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Is fake news an opportunity for Smriti Irani ?

Santosh Nair

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news

An order was issued on Monday (02/04/18) night which said that a journalist’s accreditation would be suspended once a complaint of fake news was registered against him/her which would be later determined by the Press Council of India (PCI) and News Broadcaster Association (NBA). If found that the news was indeed fake that he or she would lose their accreditation for a limited period or permanently depending on the gravity of the news and thus be denied access to government institutions as well.

The I&B ministry’s decision for stringent punishment for spreading fake news was not taken kindly by the media. Journalist and the opposition parties took a serious note of the order issued by the I&B ministry and described the guidelines as an attack on the freedom of press.

While Mr Rajdeep Sardesai insinuated that the government was itself into the business of false propaganda spreading which can be also termed as fake news, Mr Ravish Kumar opined that the journalists were not taken into confidence before the circular was issued and that the attack will not stop.

In a joint statement the Press Club of India, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Association and Federation of Press Club of India expressed their ‘’deep concern”. They felt that despite ample scope for introspection and reform of journalistic practices a government fiat restraining the fourth pillar of their democratic rights is not a solution.

The Press Council of India in its press release on the above stated that although there is nothing wrong or obnoxious if the government intends to take remedial measures to check fake news, an independent statutory authority should be constituted to decide on the veracity/authenticity of the news. No prudent person should or can justify the dissemination of fake news.

The Editors Guild echoed a similar sentiment which said that it is more often than not that the government at the centre and the parties in power in the states are charged with propagating fake news themselves. By notifying that the I & B ministry will initiate such proceedings the government was arrogating for itself the role of policing the media. It would only open the doors for frivolous complaints to harass journalists and organizations to fall in line.

The crack-down of fake news by the government around the world is underway. The governments in UK, France, Germany, Philippines, Malaysia are seeking ways and means to make a headway in resolving this issue. The fake news menace surfaces more towards election time and is at its bullying best at such times. The administration has their own agenda to protect and the onus would be to safeguard allegations that harm their interest. Fake news is a Trojan Horse that is deceptive and could mislead readers of its true intent.

With the potential ability to imprison, bankrupt or put journalist out of business for publishing poorly defined misinformation, there is enormous scope for abuse, of which the worst-case scenario would be outright government censorship impinging on human rights and make people’s lives worse.

Yet even without outright control of stories, there is also the risk of the chilling effect, where the press self-censorship to comply with the rules means that legitimate stories in public interest are left unpublished for the fear of potential consequences.

As Yin Yin Lu, a researcher at the Oxford internet institute describes “not reporting something is as dangerous as reporting something false”. She further says that this kind of legislation would restrain journalist from publishing the truth. Lu believes that the best choice is allowing normal people to deal with fake news themselves rather than letting the government take care of it for them.

The top-down approach disempowers users and empowers the high and mighty. The solution needs to be bottom up which is tied to the design of the social media platforms where a majority of the news today is consumed. It should be the responsibility of the platforms to implement a design solution that would indicate visually the quality of the news sources that were shared. This will allow the users themselves to determine whether-or-not they are trustworthy.

In the Indian context, all curbs on the freedom of expression is most uncalled for.

India being one of the world’s largest democracies needs to exercise considerable restraint when it comes to encroaching on fundamental rights viz the freedom of speech and expression!!

In India, fake news is shaped and modelled to meet the political interest of various political outfits. The news makes an impact not only on the public at large but also finds inroads into the history books of schools. The Trojan horse manifests itself in its most malicious form in the mindsets of several hundreds of readers and holds sway to incline/convert opinions.

Revered leaders of the past are portrayed in a poor light!! Pandit Nehru as a womanizer and Mahatma Gandhi a sexual pervert!! History books are distorted while its custodians change hands!! Political vendetta has taken an ugly form and will decay further in due course!!

Indians excel both in dispensing and receiving fictitious news as long as the same is aligned with their thought process. The inference is fore destined and hence news gains acceptance only if it meets the criteria.

News needs to be considered as a separate entity and opinions are to be derived from them. News in India undergoes various interpretations and is construed to suit different ideologies. When Modi did a U-turn immediately on sensing the undercurrents, it was reported that he was not informed of the I & B ministry’s notification.

