Thursday, October 13, 2011

Prashant Bhushan Assault

The shameful assault on Prashant Bhushan by thugs from the Sri Ram Sene has been condemned around the country, but our political class should be aware that it too stands heavily indicted in the criminal incident.

The anger that drove the attack on Bhushan must be seen as an indication of our political failure, not only in containing and defusing it, but in the inability to forge an ironclad national consensus on Kashmir.

What Bhushan said about Kashmir -- that India should dismantle all its defensive measures and submit to a plebiscite -- cannot be looked upon merely as an issue of free speech. That is so because Kashmir is not an issue merely of territory or "self-determination."

The British destroyed millions of Indian lives to split the country on communal lines, and deliberately created the dispute over Kashmir to keep South Asia permanently at war. Our defence of Kashmir is not just of territory but of the idea of India. To declare otherwise is not just to ignore the tremendous sacrifice of Indian blood and treasure to protect and preserve that idea, it is to open up the country yet again to brutal foreign manipulation and control.

For make no mistake about it. When British proxies like Bhushan and Arundhati Roy speak so blithely about India giving up Kashmir, they are opening up the rest of the country to new rounds of communal warfare that will certainly destroy our democratic system and our way of life.

We can condemn the Sri Ram Sene for its tactics but we must acknowledge the legitimacy of its anger. It is time the rest of us felt it too.

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