Optimism is no doubt a healthy trait that helps a person maintain composure and mental balance during crisis. However, in the law of nature as is wont to be, excess of everything is bad and optimism is no exception, since it blurs the distinction between reality and fantasy. And when this happens, the mind rejects logic and instinctively selects an option simply because it suits one’s dream or desire. This in turn leads to skewed thinking in which over obsession with one’s own point of view overrides rationality. Since ‘optimistically selected’ options disregard its effect on others, they run a high risk of being impractical. Our over obsession with the UN resolutions on Kashmir is one such example.
While it may appear that the people of J&K have been given a ‘grand mandate’ by the UN to decide their own future, in practical terms, the plebiscite is nothing more than choosing between the ‘devil and the deep sea’ because the choice is limited only to choosing whether to become a part of either India or Pakistan. The UN resolution has conveniently omitted the ‘third’ option to ‘remain outside’, which is guaranteed by the Indian Independence Act 1947 and this option was exercised by the State of Sikkim which remained an independent identity till as late as 1975. So, why did the UN deny this option to the people of J&K? And how can the UN model of Plebiscite in Kashmir be construed as an effective measure that would enable the people of J&K to holistically exercise their ‘right of self determination’, when they cannot opt for ‘azadi’ or self rule?
Thus, in the ultimate analysis it becomes clear that the insistence of our leaders for the UN resolutions on Kashmir be implemented has nothing worthwhile to offer other than the choice of ‘cage’ Kashmiris wish to live in! So, before our leaders tell us to perform our ‘national duty’ by protesting against ‘illegal occupation’ of our land by New Delhi, they must first tell us in no uncertain terms as to how they plan to get us ‘azadi’ when there are no provisions for the same in the UN resolutions? And if all that the so called ‘right of self determination’ boils down is merely to decide whether to be a part of India or Pakistan, then are the privations and sacrifices being sought from us by our leaders justified? Why are our leaders silent on this key ingredient of the UN resolutions on Kashmir which in practical terms holds no promise for bettering our lot?
While most of us would not mind suffering for a brighter tomorrow which holds the hope of freedom, given its precarious condition, how many of us will seriously sacrifice for merely becoming a subject State of Pakistan? How many would prefer to be a part of a country which is abysmally indifferent to the sensitivities of its ethnic minorities? While the oppressive Indian regime in Kashmir cannot be condoned, New Delhi, unlike Islamabad has at least maintained the ethnic integrity in J&K by prohibiting outsiders from settling down in the State. At a time when our leaders are grappling with the perceived problem of a “cultural and ideological invasion,” how can they ever think of opting for Pakistan which encourages outsiders to settle in those parts of Kashmir under its control?