Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kashmir history 2__indo pakistan Stand on kashmir

IndoPakistan -Stand on Kashmir

The leaders of India and Pakistan were desperate to acquire Kashmir to strengthen their

respective visions of nationhood. India’s Jawaharlal Nehru, the secularist, wanted to

demonstrate that a Muslim population could coexist with the Hindu majority; Mohammad Ali

Jinnah, the Muslim nationalist, insisted that

3 The Sikh regime banned the adhan (the Islamic call for prayer) and the gathering on Friday. It was also a law if a Sikh killed a native

he had only to pay a paltry ransom of Rs. 16.00. Of this, onefourth

would go to the family of the deceased if the deceased was a Hindu and


if he was a Muslim, and the remaining amount would go to the state exchequer. See more details in G. M. D. Sufi, Islamic Culture

in Kashmir (New Delhi: Light and Life Publishers, 1979), pp. 284294.

Pakistan would be incomplete without the Muslim enclave. Thus, the real problem is that

Kashmir is not merely a territorial dispute but is deeply intertwined in the domestic politics

and ideologies of India and Pakistan. With the passage of time, public opinion in India and

Pakistan has grown to look upon Kashmir as a part of their countries and no leader can

contemplate a compromise without risking his or her political career. However, the claim over

Kashmir goes to the heart of the identities of India and Pakistan. India demanded Kashmir

on the ground that its ruler had been a Hindu and that it is a part of India’s territorial entity.

For India, Kashmir is symbolic of secular nationalism and statebuilding.

If Kashmir was

allowed to secede to Pakistan because of its Muslimmajority

population, Indian leaders

doubted whether the idea and practice of secularism could survive. Indian’s Prime Minister

Jawaharlal Nehru asserted:

India without Kashmir would cease to occupy a pivotal position on the political map of

Central Asia. Its northern frontiers...are connected with important three countries,

Afghanistan, the USSR and China. Thus, strategically, Kashmir is vital to the security of

India; it has been so since the dawn of history.4

Nehru accepted that Kashmir was a "disputed territory" and until peace was restored in the

state, a plebiscite would not be possible. However, after Nehru’s death, India insisted that

Kashmir was an integral part of India and therefore not negotiable. Krishna Menon, the Indian

Defence Minister, explained why India refused to carry out a plebiscite: "Because we would

lose it. The Muslims of Kashmir will never cast a vote in favour of India and it will affect the

unity of India; and no Indian government responsible for agreeing to the plebiscite would

survive."5 Similar sentiments were expressed by Sardar Patel, the Deputy Prime Minister of

India: "Appeasement of Muslims promoted the assassination of Gandhi...what will happen if

we weaken over Kashmir or if a plebiscite is decided against us and one million Hindus are

driven out? Not only the assassination of Nehru, but also reprisal against Muslims in India."6

Many Indians view a concession on Kashmir as a compromise to India’s concept of

the secularism which might have repercussions for separatist forces and Muslims in other

parts of the country. Thus, India changed Nehru’s concept of Indian identity and in 1966

Indira Gandhi (the daughter of Nehru) explained India’s policy, saying that:

"Initially India agreed and indeed suggested a plebiscite at the time, but on condition

that the State was first cleared of the invader [Pakistan] and peace restored…Since this basic

condition was never fulfilled by Pakistan, there could be

4 Jawaharlal Nehru, Independence and After (New Delhi: Government of India Publication Division, 1949), p. 95.

5 A. B. Tourtellot, "Kashmir: Dilemma of a People Adrift," Saturday Review, 6 March 1965.

6 C. Michael Brecher, The Struggle for Kashmir (London: Oxford University Press, 1952), p. 54.

no question of a plebiscite…Any plebiscite today would by definition amount to questioning

the integrity of India. It would raise the question of secession…We cannot and will not

tolerate a second partition of India on religious grounds. It would destroy the very basis of the

Indian State."7

According to Somini Sengupta, Kashmir has been essential to the Indian national project from

the beginning: "to lose Kashmir to Pakistan would be to lose its mantle as a secular, multiethnic

democracy."8 Indian right wing scholar, Abemanu Singh Ranawat, explained that

"many Indians think something would be diminished in our lives if Kashmir does not stay

with India."9 India, which has had to battle many separatist movements, has never stopped

worrying about its "territorial integrity" if the only Muslimmajority

state was allowed

to secede. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Atal Behari Vajpayee (former Prime Minister

of India) warned Pakistan that "if Pakistan is asking for four million Kashmiri Muslims, it

should be ready to receive 120 million Indian Muslims in case Kashmir secedes from

India."10 Thus, from the Indian perspective, ever since partition, India has been in the grip of

violent separatist movements such as the Muslims of Kashmir demanding liberation, and the

Sikhs of Punjab fighting for an independent "Khalistan." Similarly, the Hindu Assamese,

