Jallikattu: The law is an ass – Sanjay Pinto

Jallikattu BullSanjay Pinto

Courtesy Deccan Chronicle, 24 January 2017 & The New Indian Express, 23 January 2017.
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The Jallikattu Effect – Cheena Kapoor

Jallikattu

Cheena KapoorWhile activists continue to fight for animal rights and the government bans certain traditions like Jallikattu that involve animal torture, believers continue to do what they always have—firm in their belief that religion and tradition back them. The right education and empathy is what is required to help people understand that God does not demand the killing of animals, activists point out. – Cheena Kapoor

For reasons of religion, tradition or just plain sport, festivals and other celebrations can often be bloodthirsty carnivals with animals being tortured or slaughtered. The age-old issue—of the conflict between tradition and humaneness, animal suffering and vested interests—is back in the spotlight with the Supreme Court rejecting a plea to allow Jallikattu, Tamil Nadu’s bull-taming sport it had banned in 2014.

The ruling has led to uproar in the state, with thousands courting arrest and asking for revocation of the ban, politicians and celebrities offering their support to the event, and animal rights activists saying that the ‘sport’ epitomises cruelty and must be stopped.

Traditionally held during the four-day Pongal festival (celebrated last week), Jallikattu, where the ‘player’ hangs on to the hump of the bull, began as a way to stop the animals from ruining their fields. Over time, it became a way to demonstrate bravery (and getting tagged as such in the marriage market); prize money was introduced and the gladiatorial sport got commercialised.

In a video, animal rights group PETA showed how bulls are tortured. Their tails are cut, the animals are stabbed with sharp objects, and sometimes even given alcohol to blunt their senses. Between 2010 and 2014, 17 people were killed and 1,100 injured.

“Jallikattu exploits the bulls’ natural nervousness as prey animals by deliberately placing them in a terrifying situation in which they’re forced to run away from those they perceive as predators. Countless Tamil PETA India supporters are against Jallikattu and are saddened by those who call harming bulls Tamil ‘culture’. India’s culture is one of kindness, not cruelty,” says PETA’s Nikunj Sharma.

Not just Jallikattu

As protests in Tamil Nadu over ‘tradition and pride’ spiral and thousands gather at various places, including in Chennai’s Marina Beach, activists point out that Jallikattu is not the only such sport. And it’s not about a specific region or religion either. Be it Hindus, Muslims, Christians or tribals, in Himachal Pradesh or Odisha, Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra, all are known to indulge in such rituals.

If animals are sacrificed during Bakr Eid, they are also slaughtered during Durga Pooja and Dussehra celebrations in several parts of India. Besides, buffaloes, cocks, goats, and sheep are ritually sacrificed in the hundreds, and their flesh consumed as prasad.

“Religion should be a force teaching people to remain calm and show kindness towards other living beings, but has instead become a way to justify killing them brutally,” says animal rights activist Navamita Mukherjee. And sometimes, it’s about plain fun.

Like a cock-fight where razor-sharp blades are tied to the legs of roosters that are made to fight while bets are placed. Bred for fighting, these birds are grievously wounded and left untreated after a fight or thrown away as garbage.

In the villages of Andhra Pradesh, however, cock-fight are considered a part of the Makar Sankranti festivities.

Divine sacrifice

Animal sacrifices are performed in many cultures mainly to please the divine. From Greeks to Romans, all have been known to practice it.

In Uttarakhand’s Garhwal region, buffaloes are killed in honour of the goddess Manju Bhog. The animals are bathed and made to run in panic as village youth make them stumble midway. On the main day, they are made to run towards the temple and many die on the steep slopes. Those that manage to reach the top are sacrificed by the villagers.

The Kandha people of Odisha believe that the deity Kandhan Budhi grants them every wish. So, every year during the Kandhan Budhi Yatra (September-October), many animals are ritually sacrificed before the deity. The main crowd pleaser of this yatra, however, is the ‘Ghusuri (pig) uuja’. A young pig is smeared in oil and turmeric after which its ears and tail are chopped off. The pig is killed three years later in the temple.

At the Kedu (buffalo) festival, also in Odisha, the Kondhs similarly anoint a buffalo and tether it to a tree. It is brutally attacked with sharp instruments to the chant of mantras and beating of drums. The animal squeals in agony, its eyes bulging, but is unable to flee. There is a mad rush to hack off pieces of its flesh.

Animals are not the only beings with a such a fate. Bird slaughter is equally rampant. All 32 species of Indian owls are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Nonetheless, there have been numerous instances of birds, which are closely related to goddess Lakshmi according to mythology, being sacrificed on the eve of Diwali, said a doctor at a charity bird hospital in Delhi.

Bulbul fights are also common in Assam during Makar Sakranti. The bird is mutilated after the fight.

The law

According to law, animals can only be slaughtered at a slaughter-house. The only exception is the ritual slaughter during Bakr Eid, which should only involve goats or sheep. However, it is increasingly common to see animals like camels and buffaloes being slaughtered during the festival.

In 2011, a video showing camel slaughter inside Delhi’s Jama Masjid drew the attention of activists. Camels are mostly sourced from Rajasthan, where the animal was granted ‘heritage’ status in 2014. But the animal is sent to places as far as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for slaughter. In September 2016, the Madras High Court passed an interim order just before Bakr Eid to ban camel slaughter for religious purposes.

Suffering not tradition

“Our nation is built on the principle of constitutional morality and thus the constitution comes first. I am glad that animals are finding place in this and slowly and steadily sapient traditions that abuse these innocent beings are getting phased out,” says Jayasimha, lawyer and managing director of Humane Society International, India.

There are eight states in India where strict laws have been passed against animal sacrifice. Though illegal killings have not stopped, they have definitely come down.

While activists continue to fight for animal rights and the government bans certain traditions like Jallikattu that involve animal torture, believers continue to do what they always have—firm in their belief that religion and tradition back them.

The right education and empathy is what is required to help people understand that God does not demand the killing of animals, activists point out.

As Jayasimha put it, “It is hypocrisy to demand human rights for ourselves while refusing to give a basic right of life to other beings.”

Mapping animal cruelty

1. During the Ooru Habba festival in Karnataka, two buffaloes and two goats are sacrificed outside the Bannerghatta National Park near Bengaluru. The animals are pierced with a trident and their blood drunk.

2. Myoko, the monsoon festival, is celebrated by Apatanis—a major tribe of Arunachal Pradesh’s Ziro valley—with a mithun (an important bovine species) being ritually sacrificed on sacred ground by a priest.

3. At the annual Mailapur village fair in Karnataka’s Yadgir district, worshippers throw live lambs at the palanquin of Mailareshwara. In the melee, hundreds of devotees trample and kill the young animals.

