Monday, May 28, 2012


For more than half a century, the Kashmir problem has defied a solution. Right from its creation in 1947, dozens of attempts have been made internationally as well as within the sub-continent to find a way out of this tangle which has taken a huge toll of human lives. Apart from forcing the two neighbouring countries to divert their precious resources in fighting each other, the conflict on this issue has made the life of Kashmiris miserable. They have been always overtly or covertly directly in the line of fire of the two warring nations. Guinea pigs subjected to umpteen trials and tribulations to test the conflicting ideologies of secularism and two nation theories. None of the two countries ever had any inclination of emancipating Kasahmiris from centuries of suffering. Because of this basic attitude, most of the attempts have been for managing the conflict rather than resolving it. The continuation of the problem has suited both the countries as well as their masters across the seas. On their part, Kashmiris due to the insincerity, dishonesty, ineptitude, and material greed of their leaders have been circling in an endless desert without any possibility of reaching their coveted goal. During all these years the most restless place has been the Kashmir valley and its Kashmiri speaking periphery which area is sometimes given the name of the Greater Kashmir. The Buddhist Ladakh has been clamouring for Union Territory status within India while as the Hindu majority area of Jammu has been pursuing the goal of total integration right from 1947. On the other side, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly called the Northern Areas) had themselves opted for Pakistan even though they are regretting it now! Pakistan has virtually separated and completely absorbed Gilgit-Baltistan into their mainland as the area is of utmost strategic importance to them as well as the Chinese. The people living in Pak Administered Kashmir also known as the so called Azad Kashmir though not happy with their lot, have not rebelled or tried to secede from Pakistan. It is also definite that no government in Pakistan can think of parting away with the area of Kashmir under their administrative control. Delhi appears to be getting reconciled to the status of these areas under Pakistan’s administrative control. This leaves Kashmir as the only troublesome area. In spite of their best efforts and pumping of huge amounts of money, New Delhi has failed to win over Kashmiris. During the 2008 agitation, a number of Indian intellectuals had boldly declared that Kashmiris should be allowed to go if they were not happy with India. In fact, some intellectuals had mentioned that the valley of Kashmir was like a millstone in the neck of India. It would be cheaper to disinvest Kashmir to allow rest of the country to achieve economic progress and development. The agitation of 2010 reinforced the belief among think tanks that the Kashmiris can never be won over. Their alienation has reached an extreme level. Taking a cue from this it appears that the MHA think tanks instead of getting rid of the troublesome Kashmiris have decided to isolate them. There could have been no better way to do that than through the medium of the so called interlocutors. Many of their recommendations are vague or academic in nature. In fact, one journalist has termed the report as a “pack of lies and lopsided analysis”. One famous columnist says, “It is completely laughable and makes mockery of the aspirations of Kashmiris”. The interlocutors now claim that they “Have left K-Resolution Subject Untouched”. Incidentally, this was the main brief given to them! However, the most controversial but substantive suggestion given by them is about creating three regional councils with equal constitutional, financial, and legislative powers. This had nothing to do with their original brief of identifying the cause of the unrest in Kashmir during 2010. Their suggestion of creating regional councils appears to be aimed at taking care of Ladakh and Jammu and isolating the restless Kashmiris. Probably their (read MHA) assessment is that the off and on trouble which usually emanates from the valley can easily be contained within its confines. The other two areas will not only remain undisturbed but get more easily integrated into the Indian mainland. Incidentally, the suggestion regarding isolating the valley is not a new one. The interlocutors may have unintentionally highlighted a similar suggestion made in the early period of the dispute. It had been there for a long time but in a totally different context. To this day, the people of Kashmir recall the “Dixon Plan". It was proposed by Sir Owen Dixon, a Judge of the Australian High Court who came to the subcontinent as the United Nations' Representative for India and Pakistan pursuant to the Security Council's Resolution of March 14, 1950. It assigned Ladakh to India, the Northern Areas and Pakistan Administered Kashmir to Pakistan, split Jammu between the two, and envisaged a plebiscite in the Kashmir Valley. Pakistan had been somewhat hesitant but may have ultimately agreed but Pandit Nehru rejected it because of the fear of losing a plebiscite held under impartial conditions. He had a very strong emotional attachment to the valley! Unfortunately, Nehru’s intense love for Kashmir has been the undoing of the poor Kashmiris! The interlocutor’s suggestions made inadvertently may be the beginning for the revival of the old Dixon Plan? Sometimes circumstances force events to take completely different turn than those intended by the originators of these! Instead of compacting Kashmiris to the valley in order to deal with them independently, they may be ultimately involuntarily paving way for its permanent exit from the Indian Union! (Comments at

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