Christian Nagas, Mizos and Gharo tribes of the northeast

of India are virtually demanding

separation from New Delhi’s rule. Moreover, Indian elites are sensitive that the problems of


and national integration remain complex and it is difficult to defend India’s

territorial integrity. They believe that militant insurgent movements within India have

destroyed the nation’s unity, challenged the government’s legitimacy and damaged the

process of ‘Indianisation.’11 Indians perceive that Pakistan is not reconciled to the Indian

union and its demand for selfdetermination

for Kashmir is intended to damage the foundation

of Indian polity. For India, Kashmir is a core issue because no Indian government is willing to

allow any part of its territory and its people to be alienated from the Indian Republic on the

basis of religion and language.12 This development would reduce the territorial size of

India and would also make it a geographically fragmented political entity. Thus, Kashmir is

the key to holding Indian integration because once Kashmiris are allowed to secede, then

7 Alexander Rose, "Paradise Lost: The Ordeal of Kashmir,"The National Interest (Winter 1999/2000), p. 94.

8 Somini Sengupta, "Struggle for Kashmir is Fueled by Clashing National Narratives," The New York Times (13 January 2002).

9 Interview with Indian scholar, Abemanu Singh Ranawat, during his academic visit to the University of Hull (UK) on 22 August 2001.

10 BJP continues to reject the Nehruite "salad bowl" philosophy where all creeds assimilate into a newly invented Indian identity that glories

in, and legally protects, their diversity. BJP demands that these discriminatory legal and political protections (such as Kashmir’s

exemptions provided for in Section 370 of the constitution, as well as the promise of a plebiscite) be dismantled for the sake of the Hinduist

"melting pot." See Alexander Rose, "Paradise Lost: The Ordeal of Kashmir," p. 95; and The Hindu, 18 July 1990.

11 Barry Buzan and Gowher Rizvi (ed.)., South Asian Insecurity and the Great Powers (London: Macmillan, 1986), p.40; see also Louis

Dumont, Religion, Politics and History in India (The Hague: Mouton, 1970), p. 32; "The Emergence of Modern ‘Hinduism’ as a Concept and

as an Institution: A Reappraisal with Special Reference to South India", In Gunther D. Sontheimer and Hermann Kulke, Hinduism

Reconsidered (New Delhi: Manohar, 1989),pp. 2949.

12 J. N. Dixit, Across Borders: Fifty Years of India’s Foreign Policy (New Delhi: Picus Books, 1998), p. 247.

India’s "Balkanisation" will be uncontrollable. Moreover, Indians also perceive that

abandonment of Kashmir would mean reducing the external line of defence close to New

Delhi and exposing it to direct enemy strikes within minutes.

Pakistan also has powerful arguments to support its claims on Kashmir because it is vital to its

economy and to the maintenance of its national identity. For Pakistan, its neighbour’s claim

over what is India’s only Muslim majority state is the object of moral outrage. Pakistan’s

reason for being was to create a homeland where the subcontinent’s Muslims could live free

and prosper, not under the thumb of Hindudominated

India. As Liaquat Ali Khan, the

Pakistani Prime Minister, claimed:

"Kashmir is very important, it is vital to Pakistan’s security. Kashmir, as you will see from the

map, is like a cap on the head of Pakistan. If I allow India to have this cap on our head, then I

am always at the mercy of India…The very position, the strategic position of Kashmir, is

such that without it Pakistan cannot defend herself against an unscrupulous government that

might come in India".13

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is more adjacent to Pakistan than to India. Kashmir not only

has an overwhelming Muslim majority area, but is also territorially contiguous to

Pakistan, with its river and natural lines of communication linking with

Pakistan; historically, culturally, religiously and economically it is closer to Pakistan than

India. Strategic considerations, too, link Kashmir with Pakistan. Moreover, Kashmir is

symbolic of Pakistan’s Islamic nationalism and it feels a moral obligation to keep the issue

before the international community and support the oppressed Muslims in

Kashmir. This is the core of the conflict and all else is peripheral. For many Pakistanis,

Kashmir has challenged the selfimage

and identity of Pakistan and it is the main source of

conflict between India and Pakistan. President Ayub Khan explained the matter, saying:

"Kashmir is keeping the two countries apart and unless this is settled we shall remain apart.

So long as we remain apart, the solution of other problems stands in danger of being

nullified."14 For many Pakistanis, to reconcile themselves to Indian occupation of

strategically contiguous Kashmir would appear to deny the validity of the twonation


and might even set a precedent for the regionalists within Pakistan.

Kashmir had always been part of the Pakistan concept the

letter "K" in Pakistan, stood for

Kashmir.15 As Pakistan’s Minister for Kashmir Affairs remarked in 1951: "Kashmir is an

article of faith with Pakistan and not merely a piece of land

13 M. Gopal, "Considerations of Defense," Caravan (New Delhi: February 1967), p. 67; and see David E. Lilienthal, "Another Korea in the

Making?" Collier’s (New York: 4 August 1951), p. 57.

