The Confusion of Options
Presume the problem is clear, where is the solution?
KASHMIR BY ASHIQ HUSSAIN BHAT
The fag end of the 1980s saw pro-independence group(s) coming to the forefront of resistance movement in Kashmir. Their mode of resistance was radically different from their predecessors. They talked in the language of bombs, bullets, and grenades. Soon their slogan azadi (freedom) captured the imagination of Kashmiris (read Muslims).
For the first time since 1947 many Kashmiris began complaining that limiting self-determination to only two options – Accession to Pakistan and Accession to India – was wrong. They wished that the Third Option – azadi in the sense of complete independence of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir – should also be accommodated. Even some demanded that azadi should be not only incorporated but also be the First Option. Till then “Accession to Pakistan” was understood to be the First Option.
Soon pro-independence armed resistance group(s) gave up their arms first at the end of Dargah Hazratbal (1994) siege and then in 1994 throughout. For them azadi meant accession to Pakistan. They were more in numbers and received all types of support from across the border.
It was a great coincidence when Kashmiris took up weapons for azadi the world witnessed a change. Cold War came to a close. Soviet Union got dismantled. USA emerged victorious in the Cold War and this global transformation threw it up as the sole super power. The Frankinstein of International Jehad raised the bogey of civilisational clash between Christendom and Islam. The elements of global Jehad who made American victory in Cold War against Soviet Union possible now came to be looked upon with suspicion. Soon suspicions between old bed fellows paved way to active rivalry. Rivalry between Neoconservatives of USA and Al Qaeda affiliates increased in intensity exactly during the time when armed resistance in Kashmir was in full swing. Elements from these new global rival groups also entered Kashmir and influenced world opinion about Kashmir cause. In fact solid attempts were made to mix up Kashmir with global Jehad.
Therefore Kashmir could not remain unaffected from what happened on the global arena. Both the camps formulated strategies to outsmart each other and convert Kashmir into a launching pad for their respective international agendas. Incidents like the Al Faran kidnapping and the Nepal-Kandahar Indian Airliner hijacking etc. were linked to this new international tussle. And so was the Livingston Proposal that emanated from New York which envisioned a consociation based joint control mechanism (read status quo with some slight changes) in the former Princely State between India and Pakistan with Uncle Sam as the policeman-supervisor, one eye fixed on South Asia and the other upon China.
If Livingston Proposal sounded foreign to Kashmiris its facsimile copies Achievable Nationhood and Self-Rule didn’t. Nor did Four Point Formula sound so foreign. For some time Joint Control seemed to be the only option that the Kashmiris had been left with, no matter if they liked it nor not.
Of late a tendency is emerging in some circles especially in Kashmir and Delhi: People tend to identify self-determination with azadi in the sense of complete independence of Kashmir. Till yesterday they complained that limiting self-determination to only two options was wrong. Now they limit self-determination to complete independence. Even the term “Kashmir” carries a whole lot of geographical ambiguity. Kashmir (State, the former Princely State) is 80000 square miles. There is a difference of one to ten in geographical magnitude. Compounding the confusion is the fact that those who issue protest calendars and are understood to be the present leaders of the movement are pro-Pakistan. Moreover, all sections of the population of the State do not support azadi. Non-Muslims oppose azadi tooth and nail. At the last moment they may (will) demand partition. Pakistan administered Kashmiris may prefer to be part of Pakistan. So partition would be option No.5 (or even No.1).
All those options remind me the song of Bollywood blockbuster: Confusion hi confusion hai, Option kya hai pata nahin; Option jab mila to yaro Dispute kya ha pata nahin
(Ashiq Hussain Bhat has authored two books on Kashmir. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Sun, 7 Nov 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 7 Nov 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 8 Nov 2010 00:00:00 IST
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