #Modi

After Indian American engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was killed by a white nationalist in Kansas in February 2017, it took several weeks before the new President, Donald Trump, condemned it, only obliquely still, upsetting the community. Democrat Bernie Sanders instantly came out in support of the family and the community, and said the President’s rhetoric on immigration led to the murder.

As campaign for the 2020 presidential election picks up, a dominant section of the Indian Americans linked to Hindutva politics is gunning for Mr. Sanders and aligning with the nationalist politics of Mr. Trump, for their respective positions on Kashmir. This rapidly evolving realignment will polarise the community and could alter the basis of India-U.S. ties.

Indian Americans have largely been supporters of the Democratic Party to which all five U.S. lawmakers of Indian origin also belong. Democrats have been more supportive of immigration and religious and cultural rights of the minorities. The simultaneous rise of nationalism in India and America, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Trump, had put the community in a paradoxical situation, as they were largely jubilant about Hindutva in India while being at the receiving end of nationalism in their adopted land.

The Kashmir factor
Kuchibotla himself was an ardent fan of Mr. Modi’s sweeping Hindutva politics as his wife related after this murder. Not only Mr. Sanders, but Democrats such as Congressman from Silicon Valley Ro Khanna, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and several other friends of India and Indian Americans have denounced Hindutva politics in the wake of the prolonged lockdown of Jammu and Kashmir following the unilateral end to its autonomy.

“India’s behaviour is unacceptable,” said Mr. Sanders.

Mr. Khanna, grandson of a freedom fighter and a member of the first Parliament of India, said, “It’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians.”

Influential Hindutva voices in America have turned against these Democrats, and accused them of pro-Pakistan sympathies and being in the spell of anti-India, Muslim advisers. Mr. Trump does not sweat over India’s Kashmir policy barring its impact on his own plans for an American military withdrawal from Afghanistan. His tirade against immigrants, particularly the Indian techies notwithstanding, the Hindutva sections had found his bluster against Muslims appealing. Kashmir has brought them closer to Mr. Trump and their journey to his camp could be completed ahead of the 2020 Presidential election. There are many ironies in this, but this might end one central paradox of Hindutva-leaning Indian American politics that has been sympathetic to religious majoritarianism and cultural supremacism in India while demanding religious and cultural rights in America.

Riaz Haq said...

#PallavBagla #India Loses Contact With #Chandrayaan2 #Vikram Moon Lander During Its Descent. “This is all about national (#Hindutva) pride,’’ said Pallava Bagla, co-author of a book about #Indian space exploration and a dedicated space journalist #Modi

India’s attempt to land a robotic spacecraft near the moon’s South Pole on Saturday appeared to end in failure.

The initial parts of the descent went smoothly. But less than two miles above the surface, the trajectory diverged from the planned path. The mission control room fell silent as communications from the lander were lost. A member of the staff was seen patting the back of K. Sivan, the director of India’s space program.

He later announced that the spacecraft was operating as expected until an altitude of 2.1 kilometers, or 1.3 miles. “The data is being analyzed,” he said.

The partial failure of the Chandrayaan-2 mission — an orbiter remains in operation — would delay the country’s bid to join an elite club of nations that have landed in one piece on the moon’s surface.


An Israeli nonprofit sent a small robotic spacecraft named Beresheet to the moon, but its landing attempt in April went awry in a manner similar to Chandrayaan-2. The initial descent went as planned, but then communications were lost near the surface. It was later discovered that a command to shut off the engine was incorrectly sent.

Chandrayaan-2 launched in July, taking a long, fuel-efficient path to the moon. Earlier this week, the 3,200-pound lander, named Vikram after Vikram A. Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space program, separated from the orbiter and maneuvered toward the moon’s surface.

Fifteen minutes before the planned landing, the Vikram lander was traveling at more than 2,000 miles per hour at an altitude of about 20 miles. Four of its engines fired to quickly slow it down as it headed toward its landing site on a high, flat plain near the South Pole. Later in the landing process, it appeared that Vikram was descending too fast and then data from the spacecraft ended.

The moon is littered with the remains of spacecraft that have tried and failed to land in one piece. Two American craft, from the robotic Surveyor series that helped blaze the trail for Apollo, crashed in the 1960s. Several probes from the Soviet Luna program also collided with the moon’s surface.

Applause swept through viewing parties in Bangalore for most of the lander’s descent. At the command center, scientists rose to their feet as they tracked the mission’s progress. When communication was abruptly lost, Sathya Narayanan, 21, an educator with Astroport, a group in Bangalore that spreads awareness about astronomy, said his heart dropped.

“At this point, it is a partial failure,” he said. “We will push until the end.”

