11 votes for a Pandit: Kashmir's hope?

The winner's on the right, right?
Okay, let us celebrate. In the Jammu and Kashmir elections, Aasha Jee (don’t know what’s with the spelling in the papers) has won a panchayat poll in Wusan, in Baramulla district after defeating her lone rival Sarwa Begum by 11 votes. She is now the Sarpanch of the “Muslim-dominated village”.

Instead of discussing the problems in the village, everyone is on the religion and bonhomie trip. Her family did not ‘flee’, so perhaps a certain Mr. Jagmohan, the governor during the controversial period, might be interested in her statements:

“My victory should send a clear message to migrant Kashmiri Pandits living in exile in other parts of the country that there is no threat to their lives in Kashmir now.”

I would have been happier had she said there is less violence or there is no threat to any Kashmiri, not just Pandits. This sounds like one more totem, although no one is discussing the possibility of rigging this time. A relief. Her victory is being played up with threats to her life, contradicting what she is saying. Indeed, the separatists called for a boycott of polls, but they always do. But we seem to need martyrs all the time. She is asked if she wasn’t afraid.

What is the woman to do? She knows that as a village head she has to speak the language she hears being spoken in talk shows and by those standing behind lecterns at Lal Chowk. So she goes along:

“I am a firm believer in destiny. Life and death is in the hands of God and a person dies only once. If I die for truth and following the right path, I will have no regrets.”

What is the truth? Does anyone know it? It is needs and demands. If her life is under threat, then all those Muslims who voted for her are equally at risk. But that is not the issue. Will the panchayat have enough teeth to deal with day-to-day issues?

The high-standing comes from those standing high. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, speaking from his durbar – Twitter, of course – reportedly yanked out 140 characters from his perch quoting local residents who said:

“We didn't see whether she is a Muslim or non-Muslim. We gave her preference over Muslim candidates.”

Did he hear it right or is he quoting it right? If they did not see her faith, then why give preference to her for her faith? Weird.

His own take:

“Regardless of what the extremist elements of both sides want the world to believe, there is still hope for the Valley and Kashmiriyat.”

Sure. Get off that Smartphone. Eleven votes for a Pandit and a woman after all these years is no indication of hope or Kashmiriyat. Incidentally, when mention Kashmiriyat it amounts to a separate identity. This is what the separatists talk about.


  1. FV

    For once I agree completely with you. Kashmiriyat is nothing but soft seperatism. We must abolish article 370, trash all special privileges and integrate J&K completely with India. If it was not for cynical consideration that pseudo-secs have for for Muslim vote bank, this would have happened years ago.

    I still haven't lost hope though.

  2. F&F:

    Thank you for your unstinting support. As a 'pseudo sec" I shall give this matter some consideration. Maybe India can integrate completely with J&K and THEY can appease the rest?

    I haven't lost hope, either.


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