Kashmir sorrows and sanity

Category: Asia, World Affairs Topics: India, India-Pakistan Relations, Kashmir, Pakistan Views: 4539

According to the Indian Independence Act, entire Kashmir should have either remained independent or joined India or Pakistan. The letter, spirit and logic of the Act demanded that in case accession was taken as option, then Kashmir should have acceded to Pakistan, but the situation so developed that instead of the said Act, the muscles were used, and thus Kashmir got divided between India and Pakistan. This division/Indian occupation was not acceptable to Pakistan and the majority of Kashmiris; hence the conflict: It is the summary of Kashmir quagmire that began fifty-six years ago. 

By agreed logic of partition, 14 out of 563 princely states including Kashmir were to come to Pakistan. Out of these 14 states only Kashmir needed a bit of attention. So it was not difficult to get all fourteen states included in the geography of Pakistan when the British, Muslim League and Congress were jointly preparing the Indian Independence Act. The Congress was of the opinion that there should be only one option for the states, to join Pakistan or India; and the people of the states and not the rulers should exercise the option. The Muslim League, however, remained adamant also on choice of independence, and that too, to be given to the rulers of the states, and not to the people, and that virtually meant dividing India not only at its east and west peripheries but also from within. Whether the stance of Muslim League was out of fears of a big India or due to lack of political concentration, none and not even Choudhary Muhammad Ali, one of the behind the curtain architects of the partition plan, knew (Reference his book "Emergence of Pakistan"). It was strange of Muslim League, which had acted so wisely and had humbled Congress on all political fronts to insist on so impractical a choice. Whatever the reasons, the stance created suspicion, which has perhaps become part of sub-continental psyche. 

Subsequently Pakistan accepted request of Nawab of Junagadh to accede to Pakistan, and encouraged Muslim ruler of Hyderabad to declare independence, which he in a way did. These states had above 80% Hindu population. The aspect that all this maneuvering would affect the right of Pakistan on Kashmir was ignored. The Indians even then offered adjustments on Kashmir vis--vis Hyderabad, but the leadership of Muslim League did not oblige. Why? No historian has as yet found the answer. Nor did Ch. Muhammad Ali. Thus Indian Independence Act's articles on princely states were thrown into the furnace, and militarism was opted as solution seeking instrument by both, India and Pakistan. India used it in Hyderabad, Junagadh and Kashmir, and Pakistan used it in Kashmir. The fact that the deviation from logic of partition was bound to bring in element of force benefiting eventually the powerful was not comprehended. The strange irony is that the consequences of power-based tussle are still being ignored. 

When militancy began in Kashmir in 1989, 22 % Kashmiris, 18% Pakistanis and 35% Indians were living below poverty line. Today 30% Kashmiris, 40% Pakistanis and 23% Indians are living below the line. On psychological side the difference is much more prominent. Today 37% Indians are happy with their socio-political environment as against 9% Pakistanis and 8% Kashmiris. About their individual future 70% Indians are certain as against 35% Pakistanis and 25 % Kashmiris. The statistics regarding Kashmiris relate to Kashmiris of valley, where thousands perished in militant struggle, and two generations suffered from depression, and the disease is rather becoming endemic. In case of Pakistan, besides Kashmir conflict, political uncertainty also played a part. 

What are we up to? Why do we want to remain unhappy? The subcontinent has already lost thousands of lives, and wasted lot of time, energy and resources on maintaining the conflict: This inanity must stop. To reach an agreement on Kashmir is call of the hour. It is also a necessity to counter much bigger worries. Globalisation, WTO regime and a post 9/11 world demand that the developing countries should take a quantum jump to enter into wise relationships, if they intend to come closer to competing the rich North. To come closer, India and Pakistan need a conflict free environment, immediately: So, preparation for a working plan on economic interaction and a solution plan on Kashmir should begin----now. On economy, though working of the European Union can provide the guidelines, to prepare its blueprint will be a responsibility mostly of India, because it has a much bigger economy, which is based on indigenous knowledge also. It is not an easy task. It will require lot of permutation and accommodation to bring two different kinds of economies closer. 

Kashmir plan too will require an accommodating approach to bring different views to one point. First of all a glaring reality will have to be accepted that Kashmir of today is different from Kashmir of yesterday. In 1947 it was a disputed area between India and Pakistan. Today the Chinese (due to Kashmir border settlement with Pakistan and favors from India), Pakistanis and Indians possess about 20, 35 and 45 per cent of Kashmir, and none of them will like to part with a single inch of the area under their control. All of them claim they have genuine security concerns in and related to Kashmir. Given the wars between India and Pakistan, and a war between India and China, their claims carry weight. Moreover, the Chinese controlled Kashmir connects their two turbulent provinces, Sinkiang and Tibet; and hence China needs the area for internal security also. Similarly the Indians have their own internal worries: they stress that they cannot manage big disturbance that would certainly appear, if they agree to any unfavorable geographic alteration. If seen through their big and small volatile religious minorities, the terrible Sikh uprising of recent past, and continuing rebellions in their northeast, their stance is not that uncalled for. Pakistan too has internal concerns. It is bound to invite equally huge disturbance, if an irritating alteration is made in its present geographic position in Kashmir. 

