Loving Kashmiriyat, Generally

Naeem Akhtar

sinhaThe octogenarian Lt. Gen. Sinha, PVSM, former governor of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir seems to carry at some level of his mind an adolescent feeling of love for Kashmiriyat. And he feels deprived of the opportunity to consummate this connection for a variety of reasons. The villain though is identified: Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

The feeling of deprivation seems to have become pathological now if his latest expressions are taken as a symptom. Though the book he released this week is yet to reach here, one can easily imagine the contents. As the Urdu verse says, khat ka mazmoon bhanp lete hain lifafa dekh kar. Before the General it was one of his predecessors who’s love for Kashmiriyat was similarly cut short. Jagmohan’s ‘Frozen Turbulence’ had actually turned out to be flatulence as a writer way back had termed it.

One fails to understand the reasons for emphasis on Kashmiriyat, even if it exists anywhere. Especially from those who have themselves fathered the doctrine of a bagful of other yats like Jammuiyat, Gujriyat, Pahadiyat, Dardiyat, Sunniyat, Shi’iyat, Panditiyat and so on. Where is the need or space for someone like Sinha to stuff his own brand into the package?

To understand Sinha one has just to read his own books and the reports that he sent from Gowhati as governor of Assam. Arun Shourie has quoted those reports extensively in his book on governance. The half general who holds the dubious distinction of being the only one to have been superseded for the full command of Indian Army, actually projects North East as the most dangerous place on the planet because of the Muslim presence there. With such known credentials and Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s decision to dump him one wonders what prompted the central government to post him to the only Muslim majority state. No wonder he left a trail of disaster in his wake.

In fact J&K has the distinction of being the only state to have had governors doing more than one term, among them the only one, Jagmohan who was appointed first by congress and later by VP Singh’s short lived government but donned khaki knickers openly soon after. Evidence that the state enjoys a special position not just in constitution but the mind games of North block as well. One might look out for Sinha again, should LK Advani be the next Prime Minister and Sinha is around long enough. As of now he seems to be having no intention of hanging his boots.

Meanwhile, one wonders how differently recent history of the state might have turned out if Sinha had not landed in the state at all. Or, if a level headed person like NN Vohra had come in his place. Our own elected Sadr-e-Riyasat having set his own standards of disruption.

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