“Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex” - Karl Marx


Politics on Kashmir Need Not be About Optics Alone

In an era when truth is often made a casualty, everything else becomes secondary. In such circumstances, there is no scope for things, such as individual freedom, integrity, liberty, and independence of thought. Post-Pulwama, the whole nation and the world at large have been treated to such a miasma of mendacity that an attempt to ask the most natural questions about the veracity of claims regarding the number of those killed in the air strike on Balokot has attracted not only undeserved vilification but even death threats.

Amid this sea of falsehood, the only piece of news that has been allowed to surface involves the death of 40-odd CRPF personnel in a tragic suicide attack in Pulwama about three weeks ago. The rest is nothing but utter hogwash and falsehood. For once Raj Thackeray of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is spot on when he says that "To know the truth behind the Pulwama attack, let Ajit Doval be questioned"  

It is in the light of these circumstances that following the Pulwama attack, the Prime Minister's appeal for calm involving acts of vandalism on Kashmiris working in other states of India came at a time when the damage had already been done. By that time, more than 4,000 students studying in other states had already returned to the valley under duress. That was a classic case of too little too late, that too after the Supreme Court ruling, urging state governments to protect Kashmiris. Come to think of it, all this snugly fits into the electoral calculus of the Shah-Modi-Doval trio who see nothing unholy in anything that may, in their view, improve their electoral prospects, including resorting to questionable tactics.

How does one distinguish truth from a lie? Conventional wisdom has it that a lie has no legs to stand. In contrast, truth is distinguished by the quality of being characterised by a unique interpretation of its import. Which is why the innumerable and contradictory versions of the number of those killed in the Balakot air strike, as provided by the Army, politicians, media and the government should convince even diehard bhakts that there was no such thing as human casualties in the air strike, barring perhaps one single casualty- some odd trees in the forest! This narrative of falsehood does not end there.

The spectacle involving IAF pilot Abhinanadan finding himself inside Pakistan territory during a dogfight in the air, his subsequent capture and release by Pakistan, presents yet another picture where falsehood is pushed to absurd levels. Much as the government machinery was gaga in praise of the pilot for his bravery and valour, the fact is that his escapade into enemy air space followed by his fulsome praise of the Pak army as a 'professional force' has not gone down well with those who have ended up with egg on their face following his quick and unexpected release by the Pak authorities.

As if that was not enough, yet another salvo of falsehood fired was evident in the brazenness of bhakts' unsubstantiated claims involving their hypothetical role in bringing tremendous pressure to bear upon the "Pak PM who had no choice but to give in!" They went to the extent of saying that Pakistan had done no great favour to India by releasing the captured Indian pilot because they were obliged to do so under the Geneva Convention (GC) on the treatment to be meted out to prisoners of war. How hypocritical of them to invoke the GC, as they don't seem to know that the current stand-off between India and Pakistan does not fall in the category of war, just yet.  

 Why do hypernationalists forget their own share of responsibility when it comes to Kashmir whose inhabitants are treated with unspeakable indignity and inhumanity, even in situations where they are not even remotely involved in any illegal or anti-national activity? Recall, the disturbing images of a Kashmiri boy being strapped to an army jeep and paraded through the streets by one Major Gogoi of the Indian Army when he was returning home after casting his vote.

What is worse, the whole country had erupted in rapturous admiration and support for this ignominious act by the officer when he was acquitted of this heinous crime by a court of enquiry conducted by the Army. So much for the intellectual honesty of the Indian elite which has willingly chosen to acquiesce in to this climate of intolerance and violence by staying aloof.  

In this battle of perception, where the effort to spread lies and falsehood have been employed as a chief weapon by the spin doctors of the ruling party and the government, I go with Justice (Retd) Markandey Katju who says that except for a handful, those involved in print/electronic media in India are ignorant, ill-informed, hardly educated and moronic to the core. The media's sense of history is so pathetic so as not to understand that the single source of tension between India and Pakistan has to be pinned down entirely to the core issue of Kashmir. Everything else is peripheral, including the oft-repeated reference to what is being referred to as 'cross-border terrorism'.

