LK Advani’s (mis)interpretation of history in relation to Kashmir conforms to the convoluted logic of the political clan to which he belongs. The ‘could-be’ prime minister of India wants the world at large to believe that the ‘problem’ of Kashmir is the Nehru family’s ‘gift’ to the Indian nation and that Sheikh Abdullah’s aggrandisement had contributed to creating such a situation in 1940s. Advani’s line of thinking conveniently ignores the undeniable fact of history that but for Jawahar Lal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah’s personal relationship the political map of not only Jammu and Kashmir but the entire subcontinent would have been different. In the first place, this part of J&K would not have been where it is today if Nehru and Sheikh had not interfered with the run of events in 1947. Two key determining factors in the partition plan were the demographic composition and geographical contiguity of princely states to determine their accession to one of the two newly independent dominions. Where J&K should have normally gone, on that basis, is too obvious to reiterate. However, Nehru-Sheikh pre-independence political line up against Maharaja Hari Singh created an ambiguous situation. It was compounded by Pakistan when it committed the blunder of mounting a tribal invasion in 1947 to forcibly annex J&K. Chain of following events culminated in accession with India in October, 1947, two months after India and Pakistan became independent countries.
Advani conveniently ignores these and other recorded facts of history to boost BJP’s sagging image. The party and its clueless leadership have been in desperate search for ‘issues’ for the next round against the UPA, in 2014. Its internal weaknesses compounded by recent electoral setbacks have precluded it from exploiting grave weaknesses exposed in the performance of the UPA regime. Controversy over Gopi Nath Munde showed the depth of internal divisions.
Ayodhya issue that catapulted the BJP to power in 1990 has run its course. Narendra Modi’s magic has worn out and remains confined to his own Gujarat state. Advani’s old dream of making it to the 7, Race Course Road is all but gone. New pretenders to the throne have been trying to outdo one another.
It is in this difficult situation that Advani has sought to revive his worn out theme. It is clear that immediate idea is to pollute the atmosphere with twisted facts and prejudiced ideas so that the fragile steps being taken towards reviving India-Pakistan dialogue on Kashmir are derailed. At a time when the need of the hour is to facilitate revival of amicable atmosphere in the interest of India, Pakistan as well as the people of J&K, BJP’s mascot has chosen to play spoil sport. Their failure to arouse communal passion over ‘Lal Chowk chalo’ adventure and recent exposure of rottenness of the party’s state unit must be quite frustrating for the leadership. For all practical purposes, the state BJP unit is in disarray.
What happens here in J&K is bound to have implications for the party’s future and prospects far beyond the state. In any case, ‘Kashmir’ has always been a tempting proposition for the BJP and its sectarian ideology. Therefore, it would be useless to look for historical accuracy or intellectual honesty behind what Advani has said in his blog. His forgettable brush with ‘secularism’ against the backdrop of his Pakistan visit resulted in his exile until he made amends. It is now a chastised Advani vexing eloquent on his distorted historical lessons to whosoever might still be listening.