In all probability the number of pages filled with reviews on a memoir by the former spy on Kashmir and published by Harper Collins India by now far exceeds the pages in the book itself. As a disclosure, I have to declare I have not yet read the book. My copy is stuck somewhere in the transit. All those labored reviews and excerpts by now provide a near comprehensive picture about the contents of those memoirs. I was rather amazed at the reaction and response to the book than by the contents of the book that I know so far. The mere fact that Amar Singh Dulat, a spy with intelligence bureau and later an intelligence point man of prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Kashmir, wielded asymmetrical influence allows a peak into illegitimacy of occupation and the machinations used for its continued sustenance. The fact remains that the Indian rule in Kashmir following the illegal dismissal of government of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1953 had but a consistency of an orchestrated charade. Liberal distribution of cash and use of people from Intelligence agencies as conduits was the only way to prop up such illegitimacy to the hilt. If only those who gloat about their parts in exploits to maintain Indian rule in Kashmir by bribing and spying the same people, would pause for a moment to ruminate about the havocs wrought on the place and its people. But then the welfare of the place and people was never on their agenda, which was restricted to maintain India stranglehold on Kashmir no matter the costs and consequences.
In the matter of review of the book by the Indian spymaster, it is actually A. G. Noorani, the noted jurist, who has gone beyond and provided the context for the exploits of spymaster himself, his predecessors and successors. There couldn’t be a better-qualified person other than Noorani to write an authoritative review complete with a comprehensive context. His earlier book on the Article 370 lays bare the legal fallacy of the extension of Indian laws on the state of Jammu & Kashmir after dissolution of the state constituent assembly in late 1950s. Legal facts coupled with unambiguous political reality, no matter when and how, any presumed plebiscite on the issue of Kashmir’s accession would always have and would go against India. The Indian paraphernalia being fully aware of that reality were left with only alternative of maintaining the charade, no matter the costs and consequences. The one issue that eluded A. G. Noorani in his review or his book is that Indian surreptitiousness in dealing with the state was matched only with its clumsiness and incompetence.
There had been short periods of relative stability, no matter how superficial, when Indian state could have displayed farsightedness to resolve the matter in a peaceful manner and none of the violence that consumed hundreds of thousands of lives would have happened. Instead it wasted those times by embarking on self-congratulatory complacency and furthering Indian stranglehold in Kashmir. No one else other than Indian state is the owner of the violence that erupted in its full form in 1989. The predetermined elections then or now could have only one consequence, which already has once run its full course and nothing has been done or is being done to alter that course. The saddest part of the entire saga has been that now it is left to rabid nationalists to set agenda for Kashmir, because they happen to be the governing party in India. For them, the aspirations of people in Kashmir never had any value. When Pervez Musharraf offered them discussion on the issue in Agra, the then Indian prime minister, Vajpayee enacted disappearance despite being the host with active nudge from hyperventilating hardliner, L. K. Advani. The same brigade of nationalists upped their ante when a possibility of breakthrough arose between Man Mohan Singh and Musharraf. What would be or is bewildering, is that people of Kashmir ever gave a space in their minds to the notion that solution would come from Modi, the current prime minister of India who assumed office not despite but because of his brazenness towards minorities, Muslims in particular as demonstrated in Gujarat riots of 2002.