Of Referendum And Intolerance

S Rehman

Shivers run down the spine of BJP protagonists on a mere mention of referendum on Kashmir. And the manifestation of their instant adrenaline splurge becomes the excellent footage to the TRP conscious private News Channels. The media, in the process, rake up fight even between the team members of similar ideology who just recently succeeded in their token fight on corruption with the promise to clean the nation from scores of other scrounging issues that are plaguing the country.

Prashant Bhushan, seemingly a pro-Kashmir and anti-national is actually the most patriotic Indian with the vision that has a bigger sphere than the myopic, vote bank gyrating, politically oriented and emotionally charged outlook having the sickly religious genesis. He tends to draw the equation on the income-expenditure of the country on Kashmir.

His worry is the threat to the future generations of India who are growing under the tentacles of terrorism that most believe did surface in India only post 1989. He believes in amputating the diseased limb to save the body from irreversible degeneration.  He never said, ‘they should be given freedom’, he said, ‘ask them what they want’. He either seems to be confident about the results that he probably believes would skew towards India on the referendum or wants to save India from the recurrent headache which has the devastating potential of upsetting the country on the parameters of economic importance besides the horrendous political ramifications.

Not merely must he be thinking of the exchequer drain year on year but other aspects like the threat perception that goes with the image of, ‘terrorism inflicted nation’, in the eyes of foreign investors, the ever expanding budgetary provisions on defense, the increasing nuclear threats in the neighborhood and the reasons that could only be spaced out with reason but not with the charged up emotions.

Undoubtedly, the beating up of Prashant Bushan by the right-wing activists was not the act of intolerance as portrayed by the overwhelming media coverage but was a politically motivated act to gain the attention and befool the emotionally weak voters who get swayed by slogans on integrity of the nation. Why would otherwise a call on referendum invite blows and bounces. Referendum is not anything that desecrates the term ‘patriotism’ since it, in the least, could have divisive outcome. How could this be the language of separatists, why not the language of Patriots this could be? It has, by all standards, the ingredients of an emancipated thought process.

People make the nations and run democracies not the otherwise, and if asking people about the issues relating to their own place is being anti-national then redefining the term, ‘democracy’ becomes significantly imperative. If just a word ‘referendum’ creates this lot of stir, how would deliberations and committees work, what kind of reports would one expect to be tabled in such a scenario. If India is confident about its grip on Kashmir and has really won the hearts of its people it should have no compunctions to hold the plebiscite.


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