However, it hardly calls for great manipulative skills to discover the truth behind the con game!!

Disclaimer:

Santosh Nair is a columnist writing for HW News Network.  The views, opinions, positions or strategies expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of HW News Network or any employee thereof. HW News Network makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.

 

 

Abhinav Pandya

India needs a nuanced strategic understanding of Pakistan

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Pakistan

India has always lacked a systematic and long-term Pakistan policy in the entire history of last 60 years. Our policy has at the most been reactionary, spontaneous, and short-term, and based on miscalculations. This can be attributed to many factors like absence of communication between the military brass and bureaucratic/diplomatic cabal or rather the malicious smugness of the latter vis-à-vis the former. Other factors include things like a lack of a nationalist and realistic perspective in strategic thinking among India’s policy-making and intellectual circles. A sort of moralistic and idealistic approach which draws its inspiration from Nehru’s idealistic vision has marked India’s strategic culture, much to her disadvantage which
has become irreversible over time.

With the spate of violent protests in Kashmir and Pakistan’s diabolical attempts to vilify India on the false grounds of human rights violations, once again the age-old and perennially relevant question in the strategic world has come up: “How should we deal with Pakistan?”

This essay deconstructs the idealistic approach that advocates diplomatic engagement with Pakistan with sustained dialogue at the political level and its track 2, 3 or 4 extensions. This has been the favoured rhetoric of people across the spectrum from die-hard liberals to the so-called “realistic” policy wonks of India. The most pertinent question which comes up while addressing the issue of strategic dialogue with Pakistan is that: “Whom should India talk to ?”  Such an approach comes without sufficient understanding of the Pakistani psyche, its true intentions, and existential limitations. An exploration of these issues will require some reflection upon the nation’s origin and socio-political evolution over the last 70 years.

In Pakistan, there are multiple actors calling the shots. Most importantly and most powerfully, it’s army which runs the state. In army also, it is ISI, better known as “deep state” in the strategic world, which is the real player and controls the state apparatus. Then there are fledgeling and weak democratic leaders like Nawaz Sharif, Zardari and Imran Khan. There are non-state actors like Lashkar-e-Toiba, JuD, Tahreek-e-Taliban and an array of religious parties existing in the grey zone of an extremist group, a terrorist organization, charity group or a political group. Now many of them are being mainstreamed through electoral legitimization. These groups have been raised and bred over decades by the military to suit its political and strategic interests. Now they play a very strong role in the social, cultural, political and the formal state apparatus of Pakistan, and the worrying concern is that many of these non-state actors have gone beyond the control of army and have become potent players in the global Islamic movement with their superb transnational networks, ready supply of recruits and funds, and strong expertise in the tradecraft of insurgency and terrorism. Finally, there are international players like Saudi Arabia, China, and the US who are exercising tremendous political and economic influence in Pakistan.

Among all the aforementioned players, the army along with the ISI can be accepted as the most important player for all practical purposes. It can be argued that if at all India wants to engage any institution in Pakistan in a diplomatic dialogue for some concrete action and result, then it has to be with the army. However, the question arises is that whether the army is genuinely interested in resolving the issues of Kashmir, terrorism, and non-state actors or not?

Eminent Pak experts like Christine Fair, Ayesha Siddiqi, Hussain Haqqani and MJ Akbar have suggested that Pakistan Army derives its sustenance through the Kashmir conflict. As long as it can sustain the perception of India as an existential threat and an ideological antithesis, it can continue getting a huge portion of state revenue, perks, land holdings, financial resources and the other forms of state largesse, besides immense political and social clout. And, for this, it is essential to keep the Kashmir issue alive. Whenever there has been any attempt by the democratic leadership to negotiate peacefully it has been met with resistance by the army unless it has been initiated by the army itself or it has active involvement of the military brass. Further, there is huge jihadi infrastructure which has been created over the last 60 years in passion for Kashmir. Now the humongous jihadi infrastructure has become uncontrollable while developing stakes in the continuation of Kashmir conflict. There is fear of loss of income and clout if the attempts at peace succeed. Hence, one always comes across organized acts of violence to derail any attempt at peaceful negotiations. Of late, it is said that the jihadi groups have gone beyond the army’s control and turned into a Frankenstein, and therefore, the army cannot be blamed for their acts of terrorism. However, facts on the ground tell a different story. Though a plethora of fanatic groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba, and Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have thrown a major challenge to the socio-political fabric of Pakistan and engaged army in severe gun battles, that is not the case with respect to India-specific terrorist outfits like Lashkar and Jaish. These India-specific non-state actors are still regarded as ‘strategic assets’ by the Pakistan Army and given a favourable treatment.

