Talks will not solve Kashmir problem

Talks will not solve Kashmir problem

By Virendra Kapoor | 27 August, 2016
Secessionists shelter behind cries of autonomy for Kashmir.


Home Minister Rajnath Singh has gone and come back from Kashmir. There is no sign of a thaw in violence as yet. There is now talk of the Centre engaging all the relevant interlocutors in Kashmir to break the impasse. Surely, that too will soon come to pass. But to think that the 70-year-old problem can be resolved by the n-th round of talks with those claiming to represent “true Kashmiris” is to delude oneself. So long as Pakistani mischief remains unchecked, India will have to learn to live with what we call the Kashmir problem. Even those shouting slogans of azaadi in Srinagar will lose their tongues were Islamabad to withdraw its material and psychological support. That is the truth.

In any case, everyone pleading for a soft approach towards those shouting azaadi with Pakistani flags in hand ought to spell out what it means for Kashmiris. It cannot be that the azaadi-seekers want the Indian state to leave them alone to do their own thing, aside from managing for them foreign affairs, currency and defence. Neither Kashmiris nor their instigators in Islamabad have invested 70 years’ of pain and sacrifice for remaining under the Indian flag. Azaadi, whatever Mani Shankar Aiyar might want us to believe, means azaadi from India. Autonomy is a fig-leaf behind which Kashmiri secessionists shelter to camouflage the real intent of a total break from India. Period.

Such delusional politics had birthed the Kashmir problem in the first place. Its continuance can only worsen the situation. Under the special constitutional dispensation of Article 370 they already enjoy a good deal of autonomy. Loosening further the grip of India can only be an invitation to her enemies to grab Kashmir. Any suggestion that India should withdraw from all facets of policy-making other than defence, currency and foreign affairs, we reiterate, will prove a recipe for self-destruction. We might as well hand over Kashmir to Pakistan on a platter.

After mollycoddling secessionists and jihadis for 70 years, what is needed in Kashmir is greater integration with India, not less. The international community no longer roots for Pakistan even in the Kashmir dispute. In fact, it is not interested in Kashmir. Pakistan itself is beset with serious ethnic and terrorist challenges. America, its one-time chief backer, is continuing to pay a heavy price for Pakistan’s treachery and double-dealing in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Even China, the new-found all-weather friend of Pakistan for its own geopolitical interests, has indicated that it does not want to wade into the India-Pak dispute.

Besides, it is now acceptable for nations to aggressively defend their territorial sovereignty. India cannot be faulted for dealing most sternly with those who threaten to break its unity. Nobody should remain in doubt that the sanctity of our secular project is irretrievably linked to the integrity of Kashmir as a member of the Indian state.

Only the most squeamish will hesitate to concede that when all is said and done, Kashmir is a problem because those demanding azaadi are Wahhabis who identify closely with the dominant co-religionists across the border. Yes, shorn of the top coating, Kashmir at its root is a communal problem. Indeed, those who decry identity politics in the rest of India seem to gloss over when it is practised in a most virulent form in the valley. Lately, fundamentalist Islamists, as distinct from the usual Pakistan-leaning elements, too seem to have struck roots in Kashmir.

The point is that the government can go through the familiar round of talks with, to use the hackneyed phrase, all the stakeholders in Kashmir. But the result will be the same. A period of relative calm before the ISI instigates another round of mayhem. We have been there before, haven’t we? 

Meanwhile, since P. Chidambaram wants to restore the 1947 status in Kashmir and Mani Shankar Aiyar wants azaadi for the boys, the Home Minister should seek from the two gentlemen exact proposals in writing as to what their suggestions would mean in real terms. In both conditions, we are afraid, Kashmir will cease to be a part of India, it being gobbled up in one-piece by the Pakistani generals within hours of India granting full autonomy to Kashmiris. And we are not even asking PC why he did not restore the 1947 status when he was lording over North Block as a grand colossal. Talk is always cheap.


