Indian ‘nationalism’: Why Kashmir won’t move on

Published: May 1, 2012

Not one movie has been made by Bollywood where an army soldier is shown firing on unarmed protesters, as has happened in Kashmir. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Manu Joseph, a senior Delhi based journalist and the editor of Open magazine recently asked why it was obscene to accept that a historically wounded group of  people is ready to move on. He was, of course, referring to the people in Kashmir, where a war has left 70,000 people dead and 8,000 victims of enforced disappearances – in short, a gruesome trail of death and destruction which has few parallels in modern history.

As Mr Joseph points out, it is difficult, almost impossible to convince the highly nationalist Indians about how merciless the war in Kashmir has been. If you tell any ordinary Indian that 70,000 people have been killed in Kashmir since 1989, they will blame most of the killings – if not all of them – on terrorists from Pakistan.

Why, because they have seen it on news channels and read about it in newspapers. If you narrate the horrors of Kunan Poshpora village to them, they will say the charges against the security forces were motivated and never proved. If you say that 8,000 people have been subjected to enforced disappearances, they will simply tell you that you are lying.

This is mainly because the Kashmir dispute has greatly contributed to the understanding of “nationalism” in a fragmented country like India – where the major political parties like the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have used the issue to polarise the opinion of people.

The dispute is also a sentimental one for the ordinary Indians who have seen their armed forces sacrifice their lives to keep the Kashmir territory under India’s control. The true nature of the war, the cost paid by ordinary Kashmiris with their blood, has never been revealed to the people.

In an emotionally charged and chaotic atmosphere such as this, any argument blaming the Indian state for coercing Kashmir into submission is seen as anti-national or, if things get out of hand, a pro-Pakistani view and vice versa. This is bound to invite wrath of “patriotic” Indians and sadly, the truth becomes a fatality.

The Indian film industry and the electronic news media have played a very important role in shaping this parochial idea of nationalism. The war in Kashmir has been cinematically depicted as the ploy of a mullah bent on destroying the “secular” fabric of India from his dilapidated hideouts across the border in Pakistan.

India’s vibrant media, whose members have been openly accused of corruption, relay a daily dosage of “nationalism” to its thriving middle class viewers with jingles of patriotic Bollywood songs playing in the background. Charged debates are held on prime-time news where bigots, self-proclaimed experts and literally anyone who can speak are passed off as authoritative voices on Kashmir. Instead of accepting the wrongs done to the people of Kashmir in the name of nationalism, these people lay the blame on ordinary Kashmiris and Pakistan for igniting trouble in the valley.

The Indian film industry, too, has played a dubious role in narrating the story of Kashmir. For example, not one movie has been made by Bollywood where an army soldier is shown firing on unarmed protesters, as has happened in Kashmir. This is because such scenes will apparently show nationalism in a bad light and may “demoralise” the security forces.

Thus, we see these forces depicted as great saviours of humanity who came to the rescue of ordinary Kashmiris in 1989 when the conflict erupted in Kashmir valley, not as men who carried out massacres in Sopore, Bijbehera, Gaw Kadal and Pathribal. Whereas the young men who picked up arms to fight against these atrocities are shown as supporters of Pakistan’s ideology of breaking India’s sovereignty.

This is a tricky situation that India has dragged itself into. The vicious propaganda wars that were waged built a castle of lies, which is now decaying and the skeletons kept hidden inside the closets of nationalism are slowly tumbling out. India is an extremely nationalistic and a deeply polarised country where the character of a person is determined by his allegiance to a very sordid idea of nationalism. Here, the mythical honour of country comes before the justice for the ordinary victims of state atrocities.

Over the last two decades, the state has successfully managed to throttle any voices of dissent, which came out in support of a free Kashmir, or at least talked about ending atrocities by men in uniform. Not anymore.

The dawn of the social media in Kashmir has dramatically changed the dynamics of this conflict. The young generation who have seen their loved ones perish in front of their eyes are no longer dependent on journalists to write about the atrocities unleashed on them. They are writing their own stories now. How then to get away with this “morally indefensible” occupation of Kashmir where a new generation of writers, poets, journalists, singers and intellectuals have risen in one voice to protest the occupation of their land?

Blame the ordinary people for inviting trouble. Blame Pakistan for starting the war. Blame the elite for preserving the wounds. Blame the kids protesting the occupation for throwing stones. Blame the separatists for igniting passions. Blame the writers for speaking “lies”. Blame whosoever comes in the way of nationalism. Thus spoke Manu that “Kashmir is happy”:

Trauma in Kashmir is like a heritage building—the elite fight to preserve it. ‘Don’t forget,’ is their predominant message. They want the wound of Kashmir to endure because the wound is what indicts India for the many atrocities of its military. This might be a long period of calm, but if the wound vanishes, where is the justice? India simply gets away with all those rapes, murders and disappearances?

As if speaking out against the gruesome atrocities in Kashmir was a crime. As if demanding rightful answers from the state was not the right thing to do morally. As if keeping the wounds fresh in our memories was being seditious, anti-national. As if seeking justice for the thousands of women searching for their husbands was not worth a fight. As if demanding punishment for the murderers of ordinary Kashmiris in the name of nationalism meant pushing Kashmir into the dark ages.

Kashmir doesn’t live in a solitary Cafe Coffee Day in Srinagar or in the wooden hotels perched on the hills of Gulmarg where a plate of kebabs and hot tea laid out on table besides a window opening into snow clad mountains makes it easy and romantic to draw conclusions that Kashmiris want to move on.

Kashmir lives in far flung areas; in villages where people shut their doors before the sun sets, lest a rapist barges in to outrage whatever little is left of their modesty; in towns, whose people are waiting for their long gone sons to return home, in mountains where unidentified bodies lie buried and unclaimed; in the rivers whose waters have turned crimson with the blood of ordinary Kashmiris and in the heart of each and every Kashmiri who has been a victim of this gruesome war.

It is far easy to rally around the cause of mythical nationalism and jingoistic patriotism than to stand up for the rights of subjugated people. This is a just battle, and it has just begun.