As regards political parties, it must be appreciated that, first of all, they don’t have enough clout. Secondly, having nurtured the perception of India being an existential threat, going ‘overboard’ with peace overtures would be a political disaster for these malnourished democratic forces. International players like US and China have their own geo-strategic calculations to keep India and Pakistan engaged in a pattern of ‘conflict-dialogue and conflict again’ without any honest intention to facilitate a mutually agreeable solution to the historically rooted disputes. Lastly, the common people of Pakistan have been fed with a distorted and hateful narrative of nationalism over the years which thrive on lies, hatred and religious extremism. Of late, an intense Wahabi and Deobandi radicalization of society has dealt a final blow to the last remnants of liberal and tolerant Islamic culture and intensified the anti-West, anti-Kafir, anti-minorities and anti-India hatred.

In ‘Foreign Policy’, Nisid Hajari writes that Pakistanis always perceived Congress opposition to partition as the latter’s non-acceptance of the idea of Pakistan. Though the Indian National Congress was motivated by idealism, good faith, and secularism, but for the proponents and followers of the idea of independent Pakistan as a fortress of Islam, that idea had a religious sanctity, and any opposition to it was bound to be a civilizational or existential threat. M J Akbar in his classic work “Tinderbox-Past and Future of Pakistan” maintains that the genesis of the idea of Pakistan can be traced back to the fear that arose in the minds of Muslim ruling elites and intellectuals after the fall of the Mughal Empire. Eminent philosophers and intellectuals like Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Mohammad Iqbal, even with their modern and secular educational background, could never come to terms with the idea of sharing political space, as equal partners, with the majority Hindus. In the mainstream academic and strategic discourse in Pakistan, Pakistan is primarily an Islamic entity and India is perceived as a “Hindu India”. The underlying philosophical theme of Pakistan Army also places itself against the “Hindu India”. And, when I mention these words, the intention is not to project any communal aspirations but just to state a fact of a strategic notion in South Asia. It is the way Pakistani establishment thinks and nothing can be done about that. At best, one can understand and accept this fact to act accordingly.

Secondly, centrifugal forces in Pakistan have been very strong since its creation. Their project was to build a nation but apart from Islam, there was no binding factor of nationhood. Thus over the past 70 years, Islam and Kashmir have evolved as the primary instruments of cultivating nationalism. Therefore, it is an existential compulsion to sustain and feed the perception of India being an existential threat. If not a compulsion, it is definitely something in which the main stakeholders have a binding interest. Therefore, Pakistanis (to be precise, their army) might not want a full-scale war but would always be committed to sustaining something less than war, interspersed with some periodic stunts like the Kargil adventure.

While engaging Pakistan, the aforementioned limitations of Pakistan need to be factored in and our long-term policy needs to be based on the nuanced understanding of the Pakistani mindset. Unless we know the instincts and rationale driving their actions we cannot predict their strategic posture. Now the question arises as to what could be the right way to engage an adversary having such complex characteristics. Firstly, the engagement has to come out of its teleological and futuristic approach. Such an approach is purposive and begins with the unrealistic aspirations of finding lasting solutions to overhanging disputes like Kashmir and cross-border terrorism. The approach has to be mechanical, aiming in the first place to curtail the incidents of the military confrontations and terrorist attacks. With this philosophy, the engagement strategy has to span over a broad spectrum ranging from hardcore undercover pressure tactics and sabotage to formal dialogue process. Secondly, we have to weigh the different stakeholders and then decide as to whom to engage with. The engagement must follow a system of checks and balances based on strictly pragmatic grounds of our national interest and developed and implemented in both tactical and strategic manner. While engaging with the most important stakeholders in the short-run, India must strengthen those stakeholders who suit her long-run strategic interests in the region. Thirdly, international isolation through diplomatic efforts will be immensely advantageous vis-à-vis the costs incurred. Fourthly, direct communication channels between the intelligence agencies of the two countries may go a long way in averting many conflicts that arise out of charged passions. Finally, India must declare its red-lines and back-up its pronouncements with actions. A genuinely-felt fear of Indian reprisal and covert actions can be extremely helpful in preventing the state-backed non-state actors from undertaking any Mumbai-like misadventure in the future, which if happens, could be a trigger for a military action escalating into a nuclear war.

