Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Internationalising Kashmir

There is always a continuous refrain from the Government as well as other political luminaries in India that the problem of Kashmir is a bi-lateral problem between India and Pakistan. This is slightly better than the other streams which claim Kashmir to be an inseparable and integral part of India? Any attempt by the other party or even by some leaders in Kashmir to persuade International players including some watch dog agencies to intervene is always termed as “Internationalising” Kashmir! Everybody seems to forget that Kashmir became an International problem in 1947 itself. It was born along with the birth of the two separate countries in the sub-continent. It is India itself which internationalised the problem by taking it to the Global Police Station of the UN, the Security Council. They filed a complaint which amounts to lodging an FIR (First Information Report) about an offence having been committed by Pakistan by sending tribesmen to Kashmir and thereby endangering the World Peace. Once an FIR about a cognisable offence is lodged with a law enforcing agency, it automatically becomes a case of the state versus the alleged offender. The person or the agency lodging the complaint cannot withdraw it. The law enforcing agency of the state, in this case, the Security Council has to investigate the complaint and take appropriate action under the law. The Security Council did the same and asked both the parties to ascertain the wishes of the people for deciding their future dispensation. However, till date the neither side has done it and the Security Council has not taken any action to enforce its decision as it is given out that the case was not disposed under the relevant chapter giving the Security Council mandatory powers to enforce its decision.
Whether Kashmir is an international dispute or not can be judged from the UN website giving a fact sheet about the UNMOGIP (UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan) which forms part of its worldwide peace keeping operations. This Military Observer Group was set up in January, 1949 to oversee the ceasefire between India and Pakistan. This group is headquartered in Srinagar and Islamabad for summer and winter respectively. It has strength of 113. There are 42 Military Personnel who act as Military Observers. There are 71 civilians including 25 foreigners. There are 46 locals working with the mission. There have been 11 fatalities among its personnel. The budget for the year 2012-13 has been pegged at more than $ 21 million. Even though the Indian Government does not allow access to the Observers, they continue to report the violations to UN Headquarter in New York. In fact, the UNMOGIP Headquarter both in Srinagar and Islamabad has been a popular spot for protestors to convey memoranda to UN Secretary General. Incidentally, some years back during a conducted tour of the UN Headquarter in New York, the UN tour guide while going through the chamber of the Security Council mentioned that one of the oldest disputes on the agenda of the Council is Kashmir dispute. On being told that one was from Kashmir she gave a smile!
Srinagar is supposed to have an International Airport but there are no International flights as most of airlines refuse to fly here because of the area being a disputed territory. Chinese have been issuing stapled visas to Kashmiris because of being residents of a disputed place. In fact, a number of International treaties including the famous Indus Water Treaty stipulate that the treaty does not alter the basic rights/claims of the various parties regarding the territory. The maps of Kashmir issued by many countries and international organisations show Kashmir as a disputed territory. Some people attach the label of “Pak Administered” or “Indian Administered” Kashmir to the two parts of the state.
Even if one would close eyes to all these facts and claim Kashmir to be bi-lateral dispute, the problem will not end there. It is not in reality the dispute over the ownership of a piece of land. It involves the fate of the millions of people inhabiting that piece of land. This makes it a tri-lateral problem. The principal party are the Kashmiri people. In the present context, internationalizing the dispute is of no consequence. The Global Peace Keeper, Security Council has miserably failed to enforce its decisions in regard to Kashmir. The UN is held hostage by USA and its allies. This was very starkly demonstrated by the Saudi refusal to take up the rotational membership of the Council. There is no need for the Indian Government and others to get worked up if Pakistan and others within and outside Kashmir try to internationalise it. Indians have tried their utmost to domesticize it but have miserably failed. They have to maintain a colossal security set up to keep the peace. The Line of Control is again getting heated up. Ultimately, the Security Council may have to step in again if the heat goes beyond control.
International, bi-lateral or domestic, Kashmir is a problem which cannot be wished away. The only solution is to accept the existence of the problem and to address it for an early solution. It has been observed by some that there are other covert stake holders like the security apparatuses including the armies on two sides of the divide. A viable solution can be found only if all the stake holders are on board. Otherwise, we will continue to have many Kargils, Kerans, and continuously heated up Line of Control. How will all the stake holders come together to address the issue? That is the million dollar question!

