Narendra Modi has a unique penchant to turn every act of governance into propaganda. He has still to come out of his election phase and metamorphose into serious governance, one that is not only based on phrases and self-delusion but one that actually delivers those promises.
It has been two years since he stormed into power riding on huge unpopularity of the Congress led UPA that had become synonym with corruption and indifference to the people’s aspiration. Modi promised to alter everything from history to contemporary events.
But his two years of governance has been one of hollow phrasea and empty promises. His actions have been pari-materia to those of the Indian National Congress. The right wing Hindutva government under Narendra Modi, has been the frontrunner in carrying out attacks upon the workers and toilers and has been brazenly favouring the capitalists both national and multi-national in name of development. Though the southern turn of the economy has not halted. Under Modi Government, the communalism and anti-worker policies have been institutionalised, and the right wing militias have got open patronage from the ruling party.
India today is being reduced to a vassal state of the United States and Modi has accentuated the process initiated by the Congress. Today the Indian military installations have been opened to the US military and the day is not far off when they would pass under the virtual military command of US imperialism. Yet, Modi and the corporate controlled media has been eulogising the foreign policy as if it is a manna for the country. Diplomacy is a fine art and it cannot be governed from the streets and with sloganeering. But, Modi who has spend more time out of the country has turned it into a road show. His numerous foreign visit has borne nothing but has only costed the exchequer. A recent RTI revealed that the 2014 US visit costed Rs. 9 crore (one crore is ten million ) while bearing no tangible returns as not even single MoU was signed.
Now coming to Kashmir. The state which has been in perpetual trouble owing to Pakistan’s interference and the callous attitude of the Indian government has been ruled by a coalition of PDP and BJP. Since coming to power the alliance government has only exacerbated the trouble for the common people, leading to even more animosity for India in the minds of common man. Modi while electioneering and during his stint as the Chief Minister of Gujarat had always roared that he will teach Pakistan a lesson if given chance. When the chance came the ‘Iron’ man only squeaked. While the bête noire Pakistan continued its policy or shall we say did not get frightened as was expected. Something that is unpalatable for the right wing supporters and the bhakats – the sole certifying authority and custodian of nationalism.
So it was not very surprising to hear Modi talking about Baluchistan and Azad Kashmir in his Independent speech. While Modi in a way deviated from the earlier Prime Ministers who only cautioned Pakistan but never detailed what was to be done. Modi by referring to Baluchistan took an entirely new turn. But what was the substance? As always he made himself centre of the debate, not policy not human rights violation. Has any statesman ever said:
“Today I want to specially honour and thank to some people from the ramparts of Red Fort. For the past few days the people of Baluchistan, the people of Gilgit, the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, the way their citizens have heartily thanked me, the way they have acknowledged me, the goodwill they have shown towards me, the people settled far across, the land which I have not seen, the people I have not met ever, but people settled at far across acknowledge the Prime Minister of India, they honour him…”
Why these people are congratulating Modi and praising him? What has been the contribution of India that too in past three years that has brought such tremendous goodwill for Modi? India has not liberated these areas neither has it intervened in any tangible or intangible way in supporting the Baluch people’s struggle or those in Gilgit Baltistan whose legal existence is still in question. ‘Azad Kashmir’ still remains a non legal entity that is neither azad (free) nor part of Pakistan and in effect remains a colony of Islamabad, run by the Pak military and the dreaded Islamabad. The Indian Kashmir issue is anywhere near a solution. The contribution of BJP in both centre and state has even further polarised the state polity, with pallet gun doing the rest.
So whom was Modi trying to placate, definitely not the international community nor would Pakistan establishment who has left no stone unturned in humiliating and defying India at every given moment. Pakistan does not seem to be panicked by Modi’s reference on the other side it has now got an arsenal to open a new front against New Delhi in international fora stating India’s direct intervention in its internal affairs. Something that the Pakistani establishment seems to cash on.
The reference has not made any new headway into the genuine democratic struggle being waged by the groups in Baluchistan, nor has it made new friends for India in Pak Occupied Kashmir (PoK or Azad Kashmir) and Gilgit Baltistan. Yes, what such statements would do is to embolden the ruthless Pakistani Army to further crack and crush the nascent movements and throttle those whom it considers the genuine voice of people. For those not aware of the situation in PoK or Gilgit there is a widespread discontent against the Pakistani control. The Pak military and the ISI controls the area as if it were a colony. A report by Human Rights Watch after the earthquake of 2005 stated:
“Pakistani military installations have often been placed in close proximity to highly populated civilian areas, ostensibly because of a lack of space. However, many Kashmiris told Human Rights Watch that the Pakistani military used the bases to keep a close watch on the population to ensure political compliance and control. Instead of helping to protect the population, the military uses its close proximity to the civilian population to commit abuses.”
So this is the situation and unfortunately the Prime Minister with his statement has not done anything to change it. What he has done is to divert the attention of the media from Kashmir, something that this government has been adept in doing. But with a docile media why the rich and powerful should be worried.
Modi’s sole concern was his uncomfort with the thought of disenchantment that might be creeping into the minds of his disciples (as they are not supporters) and he wanted to show case how powerful he is, something it seems he succeeded in.
Diplomacy and to some extent, the democratic movement being waged in these areas was the casualty but then who cares till the throne is safe and secured!