One must have heard the story of two girls who claimed their possession on a fabric doll. The matter when reached to the ears of the king, led to a judgement of dividing the doll between the two. Hearing which one of them agreed to give up on the doll to avoid tearing it apart into pieces, while the other happy-heartedly bowed to the king’s decision. In acknowledging the reactions of both the girls, the king claimed his verdict that the girl who denied division is the actual owner of the doll, while the one who agreed to it is just faking the love.
How irrational it is then, for India, to claim its love for Kashmir? Having been fighting over the “unfinished business” of Kashmir since partition took place, both the countries are witnessed as mulling over the decision of dividing as well as giving up on the proclaimed “Heaven on Earth”.
The same heaven, which has been converted into a land of death, destruction and genocide since 1947. The land which is now breezing of decay blowing from the graveyards. The land which has nothing of its own remained there except for armed gunmen, obscured militants, bloody battles, and feared inhabitants.
The valley of Kashmir, sandwiched between the two powerful countries, has become more than just a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. Possessing Kashmir is more like contesting nationalism, leaving aside the will of its nationals. While India is keen on accessing Kashmir to be referred as a secular state of being home to the majority of a Muslim dominated state, for Pakistan the matter just swirls around their religious affirmations.
Throwing some light on the backdrop of the forced decisions that led to a demise state of Kashmir, the issue finds its roots lay deep in the year partition took place. Unlike the other princely states, Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Kashmir, then, did not accede to either of the two countries involved in the partition. Considering all the contagious dominions, religious, ethnic and cultural issues, Maharaja decided to keep Kashmir independent and signed the standstill agreement preventing both the countries from altering its status quo.
It was only after the Pakistani tribal invaders attacked Kashmir, that Maharaja Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession with India in exchange for sending troops to repel the invasion of Pakistan. One can make a judgement here that Kashmir did not come to India on its own will but was fallen into the unled trap due to the forced circumstances.
While international organization like the United Nations Security Council, defers the role of both nations on Kashmir and refers to it as a dispute, India maintains universal enmity and rivalry on this matter underlining its beliefs to call UNSC pro-Pakistan due to the cold war politics and Pakistan’s close relations with the USA. Thus, the decision to hold a plebiscite, the only process which involves the public opinion on a so “strategic matter” has been delayed till the memory buries down.
While Pakistan stands in no better position, one cannot deny the fact that even though India blames Pakistan for creating a mountain out of a molehill in the conflict of Kashmir, the roots of the conflict lie deep in India. Having messed up the situations in the matter of Kashmir since years, India now has been consistent and blatant enough to refuse the honor of the will of people.
Referring from the times when Nehru laid the foundations of the biggest blunder in Indian history, by diluting secularism and making Kashmir, nothing but a willing part of “The India” envisioned by him, history has repeated itself. The plans to do away with the Article 370 which guarantees autonomy to Kashmir, the devastating Gujarat riots, the irresponsiveness towards the Muslim religious beliefs by banning beef, India has shaken the confidence of the Kashmiri people on India’s secularism.
With the denial of giving a formal role to Kashmiri people and by not involving them in the decision making processes, India has gained an utter contempt for the functioning of democracy. The country has played a major role in preventing democracy to work in the state of Kashmir.
Having been a part of bilateral talks with Pakistan, under the Simla Agreement 1972, India must incorporate an inclusive dialogue at a tripartite level, taking into account the wishes of people as well. Instead of whipping public sentiments and sweeping the issue under the carpet, India as well as Pakistan should work together on field rather than on papers to provide the Kashmiris only thing they want- Azaadi.