Friday, October 25, 2013


The noted constitutional expert A G Noorani in a recent article commented that the main problem in Kashmir was the disunity of its leadership of all shades. He called it “Kashmir’s Tragic Divide”. In the mainstream as well as in the separatist camps. According to him the “Unionist” leadership is preparing to fight elections while as the “Separatist” leadership is not even on talking terms with each other! But, the moot point is whether there is any genuine, honest, sincere, and steadfast leadership in Kashmir at all? In fact, Kashmir’s main tragedy has been the absence of a sincere, honest and upright leadership right from 1947. Their tallest charismatic leader instead of setting an example of honesty and uprightness for the future generations ditched them in a whirlpool of corruption and dishonesty out of which they are unable to come out. They had dreamt of someone like the “Lion of the desert”, Omar Mukhtar but they very unfortunately got a “Lion without a tail”!
 The recent disclosures about pay offs to various people including Cabinet Ministers by the Army right from 1947 shows how the political leadership has been manipulated to wean people away from their cherished discourse of freedom which they had been yearning for centuries. The other side instead of supporting the popular narrative engineered it to suit their own goal again primarily with the supply of unlimited and unaccounted funds. Everything seems to have been commercialised in Kashmir. The materialism rules the roost! Kashmir’s two neighbours ensured the growth of only that kind of leadership which would further their own vested interests designated by them as strategic or national interests. Kashmiris figure nowhere except as pawns in the games played by these two perennial antagonists. This atmosphere of commercialisation built upon deceit, dishonesty and greed of materialistic goals has turned the whole situation murky.
 A leader is a person of convictions who has a definite goal, a future vision and a definite road map to reach that goal. He shows the way and tries to honestly and sincerely lead his people to that goal which sometimes he may not reach in his own lifetime. Have we so far had such a leader? Firstly, none of the leaders have a definite and clear cut goal. Some want Kashmir to become part of Pakistan. Some want Kashmir to be totally merged with the Indian Union. Others want Kashmir to be totally independent. The people wanting independence also fail to clearly designate which part of Kashmir should be independent? The valley only? The part of the state with India? The entire undivided erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir, of course, with a number of unwilling parts? Some want status quo as it suits them. The first thing for a genuine leader would be to define in real practical terms what would be beneficial to Kashmiris in the long run. Ultimately, they want to live with honour and dignity in a peaceful environment. The leader has also to be sure that the people he is trying to lead accept the goal and are willing to follow him to reach it.
 Next to defining of a clear and practical goal and the path to reach it, the leader himself has to be steadfast and not waver on the way. Unfortunately, most of the Kashmiri leaders have been wavering both in defining the goal and leading the people on the path to reach it. The so called mainstream leaders have always been wavering from Bijli, Panni, Saddak to Autonomy, Self-rule and so on. Had they been honest, sincere, and true Indians by conviction, they might have at least given good governance and made the living conditions of the common people better. Incidentally, even Delhi did not allow such a genuine mainstream leadership to grow. As a result, these leaders have neither given good governance to the people to improve their daily lives nor have they been able to contribute anything to the solution of the basic political problem. Their one point programme has been to somehow usurp power and gather as much money and material things as they could till their “Sun” shines! In the other camp, there have been sincere, steadfast, and honest leaders of conviction but most of these have been liquidated by one or the other side to safeguard their own discourses. A columnist recently mentioned that the leaders won’t fall from the sky but they have to grow here from the ground. Of course, the leaders grow among the people. However, when there are two antagonists with diametrically opposite ideologies trying to promote their own discourses it is very hard for the genuine and honest leadership to grow unless there is some Divine intervention! The Israelites during their bondage in Egypt had been pinning for a “Deliverer” and finally God sent the “Deliver”, Moses, who grew up in the lap of the Pharaoh. Moses brought the Israelites out of the Egyptian bondage to Mount Sinai. While he was on top getting the Ten Commandments, these people sinned in the sight of the Lord because of which they were made to wander in the desert for 40 years till the sinning generation was removed. In the case of Kashmiris, the “Moses” himself committed the sin which may make them wander in the desert for 400 years!
 This vagueness in the goals and the wavering of the leadership has totally confused the people. They do not know whom to follow to get relief in their daily lives and to reach the ultimate goal of total emancipation. They are churning in the whirlpool of corruption. There is free for all in every sphere of the society. The “Truth” has been banished from Kashmir! Some of the leaders whom they trust are not going beyond shut down calls and pointless marches. The only hope is the new generation which does not carry the baggage of the earlier leadership. There are innumerable attempts targeted even at this new generation to push them into the same mud and filth which has destroyed the earlier leadership. The confused and paralysed people have genuine hopes for the “Deliverer” rising out of the new generation and the Almighty God won’t disappoint them provided they change their basic character by speaking the “Truth” and standing by it regardless of the consequences.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Kargil to Keran!