While still on Kashmir, how come hardly any notice is taken of the sorry plight of the security forces while reams of newsprint are expended on wailing about the plight of the stone-throwers and curfew-breakers? Though Kashmir has been on the front pages of most newspapers for nearly two months, not one report has brought out the extremely trying circumstances under which the security personnel operate. They stay cooped up in barracks, prohibited from stirring out for fear of grenade attacks or even ambush. Their living conditions too leave much to be desired. And while on duty, they constantly face danger of serious injury and even death when protesters throw grenades and stones or fling back tear gas shells. 

Could the wholly one-sided reportage in the English press be due to the fact that almost all rely on local Kashmiris as correspondents? If newspapers can post correspondents from Delhi in states like Assam and Odisha, why rely almost exclusively on Kashmiris to report on Kashmir? The fear factor should be overcome in the interest of fair reporting. 


Navjot Singh Sidhu believes that he is all set to become the next Chief Minister of Punjab after the next elections. His confidence might belie news reports about the problems in his finding a perch in Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, but Sidhu himself did not seem to harbour any doubt about his ascending the Punjab gaddi.

How do we know? Well, the other day a friend returning from Mumbai happened to be seated next to Sidhu. During the course of a one-hour-forty minute flight it was natural for the two to talk. And, sure enough, the persona that Indians are now familiar with thanks to his lowbrow television shows revealed itself in real life. 

Not only did Sidhu justify his quitting the BJP and with it the Rajya Sabha seat, he very confidently declared that after next year’s Assembly elections in Punjab he would become Chief Minister. In fact, he gave his visiting card to our friend, a hot-shot business executive in his own right, telling him to visit him in the Punjab Secretariat. “Keep this card and see me. Within six months of my becoming CM, you will see so much industry in Chandigarh that you will not be able to recognise Chandigarh…”

Never mind the braggadocio, but unless he has already stitched up a deal with Kejriwal he cannot possibly expect to lead the AAP to victory. Or could it be that Sidhu is a victim of his own larger-than-life television image, mistaking it to be the real thing? Ambition and arrogance caused him to leave the BJP, which accommodated him despite his erratic behaviour. Now that he is convinced that he is the next CM, he cannot have an easy passage in AAP, a party led by a bigger megalomaniac.

There are 4 Comments

I love this newspaper! Such stunning devil-may-care honesty about many behind-the-scenes stuff we never read or hear about. Does anybody else dare to speak the truth so openly? Hats off! It is very true that the Kashmir situation has been about religious domination. The Pandits were systematically hounded out. When the present Govt. says we will establish colonies there - and for whom? patriotic ex-servicemen among others - they say "We will not allow it"..meaning we want that the 'demography' should not change, and so the Paki argument of a certain-community dominated geographical region should continue... And it is true what is said here about the least 3 TV channels I know and 2 newspapers systematically spread these anti-Indian narratives under the guise of 'human rights, freedom of expression..they show photos of pellet gun victims..never any photos of the 3300-400 security force victims who are horribly injured, some in ICU - for what? for our protection, our safety, for all of us, for doing their duty.. - Do these guys have no respect or gratitude for their sacrifices? Are they maligning India for money? or to make a certain failed party win at the hustings again..shame ..shame..nothing but disgust and they really believe they can do a better job after having failed for so many decades..I feel so happy at least someone has the guts to expose them..thank you Sunday Guardian!