The bottomline is that all this will vanish into thin air once the K-issue is resolved once and for all to the (minimal dis) satisfaction of all those involved - -Kashmiris, India and Pakistan. It has to be conceded that the Indian position on what India maintains as 'export of terror against India emanating from the soil of Pakistan' may have some merit in it. However, the point is that it makes little sense to expect Pakistan to eliminate terrorism from its soil on its own without India chipping in. And to this end, all that India has to do is to shun its reluctance to address the core issue of Kashmir by initiating a process for dialogue with Pakistan and Kashmiris who are the genuine stakeholders in a solution.  

The greatness of India is in the voices of reason and rectitude that ought to be heeded and acted upon, not in naked falsehood being propagated by bhakts consisting of sabre rattling, jingoistic, hypernationalist enemies of this country masquerading as (fossilised) defence experts, (ill informed) journalists and (self -seeking) politicians.

It is time to lend an ear to what author Arundhati Roy has to say on that count: "Kashmir is the real theatre of unspeakable violence and moral corrosion that can spin us into violence and nuclear war at any moment. To prevent that from happening, the conflict in Kashmir has to be addressed and resolved".

How one wishes that wisdom dawned upon those calling the shots to understand that it is the unresolved K-issue that has spawned so much death and destruction in Kashmir and in the region- and that everything else is a red herring.  

I conclude by the following words, not by someone of the so-called 'tukde tukde gang', an urban Maoist or by some Trojan horse in the camp, but by a son of the soil, Rajiv Tyagi, a former IAF pilot.  

In his recent essay "Of limited wars and precision strikes" that had appeared in a newspaper some days ago, Tyagi aptly sums up the India of today "I don't know what has happened to our populace. We have become a very stupid and a hysterical nation, almost like caricatures in a cartoon movie. And we vote politicians exactly like us".  

A moment of reflection indeed, for those who set so much store by deception and falsehood.  

The writer is professor in the Department of Mathematics, Kashmir University, Srinagar.    


