The most debated piece of territory on earth is in the news again and the tensions are running high. The age old debate has been fired up again even if it was due to a trigger as insignificant as a petty land issue (which the warring parties themselves say can be resolved in a number of ways).
Kashmir has always been an issue India feels reluctant to discuss, partially due to lack of objective reasoning from separatists and Pakistan and sometimes due to Indian government’s own callousness. However, there is one non-wavering stand taken by our present and past Governments has always been justified – that there would be no negotiations or discussions as long as the idea of an Independent Kashmir prevails. I want to make a far-fetched argument hoping that my conviction will spill over to my readers.
Firstly, I believe the way in which the Partition was carried out was an illogical act in itself. An English Barrister, with just the help of his assistant, was administered the job of drawing a border between the two countries India and Pakistan according to the Hindu-Muslim density in various districts. (Source BBC Documentary: When India Burned). How can anyone just arbitrarily draw a line to solve what was one of the biggest religious conflicts of the time? However, it happened and both India and Pakistan had no say in it. This, perhaps, also explains the nonsensical way in which both Indians and Pakistanis massacred each other. And as we all know, the princely states were given a choice. The Pakistani side tried to muscle their way into Kashmir to which the Kashmir ruler reacted with accessing to India. The brains of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel proved superior and Pakistan paid for their recklessness. With time, Pakistan should have learnt to live with it just as most parts of North India did when they lost a substantial part of Punjab. In hindsight, the partition was a solution, which was reasonable if not fair or acceptable (to both sides I mean). But Pakistan still persisted with its stubbornness – wars, infiltration, militancy and fundamentalism in Kashmir were always on the rise. (They even got a piece of Kashmiri territory). Their so-called a fair solution of a referendum was never fair. Not after years of infiltration and militancy.
But Pakistan has never been a problem for India. A resentful Kashmir is. When it comes to Kashmiri hate and dissent, India, much to her credit, has always taken it like a punching bag.
India does not want to enslave Kashmir; it wants to see it flourish but as an Indian state (We don’t mind the special status). India does not want to crush their opinion. Regional parties can keep their ideologies and Kashmiris can have their way of life as long as it is not separatist. Every Indian state has a regional party in this country with not quite comfortable ideologies but that is the beauty of this wonderful democracy. We all somehow pull together. Kashmir must realize that is it is strategically important for India. Return of tourism in the state will help make the state prosperous. Everyone knows Kashmir’s beauty is equivalent to Switzerland, Goa and Trivandrum combined! As far as relations with Pakistan go, we want friendly borders, accessibility and trade routes on all sides, Punjab, Rajasthan and Kashmir. But all this needs stability. And stability will only come if Kashmiris can shun their inhibitions and work with the Indian government to strengthen this Federal, Sovereign, and Democratic Republic.