It is typically characteristic of Indian posture and narrative to take a moral high-ground vis-à-vis Pakistan’s non-secular existence as if we are still trying to undo the history. The partition has occurred and it is a historical fact which can neither be undone nor used to proclaim a high moral ground by virtue of India’s existence a successful and multicultural democracy for the last 70 years. We may note that secularism and democracy are not the most sought-after objectives for such societies and their political systems which are driven by religious extremism.

To conclude, I would state that there is a midway solution possible which can satisfy the prominent stakeholders of Pakistan by keeping the ‘India-threat’ alive and also address the uncertainty and instability arising from a fear of unintentional escalation of short military action into a full-fledged nuclear war. The pay-offs are equal as it is a zero-sum game. What we need is just the right understanding of the Pakistani instincts, aspirations and limitations, and a realistic flavour in our approach. If we understand them correctly, we can compel them to act more rationally and finish the incentives to indulge in misadventures.

Disclaimer:

Abhinav Pandya is a columnist writing for HW News Network.  He is a policy analyst who specializes in counterterrorism, Indian foreign policy and Af-Pak geopolitics. A graduate in public affairs from Cornell University, he has more than seven years of experience in public policy, counterterrorism, electoral politics and the development sector in India and the US. Pandya has worked as a member of the United Nations’ (UN) national level specialist team to review the flagship employment guarantee scheme of India. The views, opinions, positions or strategies expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of HW News Network or any employee thereof. HW News Network makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.

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Hanzala Aman

Why shouldn’t Jayant Sinha surprise us?

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Jayant Sinha

It was in the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi last year that I attended a lecture by Jayant Sinha. That was my first experience with him. The lecture was about the major breakthroughs in the Indian aviation industry since Modi government came to power and how he was playing a very significant part in it by holding the cabinet. A mild and eloquent speaker that he was, I clapped for him along with a few others in the audience. I was surprised as to why the government doesn’t project people like him. “This is the type of leader BJP should have,” I said to my friend next to me. My friend, a BJP supporter, seemed surprised and pleased, as I don’t subscribe to the same political ideology as his. Just like me, many other people earlier seemed convinced that Sinha is a progressive liberal owing to him having studied in two Ivy League schools i.e. Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

A few days ago Jayant Sinha garlanded eight people (convicted for lynching a man to death) who were out on bail. All the hell broke loose and many opponents including his father Yashwant Sinha started to criticize him for his action as if he had broken a sacred vow. Criticizing his son Yashwant Sinha had tweeted, “Earlier I was the Nalayak Baap of a Layak Beta. Now the roles are reversed. That is twitter. I do not approve of my son’s action. But I know even this will lead to further abuse. You can never win.” It even prompted a group of former civil servants to demand junior Sinha’s resignation from the cabinet, and some people to demand revocation of Harvard’s Alumni membership. Many others, in their ways, joined the protest.

All the reactions that are in display reveal that something is seriously wrong with the whole narrative revolving around the matter. People automatically come to assume that a person having been raised in a cosmopolitan environment and having studied at the elite liberal universities or colleges would grow to be a progressive and a libertarian. If this were true, we wouldn’t have seen the likes of Subramaniyam Swamy- who also comes from the same Harvard. We wouldn’t have seen prominent right-wing leaders like Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar coming out of “leftist” universities. After all, is it not true that even after living as a minority in progressive nations, a significant portion of Hindu diaspora support the right-wing nationalists in India – who swear to eliminate the cosmopolitan structure of India? Or can we really imagine the people from Muslim or other religious minorities in India to stand with the sexual minorities, and to demand the equal rights for everyone?  It is perhaps a great naivete on people’s part to put the whole confidence in the institutions and ideals, and to believe that individual prejudices and biases don’t matter.

