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Kashmir defines Indian identity

By Subramanian Swamy

India should henceforth refuse to engage in any dialogue on Kashmir except one in which the other side accepts the whole of Kashmir as an integral and inalienable part of India.


Recently, some columnists have advocated that India should let go of Kashmir. While not wanting to wear patriotism on my sleeve, I would say that the silent suffering majority of India wants none of this. The ‘Kashmir issue,’ in fact, can no more be solved by dialogue either with the Pakistanis or the Hurriyat, leave alone the constitutional impossibility of allowing it to secede. This is because we do not know what kind of Pakistan there will be in a few years from now.


The Pakistan army today, according to all informed sources available to me, has a majority of captains and colonels who owe allegiance to the Taliban and Islamist fundamentalism. In another five years, these middle ranks will reach, through normal promotions, the corps commander level. We know that the government in Pakistan has always been controlled by the seven corps commanders of the army. Therefore a Taliban government in Pakistan five years hence seems a highly probable outcome. Jihad, that is, war against India will be the logical consequence of that outcome.


Since the Hurriyat in Kashmir is an organisation that cannot go against Pakistan, India has about five years to prepare for a decisive and defining struggle with Pakistan. We must prepare to win it to avoid the balkanisation of India. We therefore should refute those Indian columnists, academics, and politicians who crave or preen themselves on being popular in Pakistan, by sounding reasonable and secular on the issue of Kashmir.

Never part with it


Kashmir, in fact, is now our defining identity. It is a touchstone for our resolve to preserve our national integrity. The population of that State may be majority Muslim but the land and its history is predominantly Hindu. For our commitment to the survival of the ancient civilisation of India and the composite culture that secularists talk of, we have not only to win that coming inevitable war but also resolve never to part with Kashmir.


I will not blame the jihadis for the coming war. They are, after all, programmed that way by their understanding of Islamist theology. I will blame ourselves for not understanding their understanding of the fundamentals of Islam. It is foolish therefore in the face of this reality to expound the banal sentiment that “all Muslims are not terrorists or fanatics.” Of course that proposition is true.


However, the Islam of the cutting edge of Muslim fundamentalism by leaders such as Osama Bin Laden is in Sira and Hadith, and now increasingly followed in Pakistan. It calls on the faithful to wage war against the infidels (who cannot strike back effectively) and crush them. This is why the Kashmiri Hindu Pandits were driven out in the first place.


The struggle for Kashmir by the jihadis is thus not just for independence. By their own declaration, they want a Darul Islam there, with the state becoming a part of the Caliphate. We cannot allow, in our national security interests, such a state to emerge on our frontiers. Hence the question of parting with Kashmir cannot arise. We have to go all out to retain Kashmir as part of India wherein Hindus and Muslims can live in peace and harmony.


Pakistanis often cite the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir to argue for a plebiscite. This obfuscates the fact of accession of the State to India. The legality of the Instrument of Accession signed in favour of India by the then Maharaja of J&K, Hari Singh, on October 26, 1947 has to prevail anyway. To disregard it will create a plethora of legal issues, including what will become the status of the Maharaja if we abrogate this Instrument and re-open the question of Partition itself. In that case, for example, will Dr. Karan Singh, Maharaja Hari Singh’s son, have a claim to be regarded again as an independent and sovereign King of J&K?


On the Junagadh issue, Pakistan held the Instrument once signed to be “final, irrevocable, and not requiring the wishes of the people to be ascertained [emphasis added].” That is the correct legal position. But the Junagadh Nawab, after signing the Instrument in favour of Pakistan, invaded the neighbouring princely states, states that had acceded to India. This violated the terms of the Indian Independence Act (1947) enacted by the British Parliament. So when the Indian Army was moved by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to defend these areas, the Nawab, fearful of the consequences, ran away to Pakistan. His subjects, mostly Hindu and abandoned, welcomed the Indian army to Junagadh.


Furthermore, on what legal basis can we de novo seek to ascertain the wishes of the people of J&K as Pakistan asks, when the Indian Independence Act makes no provision for this? After all, it was this same Act that created a legal entity called Pakistan, carved out from united India. India under the Act was a settled and continuing entity out which the British Parliament made a new entity called Pakistan. Never in previous history was there was a country called Pakistan. The idea itself was conceptualised as recently as 1940 and legalised only in 1947.


By what mechanism then can Pakistan seek to amend or even disregard the Act, without unwittingly undermining the legal status of Pakistan itself? That is, if the Instrument of Accession is called into question, will not Partition itself be subject to challenge as without legal basis on the same consideration?


I raise this question also because of the constitutional futility of pursuing the issue of the secession of Kashmir. In the case of Beruberi in Eastern India, the transfer of that area to Bangladesh, although agreed to, has been enmeshed in prolonged litigation in the Indian Supreme Court. This is because Article 1 of the Indian Constitution bars the de-merger of any Indian territory after 1950.


Another argument advanced by these columnists is that if Kashmiri Muslims do not want live in India, it is against human rights to force them to do so. That argument is contradicted by the Bangladesh example. The area of that country was first created by Partition. In 1971, Indian army jawans created Bangladesh out of Pakistan in circumstances well known to all. But despite that, millions of Bengali Muslims have come into India as illegal immigrants and are quite happy to be working with Hindus in India. But Partition was agreed to by Hindus for those Muslims whom Jinnah said could not bear to live under alleged Hindu hegemony. Now, after getting their territory, a large number of Bangladeshis Muslims are voting with their feet to proclaim that they are happy to live in India with Hindus.