4. During the annual rath yatra, about 1,500 goats are sacrificed at the Shree Yedumata Temple in Pimpledari village in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra. The sacrifice takes place every year, despite protests.

5. In 2012, on Day 17 of the Chithirai month according to the Tamil calendar, 5,000 baby goats were sacrificed during a temple festival at Poosariyur, near Anthiyur in Tamil Nadu. The blood was consumed by the priests and devotees.

6. At the shrine dedicated to the tribal idol Baba Dongar in Ranapur of Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district, around 500 animals, typically goats and chicken are illegally slaughtered by priests on devotees’ requests.

7. In 2015, animal rights activist and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi wrote to the Defence Ministry against live animals being air-dropped so troops posted in remote areas were able to get fresh meat.

8. Festivals like Shand and Bhunda involve a huge number of animals being killed using a knife by a man known as Beda to please goddess Kali and to ward off evil spirits, at the entrance of temples near Shimla.

9. In regions around Pune, goats and fowls are sacrificed to the God Vetala. In western Maharashtra, animal sacrifice is practiced to pacify female deities that are supposed to rule the sacred groves.

10. In West Bengal’s Kalighat, thousands of sheep are sacrificed every year. In other parts too, a priest recites the Gayatri Mantra in the ear of the animal to be sacrificed in order to free the animal from the cycle of life and death.

11. Nihangs and Hazuri Sikhs sacrifice goats during the festivals of Diwali and Hola Mohalla and distribute it as mahaprashad among the congregates. Anyone converting to a Nihang Sikh has to sacrifice an animal.

12. In Terekol of Goa, the barbaric custom of teenage boys biting a piglet to death in celebration of St John’s baptism ended in 1989 following protests by animal rights activists, charitable trusts and NGOs. – DNA, 19 January 2016

» Cheena Kapoor is a senior photo journalist for DNA and Zee in New Delhi.

Caste is a socio-political institution – Sandhya Jain

Mayawati's one crore rupee garland

Sandhya Jain is the editor of Vijayvaani.Caste is too complex to be tackled by simple bans. Also, blatant appeals to religion, caste and other parochial loyalties have always been prohibited and there is no dispute regarding the Supreme Court’s attempt to lift politics above narrow identities. However, … not one word of criticism has been ever uttered when the Catholic Church repeatedly exhorts citizens to vote in a particular way in States where the community has a substantial presence. – Sandhya Jain

Almost coinciding with the Election Commission of India’s announcement of dates for elections to five State Assemblies, the Supreme Court’s interpretation of Section 123(3) of the Representation of People’s Act (RPA) in Abhiram Singh v/s C.D. Comachen (dead) by Lrs and Ors. (Civil Appeal No. 37/1992) seems destined to be honoured more in the breach. The Supreme Court ruled that politicians cannot invoke religion, race, caste, community or language to seek a mandate from voters, and that such practice would result in annulment of the election.

The day after the ruling and before the ECI announcement of dates, which kicks in the model code of conduct, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati addressed a press conference wherein she advised Muslims not to split their votes (between non-BJP parties) and added that her Scheduled Caste vote-bank would not be swayed by hollow promises (from rival parties).

In this manner, caste and religion, the cornerstones of our electoral politics since 1947, were matter-of-factly invoked by India’s most openly caste-based political party (BSP was founded by late Kanshi Ram to consolidate lower caste votes). The party is struggling to stay in the reckoning in the critical state of Uttar Pradesh, where elections are due next month.

Mayawati helpfully explained her political sums: The Samajwadi Party is on the verge of a split, so Muslims should not divide and waste their vote on either segment. Despite making such explicit statements, she denied Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charge that she believes in caste-based politics and claimed that the BSP has distributed tickets to all castes based on the concept of Sarvjan Hitaya (well-being of all). Thus, Muslims have been allotted 97 tickets, Scheduled Castes 87, OBCs 106, and Upper Castes 113. Mayawati added that the BSP has supported finance-based reservations for upper castes, Muslims, and other religious minorities in Parliament.

The BSP intends to exploit emotive caste issues such as the suicide of Hyderabad student Rohit Vemula, whose caste identity has been a matter of dispute between his biological parents; and the undeniably shameful incident of [beating] of Dalits in Una, Gujarat. The BSP supremo disparaged the Prime Minister’s launch of the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) App, named after Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, to promote cashless transactions, and remains critical of the demonetisation programme.

The Bharatiya Janata Party proposes to fight the polls on the twin planks of demonetisation and the post-Uri surgical strike in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir – both emotive and highly secular subjects with no caste connotations. Its rivals are expected to be dismissive of both.

Of all political parties, the BSP is emphatic that caste is a socio-political institution with deep roots in the hoary origins of Hindu society; it admits that economic deprivation is not co-terminus with caste ranking. It is undeniable that low social ranking has caused deep scars in society; even monotheistic faiths discriminate against lower caste converts.

Beginning with untouchability, many social, economic and cultural issues have a pronounced caste angle and cannot be addressed without acknowledging caste. This is evident in recent demands for extension of Other Backward Classes (OBC) quotas to landowning, regionally-dominant castes, most notably Jats in Rajasthan and Haryana, and Patidars in Gujarat. Each agitation was deliberately violent and posed serious challenges to the respective States.

Legitimate or otherwise, the demands were framed around the issue of caste identity and deprivation, and mitigation efforts (offers of reservations within State quotas, mostly unsuccessful) have to be framed in the same language. If persons contesting elections are denied the right to address citizens’ concerns regarding perceived injustices faced by them and originating in religion, race, caste, community or language, it would “reduce democracy to an abstraction,” as Justice D. Y. Chandrachud pointed out in the dissenting judgment.

The issue of reservations in educational institutions and government employment are at the heart of the politicisation of caste but has not been touched in the Supreme Court verdict; yet it threatens to cancel elections if votes are sought in the name of caste.

Reservations in educational institutions, especially in coveted courses like medicine and engineering, include lowering qualifying standards. Students are pushed by ambitious parents to take admission but cannot manage the academic pressure; they either fail or even commit suicide. The seat for that term thus goes waste. But there is no rethinking regarding the worth of a degree (if finally secured) if the doctor or engineer it produces is not good enough.

Worse, in recent years, the Supreme Court has ruled that seats for which reservation quotas cannot be filled in a particular year are to be carried over the next year, and not released into general quota. This has intensified caste tensions in society like no other measure. The position is similar with government jobs, and these issues have made reservations a ticking time bomb.

