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J&K High Court turns hostile towards different nationalities; Says all must adhere to Indian identity only

October 13, 2013 | By

Jammu & Kashmir, India (October 13, 2013): A recent observation by a Jammu and Kashmir High Court judge about Indian nationalism is being terms as “landmark” by the Indian media. According to media reports while taking up the petition of Kashmiri Pandits, who had sought issuance of directions to the state government and other official respondents for protecting and preserving some of their religious places in the Valley, the judge said that in Indian constitutional scheme, a citizen of India is only an Indian. No person can claim himself to be a Hindu nationalist, Muslim nationalist, Sikh nationalist, Buddhist nationalist or Christian nationalist.

According to The Tribune the grievance of Kashmiri Pandits was that “uncouth attempts” have been made by some “locals and non-locals” to change the “status” of their religious places into commercial places.

It is learnt from the media reports that: the single bench of Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar its 22-page judgment delivered on Friday (Oct. 10) observed that [i]n Indian constitutional scheme, a citizen of India is only an Indian. No person can claim himself to be a Hindu nationalist, Muslim nationalist, Sikh nationalist, Buddhist nationalist or Christian nationalist.

According to the concerned Judge: the provisions of constitution of India in “loud and clear terms” forbid the use of such expressions, the court held that any person “persisting” with their use had to be dealt with and proceeded against in accordance with the mandate contained in the Constitution and other laws of the land.

“As already stated, India belongs to “Indians”, who constitute one nation. The Constitution of India does not recognise “Hindu nationalism, Muslim nationalism, Sikh nationalism, Buddhist nationalism or Christian nationalism,” the judge reportedly observed.

“These expressions denote that there is a ‘Hindu nation, Muslim nation, Sikh nation, Buddhist nation or Christian nation”. These expressions or thoughts are antithesis and abhorrent to the Constitution of India”, the judge is said to have observed.

According to The Tribune the J&K High Court judge further observed: “If India, which is created by its Constitution, which ‘we the people’ have given to ourselves, has to survive, then it is only “Indianism” which has to be there and all other “isms” have to disappear from the firmament of the country called India.”

He further also that there was no need to bring in “secularism” in the Preamble of the Constitution, as this expression has “evoked sharp reaction” from a section of population and “divided” people of the country into different “pigeon-holes” of different “isms”.

According to The Tribune [while] observing that the “State has no religion”, the J-K High court has directed all the constitutional and statutory authorities in India to “stop” the persons “in their tracks” who “attempt to subvert the Constitution”.

The concerned judge reportedly directed the Chief Election Commission to invoke provision of law against persons who seek recourse to religious nationalism and pose a threat to the Constitution and prevent such people from seeking election to Parliament or state legislatures.

The Idea of Single Indian nation v. Fact of Multinational India:

The project of forming single Indian nation in this peninsula, called India, is relatively a new Idea that emerged during the British rule. It’s a mere ambition of Indian nationalists that is being maintained through the might of modern state; whereas the existence of different nationalities, ethnic entities, religious-cultural and linguistic communities/entities inhabiting this peninsula is a real and historic fact. In short it’s a fact that India is a multinational country but the Indian nationalists tend to deny this fact.

A portrait depicting 'Bharat Mata'

A portrait depicting ‘Bharat Mata’

The idea of forming single nation in India poses threat to the existence of these nationalists as it is clear that Indian nationalists aim at crushing/eliminating these diverse identities. Moreover the idea of Indian nationalism or single Indian nation is a Hindu notion in its core given the facts like vast majority of Hindu population and adoption of Hindu symbols (Bharat Mata; Vande Matram etc.) as the symbols of Indian nation.

Indian nationalist see existence of different entities as a threat to Indian nation state and identify the existence of these entities as a source of trouble. Indian nationalist want the people of different nationalists such as Kashmiris, Sikhs, Nagas, Mizos, and Tamils etc. to abandon their entities and get assimilated into so-called Indian nation. It lays the foundation of trouble the modern India is facing as each entity’s natural response would be to resist any attempt hostile to its existence and at the same time make attempts to attain such a political set-up that would provide it enough space to flourish according to its unique values.

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