Luxury of Terrorism at the cost of Kashmir
A nation cannot be created out of a territory without something that can bind people living inside that demarcated boundary. Pakistan, that came into existence on a false sense of “nation” has failed historically to find an inspiring and positive reason to bind its people together. It is still looking for the reason to be a nation independent of India. It has already dumped its ancient history and has engaged in morphing - the established villains of their ancestors with ancient culture and civilisation - into heroes. Their struggle with this national hypocrisy has led them to innovate and create a history of hate against India that it wants to utilise to bind its people. They took no time after their Independence to carry out an aggression on Kashmir.
Having failed in repeated adventures to re-create its misplaced Medieval glory of ruling India, Pakistan is now left with only Kashmir as an instrument to retain the relevance of creation of Pakistan. And to carry this out, Pakistan has resorted to the comfort of terrorism at the cost of Kashmir. It has been instrumental in providing luxury to a select class of elite Kashmiris as part of their evil design to discover its confused aim of existence.
The unrealistic desire of Maharaja Hari Singh to keep Kashmir independent of the two countries has cost the people and the state very heavily. Only when Kashmir was about to be consumed by Pakistan, that he signed an agreement with India. India could save only about half of the Kashmir while the rest has since remained under the unauthorised occupation of Pakistan – ironically called “Azad Kashmir”. While Pakistan has already gifted a portion out of their occupied Kashmir to China, India close to its commitment has given a near independent status to the part of Kashmir that has been with India.
India that already functions under a Constitution that puts faith in a federal structure has provided Kashmir even more independence. For all practical purposes, Kashmir is allowed to have its own government with its own vision, to create its own working environment, to formulate its own policies, to carry out its own developmental programs, and to decide its own future.
The desire to have a Kashmir independent of India and Pakistan is a mirage for some Kashmiris as long as Pakistan does not find a valid reason for its own existence. Having failed to retain East Pakistan despite being a Muslim-majority area, their contradictory sense of nationhood would get thoroughly exposed if Kashmir becomes Independent. At one point in history, Sheikh Abdullah was also about to fall for this “independence” when he realised that his dream would be shattered the day Kashmir gets disconnected with India.
The independence that Kashmir has specially got within the framework of Indian Constitution and the fact that India is witnessing its democratic governance flourishing and gaining ground with time has enough elements and promise to assure Kashmiris that their interest lies only with India.
The terrorism in Kashmir, in this background, can only be described as the game of “lust and luxury” that only few Kashmiris are playing at the behest of “outside forces”, but sadly at the cost of many innocent lives. The restraint with which security forces are forced to carry out their assignments in Kashmir also adds on to this luxury of terrorism. A porous boundary to facilitate exchange of logistics between both parts of Kashmir is being exploited to enhance this “luxury”. That they have their own local government is further being used for extending this “luxury” to some who are determined to exploit this atmosphere of terror in their favor at the cost of common Kashmiris.
Kashmir is culturally and civilisationally deeply connected with India. We have common history, common connections, and common interests. It is the crown that India needs to become complete and it is India’s head that the crown needs to rest on to find its meaning. The sacred pilgrimage of Kedarnath that Indians look up to as once in a life event – the Haj of Hindus - facilitates life, economy, and vibrancy to the common Kashmiris.
India has been giving a much higher economic assistance to Kashmir compared to other states. In the last few years the figures are increasing with each passing year from Rs. 4000 crores in 2014-15 to Rs. 6000 crores in 2015-16 to Rs. 8876 crores for 2016-17. The package of Rs. 80,000 crores for the state of Jammu and Kashmir announced in Nov 2015 has surpassed all expectations.
A state like Himachal Pradesh, placed much better economically, got only Rs 149 crores from such a fund. The reasons why have the benefits of such packages that were meant to put the entire Kashmir on a vibrant economy refused to show signs of economic stability are yet to be investigated. Somewhere and some forces are working day and night to ensure that India is unable to make a direct connect with people of Kashmir. The dialogue between the rest of India and Kashmir is being strangulated by those working against the welfare of the state.
The idea of separatism has slowly and steadily been snatching life out of Kashmir – the life that used to be based on pluralism/sufism – the life of rule of law – the life governed by pious sentiments spread all around – and all these for which Kashmir has till recently been known for.
This idea of separatism itself has already instigated the majority to force the Hindu minority out of Kashmir; it has started the process of converting a community known to have belief in plural outlook - into a community with a communal mindset. And if not helped now, people of this place that is described aptly as paradise on earth, will find themselves placed in the Medieval darkness of our history – where Pakistan has already placed itself and is facing continuous nightmares.
In these circumstances, a separate existence will ensure the death of Kashmiriyat much before the end of Kashmir. We need to establish our communication directly with the peace-loving common people of Kashmir. We need to expand our horizon of dialogue to include common Kashmiris in our search for peace in the region.
We must do something to ensure that the common Kashmiri starts feeling that they have the liberty to achieve any kind of progress with India. Let us pull the “luxury” out of those few hands who are trying to feed them poison and are snatching away the nectar from this real paradise on earth.
(Dr. Rakesh Kumar Pandey is Associate Professor of Physics at Kirori Mal College, University
of Delhi. The views expressed are strictly personal.)