By Sushil Kutty
Shifting the goalposts is to bang the drums and make a din loud enough to catch the attention of the world, draw sympathy and, then, when the other side relents, kick the can further down the road and declare ‘okay, here’s the new spot for the goalposts.’
With Donald Trump it is to deny him the wall, and push him to the wall, till there are no more barriers left, only open borders. And, then, there’ll be another shifting of the goalposts – get out of the White House, with your rough edges, you don’t fit the Oval!
Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi make two of a kind. Both are doomed to the vagaries of shifting goalposts. Neither have entitlement. In Rajdeep Sardesai’s book Modi is an interloper, somebody who stepped out of a swamp. Sardesai’s ‘My Take’, on certain days of his 9 pm TV news show, reveals his simmering resentment.
‘My Take’ sums up his bias. Nothing other than seeing the back of Modi will satisfy Sardesai. Till then, he’ll keep banging the drum and keep shifting the goalposts. As long as the PDP-BJP was stuck, it was like ‘why the hell?’ Now that it stands snapped, it’s like ‘how the hell?’
What Sardesai cannot cram into his ‘My Take’, he makes up in a column he writes for a national newspaper. This week’s is dedicated to the demise of the PDP-BJP alliance. And where there is Rajdeep, there is always food, not just for thought. So, he talks of a lavish wazwaan dinner thrown for journalists by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed in 2015, and at which the question was asked: ‘How long will this BJP-PDP alliance last?”
This happened within weeks of PDP-BJP taking over J&K’s charge. Like said interlopers and those not entitled are not given time. They are set upon from word ‘go’. Mufti’s answer was, according to Sardesai, ‘I am hopeful that between Modi saab and me, we can create history and bridge the divide between Jammu and Kashmir forever!’
Just as expected. Where the BJP is, the communal angle doesn’t lag to slant. Not just that, when it comes to Modi, he’s a fake, a Hindutva ideologue bent on donning the secular cape. So, “shorn of the verbiage, the truth is that this was a relationship doomed from the start, an artifice created to shore up Modi’s larger-than-life persona (with) Sayeed’s idealism,” writes Sardesai.
According to the self-acclaimed anti-nationalist, “flush with his success in the 2014 general elections and keen to live down his Hindutva warrior image, Modi thought he could win over India’s only Muslim-majority state”…!!!!!!!!!!! But that’s the sort of guy Sardesai is. Next, he might conclude, in another of his lucid moments, that 31% of Indians voted BJP to give Modi the chance to become Prime Minister and for nothing else!
It is as if the PDP-BJP alliance had no common minimum programme, nothing planned for the people of the state. So what if one was “north-pole and the other south-pole”, opposites when they join hands do so on certain targets. And, so long as there are people like Sardesai, “animosities and prejudices” will keep alive the Hindu-Muslim divide, not just in J&K but pan-India.
The fake news that spread and keeps spreading is that ‘Hindutva warrior’ Modi shucked his muscular Kashmir policy the day after the PDP-BJP pact. No. Scores of terrorists were killed. The infamous pellet-gun blinded tens of stone-throwers. Tying the stone-pelter to the bonnet became a new muscular. Hurriyat leaders were relentlessly targeted and their sources of funds investigated. The surgical strike and tit-for-tat response to ceasefire violations kept Pakistan informed. No talks with terror remained the mool-mantra!
The rollback of the muscular policy began with allowing the state government to file the FIR against Major Aditya and culminated with the Ramadan Ceasefire. In between, there was the release of over 10,000 jailed stone-pelters. Otherwise, for all practical purposes, there was no muscle-atrophy.
The problem was always one: Changing the goalposts. Give-in at one front and the goalposts shifted to another. Everybody and Congress leader Saifuddin Soz know that India will never give up Kashmir, to ‘azaadi’ or to Pakistan. But no, the quest for power will keep Kashmir pot boiling. And, as long as talk of a perceived interloper remains, goalposts will keep changing, couched in the fake idealism of Insaniyat and Kashmiriyat.
That still leaves the question, ‘why pull the plug now?’ Rajdeep declares that’s “because the BJP is now in general election mode and its priorities have changed”; that BJP has “returned” to its original avatar of muscular Hindutva nationalism and “Kashmir is once again enemy territory”.
Mr Sardesai should remove his blinkered glasses. Operation All Out never really stopped. Yes, for a while, it was reduced to the mosquito repellent of the same name – All Out! But that was because of tenacity of people like Rajdeep to keep up the din to oust the interloper and do that by changing the goalposts. Never stop kicking the empty can down and down the road. (IPA Service)