The Kashmir "problem", and all other communal issues with the same same characteristics, may have been nagging the political establishments in Delhi since 1947. That is so because the "problem" has been placed on the bed of a theological Procrustes, which frustrates all searchings for solutions by means of votes and electoral politics. While the Muslims assert their exclusivism - which is inherent in their psychology since the time of Muhammad - all over the world, it is beyond comprehension that Indian politicians, of all parties, especially the Hindu politicians who, either out of ignorance, or of intellectual incompetence, or of an inexplicable paralysis, doggedly refuse to factor this socio-religious Islamic fact in their permutations and combinations of political arrangements. When Pakistanis and Bangladeshis celebrate their Independence Day, they are historically celebrating an independence, not from the British with whom they collaborated against the independence movement led by the majority Hindu-Sikh parties, and a sprinkling of nationalist Muslims. With their Jihadi Direct Action they enforced an independence from what they claimed to be Hindu oppression. And they succeeded in entrenching and consolidating their consequent hatred for Hindus and Sikhs, into the national identities of both West and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). It is baffling that, despite the horrors of Partition, Hindus still refuse to internalise Muslim hatred for them and their politics. Indeed Hindus mire themselves in the moving sands of their own making with their refusal to integrate Muslim hatred as a dominant element in any dialogue with a community which values its contempt for Kaffirs as a supreme duty. One M.J. Akbar is a swallow w Islamic tradition hich does not make a summer of Muslim tolerance and cordial co-existence. Add to this Islamic tradition of exclusiveness the weather vane mobility of Muslim politics which is natural to the Muslim mind generating a whole spectrum of duplicities. The Americans are fully aware of this duplicitous mentality which underscores Pakistani politics in relation to them, though they are unable - how could they or anybody else do so? - to eliminate it in the international parlance. In India, which has had Muslims on its soil for 12 centuries, Hindus may be expected to be fully acquainted with anti-Kaffirism and to evolve intellectual categories to deal with it, on its own terms. The real question is not with the Muslims. It is with the Hindus and their inability to confront the apparent invincibility of their intolerance and their obdurate refusal - based on Allahic commandments - to seek amicable ways of co-existence with non-Kaffir communities, not only in India, but throughout all the continents. The recent vacuity of Home Minister Rajnath Singh's two day mission in Srinagar tells the story of the Hindu once more using a blade of grass to strike the river of Islamic fanaticism in order to change its course! His fruitless visit has been an additional minor footnote to the history of a 12 century old chasm between the two communities. The emergence of Sikhism and Partition perfectly illustrate the reality of this divide. That is so because such monumental occurrences fail to instruct the Hindu into ways to make an exception to the tolerance inscribed eternally into the stones of Ajanta and in the Ahimsa of the Mahatma . The pelting of s tones by Muslim youths in Kashmir and the Pakistani folklore of sending terrorists across the LOC are continuations of Jinnah's Direct action against the policy of Truth and Non-Violence of the Congress Party. Talking to Mehboodba or to the Separatists in English or in Kashmiri or in Hindi does not take into account that the words of the Muslim are the front of the unspoken anti-Kaffir dialect with which he or she thinks and acts. Kashmir has become a passing show with an endless sequence of fruitless strikings of the river of exclusivism with the stick of hollow political piety. Until there arises a sea change in the Hindu portion of the communal dialogue. But will it arise? Never?

I am much impressed by your erudition Sir, which shines forth from your every phrase, but is it possible Sir, that you are equating all of Islam - not unlike Procrustes, if I may cheekily but with all respect borrow your own phrase - with the current (decades-old) wave of Saudi-sponsored Salafi/Wahhabism ? Certainly what we also see today is a destruction of old syncretic orders - such as in India for example, where Muslims and Hindus have co-existed with each other with relative peace for centuries - or at least without the kind rabid exclusivism that you rightly speak of in the present context. I seem to find a solution in a completely different direction - realpolitik. Specifically, the fact that oil money - which made much of the exclusivism and the its frankly unearthly support systems, affordable - is on its way out. Even if oil prices do recover, the reserves are good for only another 20 years I understand? Second, these Wahhabis are engaged in an internecine war with their own kind - against ISIS, against Shias - meaning whatever resources they do have left are being squandered on an implacable and disconcertingly resilient enemy. Third, is the near-total evaporation of sympathy or tolerance for their cause outside their rabid little constituency - which necessarily excludes moderate Muslims, who far outnumber them. In relation to Kashmir, I therefore see a very finite end to support for the cause of the terrorists and their unsavoury masters across the border. The US support to the Pakis has now given way to exasperation and disgust. Which leaves China's strategic support to Pakistan and its causes - it has so far maintained relative neutrality on this issue since it has its own Wahhabi extremism to deal with within its own borders (the Uighurs)..Frankly, not much hope there for very long either..China has bigger fish to fry in the SCS. It is coming to a situation where China and Pakistan will have the whole of the Western and South Asian world ranged against them.. As an Indian I therefore dare to hope that the solution to the Kashmir problem may surprise us all!..And not too far distant in the future..

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