Self Rule based on pragmatism, contemporary realities: Mehbooba Mufti
KASHMIR WAY FORWARD
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, July 1: The President of Peoples Democratic Party Mehbooba Mufti on has said that the Self Rule agenda presented by her party is based on pragmatism and the contemporary realities of the sub continent.
Addressing a conference in Berlin (Germany) held under the AEGIS of Pugwash she said various elements of a possible solution to Kashmir have been outlined in the Self Rule document around which some kind of a consensus was taking shape among different stake holders. Under this state will have to be granted full liberties to have its governance structure, mechanism to reunite the separated territories, travel and trade as European nations are able to and be able to nurture the distinct cultural strains.
Jammu and Kashmir can be a bridge between warring India and Pakistan rather than remaining a perennial bone of contention, but it has to be granted that status by both India and Pakistan to usher in peace in the subcontinent and beyond. What applies to our part of the erstwhile princely state will have to be granted to Pak administered part as well, therefore making this area of conflict into a peace zone.
THE FULL TEXT OF
My view of a solution to the problem of Jammu and Kashmir is somewhat simple which could be prone to accusations of being simplistic. It is shorn of cliché, complicated hypotheses or shrill scaremongering of the now dominant security establishment that rules the mindscape of policy makers throughout the world. It is actually the personal belief of a person who happens to be conscious of the very special ethos of her place and its distinctive features that should inform the future set up of Jammu and Kashmir which is sure to impact the entire South Asian region.
My solution in fact is what my party the J&K Peoples Democratic Party too has presented as a viable way out of the dark tunnel that we find ourselves in. While the proposed solution is anchored in the history and peculiar geography of the region it aims at neutralizing the negative impact of the discord that attended the emergence of India and Pakistan as two sovereign states without attempting to disturb the national interests of either.
Jammu and Kashmir defied the logic of religion based partition in what was almost unparalleled in history. A predominantly Muslim country had in the face of a choice thrown its lot with a country that looked the very antithesis of what the prevailing Muslim sentiment in South Asia demanded. It had gone against its religious bonding, its geography, logistical convenience and political arithmetic even though the principles that guided accession to India have had a permanent universal value. Kashmir was pursuing a dream whose romance unfortunately proved extremely short lived. Democracy that was the theme of this historic alliance became the first casualty of mistrust which proved to be its twin and is still to disappear from our statecraft. The genius of resolution will have to focus on the positives of this exciting experiment gone wrong in implementation and resulting in one of the more pathetic stories of post colonial world order.
My state continues to be the place in all its dimensions which Pandit Nehru would always call a country even though constitutionally it is part of the Indian Republic. Its physical dimensions, cultural variety and ethnic blend stand it out among all the constituents of modern India to actually being a realistic claimant to the status of a miniature India. Giving details of that here is unnecessary for obvious reasons. But the first requirement of my solution would be for India and Pakistan to recognize this distinctiveness of the state even while dealing with us through established state mechanisms that are in vogue now. India, on our side of the LOC divide will have to find enough space and confidence in its nationalism to accommodate and live with Kashmir nationalism with all its personality contours. Same will apply to Pakistan and the Pak administered Kashmir (PaK). Similarly, within the state Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh have to devise an institutional framework for a modus vivendi to live and flourish as a modern welfare state.
Independence to India and Pakistan came at a terrible human cost. But by and large the main victims of the divide Bengal and the Punjab have more or less sorted out the fall out. Partition for them has been a one time nightmare which to its protagonists on either side at least gave some sense of achievement as they were part of the discourse that led to it. On the other hand J&K is witnessing partition everyday with all its gory implications in the shape of bloodshed, destruction and denial of not just human rights but the all important feeling of nationhood that is so vital to a stable world order. And it is happening in spite of it having had its own political campaign that tried to steer clear of the madness executed elsewhere in the name of one nationalism or the other. While Wagah Attari border is proving somewhat credible and generally sustained access between the two partitioned halves of Punjab the two parts of Kashmir remain almost barricaded by an iron curtain of two large and mighty armies of the world.
