Is Modi the Bismark of India?
For the last seven decades, Article 370 of the Indian Constitution coupled with Article 35a was like an anchor around the necks of the Indian leaders. The person who was responsible for this great charade was none other than the first Indian prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He cleverly directed Gopalaswami Iyengar to move the bill in the constituent assembly in 1949. He himself was in the USA at that time. There were many who opposed this amendment and some Congress leaders like Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and even Dr. Ambedkar were not in favor of it.
Amending the Constitution
Despite a lot of contrary opinions that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was the Deputy Prime Minister opposed the bill, yet the fact is that he was the man who piloted this bill in the Assembly. However, a provision was made that it was a temporary amendment and would be removed in due course of time
History records that instead of this article being removed, another obnoxious amendments section 35a was incorporated without going to Parliament and just getting it approved by a presidential order signed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the president. He duly signed on the dotted line as desired by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Seeds of Autonomy
Both these articles effectively granted autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir and the state was allowed to have its own flag and constitution. No laws of the Indian Union were applicable in Jammu and Kashmir until it was approved by the state assembly. Thus the Indian Penal Code was not legal in Jammu and Kashmir where the Ranbir Penal Code was in force.
As per this article, India has only responsibility for defence, currency, and foreign relations. Nehru died in 1964 and one really wonders what was his motive in having these articles incorporated into the constitution. For the next 55 years after Nehru's death, this obnoxious article continued and was one of the reasons that the state of Jammu and Kashmir was not integrated with the Indian Union.
Jihad and Insurrection
The central government was so weak that Jihadist elements in the Kashmir Valley started attacking Hindus from 1989 onwards and many Hindu women were either abducted, raped and forcibly married to Muslims after conversion
.Almost 2 lakh Hindus fled the valley and the Congress government at the center led by Narasimha Rao was unable to act and just sat on its haunches. One cannot understand how Congress leadership allowed this to continue
Separatist thoughts were planted in the valley and Pakistan which wanted to avenge the breakup of East Pakistan and Bangladesh worked out a plan for a Jihadi insurrection. They sent Mujahaddin into the valley and indoctrinated the Muslim population under the guise of Islamic thought and so the seeds of terrible insurrection against the central government were sown. With article 370 in force, the hands of the central government were tied as law and order is a state subject and nothing much could be done. The insurrection has continued in the valley for almost two decades.
BJP led by Narendra Modi rode to power in 2019 with a bigger majority and it's to the credit of Mr. Modi that he caught the bull by the horns in abrogating Article 370. His planning along with the security advisor Ajit Doval and Home Minister Amit Shah was immaculate as he had done his homework. Thousands of additional soldiers were positioned. The aim was to present the population of the valley which is 99% Muslim with a fait accompli.
He further downgraded the state from full-fledged state to a union territory. He also bifurcated the state into an additional union territory of Ladakh; a predominantly Buddhist area. The Buddhists have welcomed this as along they had felt discriminated.
The restrictions are still in force and one will have to wait and see what happens once they are lifted. But the problem is localized as only the Muslim region which is targetted by Pakistan is restive. There is Jammu region but it has a majority Hindu population. The Pakistan government has hatched a plan to foment trouble in the valley and that is the acid test of Modi's resolve.
The future is not rosy but in the long run, the step taken now will have an effect as all the laws of the Indian union will be applicable. In addition, citizens from other parts of the country will be able to settle in the valley. Much as we dislike, the creation of a homogenous region with a mixed population is the best insurance for Kashmir to be a part of India.
Bismark united Germany and Modi invite comparison with a similar approach. Its anybody's guess with Pakistan bent on stoking the embers of a Jihadi insurrection how the Indian state will be able to stamp it out. All said and done the signs are propitious.
Modi is also likely to take a leaf out of the way China handled the Sinkiang problem of Muslim Uighur revolt. He is a man with an iron will and its apt to think he is the Bismark of India.