There is an audience in Pakistan. There is an audience in India. And then there is a huge audience all over the world. Yes, when it comes to the K word, everyone talks to one’s own audience.
Maybe this is the prime reason why Kashmir remains a flashpoint.
Must I mention that my English teacher, in a military school, had explained to me the meaning of the phrase ‘Apple of Discord’ in the following terms – ‘Kashmir is an apple of discord between India and Pakistan.’
Gosh! Why was it planted into my young innocent mind then itself that Kashmir somehow relates to a problem and it is not just a beautiful Indian state!
Ever since, as I matured at colleges and then into a complete Indian, Kashmir has always appeared to me a thirsty territory. Why don’t we realize collectively that Kashmir is indeed a ladder must we climb today before it’s rather too late.
The two hot parties involved in this – India and Pakistan – must not kill any opportunity that they feel has the potential of providing everlasting peace in the sub-continent. Hasn’t so much effort and hard work already gone into it? We also have had umpteen photo opportunities discussing Indo-Pak relations. But aren’t there some real, hard issues which need to be addressed?
Leaders and officials of India and Pakistan – the two neighbours – have also met many a times, even in the recent past, and held peace talks on all issues. But, then, any progress between them has halted. Blame it on 2008 Mumbai terror attacks!!! But how far have we gone on the prescriptions — there are steps that we could take:
- Confidence building measures,
- Addressing the trust deficit,
- Promoting better people-to-people exchanges,
- Making it easier for trade and business exchanges,
- Dealing with the subject of terrorism and the counter-terrorism measures that we need to put in place,
- Trade across the Line of Control (LoC),
- Sir Creek,
- Jammu and Kashmir,
- Peace and security, and
- Promotion of friendly exchanges.
It’s not that I haven’t seen competent authorities and leaders being as frank as they can, while speaking on Indo-Pak ties or the K word. But then I have also seen them falling silent, not saying anything anymore. Soon, they appear with bladder of unseen constraints. Kashmir is feared, still. The progress by people and their efforts have been nakedly thwarted by acts of terrorism.
- Is it a terrorist who wants permanent enmity to prevail between India and Pakistan?
- Or are there several terrorists and their organisations that are misusing the name of their peaceful religion and benevolent faith?
- Will Kashmir be always sacrificed for the sake of a hate philosophy planted in the citizens of India and Pakistan against each other’s nationals?
- Where has the centuries old tradition of tolerance and harmony gone in the sub-continent?
- Why are Kashmiri Pandits not returning to the valley as they remain the largest community on the globe who have been rendered homeless in their own homeland?
- Why there are two Kashmirs on the either side of the LoC?
For a long time, it was also an article of faith with Pakistan that India could be brought to the negotiating table only if the level of violence was notched up greatly in Kashmir- a kind of softening up of India. This would force India to talk and to give concessions, it was believed. But, I, as an individual, strongly believe that any Indian or Pakistani would seek and desire good neighbourly relations.
I seriously feel that leaders, out of habit, give false commitments on Kashmir, and they keep repeating them, leading to much frustration. Speculative stories are then planted at their behest in the national media. This trend belies the hope of millions, especially the Kashmiris whose innocence is taken for granted, actually.
If I were a Kashmiri I would certainly be reading news about my state with a complete loss of hope. And as an Indian, must I say that vested interests in both my country and Pakistan deliberately keep the issue burning – who cares if the State also burns simultaneously.
Situation in Kashmir is a result of past mistakes – crimes committed by Who’s Who in the 20th century. Let us correct them early in the 21st century. Let us engage in actions and avoid inaction or over-reaction. There is no Hindu cause to be taken up in Kashmir, there is no Muslim stake in Kashmir. Neither there should be any interest of the Indian establishment in the State, nor there should exist any nose poking by the Pakistani military… Then, Kashmir will smell sweet.
[This post first appeared on gcaffe.com in expanded four parts in a series titled - '...and then Kashmir will smell sweet'.: You may read each part by clicking these links 1.
CURFEW 2. VIOLENCE 3. BULLET and 4. MOUNTAINS.]