Read more by Jehangir here, or follow him on Twitter @Gaamuk

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Should the US help Pakistan and India resolve the Kashmir dispute?

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Jehangir Ali

Jehangir Ali

An aspiring novelist, a proud son, a journalist, a coffee addict, a movie buff, in that order, Jehangir tweets as @Gaamuk

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Zeta

    Hah! the author is an Indian muslim. What a slap on arm-chair-pseudo-intellectual indian comment posters. Recommend

  • http://delhi akash

    Just few points, this is the second post by the author on subject of Kashmir and is again one sided. In the first article, there were some very good questions raised by the Indian commentators but author chose to remain silent. Please sir do a bit of research while writing.

    The problem with your breed (Arundhati Roy et all) is that whilst living in India who can say whatever you like and being a democracy we will always support it but atleast state facts!
    You conveniently ignore anything positve done by India and the mayhem caused by terrorists.

    You forget the autonomy given by India, you forget that Indians from other parts cannot buy property or settle in Kashmir, You ignored the elections, you forget so many positive actions taken by govt to engage Kashmiris politically(recent one being sending 3 interlocuters), you forget the army men are suspended and even removed if found guilty of excesses(the claim is supported by Human rights commission of India), you choose to ignore that not everyone wants azadi, you forget the terrorists sent from across the border, you forget the plight of kashmiri Pandits, you forget these bigots and seperatists like gilani support terrorists. How naiive can you be ??

    Let there be no doubt as long the terrorists come from across the border, there will be army in Kashmir. Let Pakistan start first by removing terrorist infrastructure then we can talk, starting from Kashmir they have occupied! Recommend

  • Zeta

    @Zalim Singh:
    LOL! Bringing the shia-sunni sufi card? Losing already?
    Care to bring forth your claim that most Kashmiris are shia?Recommend

  • Indian

    Indian ‘nationalism’: Why Kashmir won’t move on
    This is why:
    Porn terror documents outline Mumbai-style attack plans
    http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3374538.ece?homepage=trueRecommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    @Mumbai Dude:
    >Firstly this author works in an Indian newspaper outside Kashmir, so how is able to earn money if non-Kashmiri Indians are so bigoted towards Kashmiri Indians?

    I am trying hard not to sound racist, but being a Hyderabadi, I have learned never to try reason with a Hyderabadi muslim. They are the sort that used to celebrate Pak cricketing victories over India by taunting their Hindu neighbours even till early 90′s.Recommend

  • Rajeev nidumolu

    These are undeniable facts
    1)Indian army was involved in false encounters.
    2)Innocent Kashmiri civilians were killed
    India’s Supreme Court today came up with notice to Indian army to prosecute indian army officers ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-17904313) accused of killing seven people in Pathribal village in 2000.Supreme court denied any immunity to Army officers in staged encounters in Kashmir.
    The insurgency in Kashmir is confined to Kashmir valley which occupies 7% of land area and is home to 80% of sunni population . Shia Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus from Ladakh and Jammu region are against Kashmiri independence or secession.
    Having said that India as a largest democracy needs to set human rights record and punish the guilty . India will not allow a Kashmiri theocratic state and no country in the world can influence Indian decision . Pakistan has failed to reverse status quo in the past 60 years . It lost the “war of thousand cuts” which has backfired on it in causing the rise of extremism which is putting Pakistani state in danger of collapse
    Armies are not suitable to fight insurgency wars . It does not matter whether it is US, Pakistan or India . Employment of armies in insurgencies results in gross human right violations Recommend

  • Aafreen

    @shadan:
    Why don’t you stand with your fellow country men on the border and say the same line infront of the entire world ? you will defiantly get an instant response.
    The conversion of Hindus has been tried by many of the forces from entire world invading India, check the history (do not refer Pakistani version of history plse) but this has not been possible till date successfully and won’t take place ever since a hindu is borne hindu and any kind of forced conversion does not really change its religion.Recommend

  • http://Mumbai Mumbai Salsa

    @Hashmi: Have you heard of Balochistan freedom struggle and Sindh Liberation army ? also did you know you had more territory then you presently have…hint…..Bangladesh……….So what does your current state and your past loss say to you ?……You should worry about your existence rather than wishing India should cease to exist. Recommend

  • T

    @Tony Singh:
    What a foolish statement.. The “Azad” Kashmir in Pakistan does not mean it is Azad of kashmiris. It means it is “Azad” of forced Indian occupation. There are no atrocities on kashmiris over there and they can move about freely. That is what “Azad” means. Recommend

  • Ganesh

    @Maaz: On what basis Kashmir should be independent or merge with pakistan?India has 180 million muslims living across length and breadth if the country and is secular state!!If Kashmir should not be with India just because it is muslim state,then what about 180 million muslims of India?Will pak take those muslims?Kashmir is lagging behind just because of Nehru’s foolish policy of Artiucle-370 where non Kashmiris are not allowed to purchase land in Kashmir!!India is a secular country and as such there should not be any place reserved only for Hindus,Muslims or Christians!!Recommend

  • Asma Choudhry

    The Indian theory makers are busy crafting new narratives and their own brands regarding “Indian secularism” but indeed within it is cloaked the iron hand of Indian security forces which knows no bounds and no epigram we call human civilization…it makes everybody weep at the plight of Kashmiri women at the hands of these Indians………http://kashmirvoice.org/?p=683Recommend

  • Asma Choudhry

    [Kashmiri women are being harrassed and they are suffering worst-ever human rights abuses at the hands of Indian security forces bent upon stifling the voices of freedom in Kashmir......http://kashmirvoice.org/?p=6831

    [1]: http://Kashmiri women are being harrassed and they are suffering worst-ever human rights abuses at the hands of Indian security forces bent upon stifling the voices of freedom in Kashmir……http://kashmirvoice.org/?p=683Recommend

  • amlendu

    You are wrong about at least one thing. There is at least one Bollywood movie which shows Indian army men firing on unarmed Kahmiris. In fact movie “Shaurya” was made on the story depicting the struggle of a Military lawyer to get an army officer convicted on the charge of atrocities on innocent Kashmiris including fake encounters. In another movie “Main Hoon Na” an army officer has been shown to kill innocent people and then claim that they were intruders.
    So please get your facts corrected first.Recommend