The nomenclature of parties like the Akali Dal and All India Muslim League is possibly the least of the problems, for innocuously named parties like the Popular Front of India are far more lethal. But parties that seek to redress regional pride such as the Telugu Desam founded by cine star N. T. Rama Rao, or seek a separate state, such as K. Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi, also become illegitimate under this sweeping interpretation of electoral malpractice. It makes free speech virtually impossible.

This raises questions regarding the enforceability of the Supreme Court ruling. Although Mayawati’s press conference was covered live on television, neither the Supreme Court, senior lawyers, or any political party deigned to censure her breach of judicial diktat. Prime Minister Modi, at a huge rally in Lucknow, only said, “Will politics stoop so low? Why were some people troubled when we launch a mobile app after Bhimrao Ambedkar?”

Caste is too complex to be tackled by simple bans. Also, blatant appeals to religion, caste and other parochial loyalties have always been prohibited and there is no dispute regarding the Supreme Court’s attempt to lift politics above narrow identities. However, though the RPA specifically bans inducing voter(s) to choose or reject a particular candidate under spiritual or community censure, not one word of criticism has been ever uttered when the Catholic Church repeatedly exhorts citizens to vote in a particular way in States where the community has a substantial presence. Such issues raise legitimate fears that the ruling may be implemented by cherry picking rather than by a reasoned understanding of what constitutes genuine electoral malpractice. – Vijayvaani, 10 January 2017

» Sandhya Jain is an author, independent researcher, and writer of political and contemporary affairs. She contributes a fortnightly column to The Pioneer, New Delhi, and edits an online opinions forum at www.vijayvaani.com.

Reservation

Jallikattu: Bull taming is cruelty at its best – Gauri Maulekhi

Gauri Maulekhi“The Constitution of India says that it shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect wildlife and to have compassion for all living creatures. Jallikattu, bull races and bull fights goes against this constitutional requirement of all Indian citizens. … ‘Tradition’ is never a sufficient justification for cruelty, and a cruel tradition should never be allowed to define a culture. Traditions, like everything else, can—and must—evolve. Times and sensibilities have changed, and these events are an inhumane and archaic ritual that has no place in the 21st century.” – Gauri Maulekhi

Supreme Court of India in New DelhiIn its judgment dated 7 May 2014, the Supreme Court stated: “We, therefore, hold that Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) is right in its stand that Jallikattu, bullock-cart race and such events per-se violate Sections 3, 11(1)(a) and 11(1)(m)(ii) of PCA Act and hence we uphold the notification dated 11.7.2011 issued by the Central Government, consequently, bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for the Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in the State of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.” In its judgment the Supreme Court also categorically held that Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change cannot allow Jallikattu or bull races and cannot modify the notification dated 11 July 2011 (whereby performances by bulls had been banned) without taking the Animal Welfare Board of India’s (AWBI)—an advisory body under the same ministry—view with respect to the same. The ministry hasn’t taken any opinion of the AWBI, while rushing to allow these cruel sports.

In the past, from 2008 to 2014, the special conditions of the Supreme Court regulating Jallikattu were brazenly flouted at all the events which were inspected by the Animal Welfare Board of India. The evidence gathered during the inspection proved that no regulation can or will protect bulls from misery or people from injuries. The findings revealed that Jallikattu is inherently cruel to animals and is a threat to human participants, spectators and any police or government representative assigned to monitor an event.

Almost every bull, who was forced to participate endured suffering and pain and was dragged into the queue and the vadi vasals [arena entrance chutes] by his nose ropes to being hit, poked, bitten and deliberately terrified. In order to force the bulls into and out of the vadi vasals, each one must endure unmitigated suffering. Although the Supreme Court had placed emphasis on no harm coming to the animals, the reality was that cruelty to animals was inescapably part of Jallikattu. Bulls are beaten, poked, prodded, harassed and jumped on by numerous people. They have their tails bitten and twisted, and suspicious liquids (likely alcohol) are forced down their throats before they are dragged into the vadi vasals.

In just over four years, from 2010 to 2014, at least 1,100 people have been injured due to Jallikattu-type events, and 17 people have died. However, these figures were quoted by the media, the original figures are bound to be higher.

During bull races, all the bulls, who were forced to compete in the races, were subjected to abject cruelty, including being beaten, having irritants rubbed into their mouths, being yanked by nose ropes (causing their noses to bleed), being subjected to a torture device called a kela and having their tails bitten, twisted and pulled. Bull racing is inherently cruel, as bulls can’t be forced to run without agitating, frightening or hurting them, and enforcing race regulations is impractical. In the 2014 judgement the Supreme Court judgment also ruled that cruelty is inherent in these events, as bulls are not anatomically adapted for such races.

AWBI inspections documented cruelty to buffaloes, used in Kambala events in 2014, which was allowed through an interim order by Karnataka High Court, under certain regulations. The inspection found violations of the 2014 judgment of Supreme Court and several sections of the Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the Rules there under. The findings include buffalo used in racing not being registered with the AWBI, drivers and animal handlers not possessing certificates for transportation of animals, buffalo having two or three tight-fitting thick nose ropes inserted through a hole in the nasal septum (which were constantly pulled and yanked, causing tremendous distress and pain) and buffalo with nose rings and plastic coverings on nose ropes causing pain and distress. During the race, the buffalo were subjected to violent acts, including being hit on the body, slapped on the face and having their tails pulled. Many were forced to participate in the race throughout the night, and after the race the animals were frothing at the mouth and salivating heavily because of severe dehydration and exhaustion.

During bull fights, eight bulls are typically used in each round: two bulls are brought together and surrounded by a ring of spectators. The bulls’ horns are sharpened to ensure that every charge will cause bloody gashes and deep puncture wounds in the other animal’s flesh. The round ends when one of the bulls is either killed or manages to flee. The survivors of each round fight each other while spectators bet on the outcome. The “winner” is the last bull left alive—but by then, the bull’s injuries are often so severe that he is typically sent to slaughter. Bull fights are in direct violation of Sections 11(1)(m)(ii) of PCA Act and the Supreme Court judgment and still it is unfortunate that Goa government taking initiative to legalize Dhirio, the bloody bull fights.

The plan of the Central government to amend the law while giving excuses like tradition and culture is purely to attract voters in Tamil Nadu and other states and it is ignoring the Supreme Court’s judgment which stated that if culture and tradition are at variance with the law enacted by Parliament, the law will take precedence over culture and tradition. The initiative of the Bharatiya Janata Party governments to prohibit cow slaughter and ban beef, have limited practical effect on the butchering of cows, as their progeny, the bulls, will continue to suffer in the name of culture, tradition, and entertainment, until they are butchered for meat.

