Was it a right decision on the part of the Minster of State for Prime Minster Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh to talk about repealing the always contentious issue of article 370? Well, it seems this decision is something which an MOS would not take by himself because if we use the western euphemism, this issue is way above his pay grade. That is what had happened right after Narender Modi was sworn in as India’s 15th Prime Minister (PM). Maybe be it was because Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharrif was in town for the inauguration. Or an ultra hard-line fraction which secretly controls this government does not want India to make peace overtures to Pakistan. Or the talk about this article being repealed is actually in the best interest of our country. But that was over six months ago and things have changed a lot since with BJP becoming the second biggest party in Jammu and Kashmir and king maker.
Agreed, post independence it was very tricky to tackle the integration of so many princely states into one union. But Jammu & Kashmir proved to be the most complicated. With a majority Muslim Population and a Hindu King, the politics of secession was different. Nehru felt that the slow integration of J&K into the Indian Union was the best option since we had already fought a war with Pakistan over it and the enemy still held part of the Kashmir territory. Also Nehru had made the mistake of going to the United Nations. Also this was not very popular decision with almost all top leaders of congress including Sarder Patel and the framer of our constitution Dr. B.R. Ambadker who said to Sheikh Abdullah that
“You wish India should protect your borders, she should build roads in your area, she should supply you food grains, and Kashmir should get equal status as India. But Government of India should have only limited powers and Indian people should have no rights in Kashmir. To give consent to this proposal, would be a treacherous thing against the interests of India and I, as the Law Minister of India, will never do it”.
Why Pandit Nehru decided to still go ahead with this idea is something which is very complex and highly contentious. In 1950 when Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerji, the founder of Jana Sangh resigned from congress party famously said that the “country cannot have two constitution, two flags and two Prime Ministers.”