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J&K Lens: Ghulam Nabi Azad – Jai Hind man of J&K

10/02/2021 at 11:56 AM

Arun  Joshi

Ghulam Nabi Azad  bid farewell to Rajya Sabha  on an emotional note on Tuesday that all those who watched him on TV appreciated  and  tried to understand who is he  for whom even  Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s eyes welled up .

There is a little-known fact that during his tenure as  Chief Minister  in Jammu and Kashmir , he concluded all his speeches with “ Jai Hind,” hail the Indian nation , which no other Chief Minister before and after him  did .

Azad personified secularism and deep devotion to the Indian nation, as he himself expressed in Rajya Sabha yesterday when he declared” I am a prod Hindustani Muslim.” This tenet in his political life was more than visible in Jammu and Kashmir, his home state  that has now been reduced to a Union Territory .

His retirement from Rajya Sabha came at a time when  there is  no Assembly in place  in J&K to re-elect him , nor there is any possibility of the Assembly elections being held anytime soon  that can raise the chances of his returning to the Parliament  from his home  state/UT. This has widespread ramifications for the politics of Jammu and Kashmir as the brand of politics that Azad represented for almost four and a half decades is fading.  He had been representing J&K in Rajya Sabha since 1996 , ironically he was sent to Rajya Sabha by National Conference  because Congress was  having just seven members in the legislative assembly of 87. “ We think he can plead our case better in the Parliament,” then Chief Minister and President of NC had remarked  about Azad and his party’s decision to elect him to Rajya Sabha. Governments changed , but all the parties reposed faith in him for representing J&K in Rajya Sabha.

Now in J&K, more  worrying feature than the absence of the statehood and the Assembly is the   radical shift in the politics . Azad may find himself  cut off from that kind of politics that is moving towards more fissures and  distancing from the  idea  of India .

There is something in Ghulam  Nabi Azad, whose home is in  a village of Bhaderwah area  , nestled in mountains  rich with rushing freshets but so remote that no one could have ever imagined that a young boy from such a place would make his mark in the national politics. Azad traveled all distances and broke all physical and psychological barriers to reach where he did, and still retains the potential to achieve something higher .

In November 2005  when. he became Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir , he broke several barriers – he was the first chief minister from Jammu region in the history of  Jammu and Kashmir since independence , and  led Congress government  in the state after a gap of more than three decades – the last Congress government was headed by Syed Mir Qasim  who had to  give up his government to make way for Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in February 1975 in accordance with the Sheikh-Indira accord .

In an interview Azad had told this columnist  then  working with  Hindustan Times  that “ governing Jammu and Kashmir was more difficult  than running toughest ministry in the government of India”, and he had explained  that the “ system of governance was missing, the work  culture e was absent and corruption rampant.”

“ Why don’t you talk of cross-LoC trade and travel with Pakistan occupied Kashmir as much as other politicians do?, to this question he had a beautiful answer “ Our Kashmir is brighter and  opening to greater opportunities in the country.” That became  a tenet for eyes toward India in Kashmir , and perhaps  he was the only politician in J&K who  used to conclude his speech with “ Jai Hind” in the Valley, including the places like Sopore , a bastion of militants .

Now when J&K is without statehood and Assembly , it is to be seen how  Azad and his acolytes  restore to J&K what it has lost  since August 5, 2019. His farewell speech in Rajya Sabha was a manifestation of all this, now it remains to  be seen how he crafts his political moves to serve the “ Jai Hind” spirit in J&K

About the Author:

Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express and The Tribune.

He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.


Read More from the Author: 

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J&K Lens: Truth about Pakistan as terrorism hub exposed; Pak admits Pulwama attack after repeated denials

Pakistan’s anti-India narrative is fraught with new dangers

Political complexion of J&K all set to change

J&K Lens: A year after carving of two UTs out of J&K, new fault lines emerge

DISCLAIMER

This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com

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