Dr. M. K. Teng
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Peace-Process - Ideological Moorings

Dr. M.K. Teng

The Muslim separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir in various forms it assumed from time to time, during the last five decades of the Indian freedom, has espoused the claim of the Muslim community to reconstitute the State into an Islamic pol­ity. Kashmir dispute has its roots in the struggle of the Muslims of India an Islamic state, which enshrined a separate freedom for them, on the basis of religion.                       

The Muslims in the British India and the Indian Princely States refused to accept that they formed a part of the Indian na­tion. They insisted upon their claim to a separate nation. The separate homeland of Pakistan was conceived by its founding fathers as an Islamic state, which would enable the Muslims in In­dia to realise their Islamic des­tiny.

The incessant efforts of the Indian political class, unable to break away from its liberal-reformist moorings, and still in search of the means to legitimise its rootlessness have caused much harm to the process of po­litical development in India as well as impeded the integration of the Muslims in the political culture of India. The Muslim League which spearheaded the Muslim movement for Pakistan in the British India and the All India States Muslim League, which led the Muslim movement for Pakistan in the Indian princely States visualised expres­sion of the consolidation of the Muslim power in India. The Muslim people of India formed part of the Muslim Ummah, and an expression of its unity. Muslim commitment to the unity of the Muslim Ummah was a negation of the national power of the Indian people. Muslims did not recognise any national power, which did not form a subsidiary part of the Muslim Ummah.

The Muslims in India sup­ported the struggle for Pakistan unequivocally and rejected the ideological commitment of the Indian people to the national identity of a United India, the In­dian struggle for freedom under­lined. The partition of India was not foisted on the Indian people by British, as the Indian political class continues to claim, even half a century after India was freed from the British colonial hold. The partition was wrought by the Muslims. The civil war and wanton violence, which the Direct Action campaign the Muslim League launched in August 1946, broke up the national consensus on the unity of India, that permeated the outlook of the Indian National Congress. Gan­dhi had not prepared the Indian people to face a civil war. His pre­scription of passive resistance, left the field open for the Muslim League to break up India.

The Muslim League leaders and the leaders of the States Muslim League, which coordi­nated the Muslim struggle for Pakistan in the princely states, committed themselves to the realisation of an Islamic State of Pakistan. Mohammad Ali Jinnah made no mistake about the ulti­mate objective of the struggle for Pakistan.

The Muslim League leaders made no mistake about the sepa­rate freedom they sought for the Muslim nation of India. The Muslim ‘nation’ of India, they averred was the con­tinuation of the history of the Muslim power in India, which formed a part of the history of the Muslim Ummah. The Mus­lims in India, the Muslims League leaders claimed, were not a part of the Indian nation, which spread over the civilisational frontiers of India. The Muslims in India were a separate ethnic identity of which the history, social culture, political outlook and religion, drew their content from Islam and its history in India. The gospel of redemption, which formed the basis of all Se­mitic religious ideologies, did not admit of coexistence of religions. The expression Jinnah gave to his outlook about the commit­ment of Pakistan to enable all people of Pakistan to live in free­dom, irrespective of their faith, in his inaugural address to the Constituent Assembly of Paki­stan, did not reflect his intention to repudiate the Muslim commit­ment to an Islamic state. Indeed, the Muslims believed as they do believe now, that the Islamic or­der of society does not conflict with the freedom of all people, irrespective of their faith. For Jinnah the Muslim state was not a theocracy. For him the Muslim state of Pakistan was the expres­sion of the Muslim political power in India. The very concept of Pakistan, which Jinnah was in­strumental in forging underlined the recognition of the geographi­cal boundaries of the Muslim In­dia as well as the continuity of its history. His claims to the Muslim majority provinces of the British India and the Muslim majority princely States as well as the Muslim ruled princely states for Pakistan, was based upon his acceptance of the con­tinuity of the history of the Mus­lim Ummah in India. Jinnah, ac­companied by Liaquat Ali Khan, met Mountbatten after the partition plan was given final shape. Mountbatten told Jinnah that partition had given the Muslims, a broken country far smaller than they had claimed. Jinnah looked straight at the Viceroy and then told him in resigned words that they would have accepted desert of Thar, if that was what their were given as their homeland.

From 1947 to 1953, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah insisted upon the exclusion of Jammu and Kashmir from the guarantees for rights of freedom, the Constitu­tion of India envisaged and claimed the right of the Muslims to redefine the rights and free­dom of the people of the State. He stated with the enthusiasm of a religious preacher that the theological imperatives of Islam pro­vided adequate guarantees for the protection of the rights and freedom of non-Muslim population of the State The exclusion of the State from the constitu­tional organisation of India by Article 370, was based upon his insistence on a separate struc­ture of rights which satisfied the aspirations of the Muslims. In fact, in the meetings of the National Conference leaders led by him with the Indian leaders and the members of the Negoti­ating Committee of the Constitu­ent Assembly of India, he claimed a separate freedom which the Muslims would demar­cate for the people of the State on the basis of the Muslim ma­jority character of its population. It is not fairly well known that when Nehru refused to deny the rights and freedom to the people of Jammu and Kashmir embod­ied by the Constitution of India, which he cried in pain, had been evolved by the Constituent As­sembly with pride, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah threat­ened to resign from the member­ship of the Constituent Assem­bly. The crisis which broke up the first Interim Government in the State in 1953, grew out of the conflict between the Muslimisation of the State and the rights and aspirations of the Hindus and the other minorities, the Buddhists and the Sikhs in the State. Forty-three years later, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, a former Pradesh Congress Presi­dent, besides being a former Home Minister of India and a former Chief Minister of the State, pleaded for “one country, two systems” in the first Round Ta­ble Conference on Kashmir held by the Indian Government in 2006. The Muslims of the State, followed the same ideological commitments-a separate freedom for Jammu and Kashmir, organ­ised on the basis of one country, two systems, pattern in India. The Indian Prime Minister has, of course, very apologeti­cally expressed the inability of the Indian Government to accept

any change in the existing bor­ders of the State and yet agreed to carry the peace-process for­ward. Would that lead to the conclusion that the Government of India is ready to recognise the right of the Muslims of the State to a separate freedom by politi­cal arrangements such as the “one country, two systems” en­visages or the exclusion of State from the Indian political organi­sation underlines or the modifi­cations in the existing provisions of Article 370, proposed by the Congress Party, embody. It is a moot point how the Govern­ment of India would adjust the demand for demilitarisation, and joint management that Pakistan has been pressing for and pro-Pakistan political flanks like the Hurriyat-Conference are insist­ing upon, to the re-location of power denominations in order to ensure the Muslims a separate freedom on the territories of In­dia. The peace process has reached a state, where the Gov­ernment of India has to decide whether it accepts the exclusion of Jammu and Kashmir State from the secular political organisation of India and Jehad as a compo­nent of the peace-settlement with Pakistan and recognises the precedence of religion and the Muslims in the state and society of Jammu and  Kashmir. It has also to decide whether it has the mandate from the Indian people to accept Jehad, as the legitimate right of the Muslims in Kashmir, to foster political change. So far, the terrorist groups, waging Jehad in the State, have not shown any inclination to accept a settlement with India, which does not un­derline the integration of the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir, with the struggle of the Muslims Ummah for its ascendence into a world power of polar strength, Pakistan envisions.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

 

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