  • Lynley

    @Kashmiri-American:
    I feel like you about the question of giving autonomy and more authority and decision-making at the local provincial level…. rather than diktat, supported by force (- and then atrocities and resistance and an endless running internal divided war-like situation-). from the centre. What prevents this are the assets of a place and the amassed power at the centre which is accumulated to ward off outsider aggression for the assets of a nation- state…. but can be turned at the drop of a hat against the very citizens that elect Govt for the running of those weighty matters which they assume are too weighty and complicated or secret and murky for the ” ordinary” citizens comprehension or input or solution. So the citizen is supposed to get on with competitively and economically earning his bread, solving his own internal problems within a clannish set-up of relationships and traditional observances and being a useful member of productive civil society,
    It is my belief that ” religion” per se attempts to free and liberate ” the masses” citizenry, every individual…. but is perverted to control, become an excuse for unethical , strident, inflammatory rhetoric, soap box grandstanding, and partisan biased. band-wagon ,”leadership”…. which is supposed to be ironed out once they come to power by rational parliamentary discussion and debate… but then they are committed, or they ” rat” or are bribed and succomb to the vagaries and perks of power-play.
    The solution- give civil society its own forums to create equilibrium and balance… like avaaz@avaaz … which has seen spectacular growth of numbers and influence through free electronic voting.. and build up the “tails” side of the coin to balance the ” heads” power-play and games in the external global arena as well as the internal arena. Islam does elaborate further than most it seems- on the vexed question of rights and responsibilities and is an inspiration for some AND unfortunately another source of pride… that I know best and follow best and therefore am entitled to perogative over and beyond others as NOT the ” best Nation” or best at appreciating the ” Blessings and Rights of the Other” but the best at dictating to and lording over others- deciding and ordering their affairs beliefs hopes and expectations etc.
    I think it is sad when people give up hope of self-autonomy and think they have to knuckle down to impositions that are without moral authority and indeed which keep them craven and down denying their own self-worth. But there is the other side to this – the criminal element within citizenry… just as there is in the layers of GOVT. Our hope is for an interplay that is open and informative and useful- to understanding, progress peace and compassionate social. well being- on all fronts.Recommend

  • Tony Singh

    @T:
    Your comment shows the “depth” of your understanding.Recommend

  • WhiteJack

    @BlackJack:
    You also deserve award for admitting that India has its own blunders in Kashmir. We don’t have enough military to support Palestinians, Libyans, Syrians, and Sudanese as we are facing a very volatile situation within Pakistan. One more award for your creativity & abilities to link different situations & draw self created results. Now sticking to article; author is correct that definition of nationalism in India is completely different from rest of the world and you proved it. This article is related to problems faced by Kashmiri ppl due to Indian military presence in Kashmir. It’s not about Pakistan wants Kashmir as its integral part or India will not give Kashmir.Recommend

  • T

    @Tony Singh:
    Thank you. So did yours :)Recommend

  • Faysal

    ET is swamped by Indians. Don’t they have any quality newspaper of their own??Recommend

  • amlendu

    @Saadut:
    Budhism was started in 6th Century BC by Gautam Buddha in Magadh and kosala region (Now eastern UP and Bihar). It got to Kashmir in around 3rd centuray BC. Before that Kashmiris followed what is called Vedic religion (Which is now called hinduism). So the correct cronology will be that Kashmir was Hindu, it became buddhist in 3rd century BC and then again Hindu when Buddhism declined all over India (Budhism was a big force all over India between 4th century BC and 5th century AD). So in that way Kashmir was in no way different than rest of India. Similary some part of India converted to Islam between 13th and 15th century. Recommend

  • http://eyebrowofreasondaily.blogspot.com/ Chris Dsouza

    Mr Jehangir needs to retrospect on fundamental issues in Kashmir fiasco. don’t forget, it was after the Soviet war, the notorious Pakistani intelligence shifted its gear and directed the self-created high voltage monsters of Jihad towards Kashmir. Their only agenda was, that Kashmir was the land of the pure, and infidels have to be chased out, and as a result we saw mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from their homelands and had to seek shelter elsewhere.

    Mr Jehangir, would have received my votes, if he could explain me the idea behind Gillani’s Islamic state of Kashmir? I don’t get it. whether non Muslims can be part of that empire?? I don’t think so. Recommend

  • Indy

    This article is rubbish. Eloquent, hyperventilating, hyperbolic rubbish! LOL
    The one dimensional narrative out of Pakistani champions of Kashmiris is usually quite amusing.
    Do you people think the Indian soldiers in Kashmir (who BTW think of Kashmir as a crap posting and don’t want to be there at all!) just go around with their guns shooting and raping who ever crosses their path ?? And your precious Kashmiris are just sitting innocently waiting for the “big bad” Indian soldier to kill them and abuse them ? Please peddle this tripe to people more naïve!
    Nobody in India thinks of the soldiers and officers serving in Kashmir as “saints” who can do no wrong, that is a perversely distorted representation of Indian popular outlook that is convenient for Pakistani pseudo-intellectuals to peddle. Unfortunately, the Indian understanding of the conflict in Kashmir is FAR MORE nuanced; most Indians realize that there have been abuses in Kashmir but also realize that the Kashmiris are not innocent either in creating the current environment that exists in the Kashmir valley. Demanding “justice” and clinging to the comfort of victimhood are two different things. India has prosecuted dozens of soldiers found to have misbehaved or used disproportionate force yet today due to the propaganda and the paranoid victimhood of Kashmiris, every death and every crime in Kashmir is attributed to “soldiers”.
    Some Kashmiri woman has an affair and gets pregnant – her first recourse is to claim rape by “soldiers” causing a huge uproar replete with stone throwing, flag burning and calls for jehad etc. Finally when the police test for DNA and exonerate the soldiers, the Islamists claim a “cover-up” and a conspiracy!
    When foolish Kashmiris youth filled with mob bravado set fire to security posts and then decide that it’s a good idea to storm a military camp what do you think the result would be except ending in bloodshed? Indian soldiers have families too and aren’t about to sacrifice themselves to some semi-literate Kashmiri “youth” drunk on false bravado and Islamic nationalism. Neither is an Indian soldier going to risk his life, the lives of his colleges so that people who openly hate him and his brethren and his country can use his death as a trophy for their ideology. These dead thugs called “youths” become “martyrs” for being stupid enough to try and storm a military camp armed with stones and their “death” become a statistic for “separatists” about Indian soldiers killing “unarmed youths”.
    Now this is not to say that there haven’t been Indian soldiers who have killed civilians as revenge for the deaths of their comrades or used ketchup to get medals but these incidents have been few are far between compared to what the anti-Indian propaganda would have people believe. And if keeping abuses secret was a motivation, India would not have allowed foreign NGOs, journalists or even disclose the various incidents that have taken place in Kashmir by its officers. Recommend

