With Articles 35A and 370 off their plates, Narendra Modi leaves a battery of thinkers and intellectuals with little to grumble about on Kashmir

The so-called thinkers and intellectuals have always been on the ‘other’ side of any argument. Living the life of luxury they pretend does not exist and one they deny. Bleeding hearts and moralists drenched in righteousness. Not even rebels, just on the flip side of the causes because it is in their nature. TN Ninan wrote Lutyens’ Delhi is an idiom and a euphemism for this tribe for that is where they congregate. Minhaz Merchant says Narendra Modi has tried to change that idiom of corrupt power brokers, complicit media and the beady-eyed politicians who preside over this toxic consensus. But he has not succeeded.

 With Articles 35A and 370 off their plates, Narendra Modi leaves a battery of thinkers and intellectuals with little to grumble about on Kashmir

Security personnel stand guard during restrictions in Jammu on Friday, 9 August, 2019. PTI

Maybe without actually realising it with the demolition of Articles 35A and 370 on Kashmir, he has inadvertently succeeded in pulling the rug from under this lot. Their raison d’etre has been stolen in front of their very eyes, all in 48 hours from start to finish. Before they could even wrap their heads around it.

Over the years especially in the last five, they have survived on a diet of expressed dismay and disdain for the status quo. By taking a deliberate hostile stand to the rest of the country they managed to survive and flourish on a diet of bile. Wherever and whenever they got an opportunity on a public stage to spout vitriol and bemoan what they saw as the loss of the fundamental rights of any sect of people, they were on it like a tiger on a kill.

Much of this stance was fed happily by their brethren in Kashmir, the progressives in uptown areas like Gupkar Road in Srinagar who cross fed the Indian leftists with enough fodder.

Pooh poohing the call for  “talks”, sneezing at the “jobs for youth”, mocking the “economy” and scoffing bilateral “India-Pakistan negotiations” over these 70 years had become a habit.

They fell back on what they saw as underestimation and misreading of the Kashmiri arguments by the government. Packaged by themselves for themselves as conflict profiteers these merchants of glibness went with their single point agenda, turning their deliberate outrage into an armour without ever wishing to see the full picture.

They were happy to seek sanctuary in the call from their kin in the Valley. The demand that "liberal" India must act because it was its inaction that permitted "conservative" India to act towards majoritarian identity politics became an imperative and they rallied around this sentiment. Being sympathetic to Pakistan became a lyric they sang lustily. Being anti-Indian became protection they wore like Kevlar. They loved the sound of martyrdom and were only too happy to be checked by the Intelligence Bureau because it inflated their self-importance and enabled them to say, see, we are victimized for free speech.

This attitude not only cemented into defence but became the bulwark of their existence and they fed off it.

That ride on their favourite hobby horse has come to an end. The dynamics have changed so dramatically for Kashmir that this Lutyens based brigade can moan and groan about the unjust annexation of Kashmir but no one is listening. And without an audience to nod wisely at their ‘on behalf of ’ display of agony they have been written out of the script.

Now, they have to find a fresh hobby horse.


Updated Date: Aug 09, 2019 13:02:55 IST