If his word matches his intent, then BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav's statement that New Delhi is 'ready for talks with Hurriyat without pre-conditions' ( GK September 22, 2017) reflects wisdom. And that needs to be remembered by all of us, in particular by those who hold power. A realization that something gravely wrong has been committed and the Ombudsman within demands the curative measure to rinse the mind off the disease is the real 'heroism'. On this pedestal the man that stitched the alliance of BJP and PDP, has admitted Kashmir an issue. Squeezed further, on call of conscience, he seems to have shunned all pre-conceived notions of aggressive hyper-nationalism—that condemns dissent as crime. He has rediscovered himself to see Hurriyat as genuine stake-holder. More importantly, playing safe from the 'talks within Constitution of India' refrain, no condition was attached with the talk offer. Coming at the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Red Fort speech (na gali say, na goli say…gallay laganay say) and Congress's constituting Manmohan Singh-led Kashmir panel and Yashwant Sinha's slew of suggestions, Madav's baptism to truth around Kashmir assumes significance.
It would not have taken much time to test Madhav's intent. Kashmir might have lost its sovereignty, semi-sovereignty or autonomy, but it has been ruthless in stripping those that lectured us on democracy, secularism, human dignity and justice. Flowery speeches and tall claims unless matched with action on ground impress no one. Madhav would have not escaped from the watchful antenna of Kashmiris. But as the people were beginning to sniff at the new reconciliatory approach from the BJP's top man, he was nibbled at by the PMO. The minister of state Jitendra Sing was not only harsh in tune, he was impetuous in making a denial. Of sun rising from the east, of earth having the gravitational pull. At a function in Delhi, Singh said, 'there is no such thing as Kashmir issue'. 'The only point of debate', he stressed is, ' retrieving' Pakistan administered Kashmir. It is a caveat filed against the BJP General Secretary. In knuckleduster bearing Singh has, in his fetid disregard to the historical facts of the dispute, exposed the chink in the ideological fortress of the party. Where people like Madhav want to move ahead of the rhetoric and embrace dialogue, others like Jatendra Singh are hobbled in arrogance.
'It is not that' as Gilbert K Chesterton said, ' they cannot see the solution. It is that they cannot see the problem'. The pre-requisite for any meaningful dialogue process to initiate is to remove the blinkers and 'see' the problem. When you 'see' the problem, ' the entire world', to buy a phrase from Paulo Coelho, 'conspires' to help you to achieve your goal. Blindfolding to jingoism does not make problem disappear. It rather complicates it and slides all, strong or weak, to the gorge of disaster.
Madhav speaks sense and wants Kashmir dispute to be solved amicably involving genuine stake-holders. Even some retired generals–whose loyalty to their country cannot be doubted—have called for political approach to solve Kashmir problem. Hyperbolic political positioning, coupled with media sabre rattling , is no answer to the problem that is lingering on for the last seven decades and has placed the two nuclear armed neighbors on the perpetual military confrontation.
Who else need 'peace and development'— the mantra flashed to the highest decibels by the governments at Srinagar and Delhi— more than the people of Kashmir who are victims of hostility between India and Pakistan and of 'broken pledges'( P. Chadarambram). But forcing them to accept the status quo, they have been resisting for the past many decades, sounds illogical and is impossible. This is what Madhu and many voices in India want to focus at.
While for some ultra-nationalists the very mention of Hurriyat is what red rag is to a bull, for people like Madhu—whose patriotism is above board— Hurriyat's role in seeking Kashmir resolution is inescapable. Taking on board parties like NC, PDP has not relieved India of festering sore of Kashmir. They do not command trust of the people. They may bend for your pleasant ride, but the present situation has made them irrelevant. That is the sub-title of Delhi's unconditional talks offer Madhav wants to bring home.