Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Why Kashmiris have to be either pro India or Pro Pakistan?

Why Kashmiris have to be either pro India or Pro Pakistan?
Dr Shabir Choudhry 04 July 2006

Tragedy of Kashmir and its politics has been that we are put in to two camps- India and Pakistan, and which are hostile to each other ever since their inception in 1947. And those of us who don’t want to be put in to these two categories and wish to promote pro Kashmir policies by creating a ‘camp’ of our own are fiercely opposed by both camps.

This opposition comes in many forms and shapes, and perhaps it is not appropriate here to give history of this opposition otherwise I will be accused of being anti one camp straight away.

These two hostile camps and consequent social and political culture which developed by these two have created a class of Kashmiris who proudly declare their loyalty to either one or the other camp. And when we ‘pro Kashmir’ people try to advance policies which could benefit our nation and forcibly divided State of Jammu and Kashmir, we have to first face opposition of these Kashmiris who in practice have ‘mortgaged’ their loyalty to either India or Pakistan.

Like many other pro Kashmir political activists I have also given many years of my life, and have tried very sincerely to promote pro Kashmir policies which could have given us a separate identity from India and Pakistan. As always is the case first opposition comes from those Kashmiris who either have made compromises with India or Pakistan, or who have been manipulated by them that they cannot see a Kashmiri interest in isolation.

Despite all the hard work dedication and sacrifices what I have earned are two labels: ‘Pro India’ label and ‘pro Pakistan’ label- yes pro Pakistan. I am generally labeled as pro India but still there is a body of opinion which thinks that from inside I am a ‘pro Pakistan’; and this includes people from India, Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir.

I receive response from my readers, sympathizers and some opponents who love to use bad language and send emails with virus. In return I still say aslamo alaykam and pray for them, some of them repent and apologise and others get infuriated and keep on with their nefarious activities.

I received a letter from Vinod Kumar who accuses me of being pro Pakistan, and has made many other accusations. I could have ignored this letter or could have replied to him in private, but I chose to reproduce his letter that my other Kashmiri and Pakistani brothers also see the strength of feelings among some non Muslim Kashmiris.

Everything he has written is not true but we cannot discard everything as propaganda as there is some truth in what he has said. And if we nationalist Kashmiris want to win minds and hearts of Kashmiri minorities then we have to seriously think of some of the issues raised by Vinod Kumar. Similarly those who are at the helm of affairs in Pakistan, and especially those in charge of the Kashmir policy seriously need to think if their Kashmir policy is winning minds and hearts of the Kashmiri people.

If aim of their Kashmir policy is to create hatred and divide people of Jammu and Kashmir on religious and ethnic lines, which could engulf the entire South Asia, then their policy is achieving the desired results. But in the change geo political environment, international trend, in presence of peace process and the CBMs, continuation of this policy will seriously hurt Pakistan as well.
Dear Dr Sahib Adab
• ‘Not interested in listening to your story of being anti-Pakistan or pro-Pakistan!! The fact is that most, if not all the Kashmiri leaders are acting at the behest of, on behalf of or on clear instructions from Pakistan and its terrorist arm ISI. You may try to position your self as pro or anti Pakistan, however, your agenda - hidden or open, is still anti-India. And you will do every thing and any thing that could harm my motherland India. You will kill people in the so called "jihad”!! Little do you realise that the greatest damage that is being done in this so called "Jihad" is to the Kashmiris themselves. What have you achieved in these more than 15 years of "Jihadi" bloodshed?? Thousands killed, thousands of families destroyed and thousands of human beings poisoned by the jihadi hatred which makes it impossible for the general populace to be normal and rational human beings!!
• Why are Kashmiris so selfish?? You want the world to be at your feet!! Are you children of some superior beings?? You want everything and in return will just radiate hatred!! Yours is a classic example of a society living in the cocoon woven of greed and hatred. Why cut the very hand that feeds you?? Why stab my motherland on the back?? If you are sincere, if your leaders are sincere, then let them renounce the Indian security and come out and face the monster of hatred and terrorism that they have unleashed. These very leaders who decry India, with out the protection of Indian forces, will be killed by the "jihadi" terrorists in a matter of seconds!!
• Whom are you trying to impress with these harmless criticisms of Pakistan on such small issues like Dams?? Your silence on the much larger issue of the "Jihadi" gun culture in the valley is unholy and obnoxious!!
• You keep telling the world that the stability and prosperity of not only India and Pakistan but of whole South Asia lies in Kashmir. Little do you realise that the message out of Kashmir and of its Kashmiri leaders is nothing more than that of hatred, terrorism and instability. ‘
• ‘Why is that the alcohol of religious bigotry makes you blind to the fact that the Kashmir does not belong to only the Mullahs and Muslims living in Kashmir. That Hindus and other religious minorities living in J & K, have as much right to J&K as you Muslims have. We do not want any independent country. We are happy to live within India. That we oppose and will oppose tooth and nail any such attempt by people like you to tear us apart from our motherland!! If you want to live in Pakistan - just move out and go and settle in Pakistan. Apply for the citizenship of your dreamland Pakistan!! By the way, just to remind you, Pakistan, even after 35 years of losing BANGLADESH, has still not accepted lakhs of Bihari Pakistanis as its citizens - who like you, keep dreaming of Pakistan!! What makes you think that Pakistan loves you any more than those Biharis?? It is just using you against India. Pakistan needs an external factor - "Kashmir" to unite its people and justify its existence. Without this factor, Pakistan will be a house of cards which will be blown away in years if not months!!’
• ‘Either love India or leave India; hands off from my motherland. You have already done enough harm to the secular culture of J&K. We do not need you and certainly not any more of you or your writings and so called intellectual thoughts.’
• ‘No body is treating you as slaves. In fact it is Kashmiris who have treated Jammuites and Ladhakhis as slaves. You were and are, always given freedom to elect your representatives through democratically elected governments. This democratic right is not available to the Muslims in the very holiest of your lands- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or your dream land Pakistan?? The fact is that your own Muslim representatives let you down. They treated you as slaves. And as always, you look for faults somewhere else!!’
With regards, Vinod Kumar

Vinod Sahib I am not pro Pakistan, I am pro Kashmir. I am not pro jihadi or pro gun culture; I am pro peace and strongly support pluralist society. I am not preacher of hatred and communalism; I am advocate of democracy, human rights for all, tolerance and peaceful co existence.

Vinod Sahib could you also say the same that you are pro Kashmir and not pro India; and if you have right to be pro India, which I think you have, then we cannot take the same right away from a fellow Kashmiri if he wants to be pro Pakistan. It is his democratic right to hold an opinion and express it as well. He has no right to kill or harass you for holding pro India views and similarly you have to respect his views and not to stick labels or intimidate him.

When you shout pro India slogans then you should be prepared to hear pro Pakistan slogans as well. We can avoid that by being pro Kashmir. Can we all agree to be pro Kashmir and shout pro Kashmir slogans, and say to both India and Pakistan ‘hands off from our motherland?’ If we cannot do this, Vinod Sahib, then I am afraid we have to continue our journey on this bumpy road until common sense prevails; and we realise that future of our Jammu and Kashmir is linked with future of South Asia, and South Asia CANNOT progress if we continue with policy of hate, and continue to fight each other.

Writer is Chairman Diplomatic Committee of JKLF, Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs and author of many books on Kashmir. He could be reached at:

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