Hafta Letters: Of pandiculations and known unknowns
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Hafta Letters: Of pandiculations and known unknowns

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

By NL Subscriber

Published on :

Hi NL team,

I’ve been a long-time subscriber and listener and continue to enjoy the drawing-room-conversation nature of the Hafta. 

This mail will be short in the hope that it will be read. The English verb and equivalent of the Hindi word “angrayi” is to pandiculate. Its noun form is pandiculation.  




Dear NL Hafta,

The August 5th move by Shah-Modi was the most controversial, most debated, most ambitious move till date in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. It is also likely to be a big failure. We will wonder how despite, or perhaps because of the involvement of so many brilliant people and so much money, it went so horribly wrong.

Donald Rumsfeld talked of known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns but what he should have mentioned, but didn’t, is the fourth category. The unknown knowns. According to Slovenian philosopher, Slovio Jezik, unknown knowns are the things we know, or we should know, but maintain wilful ignorance towards because we would rather not acknowledge them.

It has been over a month now, we have gone over the story a hundred times, and it really is a great story. But what is weird is that Jammu & Kashmir acceded to India, but Pakistan had been brainwashing them for 72 years and causing unrest which eventually resulted in a violent uprising, and now finally, with this swift move, we have crushed them and their spirit. But there is a part of this story that just doesn’t make sense.

Why was the single biggest leader of the J&K, who clearly steered the Muslim majority state to accede to India in 1947 was arrested and jailed in 1953? If we had promised them plebiscite as we stated in the UN charter, were we ever really sincere about delivering it? Would we have gone through on our end, if Pakistan had withdrawn the troops? Why did they turn to violence in 1989?  If it was all Pakistan driven violence, why does it have such a strong support within the Valley? Why did it not die out after 72 years if the Khalistan demand, also Pakistan supported, only lasted a few years? If they were such crazed “jihadis”, why were there never violent riots with mobs or killing sprees in Kashmir, like it occurred in Jammu in 1947? If Article 370 is a treaty between two sovereign states, when one of them reneges on it, places a million troops on the ground and cuts off the population completely, does this not become an occupation? If the people are truly happy, why do we need the clampdown? If they are not happy, why do we want to keep them with India so desperately?

Raising of all these questions could have been the beginning of a long conversation with a serious and thorough examination of what was jamming the gears in this execution. But instead, the duo just moved on. Those concerns, about the middle of this story, that we don’t want to investigate are another unknown known. Something that we know, deep down, is a problem. Something that should be addressed. But because it is easier to ignore it, we pretend we don’t know about it. 


📢 Newslaundry