Kashmir – A Thirsty Territory

A child sorts prized saffron flowers at Pampore on Srinagar-Jammu highway. Photo credit Mubashir Khan / Greater Kashmir newspaper.
A child sorts prized saffron flowers at Pampore on Srinagar-Jammu highway. Photo credit Mubashir Khan / Greater Kashmir newspaper.

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,
  • Narcotics,
  • Trade across the Line of Control (LoC),
  • Sir Creek,
  • Siachen,
  • 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.

  1. Is it a terrorist who wants permanent enmity to prevail between India and Pakistan?
  2. Or are there several terrorists and their organisations that are misusing the name of their peaceful religion and benevolent faith?
  3. 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?
  4. Where has the centuries old tradition of tolerance and harmony gone in the sub-continent?
  5. 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?
  6. 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.]

2 comments

  1. Reblogged this on filmcamera999 and commented:
    …ah..for gods sake…give kashmir to the pakistanis…..what the hell….let them have it…what is it anyway….just a bit of crappy land with lakes in it! and they pose no threat to india im sure….with one of the worlds largest armies, pakistan is no match for india…nuclear weapons or not….

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  2. We must remember that Kashmir is not limited to J&K including on either side of LoC, nor is it a problem of Hindus (as per your statement) though it is open to discussion. Certainly it is an artificially created problem starting with the complicated history of partition in 1947. Jinnah asserted that Muslims can’t live with Hindus but Hindus have never agreed with this nefarious statement. Thus it became a problem ‘for’ Hindus triggered by the power hungry monsters. Now Pakistan has poked its nose forcibly despite the wishes of Maharaja Ranjit Singhji starting from 20 October 1947 onwards by being a party to invasion in Kashmir, I don’t say that Jinnah was a sole party as was so far understood. But there are more recent evidences to more involvement by British agents and Lady Edwina-Nehru factors etc.

    !965 war thrust on India by the then tyrant Pakistani ruler – Ayub Khan changed the entire equation for ever. Pakistan was carved out deceptively on majority Muslim states and the ruling Muslim ruler wherever possible. This did not work out completely on a single agreed formula for certain geopolitical complicated issues. Lot of Hindus and senior Muslims did not agree with this religion based partition but common person has hardly any say in general when the leaders prevail. However this “K” word today has been made so sensitive by the Pakistan ISI plus their own “non state actors” that is hardly possible for discussion in common media. Pakistan has been gradually drifting towards Wahabbi/Salafi/Sunni/Islamist hardline ideology that has become difficult even to its own survival. Talibanis (TTP) has become a greater danger to Pakistan itself than to India or the world at large. No one can ignore all these brute realities before raising these issues in depth. Kashmir has been made a pawn for insurgency and disquiet in this region and will remain so for sometime to come. Disussion on this thorny issue in such a limited space will only add to injustice than help solve it. This is my innocent but a reality conclusion with respect and no malice.

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