“Keran Ops: ‘An Operation that never was’ goes the headline of a news. The quote was attributed to General H.S.Panag, the former Northern Army Commander. The way the so called operation was started and concluded and a host of contradictory media statements issued during its running definitely created a doubt in its veracity! The operation coincided with the Samba attack which happened three days after the Keran operation. Both the events took place at the crucial time of the planned Indo-Pak Premiers’ meeting. Even the Union Home Minister has demanded explanation of the circumstances surrounding both the incidents. This is not the first time such an incident has taken place. It has been quite often observed that whenever there is a possibility of Indo-Pak détente taking place, some untoward incident takes place either on this side or the other side and as a result the whole process of patching up the differences gets derailed. The recent disclosures by the former Army Chief General V K Singh have shown how the top brass in the Army can operate independently to achieve its own motives regardless of the overall consequences to the political and democratic set up. This behind the scenes role of the Army and other security agencies has been growing slowly and is now assuming alarming proportions. The political set up appears totally unable to either really probe it or in fact to stem it. In Kashmir, the Army has put all the mainstream politicians in the dock and has totally negated all claims of fair and democratic elections held since 1947.
On the other side, the Army has always been having a decisive say in all matters. They have practically taken over the reins whenever they felt like doing so ostensibly in the so called “National Interest” or what they always claim “for the safety and protection of their country”. Kargil was a stark example of the Army taking unilateral steps for the derailing of the peace process of Indo-Pak détente. It had probably a twin purpose. The first was negating the loss of the Hathi Matha feature above Kargil town in 1971 war. That strategic location above the Kargil town was always a nightmare for the Indian Army. All the convoys going to Ladakh were in the direct line of fire from the Pakistanis. In fact, the Kargil town itself used to get a bombardment of shells quite often. The taking over of heights in Drass was another bid to cut off Indian link to Ladakh by keeping the route in the line of fire from the Tiger Hill and other high-altitude features. It was a meticulously planned operation by the SSG (Special Services Group) of the Pakistan Army once headed by General Musharraf. Normally, one would not expect the sharp Commando General to be so dull as not to consider the possibility that the occupation of these posts can’t be permanent and the operation would result in a bigger conflagration.  However, the other purpose which seemed more convincing and the real aim of the operation was to derail the Vajpayee’s bus ride to Lahore. While Nawaz Sharief was hugging Vajpayee, Musharraf was infiltrating his group across to take over the posts usually abandoned in winter by the Indian Army. The resultant conflict could only be sorted out by the American and Chinese joint intervention as these powers were wary of things going out of control and leading to a full-fledged war. The net result for the sub-continent was the end of the efforts for a rapprochement!
Thus, the real stumbling blocks for peace in the sub-continent are the two Armies. On this side they operate covertly while on the other side they are totally overt. Everything needs a nod from the Army whether overt or covert! The worst thing is that both the Armies have got communalised over the years with the Hindutva infiltration on this side and the Jihadi suicidal influx on the other side. The outsiders who are the real authors of the sub-continental divide engineered by them to keep their fingers in the pie, instead of bringing the two sides together try their utmost to keep the pot boiling. They are the real beneficiaries of the conflict. Their armament industries survive on the sub-continental and other conflicts in different parts of the world. USA is the largest manufacturer of arms and India is the largest importer from USA and other countries.
In these circumstances, peace has a very little chance if left to the intervention of outsiders. The only practical and real chance of peace in the sub-continent depends upon the leadership both political and military in the two countries. It would be worthwhile if the Army Chiefs of the countries start a dialogue whether overt or covert through back channels for coming to a gentleman’s agreement. If the military commands on two sides decide to call it a day in the larger interests of their countries and for the well-being of future generations, the political leadership will embrace each other! In the alternative, we will continue to see many more Kargils and Kerans.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tearing the “Secular” mask!

Attack on Babri Masjid
Narendra Modi Crowned!
