Wednesday, 5 March 2014

What if India takes over State of Jammu and Kashmir? Dr Shabir Choudhry

What if India takes over State of Jammu and Kashmir?
Dr Shabir Choudhry   5 March 2014

A few months ago I was discussing various issues related to the Kashmir dispute with a friend and colleague who has struggled for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir since mid 1970s. Despite his lack of activity over the years, I admire his sincerity, talent and allegiance to true Kashmiri nationalism.

While discussing Kashmiri struggle for independence and various aspects related to it he asserted: ‘Many people who claim to be ‘Kashmiri nationalists’ have myopic view of ‘nationalism’ and misplaced loyalty. Some of them cannot even differentiate between azadi and ghulami – independence and slavery; at best their struggle could be called a ‘Muslim nationalism’; and their struggle is against a non Muslim occupier.’

I asked him to clarify his point or points as it was not clear what he wanted to say. He laughed and said, ‘Choudhry Sahib, you know what I mean. You have raised these points in many of your TV programmes and articles. If the present struggle was a true nationalist struggle then it should not have been against only India. It should have been against all those who occupy the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Why is it that all Azad Kashmiri nationalist leaders are more interested in liberating the territory occupied by India; and they have no policy in place to liberate the areas under Pakistan and China.’

I asked him if he was referring to Amanullah Khan and his JKLF Group. He said his ‘criticism was not against only Amanullah Khan or his party; rather it was against other nationalist leaders as well, because nearly all of them, one way or the other, rely on Pakistani goodwill and ensure that they don’t do anything to annoy the Pakistani establishment. All their efforts are to portray India as the wrongdoer in Jammu and Kashmir; and say very little against occupation of Pakistan and their designs on Jammu and Kashmir.’

He looked at me and categorically said that, ‘I am not defending Indian actions in Kashmir. Of course India has committed human rights abuses, and I condemn that. However, we have to analyse the situation with a Kashmiri interest in mind. People of Jammu and Kashmir were not prepared for the kind of militancy that was started with help of the Pakistani secret agencies in 1988-9. This perhaps suited Islamabad and those Kashmiris who promoted the Pakistani agenda on Kashmir; but surely it proved to be a disaster for the people of Jammu and Kashmir’.

So you are saying those who started this militancy are also responsible for death and destruction in Jammu and Kashmir and our present situation. ‘That is one view’ he said with a smile on his face which meant he agreed that those who started the militancy were also responsible for deaths and destruction. ‘However, we have to accept this bitter fact that we are occupied by more than one country, yet our struggle is against only one occupier; and regarded the other occupier as a big brother and our advocate. How can an occupier be our brother and an advocate’?

He looked at me as if he was asking me to answer this question. I said if you say anything against the wrong Kashmir policy of Pakistan, many people will soon castigate you as anti Pakistan, anti Islam and an Indian agent. Pakistani agencies have used this weapon very effectively and people of Jammu and Kashmir don’t want to live with this tag on their head; and in view of this harassment and intimidations many Kashmiri nationalists like to remain quiet and go with the tide.

This Kashmir leader and thinker asserted that, ‘if we continue with the present mindset and policies we will never get unification and independence, no matter how many more people are butchered in name of so called struggle. We have to call spade a spade and adopt such policies and strategies that this struggle is seen as a Kashmiri struggle by the international community and not a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan’.

He paused for a minute and said, ‘Militancy was never ours, we were only used in this and burnt our hands. It is common sense that if Pakistan cannot defeat India and get Kashmir even though Pakistan has nuclear weapons, best missile system, very good air force and a very large army, then how can people of Kashmir defeat India with a gun borrowed from Pakistan? We can at best, keep India bleeding and suffer in return. This policy may suit Pakistani interests, but surely it does not suit us, as it is very seriously hurting us in every respect, and taking us away from our cherished goal of independence’.

I was irritated with his long sermon, so I asked him what the way forward is. Why don’t you enlighten us that people can learn from your wisdom and experience? He thought I was taunting him, so he hesitated for a moment and looked directly in my eyes, and when he realised I was serious to find out about his views, he said, ‘In my opinion, if India takes over the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir then we win half of the war’.

It was not in my wildest dreams that he will say something so bizarre. Is that a joke, I asked him. ‘I am serious’, he said. ‘We are forcibly divided and oppressed by both countries. Our struggle is for unification and independence. We cannot fight both countries to unite the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan cannot militarily defeat India and get Kashmir. That means we will continue to suffer on both sides of the divide. However, if India takeover the entire Jammu and Kashmir that would mean we have achieved one goal –unification, and then we will have to only struggle against one occupier for the other goal -independence. Our goal will be clear. There will be no confusion as to who is our big brother or an advocate’.

Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs

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