Will the Kashmir problem prove PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Shining India’ moment?

By: | Updated: July 12, 2016 12:34 PM

Having recently made a train journey on the same route in South Africa that is considered pivotal in the making of the man Mahatma Gandhi was, has PM Modi acquired any new surprise in his arsenal to start a new era of peace in the valley?

For a man whose politics aspires to make India “Congress-mukt”, there couldn’t be a better opportunity in that direction than taking steps to bring long-lasting normalcy in the troubled valley, which has flared up again following the death of young Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. (Source: IE)For a man whose politics aspires to make India “Congress-mukt”, there couldn’t be a better opportunity in that direction than taking steps to bring long-lasting normalcy in the troubled valley, which has flared up again following the death of young Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. (Source: IE)

There was nothing much wrong against then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. India was still “shining” in the wake of Gujarat riots and petty corruption that refuses to die even now. Yet he was voted out of power in 2004.

In that defeat lies a lesson, PM Narendra Modi should consider after returning from Africa.

It is a common belief among the members of Sangh Pariwar that much of the Kashmir problem is the doing of India’s first PM Jawahar Lal Nehru.

Nehru, for them, in social media terminology, is a man to be forever trolled. But can the BJP’s dream of “Congress-mukt” India materialise if it fails to correct the latter’s so called failures?

Had it not been for Nehru, they believe, Kashmir would never have been what it is now – troubled enough to make even the wisest of the social commentators confused or scared for suggesting a solution.

From an outsiders’ perspective, it is simplistic to suggest an Army-led assault to silence the trouble-makers, impose an unending curfew, till the brewing anger among locals, reflected in the ongoing protests which have claimed about 30 lives so far, gets subdued or shout in a TV studio.

But if the hindsight is ever considered a good tool for policy-making, it is time for PM Modi to acknowledge that Army-led method of control has badly failed since independence. Guns and bombs can’t brew peace. It has never happened.

Having recently made a train journey on the same route in South Africa that is considered pivotal in the making of the man Mahatma Gandhi was, has PM Modi acquired any new surprise in his arsenal to start a new era of peace in the valley?

kash-ie-mTheoretically the trouble in Kashmir may help the BJP in its often alleged agenda of winning elections through communal mobilisation in the next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. (Source: IE)

Theoretically the trouble in Kashmir may help the BJP in its often alleged agenda of winning elections through communal mobilisation in the next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. But will that prove to be a step towards a “Congress-mukt” India? Won’t it be like the old formula of cashing in on opportunism, the BJP has always blamed the Congress for?

Violence and protests in the valley is not new. It was there when the Congress ruled. Ironically, it is now even when the BJP is a part of the government in the state.

Reports said the PM rushed National Security Advisor Ajit doval, who was accompanying him on Africa tour, a day ahead of the schedule on Monday to solve the escalating crisis in the valley. What actions the “no-nonsense man” Doval is believed to be, may take will decide if PM Modi is on his course for the “Congress-mukt” India or not.

Under PM Modi, the country’s economy is believed to be on a sound track. Dreams of Bullet trains, digital nation and low cost air travel have been successfully sold to the middle-class. Though the education system remains as it was earlier, inflation continues to make news very often and there isn’t much improvement on the human development front. Two years are too short to fix these problems.

However, when it comes to the valley, even 100 years can be less or even one wise gesture can set the peace process rolling.

But is there actually a solution to the Kashmir problem?

In the history of independent India, PM Modi is certainly the only man who can say with authority – yes there is a solution – and be believed if not by all then at least by the majority because of the “well-oiled election machinery” his party has become in the words of former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

Suggesting any solution by others may be like an open invitation to the troll armies, of all colours, or sedition charges.

PM Modi may even choose to remain silent, but that may prove to be the same silence that took Vajpayee’s chair, even as India “shined”

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