  • shiva

    I don’t know why the great Islamic Republic of Pakistan has not used Islamic (nuclear) bomb on Kafirs of India (Muslims included) and snatch KRecommend

  • Ranjit

    While I am as much a nationalistic Indian as anyone else, I think we Indians need to introspect about Kashmir……clearly the military aspect of the fight has been won…….but our victory is incomplete without winning over the population to our side……..the author is complaining about atrocities, not asking for merger with Pakistan……..

    So let’s all think about how to take the next steps and win over kashmiri people towards India……..sustained democracy is obviously the best way forward……..softening the intrusiveness of the army is feasible as well…….let the army and paramilitary focus on the LOC and the border…….it doesn’t have to be in people’s faces and in remote villages………corporate India can ramp up hiring of kashmiris to give them careers……….young idle kashmiri men can be hired into CRPF and police forces to b used elsewhere in the country, so that hey interact with other Indians while having jobs……..

    Most important thing is for us to use kind and soft words…….we want kashmiris to be our citizens…….let’s be welcoming and forget the past……..tell them that we care about their suffering, its not something that we like doing but we are forced into……..there is a need to turn around the narrative and build a permanent bond with Kashmiris that will last forever…….Recommend

  • Anurag Singh (@anuragiiith)

    @Rehman:
    If Kashmir is Gaza then we are ready to free it. Just take all arabs from our side and send all jews from your side. :)Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Indian Army has committed atrocities. Yes. Should India give up Kashmir? Absolutely not.

    Why? Democracy.

    You might ask what kind of a Democracy doesn’t allow a set of people to go their way. You are absolutely right. Confusing? It always is.

    In a Democracy, the only sure-shot way of getting your word across is through elections. So, no matter how many rallies you hold, how many stones you pelt, how many figures of atrocities you flout, all boils down to votes.

    In the panchanyat elections held in 2010, 80% of the people of J&K voted to exercise their Constitutional right. They did not elect someone who wanted “freedom” from India, but one of their own who promised to provide them basic necessities.

    Omar Abdullah the present Chief Minister of J&K didn’t come to power by rigging the elections, people voted him to power. He doesn’t want separation from India, but gets angry whenever there is any hint of atrocity by the Army.

    In all fairness, I should also point out that the people who want Independence from both India and Pakistan, did not participate in the elections. But, whose fault is that?

    India has always asked all groups to participate in the elections to voice their concerns. It is the Islamist tendency to not trust any system which is not suited to their own myopic worldview which prevents them from participating. At least thats the theory. They might not be participating because ,quite frankly, they might be scared of losing.

    Some will try to obfuscate the topic by bringing the UNSC resolutions, but fail to mention the clause that asks Pakistan to vacate the areas it took over, before it asks India to hold a plebiscite.

    I am in no way denying wrongs have been committed. But, I will never, no knowledgable Indian will, agree to an unconstitutional approach to a very important Indian issue. At the same time I too do not support any aggression against my own peoples in any part of India, not just in Kashmir. Recommend

  • Tony Singh

    @Faysal:
    When half the articles published in the Pakistani newspapers are about India, then expect Indians to be here.
    Perhaps the author should study the dynamics of how the communities interact before writing the article. All multiethnic societies whether developed, developing or underdeveloped have undercurrent of tensions. And a few nations/leaders are ready to exploit these. Example is the so called “Arab Spring”. Another is Norway killings. India is much more multicultural and multiethnic than any other nation. Some tensions are bound to be here too. Look at Pakistan itself. A few crackers in Sindh have brought out the underlying tensions between Sindhis and Punajabis (you can read the comments following that article). Given this India has done remarkably well.Recommend

  • observer

    @Zeta

    Hah! the author is an Indian muslim. What a slap on arm-chair-pseudo-intellectual indian comment posters.

    Correct. Now recall the fate of a Pakistani Muslim journalist called Saleem Shahzad and tell me which one would you like to be?Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Not that I’m complaining, but it’s remarkable how ET has such an extensive following from the Indian side.

    I’m always wary of these bleeding heart articles on the suffering of Kashmiris, as they are often associated with the same old subtext of, “Let’s support the Kashmiri rebels against India!”, something that ultimately behoves neither the rebels nor India.

    On the other hand, Indians too need to stop beating the drums of jingoism and acknowledge that their armies are committing acts in Kashmir that are less-than-humane. There can be no peaceful settlement as long we’re in a vicious cycle of each country justifying its own stupidity by the stupidity of the other.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Anoop,

    If you’re certain that the Kashmiris, by large, don’t want freedom from India, then the idea of a plebiscite, as originally proposed by the UN, shouldn’t be a bad idea. Put your confidence to the test!

    Unless, of course, your approach to the Kashmir problem is the same as my approach to my weight problem: never step on the weighing scale and hang on to the pleasant assumption that “all is well”.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Faraz Talat
    Have there been some atrocities? Ofcourse. But are they disproportionate to what you would expect in any other part of the world where there is armed insurgency going one? I don’t think so.1 If anything Indian army is held much more accountable than Pak army. In SWAT there were 1.5 million IDPs. The army helicopters were bombing their own citizens. As for Operation Searchlight, we should not even go there. Indian armed forces have NEVER bombed their own people. If you see the picture also, the policeman has a danda in his hand. Then go and see pictures of Lyari and you can see te diffrence.