That was about the outsiders, the Indians, the Pakistanis and the Chinese, whose position in Kashmir has become with the passage of time a definite link to their internal and external security. About the insiders, the various segments of Kashmiris, though time has not changed their economic dependence on Delhi and Islamabad, it has certainly changed their political priorities and perceptions. Today the Pakistani Kashmir has two administratively distinct entities. One, Azad Kashmir, enjoys greater autonomy; and it has its own Flag, President, Prime minister, Judiciary and Administration. The other, comprising Gilgit and Baltistan, is under direct control of Pakistan, and the people out there are satisfied with their status; rather they want to reinforce it further. They are demanding that their area should be made fifth province of Pakistan. Similar feelings dominate in Jammu and Ladakh, where people are satisfied with their Indian connection. On Chinese controlled area, which is impossible for habitation, all have silently accepted the Chinese position. With so much acceptance given to the post 1947 Kashmir, by a reasonable proportion of Kashmiris, and with concerns of Pakistan, China and India having enough logic, the solutions such as Independent Kashmir, entire state acceding either to Pakistan or to India, and any irritating alteration in present Indian and Pakistani positions are out of question. Thus taking Gilgit, Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, Jammu, Ladakh and Chinese controlled Kashmir as settled areas, a search plan for solution will require concentration only on the Kashmir valley, the area where the conflict still exists; and where the majority of the people are no longer in favor of accession to Pakistan. They want Azadi (Independence) and that too for the entire Indian and Pakistani Controlled Kashmir. 

Before the search for a solution starts, the Kashmiris of valley and the Pakistanis will have to be quite thoughtful on three subjects, besides the changed situation as explained above. First, the UN Resolutions are impossible to implement. They are not a compulsion on India; they rather facilitate India, because unless India agrees the plebiscite cannot be held. Second, almost entire world does not view Kashmir problem through Pakistani or through rebellious Kashmiri perspective. On question of freedom struggles and right of self-determination, it takes into account the factors of success such as geo-political viability, economic potential, and the extent of achievability: Third, internal and external constraints of India, which do not allow India to agree to a solution of extreme liking of Pakistan or Kashmiris of valley; and there is no way, not even a nuclear war that would change the Indian stance. 

Accordingly, Indians too should realize that engaging a people without winning their willingness is not a moral, wise and democratic act, and they will continue to live under the guilt of connecting a people through force, and on economic front, the continuity of conflict will keep the west side land access close on them, due to opposition from Pakistan, and that will be a tremendous loss to their advancing economy that needs markets and cheap energy. 

So, all the parties should soften their attitudes to take the present normalization initiatives to a conclusion. And there cannot be a better conclusion, now or in future, than to make Line of Control a joint responsibility of India and Pakistan, while giving a kind of conditional independence to the Indian Controlled Kashmir that Azad Kashmir enjoys. All will benefit from these sane adjustments. The autonomous Indian Controlled Kashmir comprising Valley, Jammu and Ladakh will get its own Flag, President, Prime Minister, Judiciary and administration. Accordingly the security perceptions of the Indians will also be satisfied. Though implementation of the plan will take time, Pakistan will stand to gain immediately. It will have a conflict free environment that it urgently needs to bring back the evaporated confidence of its despaired population, and of external and internal investors. Success of plan will depend on how quickly the people of subcontinent shed their acquired psyche of suspicion. Let us do it. Let us have, share and spread happiness.

Muhammad Ahsan Yatu is originally from Kashmir valley now lives in Islamabad, Pakistan

Source: Kashmir Observer

  Category: Asia, World Affairs
  Topics: India, India-Pakistan Relations, Kashmir, Pakistan
Views: 4539

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Older Comments:
ASHOK said:
If i understand the writers argument with reference to Jammu And Khasmir , he would like wise uphold and support the right of the state of Isreal to exsist as a soveriegn country , long live democracy , based on historical fact , i salute your ideals .

The author comes up with a logic that, % living below poverty level = % living unhappy

is unbelievable, money has nothing to do with happiness. especially in islam.

A man is born for free and dies for free.
a man is healthy for free and gets sick for free.

thinking as:
rich people = happy people, is way too naive and is simply not true.

