Today, a historical injustice has been undone. The dreaded Article 370, which granted illogical autonomy to J&K has been done away with. Kashmir has long suffered the wrongdoings of previous Prime Ministers and governments who did not have the spine even speak about this article. What was thought of as a taboo to even speak of, Modi government has undone.
Kashmir, historically has been a troublesome region. The crux of all of Kashmir’s problems has been Article 370 and the inability of the Indian Parliament to legislate on any matters of the state. Kashmir has been insulated from rest of the country, leading to it’s own detriment. From the 90’s, radicalism and Wahabism have seen exponential proliferation in the state, creating terror zones in the state and bringing developmental work to a standstill. Mind you, every government was aware of the foundation of these problems, yet nobody dared to act. Nehru’s foolish decisions post-independence and then the subsequent post-annexation phase of J&K, which witnessed historical blunders on the part of the then government are a part of what have been rectified today. Sardar Patel, India’s first Home Minister was not directly involved in the annexation of Kashmir to India. Pandit Nehru remained adamant that Kashmir be left to him to handle. However, this did not stop Sardar Patel from calling out on Nehru’s potentially devastating moves back then. The animosity between the two with regards to Kashmir is not unknown. Sardar Patel was adamant that there can be no plebiscite in Kashmir. He also had said that if the matter was given to him, he could handle the Kashmir situation in six months. Sardar Patel further has been recorded saying that the happenings in Kashmir give him a ‘headache’. India, as we know it today, was organized into a Union due to the toiling of Sardar Patel. Had it not been for him, there would still be existing pockets of small nation states, either independent, or a part of Pakistan, within India. The journey of integration undertaken by Sardar Patel has truly been achieved today, by none other than his successor, Amit Shah. When Amit Shah was chosen as the Home Minister, we all read the writing on the wall. He was here to take tough decisions, without being politically correct.
As has been said previously, all governments were aware of the antidote to the Kashmir problem, however not one had the spine to deliberate on the constitutional provisions which lay at the crux of this problem. Recently, Omar Abdullah vouched for a separate Prime Minister in Kashmir. This is not a Monday mentality for such leaders. This has been their prime motive in Kashmir. To constitutionally institutionalize a parallel government in Kashmir. Article 370 was explicitly stated to be a temporary provision, however, not one government paid heed to abolish the same. Whether they avoided this for keeping their vote banks happy, or they were hand-in-glove with the political mafia of Kashmir is something which only they can comment upon. The Congress, which ruled the country for seven decades, was somehow comfortable with a proxy-parallel government in Kashmir. The two political dynasties in Kashmir not only held the entire state, but also the Centre to ransom for a major chunk of this time. Even Indira Gandhi, supposedly a ‘nationalistic’ Prime Minister from the Congress, did absolutely nothing to establish the superiority of the Indian parliament over Kashmir.
Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, both, have had a committed and consistent position on Article 370, that it must be abrogated. It took a mere two months for Amit Shah to walk the talk on his Kashmir policy after swearing-in. This speaks volumes about his and PM Modi’s integrationist values. Moreover, the smoothness with which the ground has been set for this historic announcement is admirable. The government has implemented a timely, specific and calculated strategy for this big announcement. Yet again, the government has surprised everyone with their final decision. Till today morning, the most we could think of was the revocation of Article 35A. We were not imagining a scenario where a Presidential notification would be introduced which has revoked Article 370 in entirety. The Bifurcation of J&K into J&K and Ladakh UT’s makes Law and Order a central subject now. By implication, this means that the Home Ministry is now in direct control of law and order in J&K. Finally, the dream of ‘Ek Desh, Ek Vidhaan’ has been realized. Kashmir has been integrated into India forever, in totality.