Another narrative that needs to be discussed is about the former BJP members whose statements are being used to counter that of current members. In doing so we come to assume that anyone who leaves the BJP fold or protests against Modi-Shah duo overnight becomes secular and inclusive. Be it Yashwant Sinha or Arun Shourie, they are currently being hailed as progressives and have suddenly become a liberal-favourite. Wasn’t it only last year on April 4th that Yashwant Sinha was taken into preventive custody when he, with other party members and supporters, tried to carry a Ramnavami procession in a communally sensitive Mahudi area in the Hazaribagh district?  Deputy commissioner Ravi Shankar Shukla and SP Anoop Birtharay had tried in vain to dissuade Sinha from carrying out the rally. Then, the violence against the arrest ensued in which policemen were pelted with stones and two people were killed one each from the Hindu and Muslim community.  Even the then Layak Beta had tweeted, “Ramnavami ka pawan julus nikalne ki swatantrata sabhi ko hai aur main Mahudi ki janta ke saath hun (Everyone has the right to rally on the auspicious occasion of Ramnavami and I am with the people of Mahudi)”. Isn’t senior Sinha still all praise to his former comrades who have done colossal damage to the secular fabric of India? So, is it a genuine approach to quote these people?

Coming back to Jayant Sinha, if looked at closely, it shouldn’t at all have been a surprising stunt. Lately Sinha supposedly even regretted the move, “I have said many times that the matter is still sub judice. It won’t be fair to talk on this. Law will take its own course. We have always worked towards punishing the guilty and sparing the innocent. If by garlanding them (Ramgarh lynching case convicts) an impression has gone out that I support such vigilantism then I express regret over it”. According to reports, the whole bailing process was guided by BJP leaders, and after the bail to the accused was granted, there was even a scuffle within the party on who should be credited for the bail- Sinha’s group or the group led by former Ramgarh MLA Shankar Chowdhary who also claimed to work for the release of the convicts. If it were for punishing the guilty in the honest sense, Sinha could have also rallied his support to murder victim Ansari’s family to meet the justice. When he says that he expresses the regret over the impression of supporting Vigilantism, instead of being apologetic, he rather questions the sanity of people on whom the impression has been made. In a classic way, he didn’t offer any sorry for felicitating the convicts, but for the impression he made. And this sorry doesn’t really hold importance since the other convicts of lynching (and potential lynchers) already feel further emboldened. Further emboldened because it was just a continuation of what his other colleagues have been doing.

If he were really concerned about the rule of law, he could have presented his unease over Mahesh Sharma- government’s minister for culture. “Was it ethical for Sharma to attend the funeral of one of the Dadri convicts, and was it lawful for people to drape a murder convict’s body in Tiranga?” Sinha could have been asked. Or on the matter of honouring the due process of law, Sinha could have objected to his party leaders attending the rally in support of the rape accused or spoken against the leaders who openly supported Karni Sena that had created havoc across many states in India. Or most recently, he could have stood in support of his colleague in the cabinet, Sushma Swaraj when she upheld a law that prohibits any discrimination.

What we say around is just the hollowness. Thus, it ultimately comes down to the fact that all the reactions to the matter are as empty and baseless as Jayant Sinha’s claims of upholding the law are.

Disclaimer:

Hanzala Aman is a columnist writing for HW News Network.  The views, opinions, positions or strategies expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of HW News Network or any employee thereof. HW News Network makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.

 

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Chari Talks

Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee: A legacy looking for a worthy recipient

Sheshadri Chari

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Dr Mukherjee was elected to the Constituent Assembly by the West Bengal Legislature and was the Industries Minister in Nehru’s Cabinet but resigned on April 15, 1950, protesting the terms of the agreement with Pakistan, popularly known as Nehru-Liaquat Pact.

