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Mainstream, Vol XLVIII, No 45, October 30, 2010

On ‘The Kashmir Calculus’

Saturday 30 October 2010



This refers to Uddipan Mukherjee’s article “The Kashmir Calculus” (Mainstream, October 9, 2010). It’s a very well written article but towards the end when he delineates the path ahead, he has dwelt on a number diversions. I agree with him that at this stage our acceptance of the LoC as the international border will not put an end to the insurgency in the Valley or silence the movement for azadi. Neither do I accept Musharraf’s proposal as applicable to the entire state. It is, however, worth a try as far as the Kashmir Valley or the at best the Kashmiri-speaking region is concerned.

If the Indian people believe in Freedom and Democracy, then the precedent of Hyderabad and Junagadh also applies, if the people of J&K as a whole reject the Indian connection.

As far as the UN resolution is concerned, it is dead as dodo. We are fully aware where the people in various regions in our land—namely, the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh—stand. There is no need for a referendum. The matter can be settled by simply accepting the ground reality.

The population of the Kashmiri Pandits in 1991 in the Valley was the order of about 200,000, though it has been exaggerated for propaganda purposes. In any case Mukherjee agrees that their resettlement in the Valley is not feasible. I agree with him.

I do not know why Mukherjee brings in China. For all practical purposes, we have lost Aksai Chin but unlike PoK there is no mandate of Parliament for recovering it.

The problem today has only three parties—India, Pakistan and the people of the Kashmir Valley. Both Ladakh and Jammu want to be integrated with India. Kashmiris wish to lord it over Jammu and Ladakh as a reversal of the historic fact of Jammu’s domination over the Valley under the Dogra rule! But this is no more than mini-imperialism and cannot be admissible under the principle of Freedom and Democracy. The Kashmir Valley, as a sub-sovereign state under the joint umbrella of India and Pakistan, may well become a part of the Union of South Asia but if China is permitted to play an equal role, this will create an impossible situation. Let us therefore keep the Chinese beyond the Himalayas and not permit them to play a political role in the subcontinent.

MUKHERJEE has not looked at the enormous cost that the people of India have borne for keeping the state with them since 1947, in terms of our human and financial resources, defence cost and, above all, international status. I dare say as a member of the Indian Foreign Service that without the millstone of Jammu and Kashmir round our neck, India would have long ago been an automatic choice for the permanent membership of the Security Council, for which today we are going around with a begging bowl.

I may add at the end, as a sympathiser of the Kashmir cause, that a small state of Kashmir needs to be neutralised and non-aligned as it cannot keep out the big powers hovering like vultures over its horizon, without India and Pakistan as its guardians.

Syed Shahabuddin

New Delhi

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