It is high time to understand that cruelty is not limited to just slaughter, but includes all types of unnecessary suffering induced on animals and the torture they are subjected to for the sake of human entertainment, and is explicitly explained in the PCA Act. Though the cow slaughter ban doesn’t prevent the torture of cows and progenies, and doesn’t extend to bulls and buffaloes, the initiatives of the Central Government to legalize Jallikattu, bull races or Kambala and bull fights or Dhirio is a huge and disastrous step backward against the values of this country for compassion and animal protection.

The Constitution of India says that it shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect wildlife and to have compassion for all living creatures. Jallikattu, bull races and bull fights goes against this constitutional requirement of all Indian citizens and contravenes the PCA Act. The safety of participants and spectators is also put at tremendous risk. “Tradition” is never a sufficient justification for cruelty, and a cruel tradition should never be allowed to define a culture. Traditions, like everything else, can – and must – evolve. Times and sensibilities have changed, and these events are an inhumane and archaic ritual that has no place in the 21st century. The government should be rather supporting any legislation aimed at saving animals, protecting their quality of life and provide them fundamental rights.

Is the government going to restart Sati and Thugee as well. These are also part of India’s traditions. On one hand this government says that they are pro-cow and have banned the selling of its meat. Is the bull not part of the cow family? – Firstpost, 30 December 2015

» Gauri Maulekhi is an animal rights activist in New Delhi.

Bull

The bull's horn was broken in Avaniapuram on 15 January, 2012.

A man rubs chillies into the nostrils of a bull in Palamedu on 16 January, 2012.

An organiser pokes a bull with a curved, sharp metal object inside the pen in Alanganallur on 16 January, 2014.

Bull owners and tamers force a yellow-coloured liquid down the throat of a bull at Avaniapuram on 14 January, 2014.

A man bites a bull's tail inside the bull pen in Avaniapuram on 14 January, 2014.

A bull-tamer pulls a bull's tail in the arena in Alanganallur on 17 January, 2012.

» All images via Firstpost

 

Five myths about English that all Indians should stop believing right away – Sankrant Sanu

Uma Bharti

Sankrant SanuWe need to provide an equal opportunity to study Indian languages. This will allow deep technology penetration. English cannot be the vehicle for our development, rather it remains the biggest barrier to our progress. – Sankrant Sanu

Recently, Uma Bharti remarked on the need to propagate Indian languages and how English becomes a barrier. Predictably, people on English news portals jumped on her remarks.

Sample a comment on one such portal:

Anonymous Tweet

There are some enduring myths about the English language in India, particularly in association to “progress”, “technology” and “modernity”. As someone who went to an English-medium school in India, I myself subscribed to these myths. It was only when I travelled the world, to over 30 countries, that I realised our assumptions about English are that of frogs in a well.

When I was a manager at Microsoft, I visited my team at the Microsoft development centre in Israel. This was eye-opening. I later spent a summer travelling in Indian villages and I realised the real cost of our assumptions about English. Contrary to the notions I had about English being necessary for science and technology or for India’s progress, I came to realise that India’s English-medium obsession is one of the biggest barriers to India’s development.

Here then are 5 enduring myths about English:

Israel Institute of Technology Students

Myth 1: English is a language spoken by all well-educated, developed, technically-savvy people in the world

There are millions of people in the world who are well-off, well-educated and technically savvy and they don’t speak a word of English. When I was in South Korea, I found it to be an affluent country. However, it was nearly impossible to find someone who spoke English apart from the staff of the luxury hotel I was staying in. In China, I found a tech-savvy population and a proliferation of high-end iPhones. Yet, even at a fancy restaurant in Beijing, I found that not one person—from the wait-staff to the manager—spoke a word of English. I can’t imagine something like this happening in India. The staff at the Chinese restaurant asked me to type my order into their smart phone. They then used the Baidu app to translate it to Chinese.

HSBC Hong Kong

Myth 2: MNCs do all their business in English; English is necessary for an MNC job

MNCs in all major countries operate in the local language. When I was at Microsoft Development Center in Haifa, Israel, I was surprised to find that the language of communication was Hebrew, not English. Emails were in Hebrew, technical documents and discussions were all in Hebrew. This, when the entire population of Israel is less than that of Delhi. Similarly, Samsung, which is one of the biggest electronics manufacturer in the world with cutting-edge technology has a CEO who did his MBA in Korean. Samsung uses Korean in South Korea, uses Thai for office jobs in Thailand, but in India it uses English. MNCs choose to adapt in different countries of the world but in India, we bend backwards assuming MNC means English.

Studying English in India

Myth 3: English is India’s “competitive advantage” and necessary to develop India

This is the most enduring myth—that English has given India a “competitive advantage” in Information Technology. There are highly technically advanced societies, such as Japan, that do not use English. Some years ago I travelled to Indian villages armed with IQ tests. I found, to my surprise, that rural children outscored urban Indian children in IQ. English, as the language of higher and professional education alienates these children. They find math easy but English hard.

Even when it comes to outsourcing, the advantage is temporary. China’s programmers learn in Chinese and have teams with one outward-facing project liaison who speaks the client language. Thus, China is providing outsourcing to the US, using English, but also to Japan, using Japanese. Only about 5% of the world’s population is native English speakers and the importance of this segment will likely decline as the US and the UK decline as Economic superpowers. China is also investing in technological innovation, developing its own companies, like Baidu and Weibo for search and social networking while its entire technology education uses Chinese.

Japanese language science book

Myth 4: Indian languages are “not suitable” for science and technology education

Science is taught at the graduate level in dozens of languages across the world, from Japanese to Portuguese and from Thai to Polish. It is even written using the pictographic Kanji (Japanese writing system) script with thousands of characters. Even MS-DOS the command prompt operating system from Microsoft supported Kanji characters 30 years ago because the Japanese demanded it.

Indian languages, on the contrary, are highly scientific. They are phonetically sound and can express a range of sounds. They also have technical literatures and vocabulary from hundreds of years. Sanskrit-based grammars also makes it very easy to construct new words.

Hebrew was once considered a dead language, yet it was revived for science and technology education. Technion, Israel’s foremost engineering college is Hebrew-medium and is ranked much higher than the IITs. Languages need investment. India simply needs to invest in its languages and keep them contemporary. It is much easier to translate one thousand key books of science and technology than teach a foreign language to a billion plus people.

Indian Newspapers

Myth 5: People want English, but the government keep pushing Hindi/Indian languages

It is, in fact, the other way round. It is English that is pushed in India by government policy. The government allows only English in the Supreme Court and most High Courts. Most top institutes, be it the IITs,the IIMs or the AIIMS, they are all funded by the government and operate only in English. Most government websites still use English as the primary language. But is this because people want it?