14 Sisir Gupta, Kashmir: A Study in IndiaPakistan

Relations (Bombay: Asia Publishers, 1966), p. 439.

15 The name of "PAKISTAN" was created by Cambridge student Chudhuary Rahmat Ali in 1936. It was coined as an acronyn, representing

the component states: P (Punjab) A (AfghanNorth

West Frontier Region) K (Kashmir) S (Sindh) TAN (Baluchistan).

or source of rivers."16 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, also

declared in 1964, "Kashmir must be liberated if Pakistan is to have its full meaning."17

Moreover, geographically and economically, the state is surrounded on all sides

by Pakistan. Its only access to the outside world by an allweather

road lay through the

Jhelum Valley road which runs through Pakistan via Rawalpindi. The only rail line

connecting Jammu with the outside world lay through Sialkot. Its postal and telegraphic

services operated through areas that were certain to fall in the Dominion of Pakistan.

Moreover, Kashmir was dependent for all its imported supplies like salt, sugar, petrol and

other essential commodities of life on their safe and continued transit through areas that

would form part of Pakistan. Further, the tourist transit traffic revenue was easily accessible

through Rawalpindi. According to P. N. Dhar, "The timber of Kashmir floats down the

Jhelum and the Kishenganga right up to the Jhelum depot in Pakistan where it is disposed

of."18 At the same time, as Dhar explained, "Pakistan’s economy depends on Kashmir’s

forests for its railway and civilian requirements on account of the inadequacy of its own forest

resources."19 Similarly, Sir William Barton has pointed out: "Pakistan has no coal or

major infrastructure of industries; it has to develop military and economic projects and for this

purpose it must build up industries on a large scale. Thus, in the absence of an adequate

coal supply, the only course is to develop power from hydroelectric

installations; for these it

must depend largely on the rivers of Kashmir."20 Moreover, Kashmir’s rivers are

important to Pakistan because the agricultural prosperity of Pakistan is entirely dependent

upon the canal system which serves an area of about 19 million acres. This system is based

upon the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab Rivers which enter Pakistan from Kashmir.

Thus, Pakistan’s ambition is also territorial, and is reinforced by a deeply held sense of

injustice. Mountbatten and his judicial minions conspired to give India access to Jammu and

Kashmir. India’s military presence in Kashmir stretches Pakistan’s dangerously large defence

parameters, and cuts it off from the source of its lifeline of rivers. India annexed Kashmir by

force in 1947 and the UN Security Council called for a ceasefire

and plebiscite. Pakistan’s

stand had been that Maharaja Hari Singh was required to accede to India or Pakistan before

15 August 1947, under the Independence Act of 1947. Since he did not accede to India or

16 Kuldip Nayar, "Kashmir: ReReading

Its Past in order to Profer a Practicable Solution," The Round Table (1992), p. 305.

17 Somini Sengupta, "Struggle for Kashmir is Fueled by Clashing National Narratives," The New York Times (13 January 2002).

18 Timber is Kashmir’s most important export commodity and in 194647

as much as 7,490,000 cft. of it was exported via the Chanab and

Jhelum Rivers, bringing to the State exchequer a revenue of Rs. 87, 47,000. See P. N. Dhar, "The Kashmir Problem: Political and Economic

Background," India Quarterly, New Delhi (AprilJune

1951), p. 160.

19 Ibid.

20 William Barton, "Kashmir and its Economic and Political Value for Pakistan," India Quarterly (AprilJune

1951), p. 156.

Pakistan before that date, it was not only the paramountcy of the British Crown that ended the

notorious Amritsar Treaty (1846) also lapsed and became null and void. In the circumstances,

the Maharaja lost all rights over the people of Jammu and Kashmir and they became free to

decide whether to join Pakistan or India. According to Gowher Rizvi, India’s claim to

Kashmir is dubious, hollow, fallacious and confused. It made little sense for India to claim

Kashmir because India had not only accepted the principle of partition in 1947 but also

pressed for a logical extension of that principle by dividing the Punjab and Bengal.

India’s claim, a year later in 1948, that its ideology of secularism was at stake in case it

relinquished the possession of the predominantly Muslim territory, is difficult to comprehend.

Furthermore, its claim to Kashmir’s accession by a treaty stands invalid.21 It is also a fact,

that Mountbatten had blundered in accepting the request for accession when he himself had

presided over the rejection of a similar request by the State of Junagadh; and even if such

accession was valid, it was conditional upon a plebiscite which never took place. In a very

real sense, Pakistan’s security and integrity is linked to Kashmir. India’s claim that Kashmir is

an integral part of it is challenged by Pakistan, which claims that Kashmir was neither part of

India nor even under British rule. Thus, it should not be surprising that Kashmir continues to

represent the unfinished agenda of partition and after the debacle of East Pakistan, getting

Kashmir back cannot but restore Pakistani respect and pride.

No comments:

Post a Comment