    In the current situation muddied by over 15 years of Pak supported jihad, you are correct that the results of a plebiscite are unpredictable. It is to be noted that an option many Kashmiris want (Azaadi) is not on the menu of option in the UN resolution. UN resolution only provides merger with India or Pakistan. But prior to 1989 when Pak started pushing jihadis, I think the holdup in the plebiscite was the fact that Pakistan was unwilling to have its military vacate the part it occupied. It only wanted plebiscite in the part where India currently is. Pakistan has also not prevented people from other parts of Pakistan settling in PoK – another source of distortion.

    But you must be aware that both in 1948 and 1965 it is the local peole who informed the Indian government about Pakistani encroachment. Surely they would not have done that if they saw the Pak army as liberators?Recommend

  • Rajeev nidumolu

    @ Faysal
    “ET is swamped by Indians. Don’t they have any quality newspaper of their own??”

    Compared to number of internet savvy Indians there are not enough quality newspapers. Hence they have to get into all the newspapers in the world including Pakistani ones.
    They are also contributing to third track of Indo-Pak Dialogue by contesting shibboleths of Pakistani studies :)Recommend

  • Critical

    @Faraz Talat:

    If you read the UN Plebiscite,it states that in order to conduct the Plebiscite,Pakistan army should leave Kashmir and there should be minimum army from India
    Please read neutral sources and correct me if i’m wrong

    However,Pakistan army refused to cede the territory and in turn,Nehru refused for a plebiscite….

    So,if Pakistan is so confident that Kashmiris will join Pakistan due to their ummah…Why dont they leave POK and allow the plebiscite to take place??Recommend

  • Super Star

    Its funny that some persons here are Still living the pipe dream of Kashmir seperating from India and joining Pakistan. A state which most people in the world believe as a Wahabbi funded, extremist and failed state,A state which itself is torturing and excommunicating its own citizens based on religion – Ahmadis, Shias, Christians and minority Hindus, a state where most of the dreaded terrorists responsible for extremist killings are found and of course a state which is itself struggling to keep vital parts of its own territory under its control like Balochistan, FATA is more concerned about including more regions under its fold. Its so ironical the regions who had previously acceded to Pakistan like Gilgit Baltistan are now repenting their decision. Pakistanis should come out of this dream of Kashmiri secession from India which is only in the minds of some Wahabbi zealots. Try getting your own house in order for a changeRecommend

  • http://India vasan

    Lynley : “rational practical ozies and kiwis”. I suggest you ask the aborigines, mauris etc about this. Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    After reading many comments, I conclude that Indians are not denying the crimes committed by Indian army in Kashmir and slowly and surely are willing to question and prosecute the criminals in the Army, Will Pakistan do the same about the jihadis and the part of the army with the jihadi mentality. No pakistani ever admits the jihadi attrocities and neither they want to withdraw that. Many of them proudly boasts of converting India into a muslim country.
    You have no business to do that nor you can.
    Come on mad guys, let us live in peace. U worship whomever u want and we worship our own gods. It is this religious bigotry and force that makes the world hate pakistan.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Critical,

    Kashmir probably won’t join the ‘ummah’. It will more likely go for independence. By the way, I’m a Kashmiri myself, so you can stop talking to me like I’m a random Pakistani jingoist.

    It’s a valid point that Pakistan’s refusal to withdraw has aggravated the problem, and I certainly wish they’d comply. But is India itself willing to hold a plebiscite? It had already held elections affirming Kashmir’s status as a state of India, and has been reflexively scowling at the very idea of a plebiscite ever since.

    And what of the theory (which seems likely judging by India’s transgressions in the past), that Pakistan’s complete withdrawal of support would result in an unopposed wave of aggression by the Indian forces, and once all major dissenting voices have been snuffed out, would then gladly agree to a plebiscite!

    Frankly, I don’t give a darn which side Kashmiris go for, if any. I just want the violence to end. I know Pakistan’s intervention has worsened matters, but India too could’ve handled the problem with a lot more gravitas.Recommend

  • Sane

    Ultimate destiny of Kashmir is LIBERTY. No matter how much time passes. More atrocities against Kashmiris …… sooner to liberate.Recommend

  • geeko

    @Tony Singh:

    at least in India. Indians have not made kashmir “azad” of Kashmiris! Think about it.

    What do you even mean lol ? “Azad” refers to the freedom from the oppressive Indian rule who’s heroics are witness on daily basis. In that way, we do feel “Azad” from the Indian Leviathan, and peoples in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltisan are amongst the most patriotic piy there, if you measure patriotism by looking at the Army’s demographics, my own family gave to Pakistan high-ranked officers – don’t think that any oppressed people would join the Army en masse, as this institution is the metaphor of the territorial integrity of a State.Recommend

  • abhi

    @sane
    you don’t know meaning of liberty.Recommend

  • Tony Singh

    @geeko:
    Then why do you set up polling booths in Karachi for the people of GB to elect their local govts? Has GB become part of Sindh? The reality you Punjabis have thrown the ethnic communities out of all provinces and have repressed them with the help your Army.Recommend

  • Nasav

    @vasan:

    Read all comments again & read carefully this time. Although Indians finally realized that Indian army did wrong in Kashmir. But don’t link these jihadis things with Pakistan & try to understand the dynamics of the situation instead of drawing conclusions. If someone invades in your house, destroys your stuff, beat the sh** out of you & exploit your females in front of you; then what will you do. Will you remain silent or will you try to mess with that invader. The problem here is when one kashmiri does something like this then you Indians say he is jihadi as he is Muslim. If someone else does this; then you say he did this in self defense. If something happen to you then do you expect Pakistanis will come to help you? Never, and same is the case with Kashmiris. Pakistanis don’t have enough troops to do charity work in whole world. We couldn’t achieve peace until now because of such dual standards. Even though, it has nothing to do with religion. Recommend

  • geeko

    @Tony Singh:

    The reality you Punjabis have thrown the ethnic communities out of all provinces and have repressed them with the help your Army.