No, where people have a real choice, they prefer to consume Indian languages, not English. Only one of the top 10 newspapers in India is in English. As a percent less than 10% of the newspaper readers prefer to read in English. English TV channels have an even smaller percent of the audience. Thus, given a choice, most people would rather read and listen to their own languages.

The demand for English arises because of flawed government policies that are pushed by the elite. We need to provide an equal opportunity to study Indian languages. This will allow deep technology penetration. English cannot be the vehicle for our development, rather it remains the biggest barrier to our progress. – Scoop Whoop, 9 August 2016

» Sankrant Sanu is an entrepreneur, writer and researcher based in Seattle and Gurgaon. His areas of interest include history, religious and cultural studies, entrepreneurship and technology.

Indian Newspapers

Kashmir: Nehru’s blunder can be rectified only by history – Amar Bhushan

Kashmir Political Leaders 2014

Amar BhushanIt is time J&K was treated like any other state in India without grandstanding on Article 370. It needs a clean and effective administration, a participatory governance, a police that firmly handles protesters, and security force that guards borders and takes on terrorists aggressively. – Amar Bhushan

Kashmir once again exposes our inability to come to terms with reality. Reactions to the current spate of violence following the gunning down of terrorist Burhan Wani are either opportunistic, pedantic, emotional or needlessly panicky. Since the early Fifties, it has been a familiar tale of violent protests, destruction of properties, curfews and killing of terrorists, civilians and personnel of security forces. Not surprisingly, ill-informed politicians and supercilious commentators have renewed calls for withdrawing security forces to the border and removing AFSPA at a quick pace, notwithstanding the fact that terrorists are operating all over the state. They also insist that police use “maximum restraint” and make distinction between “terrorist and people”, but would neither quantify what constitutes “the right amount of force and restrain” nor identify bullets that pick up terrorists in a mob without inflicting collateral damages. Their concern for the use of pellets is jarring, for pellets can neither be precisely guided nor firing units can comprise “only” sharp shooters. Some even believe that Kashmiris’ alienation is complete and it is time India packed up from the Valley. Others stress that Delhi is foolishly trying to hold the Valley by force rather than win its people and urge PM Modi to open his heart to separatists.

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif must be grateful to such self-righteous outpourings. He has since extended full-throated support to Kashmiri terrorists/separatists and indulged in a bit of drama like observing black day and honouring Wani as a martyr. The Pakistan Army on the other hand has been quietly training and infiltrating terrorists like Bahadur Ali and Mohammad Naveed, and using Hafiz Saeed and his surrogates to keep the situation on boil. Where they err is that violence tailored in Pakistan can never be a perfect fit in J&K.

The Kashmir issue has festered because we keep experimenting with ideas. Intelligence agencies bribed Hurriyat leaders for years, hoping erroneously that money would bring Kashmiris in the mainstream. Numerous back-channel and diplomatic initiatives were launched, but Pakistan has neither refrained from interfering in Kashmir nor accepted Line of Control as international border and unrestricted visits, trade and commerce across the border. Its unfinished agenda remains annexation of Kashmir, which India simply can’t deliver.

Mehbooba MuftiEveryone loves talking of finding a “political solution”, which actually means that we allow J&K to secede, become independent or join with Pakistan. Some advocate giving Kashmiris the option of plebiscite, no matter whether it leads to second partition of India on the basis of religion. Others suggest that all powers that Kashmir enjoyed at the time of its accession to India in 1947 be restored. They try not to understand that no amount of devolution of powers will ever satisfy the separatist fringe who simply dream of living with Pakistan. Strangely, Kashmiris seem blind to the fact that in a unified J&K, they will be reduced to minority and their language will be consumed by Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun and Balochi.

70TH Independence Day PM Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the ramparts of Red FortThe other cliché is that we must involve “all stakeholders” to find a solution. The problem, however, is that while political parties may come around to accept a settlement, terrorists and separatists won’t, for their survival depends on how strongly they carry forward the Pakistan Army’s agenda. So long as Pak Army does not abandon its dream of annexing the Valley, there is no possibility of a permanent resolution. Hence, the only option that we have is to tire out Pak Army militarily and burn its mischief wherever it buds. Its proxies in the Valley will fall in line automatically.

It is time J&K was treated like any other state in India without grandstanding on Article 370. It needs a clean and effective administration, a participatory governance, a police that firmly handles protesters, and security force that guards borders and takes on terrorists aggressively. The PDP-BJP government is ideal to accomplish this objective. CM Mehbooba Mufti has her hand on the pulse of most Kashmiris and BJP has the requisite political strength to give her leeway to announce amnesty, provide relief to reluctant terrorists and tolerate their antics like awarding bravery rewards posthumously, raising pro-Pak flags and slogans, writing anti-India graffiti etc.

Opposing political interest groups are in all states and Kashmir is no exception. India is accustomed to managing Naxalites, insurgents and violent crusaders for social causes. There is no reason why it cannot manage unrest in the Valley. It will help if we stop overemphasizing and glamorising the events. The  problem of Kashmir is a historical blunder, which Nehru committed by not integrating it outright with the Indian union. It can now be rectified only by history.  – The New Indian Express, 14 August 2016

» The writer is a former special secretary, Research and Analysis Wing. Contact him at amarbhushan@hotmail.com

Jammu & Kashmir Elections 2014

Article 370: The part larger than the whole – Radha Rajan

Kashmir curfew August 2016

Radha Rajan is the editor of Vigil OnlineThere is no point in demanding abrogation of Article 370 without demanding that the J&K State Constitution be rendered null and void too. Article 370 is only the symptom. The malaise is the State Constitution which is completely out of line and not in tune with the basic spirit or structure of the Indian Constitution. – Radha Rajan

When Hindu rulers of the princely states signed the Instrument of Accession, they surrendered legislative, judicial and executive control of three subjects—Defence, Communication, External Affairs and Ancillaries. This in effect meant that the princely states would have the right to decide upon policies, implementation and administration with regard to other issues, through such arrangements as they deemed fit. One such arrangement would have on been for the rulers to frame constitutions for their erstwhile kingdoms; state constitutions, which would have given their arrangements a modern, legal framework.

Hari Singh BahadurBut Sardar Patel, in the course of integrating all princely states into the Indian Union, persuaded the rulers to accept the Indian Constitution in toto and integrate completely into the Indian Union, assuring them that not only would there be no minimising of their royal stature and privileges but that they could and indeed they should send their representatives to the Constituent Assembly and participate actively in the drafting of the Indian Constitution. This, let us remember Sardar Patel did after Gandhi adopted a dismissive and even contemptuous attitude towards the rulers of the princely states who met Gandhi to know his mind about the future status of kings and their kingdoms in the event of political independence from the British. Gandhi far from reassuring them, even made his intent known publicly in one of his prayer meetings that he was quite prepared to hand over all princely states to the Muslim League under certain conditions. Besides, Gandhi also appointed Nehru and the Nawab of Bhopal to choose 92 representatives from among more than five hundred princely states to the Constituent Assembly.

