An Open Letter to Sonia Gandhi
   13-Aug-2019


Dear Mrs. Sonia Gandhi,
 
It is good to see you back in saddle in Cong (I). I wish you the best in your efforts to revive your party.
 
I am, however, deeply dismayed that this effort at revival of Congress has begun on a wrong and disturbing note. Since, you have become the President of the party; some of your prominent leaders have begun speaking the language of our enemy, Pakistan. It is not the first time, but at a juncture when India has decided to try a new course of action to resolve Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), the renewed attempts of leaders like Mr P. Chidambaram and Mr Mani Aiyer to put India in the dock in international community nearly amounts to treason. 
 
When the world has refused to take cognisance of rantings of Pakistan who has been working on the doctrine of ‘1000 cuts to bleed India’; these two leaders have given wind to their attempts and international media, specially Pakistan, is having a field day quoting these two worthies. Earlier, the eternal princeling of Congress Mr. Rahul Gandhi had also sought to discredit Indian claim to peace in Jammu-Kashmir by claiming widespread violence etc without a shred of evidence or data. But, he did not go to the extent that these gentlemen have gone to. 
 
P Chidambaram, a former Home Minister, who had handled without success the issue of Jammu-Kashmir and knows the real issues there; tried to communalise the abrogation of dilution of Article 370 and removal of Article 35(A) by claiming that Article 370 was removed because the state is a Muslim majority state. Thus, he destroyed the legacy of founding fathers of the Constitution at one stroke.
 
This is not a place to go into the history of Article 370 and 35(A). But, this narrative of Muslim persecution is handy for Pakistan and their media friends. He forgot that these two clauses have been major cause of separatist ideology and oppression and violence against other minorities in J&K. He forgot that there was ethnic cleansing of nearly 400-500 thousand Kashmiri Hindus and oppression of 100 thousands of minorities, Dalits, Women and other groups in J&K in the name of distinct identity of J&K. Distinct identity of J&K is that it is the fountainhead of Indian civilisation with more than 4000 years of documented history of Hindu kingdoms and knowledge creation by rishis before it was Islamised. So, every citizen of India has something at stake in J&K - his/her own civilisational identity.
 
We have Mani Aiyer, who famously asked Pakistanis to support Congress to defeat Mr. Modi before 2019 elections. Rahul Gandhi, to his credit, had silenced this perpetual hunter for headlines, at least for sometime. But, as soon has you have returned, he is back in business. He has claimed that India has created a Palestine in ‘Kashmir’. Does he understand the implications of this statement? Do you understand the implications of this statement? Are you aware, what is the Palestine problem? That Palestinians believe that Jews have got their land vacated to from Israel, and they have been waging a war to finish and vacate Jews from Jews’ own ancient land? They refuse to accept its existence. Does it anyway come close to J&K? If at all, a cry of demand for justice on these lines was justified, it was for Kashmiri Hindus who were thrown out of their ancient land live as refugees in their own land. But, probably this is too much to ponder for your lieutenant and your good self. 
 
We, the ordinary citizens of India didn’t lose our calm when your son, Mr. Rahul Gandhi stood up with Tukde Tukde gangs of JNU and Urban Naxal crowds just to score points against Mr. Modi. We kept quiet when Mr. Y S R Reddy went full throttle to run conversion campaigns in Andhra Pradesh with his son-in-law who is an evangelist, and went to the extent of defiling the sacred Seven Hills of Bhagwan Tirupati Balaji. We didn’t react strongly when your party stood with Communists to get bail for the terror accused of Coimbatore mass bombing. We let your party have its way when NAC nominated certified Urban Naxals, some of them either facing cases of terror or convicted of terror. We laughed away your party’s attempts to ridicule surgical strikes and Balakot counter to Pakistan’s perfidy.
 
We chose electoral methods when your party tried to divide Hindu society into caste and sects. We responded electorally when your government under your benign leadership created a macabre narrative of Saffron Terror. We chose to respond through democratic means and kept our calm, fighting ideas with ideas because these were all internal matters of India. This did not damage India and its prestige in international community.
 
But, now when Pakistan openly calls a few Indians, including Congress and Communists as their friends, it is time for us to raise our collective voices. When international media quotes Mr. P. Chidambaram and Mr. Mani Aiyer to defame India and attempt to disturb this government’s attempts to try a new path to get over the stalemate of 70 years, it is time we sit up and raise our voice. These worthies are too senior and no other leader but you have to come out openly to criticise them and take them to task, even to the extent of throwing them out of the party. As a party that presided over failed policies over Jammu-Kashmir for more than 60 years out of 72 years since independence, it is your bounden duty not to create hurdles to this new solution being tried by Mr. Modi. Recall, that your own party PM, Mr. Narasimha Rao took along entire opposition to silence Pakistan in 1994 in UN on J&K, and entire opposition co-operated. That is how this nation has treated national security and foreign affairs.
 
Please criticise this government for any mistake it makes or may make. It is your democratic duty as the largest party in the opposition. You still are a national party with nearly 18% of popular votes across India. But, this criticism should be within limits of democratic debate that does not strike blows at the very foundations of unity and integrity of India, that does not help its enemies who are waiting for such opportunities. 
 
On the eve of our sacred Independence Day, I appeal to you to stand for India.
 
An ordinary citizen of India,
 
Ratan Sharda
 
13th August 2019