Operation demolition
The most touted slogan of the Indian National Congress has been the “Secularism” of the Indian Union. Right from 1947 they have been taking the Muslim population of India along on their bandwagon of secularism. Had the top most leadership during the freedom struggle been truly secular, they would have never agreed for the partition of the country on the basis of religion. In fact, Joseph Stalin in one of his articles about the Indian Independence wrote that the Indian freedom movement leaders were not honest and sincere. According to him if they had been true nationalists, they would have never agreed for the partition of the country leaving the Western Imperialists an open window to come back in one or the other form.
The very idea of a state claiming to be “Secular” after accepting the division of the country on the basis of religion is totally hypocritical. Even the constitution given by these people to govern the country reflects Hindu bias. The article 25 (2-B) empowers the state to throw open religious institutions of a Hindu character. How was the state so sure that it would always be of Hindu character that it armed itself with the powers to throw open only Hindu institutions? In fact, when one talks of two nation theory it strikes one that on both sides except religion nothing is common among the people inhabiting these countries. Both do not qualify as nations in terms of the definition of a nation given in the books on political science. A nation is a group of people living in a specific geographical area having common language, history and culture. On this basis Pakistan comprises of almost half a dozen nations and India, more than a dozen! However, if the religion of the majority is the basis, then these are two nations. A Hindu nation and a Muslim nation. But it is debatable whether religion can be the basis of a nation as it is understood in terms of the definitions given by the political scientists.
Across the border, Pakistan, the land of the pure is no longer so. The violence has overtaken everything. Some people allege that Pakistan was created by the Muslim feudal landlords to safe guard their vested interests as they were apprehensive about their fate in a united India. However, Pakistan was dominated from the very beginning and even now continues to be so, by the Punjabis. In fact, the people who migrated from India still call themselves refugees or Mohajir! In contrast, the migrants from Pakistan not only dominated Indian political and economic scene but totally amalgamated with the local people. There is no doubt that on both sides it is the rich who rule the roost. While as the Brahmins hold the upper hand here which has prompted Arundhiti Roy to call India an “Upper caste Hindu Corporate Republic?”; the other side is neither a Republic nor truly Islamic but again a feudocracy of the landlords with the most fashionable women!
Farmer kissing Landlord’s feet
Tehmina, a fashionable woman!
Pakistani Taliban ready for action
In 1947, the Kashmiri leadership was confused and the people were uncertain and unsure of the future of two newly created countries. Moreover, they had their own long history of suffering and oppression at the hands of the outsiders. Majority of Kashmiri Muslims felt some sort of emotional attachment with the newly created Pakistan. However, some of the leaders including the charismatic Lion of Kashmir were sceptical and had a prejudice because of the degrading treatment meted out by the Muslim Punjabis to Kashmiris going for work outside Kashmir especially during winters. They were taken in by the “Secular” and “Progressive” façade of the newly created Union of India. They were not moved even by the massacres of Muslims in Jammu and India’s unilateral action in annexing Hyderabad and Junagarh. They realised their mistake only when it was too late.
During all these years, Kashmiris have suffered because of the ideological conflict between these two newly created states. They have been used by both the sides as guinea pigs. None of them were sincere about the wellbeing of Kashmiris but always spoke about Kashmir. If Pakistanis considered Kashmir as their “Jugular vein”, the Indians projected it as the Crown of their so called “Secular” country. However, the last two decades have torn down both these facades and masks. Pakistanis have forgotten about their “Jugular vein” and continue to live even though in the worst kind of a mess. Kashmiris have to a great extent lost that emotional and sentimental attachment to Pakistan even though they still have a soft corner for them because of their extensive support in the past. Some people still feel that in the absence of Pakistan, the Indians may have completely overwhelmed and wiped out Kashmiris.
RSS Shahkha in action
Face of Hindutva
Bajrang Dal private army
On the other hand, the Indians have been coming out in the open as a country of Hindus, the Hindu Rashtra, and the Bharat Varsh! The process has now been perfected without any qualms by Narendra Modi, the future Prime Ministerial candidate of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). Now there can be no doubt that India is a country of Hindus who will always have an upper hand. The Muslims have already been shown by the Justice Sachar in his report to be worse than the Dalits, the lowest caste among the Hindus. So far they were living as second class citizens without being projected as such but in the new dispensation, if it comes in, they will have to live as third class citizens and would not be expected to complain.