    Are you high ? Wouldn’t there have been local mass movements if “the” Punjabis were responsible of – literally – ethnic cleansing ? Instead ethnic cleansing happened in Jammu, Poonch specifically, when the Dogra Army carried out attacks on the Muslims in order to change its demographics (ever heard of this rhetoric ’bout the Kashmiri Pandits, right ?)
    We don’t feel suppressed by the virtual bogeyman called “Punjabis” contrarily to the idea that you’d love to entertain.
    I already said that in terms of administration the autonomy promised is not guaranteed, but in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan no one speaks about breaking up from Pakistan because there are no human rights violation. Recommend

  • Sane

    @abhi
    Yes, I still need to learn the meaning of ‘Liberty’ and will learn when your remaining part shall liberate rather turn into pieces.Recommend

  • Critical

    @Faraz Talat:
    Hello Faraz
    I’m not sure which part of Kashmir are you??Indian or Pakistani side,though I feel you’re from the Indian side…

    Honestly,90% of Indians wouldnt have cared if Kashmir had been a part of Pakistan during 1947…But after 3 wars and continous bleeding of resources by these terrorist attacks and army spending…There has been more attachment towards Kashmir than before…

    My father was deployed in Kashmir(Srinagar and Leh) during late 1970s..and he still remembers the hospitality shown by Kashmiris towards Indian army..In fact,till 1989,(strangely coinciding with the breakup of USSR),most of the Kashmiris preferred Indian occupation than under Pakistani occupation..I dont think you cannot deny that..

    But after 1989,there was a sudden rise of mujahideens who started violence in the valley and were driving out the Pandits..It was only after that the AFSPA was imposed on Kashmir in 1990…

    I’m just curious that why there are protests for freedom only from the Indian side,not from POK??Does that mean that Kashmiris want freedom from Indians and merge with pakistan,not total freedom as you’re asking for??

    By the way,the protests are headed by a muslim fascist called Geelani whose thinking is similar to Taliban…So you feel that you will be better under a Talibani system than under Indian constitution??

    If the separatists have so much majority as you speak,ask them to stand in elections..Let them capture the power in Kashmir and then they can fight for Kashmiri freedom through democratic means…

    I agree that not all army men are gentlemen,but I feel that the AFPSA will be revoked once there is peace in kashmir…Once peace is established,we can discuss about the independence of Kashmir…Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    @Faraz Talat:

    Lets talk first thing first – Plebiscite.

    My friends above have already pointed to what the UN says. If you follow the UN, Pakistan has to withdraw first, which is ruled out and hence, India is not obligated to hold a plebiscite.

    You ask India to voluntarily hold a plebiscite. You do understand India is governed by a strong Constitution, don’t you? The Constitution provides avenues to voice your opinion through elections, not a plebiscite. You might not think much of the Indian Constitution, thats understandable, but we do.

    India is not a saint, its job is to protect its and its people’s interests. As long as free and fair elections are held in Kashmir and people of Kashmir get a fair deal to pick the representative of their choosing, I’ve no problem at all, so should you not bother.

    And, FYI, a separatist has contested in the elections with disastrous results. I will let Pakistan’s own newspaper talk about it.

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20095\17\story17-5-2009pg7_37

    “Sajjad Ghani Lone, Indian-held Kashmir’s (IHK) first separatist leader to contest Indian elections since a revolt broke out in the region two decades ago, lost polls, results showed on Saturday. The vote was part of India’s general election, won nationally by the ruling Congress-led alliance. Lone, who opposes Indian rule in IHK and defied a long-standing separatist policy of boycotting elections, said he wanted to take Kashmir’s ‘freedom’ struggle to parliament in New Delhi.”

    You might be a Kashmiri or not one, but certainly you are in the minority. Do you have a counter suggestion? Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    @Faraz Talat:
    Farazbhai, your views are balanced, cogent and rational. I am an Indian belonging to minority community and agree that Kashmir is a victim not just of Politics but also the disease of communalism. Both India and Pakistan have played petty games there and are equally responsible for death and destruction.
    Kashmir problem as I see it will never be solved till the non state actors and strategic assets of the Pakistani Establishment are neutralized – India may not do it but the global community will at some point intervene. On one side a belligerent Pakistan which is financially bankrupt and high on Ghairat, on the other side in India a vibrant democracy is being highjacked by rogues, looters and plunderers.
    What a fantastic outcome it would be if tourism booms in Kashmir and its people are free to travel, live, holiday and earn their bread anywhere in the subcontinent without a visa – truly a global citizenship. If wishes were horses, the world would be flat.
    Inshallah, the Divine Grace will find a solution ! Recommend

  • abhi

    @geeko
    I hope you have knowledge about killing of shias in gilgit area! if not please search it.
    @sane
    you showed how sane you are!Recommend

  • stenson

    @Omar: Why don’t you ask the majority of Kashmiris to stop wanting to secede from India? If you were truly Kashmiri, you would know that the vast majority of Kashmiris don’t want to be with India. I don’t care whether India is doing well or not. I don’t know to be with India any more than I want to be with Sri Lanka or Bhutan. Whether you want to admit it or not there are some Kashmiris who are Indian stooges just like there are some Palestians who like Israeli rule in West Bank. The majority is what should matter and a free vote will show that.Recommend

  • Sane

    @abhi
    You being personal does not mean anything to me. People do this when they do not have any answer. India has a history of small kingdoms and only Muslims conquered almost all and ruled on all of them. This is hard fact, whether you accept or not. History can be repeated as its repeats as natural course.Recommend

  • Amlendu

    @Sane:
    Dude, this is the problem with the history taught in Pakistan, where world starts in 7th century after advent of Islam and Indian history starts after invasion of Bin Kasim. Try to read the history of ancient India when there was no Islam or Christianity. In 3rd century BC, after Alxander was gone, Chandragupt Maurya created the biggest empire in Indian subcontinent which spread from kandhar and bactria in west to Dhaka in east and from Kashmir in North to northern Tamil country in south. This empire was much bigger than any empire created by any Muslim ruler in India (Including Khilji, Akbar and Aurangzeb). Ashok, Chandrgupta’s grandson won Kalinga and made it even bigger. There is no pan Indian empire comparable to Ashoka’s empire comparable in history where there were no kings in the empire only paying tributes to the central ruler as was case in big parts of Akbar’s and Aurangzeb’s empires. Ashoka’s and Chandrgupta’s empires were ruled by governers directly appointed by the emperor and they had a fairly effective administrative system. Go read Arthashatra by Vishnugupta and Indica by Megasthenese, if you need more details.
    Even pre Mauryan empire of Magadh, ruled by Nanda’s, was much bigger than Akbar’s empire.Recommend