  • River in a 'Court of Law' - Legal issues pertaining to its personality
  • Syria: A Testament To International Moral Bankruptcy
  • When the State Sought to Muzzle Privacy, U-Turn Now Only to Accommodate SC Verdict
  • The Bull in A China Shop Wrecks Indian Economy
  • When Buddha Looks The Other Way: The Plight Of The Rohingya
  • A Fatal Blow to The Judiciary
  • The Dramatic Rise in Wealth Inequality
  • Wild And Baseless Speculations of Crisis in the CPI(M)
  • Budget 2018: Fantabulous Schemes With Not A Paisa Earmarked
  • Kasganj: Sankalp Foundation and the Politics of Hate
  • PM Modi Sounds the Election Bugle: Congress and Hindutva the Agenda for 2019 Polls
  • The US Game Plan in Syria
  • Both Nehru and Patel Were the Need of the Hour in 1947-48
  • The Battle of the Two Begums of Bangladesh
  • Why Bangladesh Matters
  • Kejriwal's Apology is Not What the Media Claims
  • Arrest of a '5-minute Dalits' Proves Why SC/ST Act Dilution Will Grossly Impact Real Dalits
  • The Dalits and the Law
  • Winners May Be Losers In Karnataka's Catch 22 Endgame
  • Jinnah and the BJP
  • Jawaharlal Nehru (Nov 14 1889- May 27, 1964): We Still Live In A House That Nehru Built
  • Implications of Trump-Kim Summit: Nuclear Pays!
  • Thomas Reuters Foundation Survey: Measuring Safety, Generating Outrage
  • What Are People Voting for?
  • Foreign Policy: A Double Whammy Awaits India
  • Changing Discourse
  • Assam: The Mythology of "Immigrants"
  • Imran Time is Here
  • 71 Years on, Forsty Relations Countinue
  • To Stop Climate Change, We Need to Open Bordera
  • Make Use of Bid to Postpone Provincial Elections
  • Cringing and Fuddled at 71
  • Ensuring Strident Voice Will Not Become Majority Voice
  • Nehru, Vajpayee and Modi
  • Religious Bias Okayed
  • The Oslo Accords: A Bloody Legacy of Betrayal
  • Crushing the Campus
  • Three Stories And Task of The Office Of Missing Person
  • Drama Over Indo-Pak Meeting
  • An ill Wind
  • Symbolic Actions Alone Are Insufficient For Long Term Change To Occur
  • If Democracy Subverts Itself
  • Returning Land to Civilians is a Promise That Needs Follow Up
  • Democracy In Crisis: What we Know and What we Don't
  • Reparations Office Can Bind The Nations Together
  • Implementation Challenges Facing The Ayushman Bharat Program
  • Subverting the Central Bank
  • Under the Yoke of New-Imperialism: A Fake War of Patriotism and Treason
  • India Joins the Club
  • The Third Phase
  • President is Best Situated to Resolve Political Crisis
  • No Country for Adventure: Challenges Extreme Sports Athletes Face in India
  • Setting A Perilous Political Precedent
  • What Rahul and Modi can do in the Next Four Months
  • Finding a Win-Win Solution to Break the Deadlock
  • Temple in the Age of Colliders
  • Four Parameters of a Political Solution at This Time
  • Resolve National Question With President's Support
  • Decapitating the Leadership
  • Four Takeaways From the 2018 Election
  • Science of Words
  • The Ace up Modi's Sleeve
  • The Government Must Not Deny The TNA
  • The Prolonged Wait For Justice And For Political Leadership
  • Endgame in Afghanistan
  • Pluralist Ethos is More Relevant to National Identity
  • A Concerned Citizen's Points For Inclusion in The Manifesto of Political Parties
  • In My Own Voice: Circle of Unreason
  • RBI To The Rescue of Modi Government - It's Election Time!
  • Say No to War
  • A terrifying Fallout
  • The Type of Leadership The Country Needs
  • Death Wish as Nationalism
  • Politics on Kashmir Need Not be About Optics Alone
  • Why an Urban Job Guarantee Scheme is Not a Bad Idea
  • National Security: The New in 'New Normal'
  • Re-Promulgating an Ordinance is a Fraud on the Constitution
  • Elections 2019: India at a Crossroads
  • Peace and Inclusive Development
  • NYAY Providing Basic Income Fulfills the Vision of Mahatma Gandhi and Changed Election Narrative Based on Basic Issues
  • Advani Should Blame Himself For Promoting Modi
  • Kashmir: Tracing the Degeneration of Mainstream Politics
  • Elections and the Issue of Civil Liberties
  • Jumlanomics:Chronicles of a Post-Truth Bharat
  • BJP: Hiding Failures, Targeting Nehru
  • A Mayawati Moment
  • Godse is a Synonym of Hindu Nationalism, Agenda of the RSS Combine!
  • Development Beyond Numbers
  • A Rational Approach to Countering Extremist Violence is Needed
  • In My Own Voice: Is This the Sprit of Democracy?
  • Prevention is The Best Migration Cure
  • The Rise of Hate
  • The Right Mantras for India's Change
  • Coming Home - Where Family Overpowers All
  • Easter Sunday Bombing Used to Create a Major Rift in Sri Lankan Society
  • Hacking Humanity