While the mission may briefly soften the muscular nationalism espoused by Mr. Modi, whose government is already facing challenges from job losses and international criticism of his recent moves in the disputed territory of Kashmir, the prime minister tried to reframe Saturday’s landing attempt as an opportunity for improvement in brief remarks after contact was lost.

Hours later and back at the space center in Bangalore, the prime minister greeted the scientists, engineers and staff of the space agency after delivering a motivational speech that was broadcast nationally in India. He stopped short of stating explicitly that the lander had failed.

“We came very close, but we will need to cover more ground in the times to come,” he said.

Later in his address, Mr. Modi added, “As important as the final result is the journey and the effort. I can proudly say that the effort was worth it and so was the journey.”

Space has become a popular topic in India.

Riaz Haq said...

Selective #Hindutva narrative of #JammuAndKashmir about #KashmiriPandits ignores that #Jammu had #Muslim majority in 1947. Within weeks, riots and mass killings and forced migration of #Muslims turned it into a #Hindu-majority area
Opinion via @htTweets

by Karan Thapar

"“Hindus and Sikhs of the Jammu area … apparently with at least the tacit consent of state authorities, have driven many thousands of their Muslim neighbours from their homes”. Citing Mahatma Gandhi, he asserts “some two hundred thousand are … not accounted for”. Christopher Snedden, in Kashmir: The Unwritten History, estimates between 70,000 and 237,000 Muslims were killed. Arjun Appaduri and Arien Mack in India’s World believe 200,000 could have been killed and a further 500,000 displaced. Last year, the columnist Swaminathan Aiyar wrote: “In sheer scale this far exceeded the ethnic cleansing of Pandits five decades later”. So why is a horror of this scale not remembered? Habibullah, who’s written about it in My Kashmir: The Dying of the Light, suggests two reasons. First, it occurred when communal riots and brutal massacres were happening right across northern India. In that bigger outrage, this smaller tragedy seems to have been forgotten. His second reason is intriguing. Sheikh Abdullah, then the undisputed leader of the Kashmir Valley, who one would have expected to draw attention to this massacre, deliberately chose to ignore it because the Muslims of Jammu did not support his National Conference, but leaned towards Jinnah’s Muslim League. The Sheikh’s politics seems to have silenced his conscience.""

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Press Attache: #India should allow #international #HumanRights observers and #media into (#Indian Occupied) #Kashmir so that the whole world can learn from its grand experiment of delivering #development at gunpoint. #Modi #Hindutva #BJP

In “India Is Making Kashmir Stronger” (Op-Ed, Sept. 20), Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s ambassador to the United States, failed to answer the fundamental question that is bothering all right-thinking people across the globe: Why has India laid siege to Kashmir and cut off eight million Kashmiris from the rest of the world for the last seven weeks?

Instead, he resorted to using India’s familiar playbook of pointing the finger at Pakistan, and tarring the Kashmiris’ indigenous and legitimate struggle for self-determination with the brush of “terrorism.”

Rather than attacking Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan, he should have explained what this “prosperity” is that India feels that it can deliver to the Kashmiris only at the pointed end of bayonets. How does India plan to foster “hope for development” through mass incarceration, torture and cowardly night raids into homes to pick up children?

India appears to be testing a model of economic development on the Kashmiri people, who want none of it, if the deserted marketplaces and more than 700 protests in Kashmir since Aug. 5 are any indication.

Perhaps India should allow international human rights observers and media into Kashmir so that the whole world can learn from its grand experiment of delivering development at gunpoint.

Abid Saeed

Riaz Haq said...

#Kashmir: Goodbye, pro-#India politics. Words like “#Gaza” and “settler #occupation” are entering the public discourse. Low-scale militancy appears to be of no use. #Pakistan is seen as being weak and unable to take on India. | Newslaundry via @newslaundry

“They have sealed our fate,” my father said as he heard news of the abrogation of Article 370. “The politics of Kashmir has ended forever, now there is only the politics of Delhi.” This was the first reaction in my home to India’s dismantling of Kashmir’s constitutional autonomy and it expressed the absolute political disempowerment of our people. My mother, an apolitical commoner, heard my father speak and remarked, “Just our bad luck.”

Both their faces were gloomy, overwhelmed by sadness as the move brought on a harsh security lockdown and communications blackout, which has now lasted over 50 days.

I, meanwhile, was trying to comprehend all that was being televised from the Parliament. It soon became clear that the sovereignty of the people of Kashmir had been stolen.

Sovereignty, after all, was what undergird Kashmir’s reluctant accession to the Indian Union. As Jammu and Kashmir’s sovereign ruler, Hari Singh, had agreed to delegate certain powers over Kashmir to Delhi, and not vice versa. So, it was India that enjoyed special status in Kashmir, not the other way round. Article 370 testified to this: the constitutional provision was temporary not because India was authorised to discard it someday, but because Jammu and Kashmir was still an undecided matter at the United Nations -- and the people of Kashmir were yet to exercise their right to permanently accede to India or Pakistan.