  • Press colony,srinagar

    @ayesha khan
    Yes there is a realisation in the valley that bieng with india is the best way out of the economic future of the country e.g the tourism sector that I work in will die without tourist from other states.Also our elders remind us of the time kashmir was peaceful and well-off before militancy began.Pakistan is increasingly bieng viewed as a villan in the region as all people including the muslim community realises from where the militants come from.
    Also,all indian readers must realise that we people in the valley both remaining pandits and muslims also have contributed to the nation all are not anti-india.It hurts when our contributions arent recognised in kargil kashmiri troops,dogras,ladakhis everyone fought against pakistan.Having said that we must address local grievances and punish those troops who’ve commited crimes in the state with severity.
    @geeko
    Balochistan is your territory,appreciate your nationalism but if ever kashmir becomes a part of pakistan and if jammuites or ladakhis or shias revolt wont the get the same treatment as balochs human rights should be upheld everywhere not only in disputed territories but olso integral territoriesRecommend

  • gt

    @chacha:

    Chachaji, you are correct in some ways, but like many in Pakistan, you fall into the trap of oversimplifying the Kashmir issue. Your mind identifies Kashmir with the Kashmir Valley, and with parts of Jammu like Doda, Poonch, and areas of the Pir Panjal, all of which enjoy a Sunni majority. There are other areas that have Gujjar Muslims, Shias, Baltis, Hazaras etc. as well as Buddhists, and other groups for whom the issues are different and framed in ways that might be difficult for you to accept.

    Also, try to understand that your frame of reference begins with 1947, while for many Indians, especially Hindus and Sikhs, there are multiple time frames that are relevant to the “Kashmir” problem. There were FOUR outmigrations of Kashmir pandits in the last 120 years [just to include enough range] from the Valley proper, each of which had its own reasons. Each of these cast their shadow today. Beyond that, their is past history which is very much alive and is very relevant in the issue of legitimacy and who is a son of the soil and who is not. Where you claim “Kashmir” try to think, on what basis? Others, too, might have different perspectives. Pakistan, and the Islamic world in general, is ruled by a sort of truculent petulance that only its point of view is worthy of consideration, and all others must be necessarily wrong. When someone begins from this platform, there cannot ever be any movement.

    Please visit Kashmir and ask why the great Hindu shrines stand damaged and desecrated. Please try to put yourself in the shoes of a Hindu or a Sikh, and try to imagine the issues of legitimacy from their eyes. This is a very important point. Without being able to understand their universe, we shall merely be re-stating entrenched positions. It is difficult to explain the degree of fury. loathing and contempt the sort of truculent petulance that is trotted out in pakistan re: Kashmir and Pakistan’s claims.

    Please try to understand the place of kashmir in the spiritual universe of the Sanatana Dharma, i.e. Hinduism and Buddhism. It is alarming that today Pakistan has not a single serious scholar of Indic religions, and especially not in the Army! There is absolutely no idea of what Kashmir means, and what is the nature of the trauma inflicted in the course of its history. Without this deep comprehension, there is no serious basis for dialogue. Dialogue means communication across a gap or chasm. When there is no interest in the other party to bridge this chasm, there can be no dialogue.

    Another example would be the persistent failure of the Palestinians to seriously understand what Jerusalem represents to the Jews. It is as if someone fails to understand the relevance of Mecca and Medina to Muslims, and shifts the burden of understanding to Muslims in a profound dispute regarding these two sites. Tell me what would happen? Muslims do not regard anyone else to be human except themselves. This flawed perception is at the root of their problems. Perhaps it will take greater and greater pain and violence to teach them to respect others.

    We may need to disregard SUNNI Muslims completely until they learn to respect others as much as they respect themselves. Those are also lessons from Kashmir. The present Indian government will get a rude awakening owing to its soft treatment of the Kashmir situation. It has no idea of the pent-up anger and the mobilization potential this has achieved among a huge swath of ordinary Indians. What you see and understand about India is so far removed from reality that it is impossible to convince you from your own mythmaking. That is why Pakistan is breaking down– it is unable to face reality.Recommend

  • Ashk

    Dear Jehangir ,

    Why no response on various comments here . i would expect you rebut them if you are confident on your versions :

    a) Yes there are mistakes made by some rouge elements in government . Yes there have been atrocities comitted on people . And yes Govt and Army should not be condoned for that .

    b) But Mr Jehangir potraying army and govt as sadist who are trigger happy and get pleasure doing what has happened . do you see any role of our good friends across the border or not everybody else in innocent .

    c) yes i think you seem to be one of those of who thinks Kashmiri Hindus moved on their own will and that to was Govt of India plan and Muslims brothers in Valley had no role in it .

