Friday, January 21, 2011

LAL CHOWK FLAG-HOISTING: BJP'S UNWISE POLITICAL OPPORTUNISM

B.RAMAN

It is hoped that good sense will prevail on the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and they will give up their plans to hold their own flag-hoisting function in the Lal Chowk of Srinagar on the Republic Day on January 26.

2. They, like any other Indian, have a right to hold a flag-hoisting function anywhere in the country where Indian citizens are allowed to hoist the national flag without disturbing public peace. Under certain circumstances, this right, however legitimate, cannot be exercised. For example, when there is a curfew at the place where the flag is proposed to be hoisted.

3.One can understand the BJP's determination to go to Lal Chowk to hoist the flag if the local Government or the Government of India or the nationalist political parties of the State refrain from observing the Republic Day by hoisting the national flag.

4. That is not going to be so. The Governments----the State as well as the Central--- the various national institutions such as the Armed Forces and the central para-military and police forces and the nationalist political parties are going to observe the Republic Day by hoisting the national flag.

5. Only separatist elements, which challenge the unity of India, will not be doing so. The successful holding of the flag-hoisting functions by those mentioned in the previous para would be a fitting reply to the attempt of the separatists to organise a boycott of the Republic Day.

6. Yet one more function by BJP elements from outside the State is not going to add to the sanctity and the nationalist significance of the day. On the contrary, it is going to add to the difficulties of the security forces in maintaining law and order in view of possible attempts by separatist elements to disrupt the BJP's Lal Chowk function. If the BJP wants to help the security forces in maintaining law and order, it should refrain from actions such as holding a function of its own in the Lal Chowk.

7. Moreover, the ground situation in the Valley, which looked so pessimistic till a few months ago due to violence by stone-pelting elements in separatist processions, is showing some positive signs. Such incidents have come down. People are once again going about their normal tasks. There is a greater willingness to join the police instead of boycotting it as was often done in the past.

8. It is not yet normalcy in Srinagar, but a trend towards it. All right-thinking nationalist elements, whether resident in Jammu & Kashmir or outside, have a patriotic responsibility to contribute to a strengthening of this trend in order to convince the separatist elements that the time has come for a re-thinking on their objectives and tactics.

9. The separatists and the instigators of violence from Pakistan will be looking for an opportunity to create a set-back for the nationalist forces in order to revert to the kind of situation that prevailed till some months ago. The security forces are hoping against hope that they will be able to sustain the present trend towards an improvement and that political leaderships will come out with appropriate policies, gestures and actions towards the same end.

10. When almost all other political parties sense the delicate nature of the present situation and are conducting themselves with political maturity and a sense of nationalist responsibility, it is a pity that the BJP alone should conduct itself with unwise political opportunism in utter disregard of the advice and entreaties from others to give up the proposed course of action and should refuse to desist from actions that carry the risk of causing a set-back to the improving trend.

11.It is the bounden duty of all of us outside the State to strengthen the hands of the nationalist elements in the State which have been countering the separatists with great courage. By their unwise obstinacy, the BJP elements could end up be creating a situation that could weaken the hands of the local nationalist elements.

12. It is not the time for the BJP to flaunt its patriotism. All of us are patriots. It is time for it to conduct itself with wisdom and a sense of responsibility. ( 21-1-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail--seventyone2@gmail.com )

10 comments:

HP said...

"3.One can understand the BJP's determination to go to Lal Chowk to hoist the flag if the local Government or the Government of India or the nationalist political parties of the State refrain from observing the Republic Day by hoisting the national flag."

The government & security forces might hoist flags, but they do so only in the military/police camps and areas. This sounds exactly like what the Americans would do in Afghanistan & Iraq on July 4th. So are we the "occupying forces" in Kashmir where Indian flags fly only on military camps?

Also, can Omar Abdullah stop the separatists from displaying the Pakistani flag? No, he only has the power to stop the Indian flag from being hoisted.

And what would be your response, if Maoists threatened violence if Indian flag was hoisted in Patna & Congress went there to hoist the flag? Why is Kashmir treated differently from other regions?

I would say that the best way to handle the Kashmir issue is to do what the Chinese have done to Tibet. There are so many Hans in Tibet today, there's no room for Tibet's independence anymore. The government should just open up Kashmir & allow outsiders (in simple language "Indians") to buy property there & give them incentives to move to Kashmir & even out the demographics.

shaan said...

It is certainly unnecessary at this stage. The BJP must concentrate on inflation and corruption issues. People have no time to show their patriotism or appreciate the BJP's theatrical show of patriotism. The BJP does not know its priorities. That is the reason Congress thrives.

Esoteric said...