Jawaharlal Nehru & Sheikh AbdullahDeeply concerned by the negative bent of mind of both Gandhi and Nehru, the Hindu princely states decided not to participate in the Constituent assembly and that they would not send any representative. But Gandhi’s assassination in January 1948 gave Patel the space and the freedom to reach out to the princely states again with respect and reassurances. The rulers of the princely states were assured by Sardar Patel that the Constitution would provide for all their concerns and guarantee equal rights to all regions and all peoples. The princely states acceding to India thus accepted the Indian Constitution totally; except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. That was Nehru’s personal fiefdom and Patel was kept away by a determined Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah from dealing with that state.

A brief glance at the history of J&K at the turn of the century leading up to Sheikh Abdullah hounding the Maharaja out of the state and negotiating individually with Nehru will throw a great deal of light on the imponderables that caused Article 370 to be included in the Indian Constitution. The root cause was Nehru’s intense hatred of Maharaja Hari Singh, Gandhi’s similar contempt for the rulers of the princely states and his overwhelming love for Nehru which made him hand over the affairs of the Kingdom of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and the Tibets to Nehru on a platter. .

The history behind Article 370

The RSS and its parivar organizations, except the BJP, is convinced that the only way to render justice to Jammu and Ladakh which have been victims of the Abdullah/Mufti Sayeed clan, is to trifurcate/quadrificate J&K into Jammu, Ladakh, the Kashmir valley and a homeland for the persecuted and displaced Kashmiri Pandits, carved out from the valley itself. Demands for such a division of J&K still ignites jihadi fires in the Kashmir valley.

But what they conveniently choose to ignore is that the two-nation theory of which the J&K constitution, the separate flag, Article 370 are all symptoms, was already implemented in J&K when Nehru conceded every one of Sheikh Abdullah’s untenable demands which made the Muslim-majority state of J&K a special state in the Indian Union. And when the RSS calls for trifurcating the state and when the VHP calls for quadrificating the state, it is not to hand over the remains of the state to Pakistan. Hindu majority Jammu will be fully integrated with Indian Union without the provision of the separatist Article 370; Ladakh will be made into a Union Territory while the Kashmir valley alone or what is left of it after a separate homeland has been carved out for Kashmiri Pandits, can retain Article 370 and its illusory privileges.

The Abdullahs and the secular section of the Indian intellectual class are thrown into a panic as demands for division of the state is made every time jihad raises its head. They declare that such a division would deal a mortal blow to secularism. Implied is the proposition that it is a victory for secularism that the Muslim majority state of J&K chooses and continues to be a part of the Indian Union. And as for secularism, who are they kidding? The J&K state has rejected, from behind the fig-leaf of Article 370, that part of the 42nd amendment to the Indian Constitution by which certain core changes were made to the Preamble which now includes the words “socialist secular” and “unity and integrity”.

The J&K state has steadfastly refused to recognize, uphold and defend the “socialist”, “secular”, and “integrity” parts of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution. That this does not apply to the state of J&K has been stated in the Restatement of the Constitution (Application to J&K) order, 1954, which is Appendix II of some publications of the Indian Constitution. What does the secular brigade have to say about that considering they lose no opportunity to declare that secularism is the basic feature of our Constitution and the underlying principle of governance?

Beginning with the Preamble of the Constitution, Article 370 has defined the jurisdiction of the Indian Constitution in J&K. Let us quickly take a look at some of the more important laws that apply and those that do not apply to the state of J&K. This will help us to understand better the implications and the utter futility of granting any “greater autonomy” to the state or to even consider a return to the pre-1953 status.

The Jekyll and Hyde of Article 370

Article 370 has two personalities, so to say. It is a double-edged tool. It is a legal paradox which both integrates and divides the state from the rest of India. Like Sardar Patel said, it is a mechanism by which the President of India can issue special Orders which extend several Indian constitutional provisions that prevail in the rest of the country, to the state of J&K too. Under Article 370, the President, through the Constitution (Application to J&K) Orders of 1950, 1954 and several times thereafter up until 1994 has so far brought the state of J&K under the purview of 205 national acts and laws. These include several important laws concerning labour, laws concerning customs, excise and other taxes, The Negotiable Instruments Act, The Census Act, The Reserve Bank of India Act, The Imports and Exports (Control) Act, The Banking Companies Act, The Finance Commission (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, The Representation of People Act, The Companies Act, and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act being some of the more important acts which has integrated the state of J&K with mainstream national laws. This is the Dr. Jekyll face of Article 370.

But, as I said, this integration is only one side of the tool, pardon the mixed metaphors. The other side is a dangerous weapon. It is this side which has caused the maximum damage not only to the state but to the national fibre. While on the one hand Article 370 has enabled the extension of several laws to prevail in J&K, it has also kept the Indian Constitution from being implemented in toto. The Mr. Hyde face of Article 370 states that Parliament may make laws for that state only with the consultation or concurrence of the state government. There are several parts of the Indian Constitution which do not apply to the state at all or apply with modifications. A very major section of the chapter on the fundamental rights of a citizen, enshrined in our national Constitution, does not apply to the state of J&K. Two very important provisions of our Constitution which deserve attention in this context, and which either do not apply to J&K or apply with modification, are Articles 352 and 360 relating to declaring a state of Emergency in the country as a whole or in any part of the territory of this country.

As per Article 352, if the President of India is convinced that there is an imminent danger to national security either because of external aggression, possibility of war or because of armed rebellion from within the country, he may, upon receiving a written communication from the Union Cabinet, proclaim a state of emergency in the whole country or in any part of the country which is so threatened. But Article 370 has enabled the modification of this Article with respect to J&K in that while the President may declare emergency in the whole country in the event of a war or external aggression, he may not declare emergency in J&K without the consent of the state government in cases of internal armed rebellion. This means that even when terrorism brings the state to a point of total anarchy or breakdown of law and order, the President cannot declare a state of emergency in J&K without the permission or request of the state government.

As for Article 360 by which the President may declare a financial emergency in the whole or part of this country, it does not apply to the state of J&K at all. Given the runaway corruption in J&K afflicting all areas of governance and administration, and given the lack of political will to deal with it, a state of financial emergency can never be declared by the President even when the state teeters on the brink of a complete economic or financial breakdown. The CBI has no jurisdiction in J&K and neither do the CVC nor the Indian Penal Code. Not that alone, The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 also does not apply to J&K.