It is time that the Kashmiris should not now let themselves be deceived by the so called “Secular” mask of the pretenders. The mainstream leaders would also lose their steam of being nationalist and progressive, pretending to be part of a “Secular” and a progressive state. It would be in a way confirmation of the two nation theory. At the same time it affords Kashmiris an opportunity to call off the bluff of both the neighbouring countries and tell them to get lost and leave them alone to their fate! Historically speaking, Kashmiris have nothing in common with the Jihadi Pakistan or the Hindutva India! Thus, the Moditva wave which has already shown itself to be bloody and destructive as is evident from U.P riots may be in a way beneficial to Kashmiris by enabling them to see the reality clearly and prepare themselves mentally and physically for living in an ostensibly Hindu India of the future!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

“Nuclear Flashpoint”, myth or reality?

There is hardly any occasion in international gatherings where the problem of Kashmir comes up for discussion, when one or other representatives especially from the western countries do not fail to mention that Kashmir is a “Nuclear Flashpoint”! Over the years hype has been built up around this dispute to create very severe and grave apprehensions about its being a threat to world peace and a possible trigger for a nuclear exchange between these two Asian neighbours. One would have thought that this grave threat perception would help in its quick resolution but on the contrary this idea of a possible mad nuclear exchange reinforced by western powers in reality acts as a delaying tactic in its final settlement. This idea actually crept in the discourse from the time the two countries exploded half a dozen nuclear devices some years back. Till that time they had already fought three conventional wars.
There are many theories about the background to this now very well known label of Kashmir, the “Asia’s Nuclear Flashpoint”. In fact, in February, 2000 Dr. Subash Kapila wrote an article about this contention being a myth floated by USA and Pakistan since early eighties for their vested interests. According to Dr.Kapila, the USA fully knows that no one except them have used nuclear weapons physically or as a blackmail (Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Cuba). They also know that they can hold back Pakistan if necessary by pre-empting their strike capability. India has already declared no first strike. Dr. Kapila concludes that the myth is only to contain Indian influence in South Asia and prevent any attempt at a limited Indian conventional strike in Pakistan Administered Kashmir. Dr.Kapila says that the Pakistan’s bogey about the nuclear flashpoint is to pressurise international community to intervene in settling Kashmir dispute.
As per Dr.Kapila the myth can turn into reality only if an irrational fundamentalist dictator decides to use the nuclear weapon to force India to give up Kashmir. However, in this scenario also China may not allow this or the Pakistanis themselves would have to take into account the Indian retaliation of second strike which would completely wipe out Pakistan. On all counts, the possibility of a nuclear conflagration over Kashmir seems very rare as was evident from the Kargil war where Bill Clinton intervened after consulting his Chinese counterpart to call a halt to the hostilities. The recent development in Pakistan where violence has assumed alarming proportions especially the unstoppable suicide attacks does create a disturbing scenario. A suicide bomber running away with a nuke to teach India a lesson can trigger an Armageddon! Apart from that rare suicidal eventuality, a full-fledged nuclear war breaking out in the sub-continent is not a possibility in the present international scenario. USA and other western powers will not allow that to happen.
Thus one could say that the hype about Kashmir being a nuclear flashpoint or an Asian hot-spot is a myth which is in fact being used by one and all to forestall any progress towards its resolution. Even very recently, the Pakistani Prime Minister has called Kashmir a nuclear flashpoint. Apart from these international players even the local leaders in Kashmir have also been very conveniently repeating these lines of his master’s voice! One would have expected the local leaders not to get swayed by this mythical hype that Kashmir is a nuclear or non-nuclear Asian or global flashpoint. They should have at least been able to guess that the worn out slogan is just to keep Kashmiris hanging till eternity. Normally if it was such a dangerous flashpoint then everyone should have been rushing to get it settled at the earliest in the interests of the world peace! On the contrary the western powers especially the global policeman (USA) which normally intervenes everywhere on the tiniest grounds keeps on telling India and Pakistan to sort out the problem bi-laterally. Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya and now Syria need American intervention but not Kashmir which has been hanging fire for more than half a century. It is the common Kashmiris who are in the line of fire and have been facing the consequences of a proxy war between the two irreconcilable neighbours of the sub-continent.
The recent startling disclosures by the former Army Chief General V K Singh are just the proverbial tip of the iceberg and show to what length these people are ready to go to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir. The other side is doing the same thing to get relief from the uncontrollable local militants bent upon destroying their feudal set up. This uncertain situation fuelled and maintained by both the sides is slowly creating a dangerous situation for the local people who may get completely annihilated in this mindless terror war if it continues unabated without anyone willing to stop it on the mythical excuse of it being a “Nuclear” Flashpoint”!