There is nothing wrong if BJP wants to hoist the national flag in Srinagar,especially on 26th January.It is however cheeky move from BJP that can backfire on them and India..Give current environment,it could be exploited by Congress to deflect attention away from corruption.So postpone flag hoisting to the more relevant date - 15th August.

taura said...

since the ekta yatra in 1991 Indians(non congress and communist parties) have been hoisting the national flag continuously. The atmosphere is much better than 1991-2. (article in hindustan times)
1) Why cant the congress NC and communists and other parties join BJP and hoist the flag. BJP has already called on them. The main reason the other parties are not doing it because associating with BJP will dent their warped secularism and muslim votes.
2) The state and central govts want to capitalise on the violence unleashed by them(NC and INC in cahoots with or without separatists likely) so that BJP gets a bad name and muslims vote against them.
3) If violence does not occur, both the govts pat themselves and make it big on the media saying that BJP was stopped in its tracks.
Either way it is a win win situation for them. It will make a favorable impression on pakistan and uncle and terrorists not to mention muslim votes.
It is a shame that even Jan 26 a day of significance for all Indians is reduced to communalism by the govts and secular parties.

Shiva Subramanian said...

There are a hundred good and bad reasons not to hoist a flag in Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Raman mentions a few of them. But, there is one reason why any indian should be allowed to hoist the tricolor on sovereign indian territory, and thats all that matters.

The issue is actually quite simple. It's the media that's politicizing it. They have the option of not giving much publicity to this basic right of hoisting the Indian flag in India. I don't agree with the idea of discouraging them from hoisting the flag - this only adds to the publicity and an invitation for mischief.

Will Pakistan will be shocked when an opposition party hoists the Pak. flag in POK ????

I cant think of any other country in the world, past or present, where people debate endlessly this much about planting a flag in their own country! God save India.

muthu said...

Mr. Raman, I feel completely let down by you! Why did you not mention the crucial fact that the separtists had hoisted the Pakistani flag at the same Lal Chowk few months back, which is the main trigger for this Ekta Yatra?? The main-stream media is blocking this episode - but twitter is humming for a while now! Hope atleast you will not write such biased articles in future!

LPIC1 said...

BRaman,

For over 20 years I have followed you.
But today, your tweets gave you up - "one is not saying you can't.One is saying don't at a particular place on a particular day in interest of public order."

That on the occasion of Republic day!

Compromise on the cards in the background for the big picture?

May the souls of the dead soldiers and pandits torment your sleep forever!

Gen. Thimmaya pleaded then to get a better negotiating position and Nehru let us down.

Today , it is the same thing...except in terms of scale!

Sanjeev said...

Raman

You are very, very wrong. There is a hierarchy of values in life and the foremost is the defence of the nation – without which no life nor liberty can be protected. No lame excuses of the sort you have offered can take India forward. India is desperately short of leaders with spine. Sardar Patel is grievously missed.

I have roundly condemned your views here: http://sabhlokcity.com/2011/01/entire-indian-army-protect-wishes-hoist-flag-lal-chowk/

I am working with others to offer a political alternative to India that will take it to the greatest heights of peace and prosperity (Freedom Team of India). Please reconsider your confused views and let’s work together for a truly great India.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

Revathi said...

Srinagar is calm only because it is winter! August 15th flag hoisting is likely to be even more difficult.

Raja Ram said...

While I read through your piece and analysis, I would like to offer an alternate analysis.

Nothing is done in a vaccum. In this case, what is happening in the recent past does not bode well.

There are international issues that are unfolding in our region by way of the proposed US "Cut and Run" strategy in Afghanistan, their resultant deal making with an inexorably disintegrating artificial nation state called Pakistan.

The recent acts of ommission and commission of the present administration led by Mr. Mannohan Singh and Ms. Sonia Gandhi does not inspire confidence that Indian interests will not be sacrificed in Kashmir and elsewhere. For the first time the GOI is showing a tendency to hitherto non-negotiable positions of the government of India

1. There will be no more compromise on national soverignity of India no matter what the inducement or threat on offer.

2. The sovereign options of India regarding strategic choices will never be give up or diluted for any perceived benefit or against implied threat.

This is a legacy of all political parties that have rules India and a great legacy of the INC. Unfortunately, the present leadershop is not true to its own legacy.

I had first posted this view in Bharat Rakshak Forum, which I am aware that you are familiar with and also hold it with some contempt.

I have also posted this in my blog
http://rajaram-india.blogspot.com/

The title of my article there is "Raising the Flag - A call of our times"

You are welcome to read the same and share your views. To take a purely political view and that too a partisan one at that does not do justice to a person of your calibre.