ACCORDING to the Times of India while addressing an annual budget session in Parliament on Feb 07, 2018, Prime Minister, Modi severely criticized Congress party by accusing it of accepting partitioning of India in 1947, and also remarked that India would have had gained control over entire Kashmir if instead of Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhai Patel was the PM at the time of partition. In the above context, Modi’s strong leaning towards Sardar Vallabhai Patel, a Congressman, is linked to the RSS perception, that Patel was perhaps pro RSS and pro Hindu domination in India. According to some Indian writers the Sangh Parivar has claimed ideological linkage with Patel since long. In 1966, MS Golwalkar, supremo of the Rashtriya Swayamseval Sangh wrote in his book, Bunch of Thoughts, “We were fortunate that we had in Sardar Patel a person with an iron will to prove up to Hindus expectations.
Hence, Modi, who considers Gowalkar a “guru worthy of worship”, naturally, has a similar positive view about Sardar Patel, although liberals in India, have tended to discredit the Sangh Parivar’s attempts to align with Patel. Ramchandra Guha, for example, thinks it is ironic that Patel is being claimed by the BJP when he “was himself a life long Congressman”. The Congressmen think that Golwalker and RSS were misled about Patel, because of his apparently pro RSS ideas. Patel had viewed the RSS, as a loyal organization, but with a diverted ideology, which could be won over by the Congress with love and not a stick. Although after Gandhi’s murder in July 1948, Sardar Patel, as the Interior Minister had stated, “There is no doubt in my mind that the extreme section of the Hindu Mahasbha was involved in this conspiracy. The activities of the RSS constituted a clear threat to the existence of the Government and the State.” Patel also banned the RSS, although he unbanned it after a year with a condition that it should not take part in politics. Yet, later the RSS leaders broke their promise, and created the Jan Sangh as its political arm, which subsequently metamorphosed into the modern-day BJP.
Whatever facts may be about Patel, Modi’s above mentioned criticism of the Congress Party and Nehru is meant to vent out his Hindu extremist sentiments against the creation of Pakistan by partitioning India and the Jammu and Kashmir dispute since his parent Hindu organization, RSS never wanted that India should be divided and Pakistan should be created. That is perhaps the reason that a Hindu extremist had shot and killed Ghandi in July 1948 as he objected on Ghandi’s supposed tolerance for the Muslims. Modi’s criticism of Congress and Nehru on partition and Jammu and Kashmir also reflects that he is still reluctant to see Pakistan as an independent country and he also claims that even Azad Jammu and Kashmir is part of India. His criticism is as well aimed at consolidating his Hindu vote bank to sustain his rule by winning the following elections to promote Hindutwa philosophy in India and advance his Pakistan and Kashmir related agenda.
Although from Pakistan’s point of view even the Congress had accepted the partition reluctantly and it had also struggled hard to grab the whole state of Jammu and Kashmir, Modi’s above mentioned criticism of the Congress and Nehru indicates that he is obsessed with three main ideas. Firstly, he wants to establish extremist Hindus’ domination in the Indian society because of which the Muslims of India are likely to continue to suffer. Secondly, since Modi still criticizes the partition of India, he is adamant to reconcile with the existence of Pakistan. Hence, it is difficult to imagine that he can build good relations with Pakistan. Thirdly, since Modi is in favour of taking hold of the whole province of Jammu and Kashmir, he will go on to claim AJ&K as part of India and will use the full military power and diplomatic way to crush the Kashmiris’ freedom struggle linking it with terrorism. In view of the above discussion following conclusions can be drawn. Pakistan should not expect any rational behaviour from India in Modi’s time. Modi is likely to go along with his current policy of struggling to destabilising and encircling Pakistan using Afghan soil. Modi will also continue to work for isolating Pakistan in the region and at world level by alleging it for supporting terrorism, with the support of the US. He will use all means at his disposal to crush the Kashmiris’ freedom struggle. In this context, while Pakistan will need to be vigilant on its Eastern borders, it should also tailor down its domestic and foreign policies to counter India’s evil designs. Along with this strategy, Pakistan should mainly concentrate on facilitating peace making in Afghanistan and its CPEC related economic development.
—The writer, retired Lt Col, is former Research Fellow of IPRI, a think-bank based in Islamabad.