Friday, August 17, 2007

The K Word

We celebrated our 60th year if Independance, both Indian and Pakistan. And, the news channels were quick on the uptake ... Featuring opinion polls and debates covering both sides of the border. Nice thing (we probably should have more of these, as these would at least increase the scope of the dialogue), but the fact is, logically, if there are two parties, and one party says that he has a problem with a particular thing, the other party has to accept that the thing in question is a problem, even if he doesnt believe so.

Thats a lot of words. Lets just simplify. If Pakistan believes that Kashmir is a problem, then no matter what we in India believe, Kashmir is a problem. Stands to logic ... Absence of problem is when both parties agree on something. Presence of problem is simply the negative of absence. By this logic, Kashmir is the issue.

Though, the fact is, Kashmir is mired in legacy. There is plenty of water flowed under the bridge. The chronology of events as I see them:

  • Pakistan believes Kashmir rightfully belongs to them (according to the two-nation theory), since princely states with Hindu majority populations acceded to India, even though they had Muslim rulers.
  • Pakistan forces the hand of the Maharaja, who is forced by the "tribal" invasion to turn to India to save Kashmir, and India obliges once the Maharaja signs the Instrument of Accession, which makes Kashmir a part of India.
  • UN resolution calling for international plebiscite in Kashmir. However, a pre-condition for this is that both Armies should move out of Kashmir, which hasnt happened, and I dont think would happen anytime soon.
  • Shimla Agreement declares that Kashmir is a bilateral issue, and the international community has no reason to delve into it.
  • Agra Summit is a much-anticipated turning point in relationships, but the turn of events from there on proves that this is basically a damp squib.
Bottomline? No solutiuon to a problem which is recognized as a critical issue. People are dying ... Their nationality or political affiliation doesnt matter. Where should we go? Forward! Can we let "bygones be bygones" and look forward to a shared future? Is that so difficult to do? Or, are we condemned to keep fighting, and debating and discussing things which wont lead us anywhere?

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