By Ashq Hussain
Recently I happened to visit Chandigarh where I met two Indians, one a high ranking police officer, the other a “politician”. It was a chance meeting with strangers. Finding me and my companions (my son and his friend) to be Kashmiris, their curiosity was roused. They, especially the “Politician”, wanted to know about what was going on in Kashmir.
We spent four days and nights together in a hospital ward. I found of them to be good people and felt at home in their company. They were educated. Yet they knew next to nothing about Kashmir Dispute. The only thing they believed was that Pakistan had forcibly occupied what they called P. O. K. and that Pakistan wanted to destroy India by instigating and funding cross-border terrorism. They revealed they had no idea where “POK” was and that they had never heard the names of Kashmir State territories like Gilgit and Baltistan so much so that I had to repeat these terms “Gilgit” and “Baltistan” number of times so they could pronounce them properly. Other people that I met during my stay also did not know anything about what was actually happening in Kashmir.
To the “Politician” and the police officer there was no such thing as Kashmir Dispute; that Kashmir was part of India; and that Kashmiris enjoyed being part of India. The only problem was Pakistan. Pakistan interfered in India’s internal affairs by instigating and funding religious zealots and mercenaries in Kashmir. The ongoing post-Burhan revolt was to them nothing but the handiwork of Pakistan sponsored trouble makers in which Kashmiris played little part.
When I told them that Kashmir was a disputed territory and that Kashmiris loved Pakistan and not India they were taken aback. And when the discussions came to the game of cricket I informed them that between India and Pakistan, Kashmiris wished to see Pakistan winning every game; and if any other country played against India, Kashmiris wanted that country to win; and if that third country played against Pakistan, Kashmiris liked Pakistan to win. In short, I made them understand that Kashmiris wanted India to be always a loser and Pakistan always a winner. The “Politician” was wonderstruck.
The “Politician” confessed that the people of India knew only those “facts” about Kashmir which the media chose to tell them and that he wanted to see things for himself by visiting Kashmir. But he firmly believed that Pakistan did not want peace and that Pakistan was a threat to India.
Now the question is: “Is Pakistan really a threat to India?” My contention is otherwise. In my opinion Pakistan is India’s bulwark in the north-west like the Himalayas are in the north in spite of so many wars they fought with India and in spite of supporting self-determination movement in Kashmir.
If in 1947 British India had not been partitioned the Indian Muslims would have looked upon Indian Self Rule as a Hindu possession, with themselves having little share in it. Hindu leaders in general suspected that after British withdrawal from the sub-continent India would have to face renewed Central Asian invasion. For a start, Afghanistan would denounce Durand Line as international boundary and demand retrocession of its old Provinces especially Peshawar, their winter capital since Timoor Shah’s ascension in 1773. They were sure that if Afghans invaded India they would find allies among local Muslims especially the martial races of north-west India who, they thought, wished to re-established Muslim rule in India. For this reason they wanted to set up a Mussalman buffer zone between Hindu India and Afghanistan. With this purpose in view Gandhi and Nehru forced Muslim League to demand a separate Muslim Homeland. Otherwise they were not anti-Muslim just as “Ghar-Wapsi”-people were anti-Islam. Lala Lajpat Rai had in 1924 communicated his fears about a north-western invasion to C. R. Das in these words: “I am not afraid of the seven crores of Mussalmans but I think the seven crores in Hindustan plus the armed hosts of Afghanistan, Central Asia, Arabia, Mesopotamia and Turkey will be irrestible.”
British on their part needed, after their own withdrawal from the sub-continent, a country and a people in the north-west of India that would willingly take on Communism and bar its entry into the sub-continent. Hence Pakistan. Pakistan remained part of Anglo-American block against the spread of Communism.
Since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan saved the world from Soviet terrorism in general and the Indian sub-continent in particular. If Pakistan had not taken on Soviet Union in Afghanistan during 1980s, no one could have stopped Soviet Army or at least Soviet ideology from entering into India.
As of now, it is Pakistan that serves as a bulwark for India against international jehadi elements like the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, ISIS, etc. Remove Pakistan Army and hordes and hordes of international jehadis would swarm the sub-continent – and wherever they go, there chaos prevails. Yes they were created by Pakistan in the first place, but Pakistan had created them, with US help, primarily to deal with Soviet Union not with India.
Instead of looking at Pakistan from this perspective New Delhi only looks at Pakistan’s arming Sikhs and Kashmiris and their sending a limited number of international jehadis into Kashmir conveniently forgetting their own arming East Bengal secessionists and their breach of promises on Kashmir. India’s interference in East Pakistan was intended at weakening a country that served as a bulwark to the sub-continent; while as Pakistan’s interference in Kashmir was/is intended at nudging India to come to the table on the K-word not to destroy India.
However, India has successfully hidden truth from the common man and instead poisoned his mind with anti-Pakistan propaganda.