August 20, 2008

Find the fibre

On the road in the US northwest as I am, it's been hard to keep up with all the Indian writing I'd like to keep up with. But over this past weekend, I read two articles in particular: Swaminathan Aiyar's Independence Day for Kashmir, and Vir Sanghvi's Think the Unthinkable.

Not that it makes me particularly pleased or anything, but just over a year ago, I won first prize in a contest run by the estimable Indian National Interest blog, the theme of the contest being "Jammu and Kashmir: Solve". The essay I submitted suggested just the kind of thing Aiyar and Sanghvi do. You can read it here.

We think we are a proud, self-confident country, we in today's India. When will that India find the fibre to address Kashmir as it must?


The Tobacconist said...

I've been reading about the crisis in Kashmir and it has left me feeling the same way Aiyar and Sanghvi do. I believe as a country we have come a long way and the entire Kashmir issue is getting to be a drag. I sincerely hoped we would be able to "win hearts and minds" over the last decade. I think too much time has passed now. We shouldn't get caught up in the same mire that Israel is. We as a country have more pressing needs and if the people of Kashmir feel more secure with self-rule or with our neighbors to the west, they should have every right to secede.

On a side note, I remember arguing with a relative in the army as to why we just don't hold a plebiscite and he said something about the strategic importance of Kashmir when it comes to defending the Indian plains. I have no expertise in matters of defense and wonder if this is one of the reasons we are hanging on so dearly to the valley.

In any case, I find the politics in Kashmir tiring and as one of the authors put it, definitely 20th century. Let them have their plebiscite. It is time we took care of those who have bought into the idea of India as a secular and progressive nation.

Anonymous said...

last trip you had bad cellphone reception and said you didnt have five bars. Now you are talking about lack of fibres, Eat fig bars and cereal. Good source of fibres!

Other than that I can only tell you what a local PO-Kashmiri (or A-Kashmiri) said. People outside that region dont know much about the place or what happens there. So others cannot say much about what people there should do.

Anonymous said...

Who wants to keep Kashmir Vally in India? Surprisingly it's our SECULAR liberal establishment!!. I fail to understand why keeping Muslim majority Kashmir Vally in India is essential for India's secularism.Why would it result in disintegration of India?.
Kashmir is an Indian State in name only as under Article 370 it has Special status unlike all other states in India and all the Laws passed by Indian Parliament are not applicable in J & K.
Reason Secularists want to keep Kashmir with India is to perpetuate the myth that Muslim majority state/Political party in India is Secular.If Kashmir Valley succeeds,than Political parties like BJP cant be called communal for championing Hindu cause.
BJP would hate to loose any more territory from it's great "Akhand Bharatvarsh". So everyone is caught up in it's Political rhetoric and cant afford to advocate " Loosing Kashmir" electorally.---PK

Anonymous said...

Let them have their plebiscite.

True -but the UN declaration clearly discovered that invaders in 1947 - 48 were Pakistani armymen and stated that they had to vacate before a plebiscite was held. This was never done and yet we are talking of a plebiscite.

It is time we took care of those who have bought into the idea of India as a secular and progressive nation.
First take care of those who want to be integrated to India -
Kashmiri Pandits, Jammu residents and Ladakhis and not all the while think of only those who want to secede and have ethnically cleansed the valley.
First let us remove our secular blinkers and think of a real solution.
How about the Saffron brigade's trifurcation solution? Is it not thinking out of the box
As Dilip has rightly pointed out, we removed our socialist blinkers and liberated the economy. Why do we not remove our secular blinkers and come up with a similar solution for J & K.

Anonymous said...

I am a Kashmiri Muslim woman. PLEASE my Hindu brothers, do not abandon us. We too are human beings!

India is our best bet and if you let Kashmir go, we will be treated as third rate citizens. We do not want to be buried to our hips in football fields and have our men throw rocks at us and kill us for their entertainment.

I have begged Christians and Hindus and Sikhs to save us, but Christians in India are unsympathetic to us and support Sharia ruled countries. Christians in the West are more understanding but they cannot do anything, but Hindus and Sikhs need to help us out.


Anonymous said...

Pity Dilip, tobacconist and others have not yet responded to my idea.
Loved to have continued this debate, but alas nobody has taken it up.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Nikhil, speaking for myself, these days I'm not always able to respond to comments promptly, in between travelling and keeping up with my writing. So please don't imagine you're being ignored.

First thing about trifurcation: as I recall, LK Advani as Home Minister disagreed with the idea. (OK, with some digging, I found this link). So I don't believe it is being proposed by the "saffron brigade".

But that's just a detail. Personally I think it's an idea that must be explored with every other idea. There's a case for examining why Jammu and Ladakh should be lumped together with Kashmir. Why was it done historically, and why does it persist? Who sees merit in it in the regions concerned? Who does not?

Tobacconist, I don't know about defence matters either. But surely there are other areas that can and will become strategically important?

Dilip D'Souza said...

By the way Nikhil, one more thing: please note that I explicitly mentioned in my article the UN resolution and its precondition that Pakistan withdraw forces.