Jammu & Kashmir National Conference FlagIf this were not enough, what has escaped media and academic scrutiny is the delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir. Though Kashmiris constitute roughly only 22 per cent of the State’s total population, the mechanism cleverly devised by Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference Party in 1951 enables it to capture nearly half of the total Assembly and Lok Sabha seats. The National Conference, with the full complicity of Nehru and successive Congress governments has violated every norm set by the Delimitation Act (which had no jurisdiction in J&K then, courtesy Article 370), and carved out 46 Assembly segments in the small Valley as against 41 segments combined for the Jammu and Ladakh regions which are far bigger territorially and several times more populated than the Valley; and three of the six seats to the Lok Sabha have been cornered by the Valley Muslims alone. This discriminatory nature of representation in the Assembly and Parliament is totally contrary to the rules framed under the Indian Parliament’s Representation of People’s Act, 1951, and those under the relevant State Act of 1957.

This cornering of the major chunk of Assembly segments and Lok Sabha seats has ensured once and for all that the Muslims of the state have a decisive say in all affairs of the state. This not only violates all democratic norms but is also a violation of the principle of pluralism to which passionate lip service is paid by the secular brigade in the media and academia. But the valley is a Sunni Muslim majority region and even the remnants of Hindus after five centuries of violent and coercive Islam have today been hounded out altogether.

Article 32, the pernicious Article 35A and what it means

By far the most offensive and the root cause of all major problems in J&K lies in the modification of Article 35 of the Indian Constitution through the mechanism of Article 370. Not that alone, to Article 35 is added 35A which carries the cancerous cell that has sapped the state of J&K of its vitality and life-force. These changes, like other amendments effected through Article 370, are not a part of the text of the Constitution. Therefore, any reader who does not care to read Appendix II of the Constitution of India will never know that a very pernicious and undemocratic change has been made to Article 35 or that together with 35A they constitute the root cause of the evil side of Article 370. It is because of the changes made to Article 35 and because of Article 35A of the Indian Constitution that Article 370 has to go and its roots, the J&K state constitution. This may be the right moment to raise the question whether these major changes and amendments made to the Indian Constitution through Article 370 and which are contained only as Appendix I and II, are even a part of the Indian Constitution. And as such, are these changes constitutional?

The modification made to Article 35, the inclusion of Article 35A and the fact that Articles 12 to 15 of the Indian Constitution do not apply to the state of J&K must be taken and read together to understand why the J&K constitution is a perversion of democracy. Democracy’s underlying principle is equality before law. By completely disregarding the fundamental democratic principle of equality, the National Conference, whose brainchild the state constitution is, continues to preside over a feudal political arrangement. The ultimate perversion lies in the fact that there is no judicial redress for the affected people of J&K whose fundamental rights have been violated and who have been denied the basic right to equality. Let us take Articles 35 and 35A apart, piece by piece, to see the perversion clearly.

As per Constitution (Application to J&K) Order of 1971, clause (3) of Article 32 will not apply to the state of J&K. Article 32 specifies the remedies available to every citizen for enforcement of rights conferred by the Constitution and contained in the chapter on Fundamental Rights. Clause (3) of Article 32 says that while any citizen whose fundamental rights have been violated or who has been denied his fundamental rights may approach the Supreme Court for redress and while the Supreme Court shall have the power ‘to issue directions or orders for the enforcement of these rights, Parliament too “may by law empower any other court to exercise within its local limits all those powers conferred on the Supreme Court to enforce these rights”. This means not just the Supreme Court alone but any other court in a state or union territory can be empowered by parliament to assume the very same powers as those of the Supreme Court to enforce the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

The chapter on Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution lists the constitutional rights to which every Indian citizen is entitled. These rights can be enforced through judicial intervention and parliament has the right to make laws for any part of the country or for the country as a whole to protect and enforce these rights. These rights are inviolable except in situation of a state of Emergency in the country. Article 35 declares that Parliament has the right and state legislatures do not have the power to make laws for enforcing these rights, for prescribing punishment for acts declared to be offences under this part and so on. But using the provision of Article 370, the state of J&K has refused to allow Parliament to make laws for the state under clause (3) of Article 16 and clause (3) of Article 32, both of which, besides Articles 33 and 34 are matters mentioned in Article 35A (i) as being areas for which Parliament has the right to make laws.

By refusing to accept the jurisdiction of clause (3) of Article 32, the state of J&K has violated the fundamental rights of a section of the citizens of India residing in J&K, and who do not belong to a category created by the National Conference called “permanent residents”. The National Conference may disclaim any responsibility for the creation of this category with the explanation that “permanent residents” is the new name given to the category of residents of J&K previously known as “state subjects” which was created in 1927 when the state was ruled by the Dogras. But this argument is fallacious because while the Maharaja may have had very good reasons for creating this category (shall come to this shortly), there was no reason for continuing with this classification of the residents in J&K as “state subjects” and “non-state subjects” in independent India governed by the Indian Constitution.

Jammu & Kashmir FlagWhat are the implications of clause (3) of Article 32 not being applicable to J&K? It means that those citizens of India who are resident in J&K but who are not “permanent residents” as defined by Section 6 of the J&K state constitution, cannot challenge in any court the denial by the state government of the fundamental rights guaranteed to them by the Indian Constitution because the J&K state constitution has its own version of fundamental rights which is not guaranteed to all residents of J&K. Only the “permanent residents” of J&K are so privileged. And those residents of J&K who are denied these fundamental rights, cannot approach either the Supreme Court or any local court within J&K for redress because Article 370 has made it impossible for any court to offer redress. The fundamental rights as per the J&K state constitution is discriminatory and there is nothing that any court can do for those who are denied these rights in the state.

And it is this defiance of the basic spirit of the Indian Constitution which has been sanctified and legitimised as Article 35A about which nobody knows, certainly not the shouting secular brigade. Article 35A is not a part of the official text of the Constitution. Article 35A says:

Saving of laws with respect to permanent residents and their rights:

Notwithstanding anything contained in this Constitution, no existing law in force in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and no law hereafter enacted by the Legislature of the State,

(a) Defining the classes of persons who are, or shall be permanent residents of the State of Jammu and Kashmir; or

(b) Conferring on such permanent residents any special rights and privileges or imposing upon other persons any restrictions as respects

(i) Employment under the state government;

(ii) Acquisition of immovable property in the State;

(iii) Settlement in the State; or

(iv) Right to scholarships and such other forms of aid as the State Government may provide, shall be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with or takes away or abridges any rights conferred on the other citizens of India by any provision of this Part.