Similarly, after getting Kashmir as an independent country, Kashmiri Muslims may, like their Bangladesh counterparts, come to live in India anyway! What then is the point of severing Kashmir from India as these columnists suggest?


India should henceforth refuse to engage in any dialogue on Kashmir except one in which the other side accepts the whole of Kashmir as an integral and inalienable part of India. The people of Kashmir should be left in no doubt in their mind where the overwhelming number of citizens of India stand on the future of the State. Therefore, those who, at this crucial juncture of our history, advocate any dilution of this stand are leading the people of Kashmir to more misery. They are encouraging the forces of jihad to keep at their nefarious activities by raising hopes that, with rising costs, India will capitulate. Any democratically elected Indian government knows that it can never capitulate on issues of national integrity and risk an upheaval. The Ramar Setu and Amarnath issues have proved that beyond doubt. Advocating letting go of Kashmir therefore is a dangerous exercise in futility.


(The writer is a former Union Law Minister.)


Source: The Hindu, New Delhi


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  1. CASH REWARD - 300,000 for solution of Kashmir dispute anybody bringing 3 Huriyat leaders Geelani and Meerwaiz and also Yaseen to Delhi in my court. I need to tight their loose screws. plz note its cash reward and payable in full on part payments. But yes No advance payment - sorry.  Note: Packing export quality Gunny bags. No polythene bags to be used. The live materials inside.  Offer valid till Sept 29, 2008
    By md suleman
  2. Date:  25 Sep 2008 09:52:59 -0000 [03:22PM IST]
    From:  jamsheed basha abumohammed

    Kashmir is a problem state and was responsible for discord between India and Pakistan since independence. India and Pakistan fought three wars in the past over the issue of Jammu and Kashmir but failed to reach any decisive agreement over its future. Will there be any war in future and the answer is a big “NO”. The reason being both the countries are equipped with nuclear arms and both would like to avoid a show down in the middle for fear of using those deadly weapons. Then what is next? Only dialogue or an understanding to be reached with the active participation of the Kashmiri people. But a seasoned politician like Subramaniam Swamy, thinks otherwise. In his lopsided article, he began doubting the intention of Pakistan on the issue for he did not foresee any changes in the thinking of Pakistani leadership. He also wonders what kind Pakistan it will be in the next decade or so. I totally disagree with him on three counts. One is a war cannot solve the problem but it would bring curtains down on the humanity. The second point is dialogue alone could solve this problem with people to people contact and opening up of trade routes through LOC. Third what are the aspirations of the people of Kashmir has to be ascertained. 

    I heard about Kashmir being paradise on earth ever since I was a child. I really had a fascination to visit the paradise to see for myself how really it looks. It took me 57 years to live upto my dream of visiting Kashmir. I made it ultimately in the month of May this year. Braving the stories of militant attack, I and my friend ventured on to visit the most loved Kashmir. I landed in Srinagar one fine morning in April-May 2008. The chatterbox Guide was an highly educated Kashmiri youth, unable to find employment, sought refuge in the small time company for a paltry sum. It was the beginning of our journey into the heart of Kashmiri problem. On the way I saw so many people particularly youth presumably jobless, awaiting the arrival of tourists at the Dal Lake. As we travelled to Gulmarg, Phalgam and Sonmarg we found that no place was accessible by road and we have to go only riding on the Horse back to enjoy the scenic beauty. Every time, these Horse or Pony walas charged us heavily even for a smaller distance. Deliberately, it seems these roads to the scenic beauty in above places were barred for motorists so that the local can thrive on the tourists visit. It is understandable given the poverty in which these people live. I have seen in many places many educated youth just loitering or doing odd jobs to make their livings. Even at one point I saw one Engineering graduate doing odd job at a hotel restaurant. My chat with the locals revealed so many things. They are frustrated as the successive govt in Kashmir did little to alleviate the sufferings of the common man. No big industries to absorb the locals. Locals are very frustrated as they make their earnings from the visit of the tourists in the three month period and the rest of the year they live on such earnings. People are very friendly and helpful but agonising part of it being the poverty. Luckily for us, we never saw one fakir in Kashmir Valley begging. They demand heavily while ferrying passengers either on Horse back or Motor vehicles. Chat with them revealed that all of them are against terrorism. They want to live in peace and harmony. They wish that govt does something better for them. They are ready to hand over all the terrorists to Army wherever they notice it. This is only the redeeming factor and appreciated. I was really thrilled at the hustings that the people of Kashmir do not harbour terrorists and they want peace in the beautiful valley of Kashmir. I was really sad to see so many youth wasting their time and energy at every nook and corner of the roads, streets and villages and hardly getting employment. The poverty is visible and frustration writ large on their faces. Its a beautiful land inhabiting beautiful people living in utter poverty. It was really a sorry sight. With so much poverty around, this land of Kashmir Valley is no longer a paradise on earth. I wish govt does something to banish poverty from this beautiful land.

    In the end we cannot live peacefully without solving this problem and I feel the dialogue with all concerned is the only option left in the present conditions. Why should we spend billion on maintaining an army of the size there? War is inconceivable at this juncture or in the near future given the Indian success in the nuclear front when India's deft diplomacy won a clean waiver from NSG and in all likelihood Indian PM would be singing the 123 Agreement with US by the end of this month. When India is on the threshold of becoming world economic power, do we require such a situation over Kashmir? Dialogue once again the best option.  

    By jamsheed basha abumohammed