On Kashmir and what they want

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This is in reply to an email thanking me for supporting Kashmir’s struggle for freedom. Let me get this right. I am NOT supporting Kashmir’s struggle for freedom. I think its a stupid idea. I believe that Kashmir is being brainwashed for an evil political agenda. However, I accept that my opinion is irrelevant. I am supporting their right to make their own decisions – however stupid, because I am a citizen of a democratic India.

Frankly, I think India should hold a plebiscite. And yes, I am Indian and Hindu too. Let Kashmir, Jammu, Ladakh decide their own futures.

What do I imagine will happen? Jammu and Ladakh are happy where they are. Azad Kashmir is already Azad, and it will merge with Indian Kashmir creating another Afghanistan for Pakistan. I don’t doubt that Kashmiris have no intention of letting it happen, but with Pakistan, dissent is not an option.

I don’t see much of a difference whether it is Pakistan or freedom. With Pakistan as a country nearing collapse, bent on its obsession with India, there is a possibility for nuclear war, with Kashmir the landlocked sitting duck between three nuclear powers.

I think it is extremely unwise for Kashmir to separate from India at this stage, but I accept that it is likely never going to be wise, so if you want your freedom, one day or the other, you are going to jump into the fire.

If I were Kashmiri, I’d be using the umbrella of India’s protection to cooperate, negotiate and get rights, peace and development with minimal risk to my people. For all the ‘genocide’ claimed in Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China have far greater deaths per day from Islamist conflict. And make no mistake, a free Kashmir will be Islamist or will be forced into it inch by inch like Pakistan. Not because of your values, but because there is no way you can fight the Taliban when you have radical leaders yourself. You already have plans for an Islamic state. It hasn’t made people happy in many countries.

I hear that Kashmir has always hated India. That is not so. Kashmir was absolutely fine with India other than the great Indian complaint – corrupt governance and political dissent. The government, corrupt or not was Kashmiri. Its not like freedom is going to change all that. Separatists have dissent among them too.

Whether in India or outside it, you guys are going to have to work your way through all that.

On the other hand, the biggest problem with India is human rights abuses. You have attention for that. This can be worked with. Fixed. If more people are able to attempt a solid governance, you will have leaders dedicated to the welfare of Kashmir that you can elect who can take much stronger stands against abuses as well as for good governance and development.

However, all this said, I strongly believe that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, however ghastly. If Kashmir wants independence, India should withdraw forces and leave them alone on the condition that we aren’t made a yo-yo of. As in, once we are out, we are out. Then no more money and protection and whatever – just treat it like any other independent country. Not because we hate Kashmir, but it hurts to be hated when you care. The Indian population shouldn’t be subjected to this further. It hurts that Kashmiris didn’t grab the opportunities for freedom Pakistan created for them in 1965 and again in 1999, choosing instead to let Indian soldiers die to protect them from capture (like 1948) and then promptly forgetting those sacrifices the countless rescues and humanitarian work, the protection from militants (though I now doubt if anyone wants the militants killed)… to focus on the abuses that happen, and instead of working with the country to stop them, you choose to call the country evil. This hurts. If Kashmir becomes free, it must not expect India to bail it out of any problems in the future.

The soldiers were wrong, but that doesn’t make what you do right.

I care that you guys find joy, but I am sick and tired of looking the villain because I’d like you to stay with us.

One curiosity: Why didn’t Kashmir choose to fight for its freedom when Pakistan attacked with the express purpose of supporting your ‘freedom struggle’? Why warn soldiers, when you could easily have joined the invaders and recaptured your homeland? Obviously, there is no dearth of people among you who are willing to brave bullets for your freedom. So why did you stay?

Frankly, I think India should hold a plebiscite. And yes, I am Indian and Hindu too. Let Kashmir, Jammu, Ladakh decide their own futures.

What do I imagine will happen? Jammu and Ladakh are happy where they are. Azad Kashmir is already Azad, and it will merge with Indian Kashmir creating another Afghanistan for Pakistan. I don’t doubt that Kashmiris have no intention of letting it happen, but with Pakistan, dissent is not an option.

I don’t see much of a difference whether it is Pakistan or freedom. With Pakistan as a country nearing collapse, bent on its obsession with India, there is a possibility for nuclear war, with Kashmir the landlocked sitting duck between three nuclear powers.