In fact, Dr Mukherjee’s political thinking was independent of the thought process of the Hindu Mahasabha of which he was the president or that of the Congress. He was unhappy over Nehru’s handling of the Pakistan issue and the first cabinet’s callous attitude towards Hindu minority in Pakistan, especially the then East Pakistan. He discussed the idea of floating a political party with some of his colleagues in Hindu Mahasabha but was firm on his views of a “non-Hindu” party, very much as a parallel to the Congress and not a political party “exclusively for Hindus”. His original idea was to convert Hindu Mahasabha into a broad-based political party which would include non-Hindus as well, as members and desist from appeasement of Muslims under the garb of protecting the religious minorities. An independent India with a democratic Constitution that adopted adult franchise and rejected the idea of the separate electorate has no place for a Hindu party or Minority Commission, he felt. But his own organisation rejected his appeals and as a result, he quit Hindu Mahasabha in 1948.

Speaking at the founding ceremony of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh on October 21, 1951, Dr. Mukherjee reiterated his views that the Partition on the basis of religion was a grave error and that Partition must be annulled to firmly establish the Indian identity. But he refused to make the annulment of Partition a party agenda saying it should be a national resolve and not merely the agenda of one political party. Long after his martyrdom and the dissolution of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the Parliament of India passed a unanimous resolution on February 22, 1994, resolving to get back Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).

The Bharatiya Jan Sangh was formed just a few weeks before the first general elections and had very little time or resources to fight all the seats. Dr. Mukherjee contested and won the South Calcutta seat securing 45 percent of votes against his Congress rival Mriganka Sur. During this brief period, he made his mark as a parliamentarian, brought together MPs from Ganatantra Parishad of Orissa, Akali Dal of Punjab, Hindu Mahasabha, three Jan Sangh members and several independents to form National Democratic Front. In order to strengthen parliamentary democracy, Dr. Mukherjee went many steps ahead and floated the idea of united opposition irrespective of ideological differences eschewing political untouchability. His party, Bharatiya Jan Sangh kept up this tradition. BJS won one third of seats in Delhi Municipal Corporation in 1957 and the next year elected a Leftist Com. Aruna Asaf Ali as Mayor with the help of Communists. BJS member Kedar Nath Sahani became the Deputy Mayor.

Dr. Mukherjee represented the highest form of fundamental Hindu ethos at its best—respect for all forms of worship (sarva panth samadhar), liberalism and humanness. In spite of his serious differences of opinion with Jawaharlal Nehru, it was Dr. Mukherjee, as Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University, who invited Nehru to speak on “The discovery of India”. Nehru in his prison diary note of November 26, 1941, writes, “He (Dr. Mukherjee) has written again a very decent letter and I have agreed (to speak at Kamala Lectures). The subject I have suggested—Syama Prasad made a similar suggestion—is The Discovery of India”.  Dr. Mukherjee had written to Nehru that, “…all of us believe that India through her ages contributed an imperishable message of the freedom of the soul of man, which alone can save civilisation from destruction and elevate it to a higher and nobler order. At this critical time, you are one of the limited few who can worthily rise above narrow party considerations, appreciate different standpoints and hold out, amidst the crumbling heaps of modern civilisation the picture of a future India worth living in.”

Two years later Nehru, accompanied by Asaf Ali and Diwan Chaman Lal, went to Kashmir, without a permit, in June 1946 to defend Sheikh Abdulla against a sedition charge and was detained in the Uri Dak Bungalow. The British Viceroy in Delhi brought Nehru back to Delhi to join the negotiations for the transfer of power. Seven years later, after another transfer of power in J&K, Syama Prasad Mukherjee went to Jammu without a permit and was detained by Sheikh Abdulla but unlike British Viceroy, Nehru let Mukherjee meet whatever fate awaited him. Dr. Mukherjee had said at a public meeting in Jammu in August 1952, “I will get you the Indian Constitution or lay down my life for it.” The words proved tragically prophetic.

Can all political parties, especially the BJP and the Congress to ponder over their larger national agenda, bury differences and work as a united force to realise the collective vision of their icons? Sounds like a tall order? Not if someone can inherit the legacy of Syama Prasad Mukherjee.

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