There Is As Much Hidden As Revealed
don’t you want to be back in the valley of Kashmir
By Neeraj Bhushan
Beginning the series, I wrote in the first part … we should “Now Improve Understanding And Trust“… There is an audience in Pakistan. There is an audience in India. And then there is a huge audience all over the world. BUT when it comes to KASHMIR, everyone talks to one’s own audience.
In Part 2, while urging the people to join in building a new Kashmir – I presented as case for “Leaving Behind The Dark Days Of Conflict“… 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?
And in the previous post – “Let There Be Freedom For Soldiers Too“, I said, “We do not need fighters – whatever you call them militants or terrorists – rotting in training camps. They too need suitable employments and decent lives. Also, we do not want people to live-and-die in refugee camps – Kashmir is everyone’s home. Remember, neither iron bars nor stone walls make a cage but thinking makes it so. Let’s think in the right direction for our Kashmir to smell sweet.”
NOW… let’s take an OVERVIEW of KASHMIR:
Situated in the northernmost part of India with its capitals at Srinagar (summer) & Jammu (winter), the State of Jammu & Kashmir is one of the most beautiful places in the world with snow-bound Himalayan peaks and glaciers, pristine rivers and valleys, dense coniferous forests, and fresh mountain air. No wonder it is popularly called “Heaven on Earth”.
In the words of revivalist Muzaffar Ali – “As they say beauty is the eyes of beholder. And that is so true of the Valley. In Kashmir there is as much hidden as revealed. So the Valley has to be seen with the eyes of the soul.”
Strategically, Jammu and Kashmir shares borders with Pakistan in the West, China in the North and East, and the Indian states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in the South. It consists of three distinct regions – Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladakh.
Why It Is A Bilateral Issue! What Is The International Stand?
In July 2012, Indian Minister Farooq Abdullah, who is also the president of ruling National Conference party in Jammu and Kashmir and a former chief minister, echoed U.S. President Barack Obama’s view that only India and Pakistan should resolve the long-standing issue of Kashmir.
“What Obama has said, we knew it right from the beginning… if Kashmir issue is to be resolved, it has to be done by India and Pakistan,” Abdullah said, adding that India has always maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between New Delhi and Islamabad and hence needs to be addressed by the two countries.
But he too expressed disappointment over the delay in resolving the issue. [Ruling out any solution from “outside” to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, Obama had underlined that disputes between India and Pakistan can only be resolved by the two countries themselves.]
The Actual Situation
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 are 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.
The phrase ‘normalcy’ might be a refrain of late but the fact that people in Kashmir still erupt quickly at both odd and even sparks tells a different story. At times, we do see the whole valley on fire… the disappointment of the people converting into deep resentment and anger and secessionist feelings too creeping in. But it’s time such vulnerable sections should not see rest of India as oppressors. Pakistan can never be a saviour. Illusions have only dealt blows in the past, and even the Muslims in rest of India have never justified a jihad in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Given that Kashmir has the best deal of any Indian state, is there anything more we can do? Kashmiris talk about more autonomy. But I don’t see (a) what more we can give them and (b) how much difference it will make,” says senior journalist Vir Sanghvi. But sentiments that it is not prudent to stick to the people who have no desire to be part of India is not right actually, given the democratic institution that we have built across the nation.
But then, Singhvi says again, “Many terrorist acts, from the hijacking of IC 814 to the attack on parliament have Kashmir links. Our response to the parliament attack was Operation Parakram, which cost, in ten months, Rs. 6,500 crore and 800 army lives? (Kargil cost us 474 lives.) Each day, our troops and paramilitary forces are subjected to terrorist attacks, stress, and ridicule. So, here’s my question: why are we still hanging on to Kashmir if the Kashmiris don’t want to have anything to do with us?”
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 not commit blunders, no… not again. 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. Let us drop all confrontations and respect every school of thought on Kashmir and create opportunities for each of the Kashmiri people to come to the mainstream. Mind it – No One Should Remain Alienated, Even At The Cost Of Self-Determination.
Now tell us… As a reader, don’t you want to feel delighted, to be back in the valley of Kashmir, in your favourite seasons and see beautiful golden hues and the magnificent chinar! The audiences the world over need to wake up. O my dear brothers and sisters in India, Pakistan and everywhere… let Kashmir smell sweet.
Click here if you like to read the report of the group of interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir – A New Compact with The People of Jammu and Kashmir By : Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar, M.M Ansari.