Article 370 (35-A) plays a constituent part of the whole tapestry of political life in Jammu & Kashmir, especially to help preserve our unique identity …Kashmiryat, one that seeks independence and an authentic form of liberation, distinct in its entirety from the shackles of bondage that disparage and suppress us as the powerless and forgotten captives we have involuntarily become or now represent.
After further deliberations the Supreme Court in India, on the penultimate day of October 2017, deferred a ruling on Article 370 and 35-A regarding occupied Jammu and Kashmir. As someone who has proposed the creation of the United Nations Commission on Kashmir, this has a significant bearing inasmuch we would like to establish a tripartite between Kashmir and her neighbors, especially Pakistan and India. In effect this would constitute an understanding where Kashmir has -primacy- over the subsidiarity and supplementary roles that Pakistan and India play. This would mean that Kashmir and Kashmir alone hold and exercises the power of veto over key decisions and rulings that affect its constitutional and parliamentary affairs. As a fully functioning nation state, Kashmir would welcome the guidance, support and direction the United Nations has to offer through multilateral diplomacy. The core features or mechanisms central to this would involve the entire United Nations system, including all her organs and their functions. It is arguably for India to decide if it wants to ‘impose’ rule or buttress democratic rule in Kashmir – in line with democratic principles we are in unanimity that we prefer the latter.
Ideally, we want ‘for’ Kashmir, particularly disputed and occupied Jammu and Kashmir, a flexible and inclusive framework by which we promote the ability and integrity of the nation to act and function autonomously, in the manner or spirit that Article 370 (35-A) advocates. This should give all Kashmiris, especially marginalized minorities, the breathing space and wiggle room required to determine greater coherence and effective leverage in addressing the question and goal of ‘independence and sovereignty’ regarding their unfettered cause for self-determination, within the wider ambit of its constitutional and parliamentary reality i.e. exercising governmental jurisdiction and legal sovereignty. The need to give occupied Jammu and Kashmir special status means to ultimately decentralize and share power between Kashmiri constituents and lawmakers in the Legislative Assembly in Srinagar (Kashmir). This is only possible if the state is demilitarized and we have faith in a political solution going forward, hence the promise of a plebiscite in keeping with all relevant UN resolutions on resolving this intractable issue. The UNCK puts Kashmiris in the driving seat and helps to ensure peace and freedom in an otherwise volatile region. As I say there is nothing further away from democracy than ‘imposing’ control.
The rights and aspirations of the Kashmiri people are crystal clear, they rest with self-determination and helpful cooperation, this consensus and empowerment is what we are destined to achieve. The epistemology of political ontological life in the growing and dynamic realm of anthropology and the concurrence of cultural and political relativism are in earnest reflective of and in some ways equivalent to Article 370 (35-A), particularly regarding the de facto modes of governance in Jammu & Kashmir. The political discourse we serve and contemporaneously implement to protect ourselves; against incendiary behavior, systemic inequality and insidious injustice, are as such the evolving narratives and creative means we utilize daily to critically understand and name our world and to self-actualize. To advance the innate autonomy endowed to us through this piece of unique legislation in Kashmir ‘recognizes’ to an extent the fundamental and inalienable rights bestowed upon us as a disputed and more importantly a sovereign state. The degree of leeway and authority we employ to acquire the optimum powers we therefore need to uphold our guaranteed entitlements and privileges under the ‘imposed’ constitution is, for now, ones supplementary to the historical feats of revolutionary decisions and their ongoing relevance, which gestate and nurture within a constant state of flux and continual renewal in the chambers of government and throughout civil society at large in Jammu & Kashmir. The pursuit being visionary and revolutionary, that of our national identity and our national liberation as a nation state in our own right, free from interference or intimidation.
Salient political ideas presented through the UNCK if left uncorroborated or simply left to erode would mutate into outlandish conjecture and diminish in their application to inform social action or support a potential change of fate from within, invariably in the national psyche or national integrity of a free people resisting subjection to seek and assert their own hard-earned liberation from an alien, intransigent and an unscrupulous state, namely India. A rogue state that acts to foment political repression and therefore deepens grotesque levels of inequality and need I say works to adversely condition and perpetuate injustice, subduing or subjugating those in Kashmir seeking their eventual liberation, seven decades on from being annexed. Resistance is not only an innate birthright.
(Author is pursuing P G course at Nelson Mandela Centre For Peace & Conflict Resolution at Jamia Millia Islamia University New Delhi. His views are personal)