About 35-A: Hope we survive this onslaught

I would not like to reproduce the story of the Centre-State constitutional relations especially beyond 1953 which is only the tale of betrayal against the people of the State by the Indian Union and its collaborators in the State.

Prof. M. Y. Ganai
Srinagar, Publish Date: Aug 22 2017 10:19PM | Updated Date: Aug 22 2017 10:19PM
About 35-A: Hope we survive this onslaughtFile Photo

The history of the said constitutional arrangement dates back to 1927 when Maharaja Hari Singh brought in the State Subject Law which provided that only the people born here be employed in the State services. It was in response to an agitation launched by the Kashmiri Pandits in mid-1920s popularly known in the annals of modern Kashmir Kashmir for Kashmiris. It had been launched with the avowed purpose of asserting the domination of Punjabis in Government services of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri Muslims as well as Dogras of Jammu were backward in English education whereas the Kashmir Pandits because of various reasons had stolen a march in this regard. This is why that it was they (Pandits) who had reacted to the domination of Punjabis in State Services. 

Having ideological affiliation with Indian National Congress and feeling insecure due to the tribal raid Shaikh Abdullah attested to the conditional instrument of accession concluded between the Indian Union and Maharaja Hari Singh at the residence of Prime Minister of India--Jawaharlal Nehru on Oct, 26, 1947. Later on, the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that provided for a Special Status to Jammu and Kashmir State, in addition to other provisions maintained and reiterated the State Subject Law.  Just after 1947 New Delhi began to fiddle with the special status in one way or the other that led to the Delhi  Agreement (1952) between the New Delhi and S. M. Abdullah--the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. It was by virtue of this agreement that 35-A was included in the Constitution which also in addition to other provisions maintained the State Subject Law.

I would not like to reproduce the story of the Centre-State constitutional relations especially beyond 1953 which is only the tale of betrayal against the people of the State by the Indian Union and its collaborators in the State. It was during the period between 1953 and 1974 that the maximum autonomy of the State got eroded and the Article 370 was reduced to a skelton. Indra Abdullah Accord (1974) was a big setback to Special Status when the most prominent leader and to whom the historians of modern Kashmir consider an anti-colonial stalwart surrendered for power. His sellout for power and taking over as Chief Minister meant the attestation of all the erosions that had occurred before and after his arrest in 1953. 

The remaining skelton of the embodiment of Article 370 and 35 A has the chance of remaining intact only if there would be some strong regional political organisation with a commitment to regional aspirations. But, unfortunately at present there is none. The two regional parties i.e. National Conference and Peoples' Democratic Party are nothing but just like pawns. National Conference is the puppet of Indian National Congress whereas the Peoples Democratic Party that of Sang Parivar. These parties have gone and in future can go for any type of sell out in their lust for power. I believe the two parties because of their history of corruption, malpractice, mis-governance and mistrust cannot form a Government either on their own or in coalition. Therefore, it is either the Sang Parivar or the Congress who in future would continue to be the practical rulers of Jammu and Kashmir. In such circumstances, I believe that may be 35 A can survive the present onslaught  but I visualize that the Special Status of the State could be revoked any time particularly in view of the rise and growth of communal forces in India. 

 

 

(Prof. M. Y. Ganai is a Social and Political Activist mohdyousufganaiku@gmail.com)