    Its unfortunate that elements like you potray giving balanced views but unfortunately don’t .

    if you have any credibility do answer these questions and clear your name.

    we need truth and reconcillation but not only one sided if we have to move forward .Recommend

  • Ashish

    It seems that the author has a special crush on Indian films and it also is evident that he must have seen “Sholay” many times where Amitabh Bacchan had a coin with only head on both side. The author has chosen the same coin and has shown only one side of the story .what about the Kashmiri pandits ? Is the army just firing the bullets ? What about the other social work they r doing there during bad weather ? What about Pandits ? Why the problem took an ugly turn only after 1989 ? What is the role of Pakistan in all this chaos ? What if India starts raising Balochistan issue and minorities issue of Pakistan on world forum ?Recommend

  • Lynley

    From what I hear from the mouths of Azad Kashmiris themselves, they are satisfied with both the level of peacefulness and poverty alleviation- education and living standards- within their province.
    But re the matter of India raising any questions within International forums- with respect to Pakistan’s treatment of religious/ethnic minorities they should do whatever they think fit… ie better if the Countries keep a restraining check on each others follies rather than egg each other on to any further excesses!
    One thing I am concerned about- both sides boast they WILL do more about solar energy for the lighting if not the enlightenment of their masses….but looking at the track record and the slow pace of progress I suspect the indifferent” strong man” rule at the ” centre” simply loves all the tax revenue they can raise…. and siphon off to themselves… by keeping a strong grip over energy production means, distribution and profits… they won’t let solar power run freely over their lands since it may give the people too much liberty and prosperity. Too many creative reformative ideas and a stronger voice. There is a ” mindset” -an unfortunate residue of feudalism in both and besides- sexism and chauvinism and holier than thou with respect to others….an unfortunate caste system that says keep those importunate craven ugly raggedy wretches- all those powerless impoverished down-at heel specimens, firmly down under your heel!Recommend

  • A simple observation

    Indians claim Pakistan is a failed state and the Kashmir dispute is settled. Yet then hordes of them spend every waking moment on a Pakistani website, trolling. Sheesh guys. You can do a better job of hiding your Pakistan obsession!

    Get a hobby, Anups, Gurdev, Rajs and Ashmits of ET. Please find your own websites and kindly leave our comment section to our people alone. Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Fahim:
    Even Muslim minorities like Shias, Ahmadis don’t feel safe in Pakistan. If Pakistanis ever get Kashmir, they will do the same thing to Kashmiris, like what they did to East Pakistanis (killed millions) and what they are doing to Balochistan.

    Pakistanis try very hard to cause tensions between Indian Muslims and Hindus. ISI trained/sponsored 10 terrorists (Kasab et al) and attacked Bombay on 26/11 and killed 40 Indian Muslims and 130 non-Muslims from 12 different countries. Paki terrorists pretended to be Hindus, same thing they do in Kashmir.

    See following video an Indian Muslim telling Musharaf, that Pakistan should mind its own business.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP9JCusfje0Recommend

  • Sid

    You are never gonna get it. No liberal, no modernist, no Hindu, no Muslim, no atheist, no leftist, no rightist, no centrist, not one indian is going to give it to you.

    200,000 Pandits live in different states in india. Their is pain in their eyes, the same kind of pain that YOU see in the eyes of today’s kashmiris. We want Kashmir to be a successful land, and progress economically. You want justice!! Keep your dogs out.

    India will NOT allow the creation of another “nation state” on the grounds of religion. One hell hole is enough!Recommend

  • Sid

    @Saadut: Your knowledge of histroy is very ‘convinient’. Buddhism (a religion i like cause it preaches peace) came from Hinduism. So before there were Buddhists in Kashmir, there were Hindus my friend.

    I think the tougher bullet for you to bite would be this: You, yourself are a descendent of a Hindu. Your fore fathers were invaded, bullied, butchered. And now you’ve inherited the tribal mentality of you invaders. 1200 years of mental degradation. From being tolerant, you’ve gone to My way or the highway !!Recommend

  • Vikram

    @sick of this nonsense:
    Pakistanis really want peaceful soultions. Is that why Pakistanis kill each other in the mosques, fumerals and markets. It is matter of time before Pakistani mullahs will go after Pakistani minorities like Ahmadis, Shias, Christians, Hindus and make them choose between life and Sunni Islaam.

    Pakistan is terrorizing Balochis the same way it terrorized and murdered 3 million people in Bangladesh.

    Kashmir was owned by a Maharajah who decided to become a part of India, case closed. Pakistan is behind all problems in Kashmir as well as Afghanistans. .In Bombay 26/11 terrorist attacks Pakistanis killed 40 Indian Muslims and 130 non_Muslims from 12 countries. Pakistani terrorists pretended to be Hindus.

    Watch the following video and see how Muslims see Pakistanis.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP9JCusfje0Recommend

  • Umar raafe

    Yes, it is an undeniable fact that both india and pak played their roles to bring kashmir to brink of destruction and desolation, but what now needs to be done is let the people of the land have their say. I am a kashmiri, and i dont want either india or pak decide my fate. You both indians and pakis, u have had ur chances and now let a kashmiri decide how he wants to mould his future. We r tired of ur bloody politics…….please leave us alone….Recommend

  • History does not lie

    @Aafreen: “The conversion of Hindus has been tried by many of the forces from entire world invading India, check the history”

    Most Pakistanis carry Hindu DNA from their Hindu ancestors who were forced to convert to islam. Arabs know this and call Pakistanis Maskeen. Arabs consider Pakistanis Hindu converts and do not allow arab women to marry Pakistani men.Recommend

  • Lynley

    Just read Umar Riaf’s laconic message… India and Pak, you had your chance, now leave us alone… to decide for ourselves…. and DO sympathize greatly with this… who wants competitive destruction wrecked in the name of possession?

    Have always thought that if India and Pakistan could find it in their hearts to jointly declare their pledge to give open-handed upfront cooperative security to this State of ” disputed” Kashmir they would not only do Kashmiris a great service but themselves an indisputably large favour… as a magnificent pay off for managing to finally do ” the right thing”!
    There is only one way to go for success… it appears that failure is the favoured stamping ground of both the illiterate uncouth who can’t think straight and the twisted cynical degenerates…. who can only vacuously manage crooked…. for further deformities and insults to any nascent brotherhood based on rational scientific truth, the expansive give and take and checks of mature reflective introspective reformative conscience, and the development of any faith in ” the other” as a valid entity that might…. GIVEN genuine altruistic nurture…. deliver future manifold blessings back. I pray for a new generation that scorns the derangement of continual self-defeating backstabbing, manipulative slander, war profiteering and environmental and social down spiral. Give us a new heart and mind… to
    what? Rise like eagles? Build a nest in the wilderness? Where has virtue fled? Has no one the confident wise handsome charisma- carissimo to cast off what should be seen as equally untouchable and haram and chart the only way forward? And noone from ” the other side” the guts to shake hands on any bargain that will tender genuine lasting rewards?Recommend