  • Environmental Rule of Law in India
  • Peace is a Word That West Has Taken From Afghans
  • Trump's War Games
  • Modi & States
  • Who is an 'Outsider' in West Bengal?
  • China on Maps
  • 19th Amendment Will Correct Itself at End of President's Current Term
  • Authoritarianism and the Crisis of Public Ethics in India
  • Presidential Candidate The People Want
  • Has India's Kashmir Cape Given Pakistan Reason for War?
  • Icons and Ideology of Religious Nationalism
  • Why NRC in Assam May Create Another Kashmir
  • Campaign to Abolish the Executive Presidency in Sri Lanka is a Red Herring
  • As US Tries to Isolate Iran, China Steps In
  • Of Hindi and Hierarchy
  • Why Sri Lankan Elections May Bring Far Reaching Change
  • What US Policy Tells Us About India's Growing 'Friendship' With It
  • Gandhian Philosophy is a Critique of Modernity and Power
  • Inner Party Democracy is Just as Important as Funding
  • India's Foreign Policy Has Dug Itself a Deep Hole
  • 'Broken Promises' and Politics of Hate': Is Political Autonomy The Way Forward For J&K?
  • The Ninth Betrayal: America Has Let Down Khurd, Yet Again
  • Who Benefits From The WhatsApp Hacking Case?: Pertinent Question Left Unanswered
  • State Elections Results Expose "Limits" of BJP's Nationalist Agenda
  • "Religious Belief" vs. "Rule of Law": Did SC's Ayodhya Verdict Legalise Building of a Theocratic State?
  • What Does Trump's "New Refugee Ban" Mean for America's Immigrants?
  • India Must Change Course as Rajapaksas Return on Sinhala Buddhist Wave
  • The Supreme Court's First Judgment Without an Author
  • Geopolitics in South Asia Renders Millions Stateless
  • "Shakespeare's Vision of the Improbale" Unfolds: Is Modi Today's Macbeth?
  • Sri Lanka Under Rajapaksa: Finding Areas of Mutual Agreement
  • "The Game of Religion is Played by Men": Women Speak From the Margins of Ayodhya Dispute
  • Telangana Ecounter- Failure of Local Police Poses Grave Danger to Democracy
  • The Changing Nature of War and Diplomacy
  • Sri Lanka: Government's Cooperation A "Temporary Phenomenon"?
  • The Role of Corruption in This Season of Revolts
  • New Citizenship Law to a "Brazenly Divisive Agenda"
  • Youth Agitation Against CAA Brings a Historic Generational Shift
  • "Digital Authoritarianism": With Internet Shutdowns Normalised, the Digital Space is Democracy's New Battleground
  • Sri Lanka: The Challenge of Development Amidst Devolution of Power
  • The Political Divides that Split India
  • 'Never Again': Echoes of Nazi Crimes Remain Alive 75 Years After Auschwitz
  • "Legacy of Mutual Suspicion" Plagues Opponents of the Modi Regime
  • "Toxic" India Sliding into an Environmental Abyss
  • Manufacturing Hate: From Anurag Thakur's 'Shoot the Traitors' to Pistol-Bearing Youth's 'Yeh lo Azaadi!'
  • Kejriwal Isn't Communal, But His Desire Not to be Seen Anti-Hindu May Prove Self-Defeating
  • Religion States Won't Oppose US-Taliban Deal
  • Lessons From Pathogens: Coronavirus, A wake Up Call?
  • The Geopolitics of the Covid 19 Pandemic
  • Cold War Begins As Nations Fued Over Coronavirus
  • India Fights Coronavirus...With Scriptures, Morals and Police
  • The Burden of COVID 19
  • Do Israeli Settelemnts in Occupies West Bank Constitute a War Crime ?
  • The Global Debate on COVID-19 Lockdown: Listen to Divergent Scientific Voices or Risk Manipulation by Big Businesses?
  • Sri Lanka's Easter Bombings And The Demand For Justice
  • How India Can Solve the "Catch-22 Situation" of Allowing Migrant Workers to Return Home
  • The Time for Universal Basic Income Has Arrived
  • COVID-19 Crisis Exposes Fatal Weaknesses of 'Strong' Leaders
  • The Pandemic Has Taught Us the Importance of Maintaining an Ecological Balance, Will we Remember IT?
  • The Muslim Elite Has Let Down the Muslim Poor
  • "There is Nothing Nationalist or Non-Nationalist in Reporting"
  • Why WHO Took 3 Months to Declare a Global Pandemic
  • A Political Lockdown That Silences Voices
  • The 'Relief Package' of Online Education May End up "Institutionalising Drop Outs"
  • Can Democracy Survive the Coronavirus?
  • As China Ups the Ante, This is What India Must do...
  • Tackling Racism With Compassionate Reporting-CNN Leads The Way
  • Sri Lanka: Pluralism In Governance Required In The Absence of Parliament
  • Idia's Tactical Non-Solutions To China's Incursions in Ladakh
  • "At The Brink of A New Cold War": Sino-US Ties at a Crossroads
  • In Light of Rising Conservatism, Can The Personal be Political Again?
  • India-China: The Complete Breakdown of Trust, How and Why
  • Rethinking Development After Covid-19
  • The Pandemic Must Transform Our Agriculture
  • Treacherous Road to Make Manu History