Even though Kashmir has been an important component of the fabled Silk Route trade, culture and ethos it suddenly finds itself quarantined almost into a dead end. Its boundaries closed in accordance with new demarcations, the place that was a meeting place of civilizations is finding itself blocked out of reckoning ironically in a world of crumbling barriers. It is not just trade that historically connected Kashmir to its North and North West. While Kashmir itself has been an important centre of knowledge and learning as a Sharda Peeth influencing the medieval and earlier thought processes in South Asia it has been a major recipient of Central Asia’s spiritual and material elements. Not just that Islam came here through the Central Asian missionaries but they continue to be the only ‘foreigners’ to have settled in the valley in recorded history and given to the place a new culture, religion, craft and an urban mould that continues to be fresh to this day, seven centuries down the line. The settlers grounded themselves in Kashmir and continue to inspire the place through hundreds of their shrines and thousands of descendant families. Our cuisine, dress, large parts of literature, architectural landmarks and religious practices owe more to Afghanistan, Iran, Tibet, China and other Central Asian territories than any other region. Tibet, Korakoram, Smarqand, Yarqand and Khotan are still part of our collective consciousness.
It is therefore a natural urge among people to see old connections revived, which I stress would not be at the cost of present realities of nationality and sovereignty. To reopen those routes will only be in accordance with globalization of trade and would necessarily also demand a virtual reunification of our state with the part that is administered by Pakistan. The very location of the state would dictate that if Indian technological resource has to meet the vast natural resources of Afghanistan-Central Asia half way and engage it for the betterment of the large human mass in two regions J&K is the most likely first point of direct contact. And such a project cannot be driven just by romantic dreams or uncompromising security postures. The leadership will have to rise up to the challenge and work with the people of the state in partnership and give them a feeling of liberty to travel and trade where their not so distant ancestors have been going out in much more inhospitable conditions. Why should the large network of roads and highways in our north be exclusively dedicated to military or strategic use and not utilized also for more productive purposes.
Such a grand business project is likely to take away a major section of disgruntled people who find themselves drawn into ideological exploitation as cannon fodder and provide them a reason to live. I feel the major challenge before our generation is to create stakes in life for those who see salvation in death- for them and others. Military methods have failed as is now acknowledged across board. It hold true of Kashmir as much as in Afghanistan. The problems faced by us in Kashmir and by everybody in Afghanistan are definitely different but the linkage between the two could be made more positive than stressing Kashmir first or Afghanistan first. The commonalities of cultures could be built upon to create a neighbourhood that is amenable to granting Kashmir its space and Kabul what it deserves. For me that can be achieved for Jammu and Kashmir by allowing it full democratic operation and opening up the routes to outside world and to oversee it have an institutional mechanism between J&K and PaK. As a first step the travel and trade across the LOC must be made free of hassles so as to create an environment conducive to expansion to other areas.
The internal contours of the Kashmir solution are becoming clearer. And fortunately a degree of consensus is emerging over some crucial areas. We are uncomfortable with the dubious distinction of being world’s most militarized place which even active war theatres like Afghanistan are not. We would want it instead to be the Indian equivalent of a global business hub that promotes not just commerce but contributes to the growth of all the regions of the state. I dream it to be a major centre of South Asia’s immense soft power that could expand Northwards through Kashmir and bring new avenues of growth to the country. The knowledge and skill society of Kashmir’s glorious past has to be revived and given a modern meaning and method to harness the full human resource potential of the state.
India and Pakistan have a lot of contentious issues to sort out between them. But rather ominously the only area of convergence realized in six decades of their hostile relations is about the sharing of river water. This happened while the Cauvery and Basha dam issues are defying a solution within the states. It is obvious that it happened at the back and cost of J&K because the state lacked a voice in even such matters that concern its very viability as a self respecting political and economic entity. Though we are obviously glad about Indus Water Treaty but the state feels cheated for denying us compensation for lost riparian rights. This would have to be sorted out in any resolution while an equally important dimension of the resource exploitation between the centre and J&K is gaining relevance to the ultimate resolution.
Our dreams for J&K are based on pragmatism. That is why they are different and gaining acceptability. To sum it up the state will have to be granted full liberty to have its governance structure, mechanism to reunite the separated territories, travel and trade as European nations are able to and be able to nurture the distinct cultural strains. The state that is able being a bridge between warring India and Pakistan rather than remain a perennial bone of contention will have to be granted that status by both India and Pakistan to usher in peace in the subcontinent and beyond. What applies to our part of the erstwhile princely state will have to be granted to Pak administered part as well, therefore making this area of conflict into a peace zone.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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