A talk by historian and academic Srinath Raghavan on the current state of affairs in Jammu & Kashmir and, as importantly, its history, has revealed several facts that run counter to the popular perception in support of nullifying Article 370. In a lecture titled The State and The Status, organised by public discourse agency Manthan India, Raghavan pointed out that the process of diluting the measures of the Article began long ago.
Outlining the history of Kashmir since independence, Raghavan spoke about how almost all Indian governments – starting with Jawaharlal Nehru in 1953 – have weakened the provisions of special status for the Northern state.
Among the many myths that Raghavan’s long speech punctures are the following:
- Vallabhbhai Patel would not have allowed Kashmir to have come to such a pass had he been in charge. Raghavan cites evidence to show that Patel supported the special status granted to Kashmir. And that he had even offered to let Pakistan have Kashmir if India could have Hyderabad.
- Article 370 somehow led to separatism and insurgency. Says Raghavan “It is the diminution, dilution and destruction of Article 370” that led to unrest.
- Kashmir was the only state to get special Constitutional privileges. Raghavan points out that the erstwhile princely states of Travancore and Mysore, among others, had the same privilege, though they chose to adopt the Indian Constitution in its entirety.