NEW DELHI(PTI): Kashmir is an inalienable part of India because it is Muslim and giving it up will amount to surrendering the right of Muslims, BJP MP and veteran journalist M J Akbar said on Saturday.
“We had already surrendered in the two-nation theory (partition). We can’t be permanently subject to it,” he said delivering R N Kao memorial lecture on “The Romance of Regression: Caliphate Versus Modernity” against the backdrop of rising global threat of terror outfit Islamic State.
The annual lecture commemorates the memory of Ram Nath Kao, the founder of India’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Akbar said the conflict between India and Pakistan has now become, without anyone quite realising it, the longest continual war in history.
“What is the conflict about? This is not about geography, but about ideology. Kashmir is an inalienable part of India precisely because it is Muslim, for the Indian Constitution does not discriminate on the basis of religion,” he said.
Akbar said surrendering Kashmir would be surrendering my right as Indian Muslim. Raising a question whether India is condemned to a 1,000 year of war as late Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had promised, the eminent author said “we might, just now, be witnessing the consequences of the altered situation.
“There are Pakistanis who are beginning to appreciate the meaning of a ‘near enemy’, unrecognised that they are it. A common enemy is the best reason for creating a common front, although I would always add that the past shows that any engagement with Pakistan is a walk on egg shells”.
On the emerging threat of Islamic State (Daesh), Akbar said, “where modernity has failed, or failed to reach, the vacuum is being increasingly filled by the romance of regression”.
He said the answer to the challenge of 21st century modern state is modernity which is defined as freedom for individual and democracy for the state, faith-equality as a pillar of the Constitution, gender equality and economic equality in which the poorest has a stake in growth.
“Daesh, of course, rejects democracy, which is dismissed repeatedly in Daesh literature as shirq or polytheism. The bad news is that democracy is not in very good health elsewhere too,” the senior BJP leader said.
Akbar said the nub of the challenge lay in whether nations adopt faith-supremacy or faith-equality as a fundamental principle of nationalism.
“Those who believe that they can accept faith-supremacy as a tactic and tame it to their needs will discover that the long war will be won by supremacists and not by advocates of compromise,” he said.
The senior BJP spokesman said Daesh/IS does not recognise any border and not merely the once imposed after 1980 with nation-state as a basis of international stability.It seeks to reinvent an age when one Islamic power rule contiguous territory.
“It is perfectly logical, in its view, to expand its war into Afghanistan, and then, following the same logic, into Pakistan and India, against the ‘near enemy’ and occupiers of Islamic space,” he said.
Akbar said Daesh would sneer at any one who accuse it of terrorism, and argue that this is merely a tactic to rebalance the uneven distribution of military might in the world.
“Every soldier is a suicide missionary; and those who choose life on the battle field face punishment, including death, on return. A suicide missionary is fearless; how do you frighten a man who is not afraid of death?,” he said.