Readers are urged to note the tone and content of Article 35A. It says the state government has classified its residents as first class and second class citizens; those Indian citizens living in J&K who are categorised as “permanent residents” are first class citizens with special privileges. This perversion has been enshrined in the state constitution and notwithstanding anything contained in the Indian Constitution, no law existing in the state of J&K and no law which may be made in the future with regard to the matters contained in Article 35A, can be rendered void by Parliament or the Supreme Court on the grounds that it violates or abridges the rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution to all citizens. What Article 370 is doing is enabling the state constitution to thumb its nose at the Supreme Court and at Parliament, and above all at the Indian Constitution. It is in effect saying that the denial of the fundamental rights of the Indian Constitution to that section of Indian citizens in J&K who are not “Permanent Residents” is not justiciable and cannot be enforced.

Sardar Patel saw only the Dr. Jekyll side of Article 370. He either did not see or remained silent about Mr. Hyde. Article 370 derives its evil nature from the state constitution. There is no point in demanding abrogation of Article 370 without demanding that the J&K state constitution be rendered null and void too. Article 370 is only the symptom. The malaise is the state constitution which is completely out of line and not in tune with the basic spirit or structure of the Indian Constitution.

It was criminal culpability on the part of our leaders that they did not stipulate any conditions for the state constitution, had no say in the terms of reference of the state constituent assembly and did not insist on representatives as observers of the proceedings in the state constituent assembly to ensure that the state constitution was in line with the basic structure of the national constitution. Article 370 thus is the root cause of some of the more acute problems in J&K. The root-cause entrenched by Article 35A pointing in the direction of the J&K state constitution.

Article 35A tells us by inference that persons categorised as non-permanent residents of J&K cannot buy immovable property in J&K, are not eligible for employment by the state government, cannot contest or vote in local body or Assembly elections, cannot avail of scholarships and other grants offered by the state government to its state subject residents and above all cannot seek redress in any court, local or national. This then is the reason why there is little or no economic or industrial development in the state. No businessman or industrialist from the rest of India will ever invest a rupee in a state which will not allow him to own property there.

J&K is wholly dependent on Government of India funds not only to meet Plan expenditure but also non-Plan expenditure. Any investment in industry or economic development comes solely from the GOI. Whatever little indigenous trade or industry existed in the state by way of its orchards, carpets and tourism, have been almost destroyed by terrorism and continuing self-pity and apathy. Considering that the state has neither the financial nor natural resources to exist independently of the rest of India, it is greater integration with India that is called for and not greater autonomy. And this can be effected, some thinkers believe, only by abrogating Article 370. But that leaves the question of the mechanism by which to integrate the state constitution with the Indian constitution if you abrogate Article 370 but allow the J&K state constitution to remain?

Is it possible to abrogate Article 370

1. The first and most obvious course of action would be that which is contained in Article 370 itself: The President of India, by a public notification can declare that the Article ceases to be operative. But here is the catch—the President can issue such a notification only upon the recommendation of the state constituent assembly. But the state constituent assembly has been dissolved and no longer exists. The question then is: can the President issue this notification unilaterally considering that it is not possible to procure the recommendation of a non-existent body? Or should we understand that because the state constituent assembly has been dissolved, the President can never ever issue such a notification? It is a crying shame that as a nation, we have still not worked through the nuances of Article 370.

2. The second option rests on the assumption that the rights and responsibilities of the state constituent assembly have been handed over to the state legislature. In which case, the state legislature can issue the recommendation to the President asking him to issue the notification which will render Article 370 inoperative. But considering that the National Conference has given the Muslim majority valley 46 assembly seats against the 41 allotted to Jammu and Ladakh together, no state legislature dominated by the Muslims of the valley will ever seek to abrogate Article 370 under whose dispensation they are the most privileged category of the residents of J&K.

3. The third option would be to take recourse to Article 368 of the Indian Constitution which empowers Parliament to amend the Constitution and also lays down the procedure to be adopted. One would think that Article 368 empowers Parliament to adopt the procedure laid down in Article 368 and amend the Constitution by abrogating Article 370. But Article 370 itself has enabled through the Constitution (Application to J&K) Order, an amendment of the Constitution in such a way that Article 368 applies to J&K only in a modified manner. Clause (2) of Article 368 says that after the Bill for amending the Constitution is tabled in either house of the Parliament and after it has been passed by a two-thirds majority in both houses of Parliament, the President may give his assent to the Bill seeking amendment to the constitution. But, and here is the catch again, the President’s Order on the applicability of the Indian Constitution to J&K says that as far as J&K is concerned, the President may issue such an assent only as per clause (1) of Article 370 itself which means that the President can issue amendments to the Indian Constitution through his Constitution (Application to J&K) Order, only in consultation with or with the concurrence of the state government. Back to square one. Even Article 368 takes tortuous twists and turns and comes back to Article 370 again.

4. But the cutest trick lies in the amendment effected to Article 249. Article 249 declares that Parliament is empowered to legislate “in the national interest” even on matters enumerated in the state list. Article 370 has made this Article applicable to J&K with the modification that instead of “state list” the clause should read that Parliament, in the national interest may legislate on that matter “which is not enumerated in the Union List or in the Concurrent List”. Very clever, this. Who will read the fine print of Appendix II to understand the “puppy chasing its tail” futility of trying to get rid of Article 370 through the constitutional route? “Any matter not enumerated in the Union List or Concurrent List” indeed! As far as these two lists go, the final position has been stated and adopted by the Restatement of the Constitution (Application to J&K) Orders up until 1994. The only list that remains is the State List and the State List does not apply to J&K at all because unlike the other states in the Indian Union, the residuary powers with regard to J&K lie not with the Center but with the state, rendering the State List meaningless. So how can Parliament legislate with regard to any matter in the national interest as far as J&K goes, if it should not find place in the Union List or the Concurrent List? What other list is there, pray?

Trying to get rid of Article 370 taking the constitutional path is futile and unproductive. We have created and fattened the grossest aberration whereby the miniscule part is larger than the whole. Article 370 is larger than the Constitution because there seems to be nothing in the Indian Constitution into which Article 370 can be subsumed or by which it can be made to go away. We also have the grossest aberration in that the interest of one state outweighs the collective national interest. Our legal and constitutional experts have not even begun to apply their minds on how to get rid of Article 370. If actions have consequences, inaction too has consequences; sometimes worse. – Vigil Online, 4 August 2016

» Radha Rajan is a political analyst and animal rights activist in Chennai.

Kashmir Political Leaders 2014

Kashmiris Vote 2014

 See also