Friday, February 6, 2009

Tryst with freedom

Kashmir is a lingering international dispute, basically a simple political issue involving the future of people of Kashmir who have to decide its course through a promised plebiscite but the chauvinism of the Indian rulers rendered this dispute complicated and confounded.

Kashmir which is having 5000 year old history lost its sovereignty at the hands of Mughals on 1585 A.D. There after Mughals came Afghans then Sikhs then Dogras and then afterwards claiming it self as world’s largest democracy laid her hands on this through fraud, foul play, treachery and using military interference. The real trouble began when on June 4, 1947 Lord Mountbatten brought plan for partition of India called Indian Partition act 1947. According to this act area comprising of Muslim majority will constitute a new country Pakistan and rest areas having non-Muslim majority will remain as India. But this act was applicable only for British India not for princely states which were near about 564 and were under indirect control of British. These 564 states were given choice either to choose to remain Independent or join any one of the two dominions in keeping two things under consideration first, majority of subjects whether Muslim or non-Muslim and second continuity of their states borders. As for as Kashmir is concerned it was a princely state and was having 85% Muslims and its border has continuity more with Pakistan than with India so there were only two options before Maharaja of Kashmir either he should have declared Independence or announced to accession with Pakistan. The laws relating to partition were never honored sincerely. India used its force and captured Hyderabad and later invaded Junagarh on pretext of being Hindu majority area and violated same by invading Kashmir. The state of Kapurthala had Muslim majority but non-Muslim ruler which through help of RSS succeeded in eliminating his Muslim subjects and same was repeated in Alwar and Bharat Pur. These tactics were also used in Jammu province were 5 lakh Muslims were butchered and lakhs were forced to flee mostly during November 4th, 5th, and 6th to turn it in to Muslim minority area. There after this dispute went to U.N which passed resolutions declaring it a disputed territory whose future is to be decided by its people through a referendum to which both India and Pakistan agreed.

The beauty of Kashmir and its picturesque and breath taking serenity always lured many Mughals, Afghans and Sikh governors to think of declaring themselves as independent of their masters. Akbars subedar Mirza Yadgar, Raja Sulkhjiwan and Amar Khan two protégés of Ahmad shah Abdali, Sheikh Gh. Muhammad governor under the Sikhs toyed the idea of Independent Kashmir. Even Maharaja Hari Singh personally desired of Independent Kashmir. Chaudhary hamidullah Khan (then acting president of Muslim Conference) also urged Maharaja to declare Independence and assured him cooperation in this regard. In May 1953 Adali Stevenson met Sheikh Abdullah in Srinagar and on the same year on 13th July during martyr’s day speech he said “the Kashmir position was such that it should have the sympathy of both India and Pakistan- it is not necessary that our state should become an appendage of either India or Pakistan”. After the failure of operation Gibraltar and Indo-Pak war of 1965, many Kashmiri stalwarts like K.H.Khursheed and Shaheed Maqbool Bhat started to think of Independent option in practical terms. Moreover India and Pakistani leaders have time and again made commitments to Kashmiris regarding their Independence.

Recently former Finance Minister Tariq Qarra had laid proposal of Kashmir having its own currency which it was enjoying before 1947 but due to unknown reasons it was shelved under the carpet. May be due to the reasons that it didn’t suited those who matter at the higher echelons of power as Kashmir having its own currency has potential and impression of being a sovereign state. Though due to recent Mumbai attacks the fragile peace process has received a jolt mainly due to jingoism and belligerence of India but the main cause and core dispute of Kashmir can’t be put on back burner forever as its nature wouldn’t allow both countries to do so. So it is better for India’s own Security and progress to shun obduracy and intransigence and come to negation table without closed chest. Both of them (India, Pakistan) are nuclear states so can’t afford war therefore best for them and for entire south Asia would be the restoration of national sovereignty to the people of Kashmir.