I think it is extremely unwise for Kashmir to separate from India at this stage, but I accept that it is likely never going to be wise, so if you want your freedom, one day or the other, you are going to jump into the fire.

If I were Kashmiri, I’d be using the umbrella of India’s protection to cooperate, negotiate and get rights, peace and development with minimal risk to my people. For all the ‘genocide’ claimed in Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China have far greater deaths per day from Islamist conflict. And make no mistake, a free Kashmir will be Islamist or will be forced into it inch by inch like Pakistan. Not because of your values, but because there is no way you can fight the Taliban when you have radical leaders yourself. You already have plans for an Islamic state. It hasn’t made people happy in many countries.

I hear that Kashmir has always hated India. That is not so. Kashmir was absolutely fine with India other than the great Indian complaint – corrupt governance and political dissent. The government, corrupt or not was Kashmiri. Its not like freedom is going to change all that. Separatists have dissent among them too.

Whether in India or outside it, you guys are going to have to work your way through all that.

On the other hand, the biggest problem with India is human rights abuses. You have attention for that. This can be worked with. Fixed. If more people are able to attempt a solid governance, you will have leaders dedicated to the welfare of Kashmir that you can elect who can take much stronger stands against abuses as well as for good governance and development.

However, all this said, I strongly believe that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, however ghastly. If Kashmir wants independence, India should withdraw forces and leave them alone on the condition that we aren’t made a yo-yo of. As in, once we are out, we are out. Then no more money and protection and whatever – just treat it like any other independent country.

Not because we hate Kashmir, but it hurts to be hated when you care. The Indian population shouldn’t be subjected to this further. It hurts that Kashmiris didn’t grab the opportunities for freedom Pakistan created for them in 1965 and again in 1999, choosing instead to let Indian soldiers die to protect them from capture (like 1948) and then promptly forgetting those sacrifices the countless rescues and humanitarian work, the protection from militants (though I now doubt if anyone wants the militants killed)… to focus on the abuses that happen, and instead of working with the country to stop them, you choose to call the country evil. This hurts. If Kashmir becomes free, it must not expect India to bail it out of any problems in the future.

The soldiers were wrong, but that doesn’t make what you do right.

I care that you guys find joy, but I am sick and tired of looking the villain because I’d like you to stay with us.

One curiosity: Why didn’t Kashmir choose to fight for its freedom when Pakistan attacked with the express purpose of supporting your ‘freedom struggle’? Why warn soldiers, when you could easily have joined the invaders and recaptured your homeland? Obviously, there is no dearth of people among you who are willing to brave bullets for your freedom. So why did you stay?

To indians:
The Army General is right. Forces can control militancy, but they can’t solve people’s problems, and the political leadership has no interest in resolving the issue, or they are unable.

If it seemed like a solution was around the corner, it made sense to hold on to Kashmir while we worked at a solution. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have any solutions. How many generations do we expect to keep in limbo while we sit on our hands and ignore the elephant in the room?

Sure, the Kashmiri Pandits suffered. We didn’t do anything then. We haven’t created a situation where they can return home. It isn’t like we are going to be able to create it in the future either from what we know so far.

Is there a point hanging on to history and trying to reverse everything to a time where we felt in control? Time moves on. Perhaps India should too.

Not saying this is just. But just solutions don’t seem to be in sight, and what is happening is far more unjust. Personally, I don’t see the point in holding on to a land when the people are not ours. Just hold the damn plebiscite for the three regions – Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and let the regions go the paths they choose once and for all.

There was hope after the all parties visit, but we have squandered that as well by simply ignoring the issues that burned and going back to canned offerings – jobs, development, etc. The investigations that should have happened at top speed are dragging their feet – THAT was the real hope. If we could prove that a Kashmiri is as Indian as an Indian and deserves the same justice. Unfortunately, we don’t think that, do we? We just want them to remain with us believing that.

This thing is only going to get a lot worse. And with Pakistan nearing collapse, it will get really bad. Sure, Kashmir will suffer, but a suffering that they are fighting for the right to go through. Who knows, perhaps it could bring calm? Or perhaps not, but at least it won’t be either India’s problem, or a problem blamed on India.

We need to respect their freedom of stupidity. Everyone has the right to make their own mistakes.

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About the Author

Vidyut
Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

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