BY now everybody must be tired of Kashmir and would like to get some peace and respite, howsoever, temporary. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh attempts for providing a healing touch to Kashmiris has failed to cut ice among the hardliners like the Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelini. He thinks the Prime Minister’s speech is “old rhetoric”. As he put it: “There is no change in our stand. We want nothing less than freedom”. Well, it is time now to state our own stand quite clearly and unambiguously. We have to tell the Hurriyat, Pakistan, the United States and the whole world that Kashmir remains-and will always remain-part of India and will have to be stuck off all agendas in the future.
And if Pakistan wants to provoke India across the borders it had better be told to watch out. The patience of the Indian public is wearing thin. Judging from our so-called liberal press and the writings of our pseudo-intellectuals, it is we who are always in the wrong. More than Pakistanis, we, Indians are the ones who feed the jihadis by our breast-beating. We must tell the Kashmiris that if they want anything at any level, they must take back the over four lakh Kashmiri Pandits who were driven out of their ancient homes by Kashmiri Muslim fundamentalists. The Pundits are the original Kashmiris. They should be welcomed back with open arms, everyone of them, and adequately rehabilitated. Unless that is done to the last Pandit, Delhi must make it clear that there will be no talks with anyone, including the separatists. Our intellectuals make us feel that we are responsible for the joblessness of the Kashmiri young. Unemployment among the educated young is not a unique Kashmiri phenomenon. There are millions of unemployed youth throughout the length and breadth of the country but they don’t go to the streets and throw stones at the police. Thousands of them mostly from Bihar, Orissa and in the south from Kerala leave their hearths and homes to seek employment elsewhere. They don’t blame their governments.
The UPA Government must stop mollycoddling Kashmiris. Kashmir gets proportionately large economic assistance than any other state in India but Kashmiris don’t seem to have any sense of gratitude. Even within Jammu and Kashmir, we hear no complaints from the young in Jammu or Ladakh. Are we to presume that the young educated there are rolling in luxury with high paid jobs? The criminal activities indulged in by the young Kashmiri youth are underplayed by our irresponsible media. Who supplies them with stones-truckloads of them? Who urges them to break rules? By now they have nine police stations, eight government vehicles, one railway station, one train coach, two houses and thirteen government offices all destroyed. If the young had any sound reason to the upset, that should be presented at the Legislative Assembly, or else what is the Assembly for?
Do we have to remind Kashmiris that it is one of their own, 27-year old Shah Faisal who topped the Civil Service examination 2009 and has chosen to be an IAS officer. Two things India cannot-and should not-tolerate. One is violence and the other is communalism. Let this be clear: Delhi will never allow Kashmir to be an Islami State. India is secular and all its component states necessarily have to be secular. Leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani want Delhi to completely withdraw. “Occupational Forces” from Kashmir. There are no “Occupational forces” in Kashmir. There are Indian Army units sent to Kashmir to handle Pakistani jihadi forces from slyly entering the state. The day infiltration of Pakistanis into Kashmir is completely halted, those forces will be sent elsewhere. For the Army Kashmir is as much India as another state. Kashmiri youth must support the Army, not run it down. A distinguished Indian Islamic scholar, Maulana Wahid-ud-din Khan who has written a wise booklet entitled Peace in Kashmir deserves to be read and listened to. According to the Maulana, “in today’s context, Kashmir’s benefits lies not in independence or in joining Pakistan, but rather in being part of India”.
He remembered what he told two well educated Kashmiri Muslims who came to seek his guidance. He said to them: “If Kashmir separates from India, the independent state of Kashmir that would come into being or, if Kashmir joins Pakistan, the Pakistani province that would be formed, would be a destroyed or devastated Kashmir. The choice before Kashmir is not between Indian Kashmir and Pakistan Kashmir, but rather between Indian Kashmir and a destroyed Kashmir”. As for Indo-Pakistan relations, the Maulana said “the poisonous negativity” which seems to be the mindset of India and Pakistan need to be got rid of, to get on to a “win-win situation” Here one may differ from the learned Maulana. India accepted Pakistan and accepted the desire to the Maharajah of Kashmir Hari Singh to join India. No one in the Congress forced him to do so. The blame lies on MA Jinnah and Pakistan. It is Pakistan that started the war and it is Pakistan that is continuing to foment trouble in Kashmir. Maulana Wahid-ud-din’s advice to Kashmiris is simply this: “The Kashmiri Muslim must recognise not out of compulsion, but rather willingly that Fate has decided for them to be a part of India and that they have no option but to gladly accept this decision. There is nothing at all wrong with this”.
Under such circumstances it would be foolish on the part of India to enter into discussions with Kashmiri separatists or with Pakistan. If any talks are to be held, it would be for Pakistan to return the territory it occupies now known as Pakistan Occupied Territory (PoK) back to India which is its rightful owner. And let Pakistan’s godfather, the United States, be informed of this in no uncertain terms. And let us stop mollycodding Kashmir youth.
Tell Kashmiri people to listen to what Maulana Wahid-ud-din Khan has to say. This is, in a way, his final advice: “If the Kashmiri Muslims want to make their movement a truly Islamic one, the first thing they must do is to completely renounce violence… the continuing violent movement in Kashmir can serve absolutely no positive purpose at all for the Kashmiri Muslims themselves. They must admit that the launching of their geurilla war was wrong from the very first day itself. To admit their mistake is the first step they must take and they must desist from heaping the blame for whatever has happened on others”. Meanwhile, India must have nothing more to say to Pakistan, except to tell it to forget Kashmir. If they can’t accept this advice and plan to continue to attempt to destabilise India it must be told-as should its western patron-what to expect Sixty odd years is a long time for India to continue to suffer Pakistan’s intransigence.