By Umar Khalid Dar
The tragedy for the Kashmiri people started when the British after winning the Anglo-Sikh war of 1846 decided to sell the valley of Kashmir to Hindu Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu for mere 7.5 million Nanak Shahi rupees in order to reward him for his perfidy against his Sikh masters. State of Jammu and Kashmir thus created was an unholy alliance between the two foreign powers alien to the Kashmiris. The Muslims majority population of Kashmir had risen against the unjust rule of Hindu Maharaja many times.
The last nail in the coffin for the Muslim majority Kashmir was put in 1947 when the British rather than withdrawing in an organized manner, from the area they have plundered for nearly two hundred years, failed to provide a clear roadmap for dealing with the 565 princely states after their paramountcy had lapsed. Kashmir, one of the princely states, should have been part of Pakistan according to all principles of partition but British very thoughtfully planned and created the Kashmir conflict thus leaving a bleeding wound in the Sub-continent that would keep draining the two nation’s resources for coming years.
Only if the leadership of the two countries can realize that this problem has to be addressed otherwise both nations cannot take the rightful place in the world that both deserves. Leadership from both sides has to move away from their stated positions of “Attot Aung” and “Jugular Vein” and act like statesmen that this old dispute can be resolved. India being the bigger country needs to show bigger heart and be ready for readjustment of borders only then this problem will be resolved.
If boundary lines can be readjusted between India and Bangladesh then why it cannot be in Kashmir?
Indian leadership right from the twentieth century has shown inflexible attitude in listening to its minorities, may it be at the time of partition of Sub-continent or in the resolution of Kashmir dispute. Round table conferences, Cripps mission, Simla conference and cabinet mission all failed because of Indians trying to impose their will and rejecting the proposals by Muslim League. Their stubborn attitude did not get them anything and Pakistan was created anyway.
Same is the case now with Kashmir problem. Though it was India that took the matter to UN and it is she who had been rejecting every solution proposed by UN and its representatives.
The present leadership of India, both political and Military, are aggravating the problem rather than trying to resolve it. Since the BJP has come to power Kashmir is again witnessing the worst kind of human rights abuses.
Remarks from the Indian political leadership that they will “permanently resolve the Kashmir” issue by incorporating Kashmir into India are seen as a threat by Kashmiris and Pakistanis alike. India’s plan has failed so far; the BJP was unable to win any seat in Kashmir state “elections” and the resistance movement has gained momentum and has the support of all spectra of society.
The Indian Army too has unleashed its brutal force on innocent unarmed civilians. Unrelenting use of pellet guns has not abated that Indian Army Chief came under international condemnation on the act of awarding the Army Major with a commendation card that barbarically used a Kashmiri youth as a human shield by tying him in front of his jeep and paraded him for several hours. Human Rights Watch has declared that the Indian Army Chief has shown “criminal leadership” by condoning the illegal act.
In 1950, an Australian Judge Sir Owen Dixon, appointed by UN for negotiating Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, put forward a plan to redraw the boundaries of Kashmir on religious lines. He proposed the river Chinab as a natural border. That proposal must be analyzed with more details and negotiated further between the Pakistan and India and adopted. Any hitches, like that of a large wave of migration caused by the imposition of such a border and could trigger violence, could be removed.
Kashmir has seen a long period of unrest and witnessed killing and torture of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. The region has also seen three major wars with massive material and human losses on both sides. The resources that otherwise could have been used for development projects benefitting the people of both countries. People of the sub-continent deserve to unshackle themselves from the bleak past left by their previous manipulators. India must realize that people cannot be forced to be “patriotic” or stopped from loving another nation with whom they find more commons things.
With Pakistan and India becoming full member of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and China and Russia both showing willingness to negotiate the peace deal for Kashmir dispute, I wish that the leadership in both countries do not throw a monkey wrench in these peace negotiations and resolve the old dispute peacefully and according to the wishes of people of Kashmir. Let us give the people of Kashmir a chance to live in peace and tranquility.
—The Author is a free lance journalist based in the United Kingdom. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org