What the Muslims of Kishtwar in Jammu have clearly conveyed is that they are unwilling to live and work with Hindus come what may and are willing to take any action – including heartless violence – to drive the Hindus from Jammu. It is time after sixty odd years and three wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, to take note of it.
The media has been reticent in describing the events in Kishtwar, lest they are accused of encouraging more inter-communal violence. What happened was this: After saying Eid prayers, Muslims goons took out a procession, carrying Pakistani flags and chanting azadi through a predominantly Hindu-majority street. In the ensuing violence the Hindus suffered heavy losses. May of their homes and business establishments were vandalised, vehicles burnt – and all this without any provocation but with intentions deliberate and pre-planned. Actually Hindu homes had been targeted several days earlier.
What is to be done? Delhi has said that it will not permit a repetition of the large-scale migration of Kashmir Pundits which took place in the 1990s. Around 3.5 lakh Hindus then had to flee Kashmir with Delh looking the other way. What needs to be done immediately is to set them up in the Vale, their true ancestral home, in newly-built and well- furnished homes. To protect them, about 90,000 para-military forces have to be deployed and the message must go that attacks on Hindus will not henceforth be tolerated and even a single attack will invite the harshest response.
Secularists have singularly failed. Secularism has become a symbol of cowardice. Where were the secularists when Muslim goons were attacking Hindus in Kishtwar? Obviously they were living in fear. In the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch, Muslims have a majority, 60 per cent in the former and 91 per cent in the latter, which makes it easy for Pakistani jihadis to enter Kashmir easily. Importantly, it is time for Presidential rule to be established in the entire State, which furthermore, must be divided into three parts: Jammu, the Vale and Ladakh. Ladakhis are, as it is, fed up with an attack on their way of life and have begun to demand a separate State, that request must be met without further ado. All these years, we have recklessly adhered to secularism and now it is time to question its relevance against the larger scheme of things to face Islamic fundamentalism. The lesson Kishtwar has given is that such things as secularism, courtesy, decency, do not pay. Those Muslims who want to fight for Pakistan – that is exactly what they did in 1947 – must be given a choice: stick to India, or leave it. The tragedy is that the young and an openly ineffective Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has failed miserably. Both he and his father have shown themselves to be two-tongued.
The question that we must be engaging our minds is in what way aggressive Islam can be contained. In the first place, the very concept of Muslims being a ‘minority’ must be totally given up. In the second place, a way must be found to warn Pakistan that there are limits that it cannot cross without paying heavily for it. It must be convinced that if it tries to hurt India, India can also be an active player in the game – and this must be proved in action, not just in words. A cowardly government in power in Delhi is incapable of undertaking this. In the third place, a strong nationalist movement must be set up beyond politics to send a message to Muslims that it is not in their larger interest to play communal politics. Unfortunately we have only ourselves to blame. Parties function on communal and caste line with Muslims cheerfully attempting to play one party against another.
Finally there has to be a promotion of Hindu resurgence in all fields of human activity as never before in the history of India which should convince not just Muslims but countries abroad, especially the United States and China that they can’t take India lightly, that Hinduism is a force to be reckoned with.
Enemies of India – among them largely Hindu ‘secularists’ – have all these years sought to marginalise Hinduism. This has to be reversed with a great deal of pride and a greater sense of urgency. This does not mean that we should not hold talks with Pakistani and Muslim jihadi leaders. It is imperative that such talks are held so that they become aware that there is going to be a greater force ready and willing to take them on, so, beware.
As a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court PB Gajendragadkar once said, “he who excuses himself, accuses himself” or, to re-write Marx in a different context: “Hindus of India unite, you have nothing to lose but your fears”. There is nothing communal in Hindus asserting themselves. Hinduism is not just a religion: it is an entire civilisation, a fact that they tend to forget, thanks first to Mughal and later to British interference. Condemned for some of its shortcomings, Hindus have for centuries gone into their shell and it is time they woke-up. We need a new kind of leadership that is ‘Indian’ in every way to make the country independent in science, technology and all faces of progress. We were once that way and we can be one tomorrow. Wake-up, Hindus.