Today, the average Kashmiri feels threatened, and not only because of torture, humiliation and economic breakdown. They are reluctant to come out of their homes. The armed forces are looking angrier than ever. People in mainland India are openly lusting after Kashmiri women. Some state governments are longing for their land. Corporates are eyeing their small businesses. Words like “Gaza” and “settler occupation” are entering the public discourse. Low-scale militancy appears to be of no use. Pakistan is seen as being weak and unable to take on India. The people are in a bind: India does not own them, Pakistan does not “liberate” them. Pro-India politics is dead. The Hurriyat has the sentiment, but no solution. People fear Ram Madhav’s punishment. They worry about demographic change. Men see their future in jail. Women are numbed by speeches of Indian leaders. Constitutional guarantees do not exist. The narrative of development does not appease them. The world is not interested in the human cost of the security lockdown. So, where does the common Kashmiri go from here?

I spent 40 days under the lockdown and all I saw it engender was hopelessness. And that bodes ill for Kashmir, and India.

Rameez Bhat is a political columnist from Kashmir.

Riaz Haq said...

Economist Jean Dreze contests #AmitShah (#Modi's partner in crime) with #Gujarat data. Dreze showed how Jammu and #Kashmir outscored Gujarat on the basis of a raft of #development indices.

“I want to tell the people of Jammu and Kashmir what damage Articles 370 and 35A has done to the state,” Shah had told the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

“It’s because of these sections that democracy was never fully implemented and corruption increased in the state; no development could take place…. The Ayushman Bharat scheme is there but where are the hospitals? Where are the doctors and nurses? Those supporting 35A, please tell me which famous doctor will go and live there and practise? He can’t own land or a house, nor can his children vote.”

Ambedkar University student Sweta Dash tweeted a video of Dreze explaining how, “in almost any economic or social indicator, Jammu and Kashmir is way ahead of Gujarat”.

Dreze attributed this to “extensive land reforms in the 1950s” and asserted: “It is Article 370 that made these land reforms possible.”

The economist cited 2015-2016 figures of life expectancy, under-five mortality rate, total fertility rate and the percentages of girls aged 15-19 with eight years of schooling, underweight children, adult women with low body mass index and fully immunised children.

He also cited 2011-12 figures for rural poverty and the wages of rural labourers. Kashmir scored better than Gujarat in all the indices.

Dreze told The Telegraph: “The basic point is that Jammu and Kashmir had its own Constitution, making it possible to expropriate the big landowners and redistribute their land without compensation. Under the Indian Constitution, that would not have been permitted.”

In the footnote to his essay, “Dr Ambedkar and the future of Indian democracy”, Dreze had written: “The Constitution of India could have provided for radical land reform. In the initial scheme of things, however, property was a fundamental right, making land reform very difficult.

“In contrast, extensive land reforms took place in the early 1950s in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), where it was possible to expropriate the landlords without compensation.

“Radical land reforms in J&K were immensely popular and laid a lasting basis for a relatively prosperous and egalitarian rural economy, with very low poverty rates by Indian standards.

“Beyond land reform, government policy in J&K before 1956 (when the Constitution of J&K was ratified) was strongly influenced by Naya Kashmir, the socialist manifesto adopted by the National Conference in 1944.”

The essay is part of The Radical in Ambedkar, edited by Suraj Yengde and Anand Teltumbde, who is out on bail in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case of an alleged conspiracy with Maoists to incite violence and target Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The book was published last year.

Riaz Haq said...

#Gandhi: "The real sovereign of the State are the people of the State. If the ruler is not the servant of the people then he is not the ruler..The people of #Kashmir should be asked whether they want to join #Pakistan or #India. Let them do as they want."

The Wire brings you a short excerpt from Gandhi’s prayer discourse of July 29, 1947, from The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volume 88, as published online by the Gandhi Heritage Portal.

Kashmir has a Maharaja and also the subjects of the Maharaja. I am not going to suggest to the Maharaja to accede to India and not to Pakistan. This is not my intention. The real sovereign of the State are the people of the State. If the ruler is not the servant of the people then he is not the ruler. This is my belief and that is why I became a rebel because the British claimed to be the rulers of India and I refused to recognise them as rulers. Now they are about to leave India…

So long the Maharaja of Kashmir could do as he liked under the protection of the Viceroy. Now the power belongs to the people…In Kashmir shawl-making, embroidery, etc., are well-developed handicrafts. The charkha has also done good work there. The poor people of Kashmir know me.

The people of Kashmir should be asked whether they want to join Pakistan or India. Let them do as they want. The ruler is nothing. The people are everything. The ruler will be dead one of these days but the people will remain.