|A letter from an Indian reader|
Dr Shabir Choudhry 11 December 2005
Like other writers I also get regular feedback from my readers, of course, some good and some bad, in fact, some so bad that these critics come so low that they regard me as a non Muslim because I criticise policies of their Islamic State of Pakistan.
A doctor from Mayo Hospital Lahore, who is supposed to be a messiah to cure and save lives, turned wild and raped a Kashmiri sister from Muzaffarabad, a victim of the deadly earthquake. This is a serious breach of trust as a doctor, as a human being and as a Muslim.
And those who expect me to keep my mouth shut on incidents like this are totally wrong, as my struggle is against injustice and ignorance; and when I see injustice done, especially to my fellow Kashmiri brother or sister, I feel compelled to speak out against this no matter what label is given to me.
I pointed out that at the beginning that I also receive letters from my readers and I want to produce a letter from one reader from USA, who wrote:
Dear Dr Choudhury,
I read your above article with great interest, I am an Indian Hindu doctor residing in the USA, originally from the state of Bihar.
This is what we Indians say, and feel about Kashmir: mistakes have been made by us in the past and now we are trying hard to win your minds and hearts. To us Indians, Kashmir is a part of all our blood and centuries old culture, whereas Pakistan has only a recent past. We love and appreciate Kashmir.
We are in the open with our suggestions and will never stab POK ( he means Pakistani occupied Kashmir) in the back. We request the POK area to join J&K to become a united Kashmir, under the Indian flag but having its own autonomy. We can even try to get the lost area back from China.
We do not speak for you, but encourage to speak for yourself, unlike Pakistan.
India is a vast market and has a great future, let us make our future together. Kashmiri students can study anywhere in India and if you people allow, Indians can study in Kashmir too. Kashmir will be the jewel in our crown, the favourite son, and we will be very proud to have you.
The alternate solution of an independent Kashmir will never be allowed to exist by Pakistan or China. Plus it will be landlocked and dependent on others.
You will have almost all facilities of independence under India plus share in all the great things that India has to offer you.
My motto: "Every Kashmiri is Indian and every Indian is Kashmiri." May the 2 great histories come together for good!
I write from the bottom of my heart. Please let me have your viewpoints,
Gautam Sahib, thank you for the above letter which I have produced in full that others can also benefit from wisdom of your argument; however I have my views on the contents of your letter. I have read your letter more than once, and feel that you are sincere in your views and have sympathy for the Kashmiris.
But there are millions of people in India who will strongly disagree with you. They think India is for Hindus, and these fanatics are just as bad as fanatics of any other faith or country who want to impose their own agenda on people and society.
Apart from that I just want to remind you that it was not these extremists who let us Kashmiris down. It was educated, liberal and democratic leadership that has let us down ever since 1947. It was this leadership which ordered to land troops in Kashmir in October 1947, and it was this elected leadership which continued with a policy that was clearly against the interests of the Kashmiri people.
Moreover it was this leadership which champions the cause of liberal and democratic values, and yet they sent troops to teach Kashmiris a lesson in which tens of thousands of innocent people have lost lives, not to mention other destruction and human rights abuse.
I understand you were brave and honest to acknowledge that India has made mistakes, but there are those who are too arrogant even to accept this obvious fact; and instead try to shift blame to the victims which is tantamount to rubbing salt in our wounds.
Like you I also accept that Kashmiri leadership have made many mistakes, and unfortunately they have not learned any lessons from our tragic history. They continue to live in castle of their dreams, aloof from the misery and suffering of the people; and without any sense of loss continue to make mistakes and play in hands of those who have used us to feather their nests.
The other party to the dispute and self appointed attorney of Kashmiri people, Pakistan, never makes any mistakes, so there is no question of accepting any. However in view of many commentators they make blunders and u- turns, which are different to mistakes; and which apart from others have seriously hurt us Kashmiris.
But a big question is should people of Jammu and Kashmir, after this ordeal, trust India, trust judgement of their leaders, and above all, trust sincerity and designs of Pakistani rulers? Out of these three- India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri leadership- who ever makes a mistake we ordinary people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir have to suffer for this.
People of Jammu and Kashmir have suffered enormously. They have been forcibly divided, tortured, killed, raped and killed. Despite loss of their love ones, their business and houses, they have not lost their pride and desire to live with peace and dignity. Before we step in to unseen future people of Jammu and Kashmir would like to see some safeguards- some kind of safety net, which protects them from future invasion, misery and suffering; and in my opinion we can only get that by having united and independent Kashmir.
Gautam Sahib, let us not only think of Jammu and Kashmir, let us think of South Asia. We want to see peace and stability in the entire region. We want animosity and hatred to end in South Asia that we can live in peace and harmony. Once we reach that stage then we can also have peace in Jammu and Kashmir; and we will have no problem in trusting India and Pakistan. I hope you will work for this.
Writer is Chairman Diplomatic Committee of JKLF, Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs and author of many books on Kashmir. He could be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org