I sometimes seem to suffer from somewhat of a one-track mind, so please forgive me if the following suggestion seems in some way inappropriate (or simply absurd). What if India was to grant independence to the portion of Kashmir currently under its dominion and then do whatever it could to 'fortify' its new neighbor - for the sake of a newly independent (and formerly Indian) Kashmir? India could then allow for this newly independent Kashmir to decide for itself whether or not to press for reunification with the 'occupied' portion of itself. What might be the chances of such an effort (at reunification) be? If nothing else, India might at least enjoy the benefits of having a strong adversary at its border - an adversary that among other things bordered with but was in no way a portion of Pakistan. The plan might perhaps enjoy at least a measure of success. It is also conceivable that the people of Kashmir might perhaps remember those who strove to help them, in their struggle to achieve autonomy - regardless (perhaps) of possible 'theological' differences.

I would like to share a favorite verse that Jewish scholars have attributed to Prophet Suliman (peace be upon him): [Ecclesiastes 2:26] "For to the man who pleases the Lord, the Lord gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner the Lord gives travail, to gather and to heap up, that the Lord may give the harvest to him who pleases his Lord. This also is vanity and striving after wind." My personal thinking would be that my blessings would be found in the abilities given to me that I might better serve my Lord. Hence, my reward might potentially be found in my service (itself) to my Lord. In the absence of such service - or in cases of that which I have applied in vain - perhaps my blessings might be somehow 'recouped' from me, if my Lord so willed. I apologize for any offense taken at my comments.

Peace be with you.

--Yahya Bergum

I totally disagree with what the Pakistan makes out of Kashmir.

Any decision that would be made should be made to improve the conditions of people who are actually suffering. In my opinion, we, Muslims, should look and approach the Issue of Kashmir to help the people of Kashmir out and not on the National basis. Would it be a compromise? May be or May be not, it depends how we look at it. If our intentions are not to keep the people of Kashmir in the current condition forever then we may have to compromise for some National Interest, which won't harm in the long run.

Allah Hafiz

I fully agree with the author that change in status quo is simply not possible and will call for unprecedented and unwanted complications.
the only solution of kashmiri problem today is to accept the loc as international border and each country satisfied with pie of kashmir that it has.
independence or accession of kashmir under indian control to pakistan is simply out of question, simply because it will jeoperdise the safety and well being of 150 million muslims living in rest of India.
and we have seen in gujrat in 2002 that what hindu radicals are upto.
and certainly yet another partition of india on religion will certainly give tham excuse to onslaught on muslims living in india.
so this preposition should aslo be kept in mind while thinking for future of kashmir.
for muslims reside not only in kashmir but in rest of India too.

I agree with most of the article. A.R.Malhotra saab has some real good points and he is right about misdeads of Indian Governmenet, what is done cannot be undone now.
But given the choice Indian Kashmires want an independent state and India would not do that and India also does not want Pakistani Kashmir. I have no solution for the problem.

Kashmir is for India what Bangladesh was to Pakistan. It is the stark failure of Indian policy in Kashmir. 700 thousand troops have failed to stop the movement. If the mighty army of Indians and the mighty army of Isralies cannot stop the cross border intrusion, how do you expect a 15 times smaller Pakistan and a negligible Palestanian authority to do their job. On top of that, had Indian government used more wisdom by investing in Kashmir and investing in its development, Kashmiries would never had opted for Pakistan. Kashmiri movement has nothing to do with the success and failure stories of Pakistan. Kashmiries are subjugated before the current movement started. They were imposed by false Abdullahs who were rigging the elections from the day one. If Punjabis have subjugated Benglalis resulted in the creation of Bangladesh, then Indians have repeated the same thing in Kashmir by raping their women, gross violations of human rights etc..... Pakistan does not have the capacity to pull Kashmir from Indian jaws. It is the failure of Indian policy that is benefiting Pakistan and Kashmiries have opted for Independence. India is becoming a dynamic power, and in order to achieve that target, we should immediately relinquish Kashmir, otherwise, we will never be able to compete with China. Kashmir has become a bane to the Indian economy. I have seen thousands of Indian soldiers who belongs to lower caste Hinduism have committed suicides. Brahmanji is nowhere to be found. Advanis, Sudharshans are playing with Indian unity. We Indians should understand very clearly before things are completely out of the loop.

A retired Indian Armyman who served in Kashmir
A R Malhotra


ok. but Kashmir wants independance not Pakistan eventhough it'd be better than Hindoustan

One should learn what Pakistanis have achieved after independence. It is becoming more and poorer and more and more corrupt. I advice Pakistanis to create an example for kashimiris about their achievements after independence! before peeking in to neighbors doors, I guess you should look at yourself what you have achieved and what kind of examples you have created?