Two Nations and a Theory
Between India and Pakistan where does Kashmir stand!
INKSIGHT BY MEHMOOD UR RASHID
Finally, Pakistan declared India as the Most Favoured Nation. An adversary for decades and still seen as threat to existence by many in Pakistan, declaring India as MFN was never an easy decision. At the mental and psychological level much must have been negotiated before latching open the gate. Though India has already done it, and let us not forget that the two perennial adversaries traded off favours when it came to securing a berth in the United Nations Security Council as non-permeate members. As a simple tool of explanation the principle of reciprocity can explain this action of India and Pakistan. Both the countries want to benefit from each other hence the bargain.
Another way of explaining this decision is also very trite in the international relations. Any two nuclear armed countries feel bit safer if they have stakes in each other. By making trade as the territory of mutual comfort, any military mishap becomes less likely. Though the decision of Pakistan seems to be immediately catalyzed by its financial crisis but the larger framework of regional safety cannot be completely ignored. And this too is an impending reality that the great power game is sinking its jaws further down the body known as sub-continent.
But for some, who see India and Pakistan exclusively through the prism of Kashmir, this is a Faustian bargain for Pakistan. From this Kashmir to across LoC, and also within Pakistan, there have been open and angry disapproval of this decision. What it brings to Pakistan at the end of the day will become known before long, but rejecting it summarily, and considering it akin to betrayal, seems, at least, little too much. A seasoned and matured rejection should have been accompanied by a convincing detail. This does not seem to be forthcoming from anywhere.
No wonder Pakistan may sometime rethink the decision but that doesn’t mean the detractors are right. Reason is that the criticism doesn’t originate from any economic understanding of the matters or the complex functioning of the states. It flows from a generalized feeling of mistrust, more akin to animosity. Probably it has also something to do with the nomenclature. ‘Most Favoured’ is only trade relationship. It has hardly anything to do with an acceptance of the other at essential level.
Anyway, those who feel dejected at this moment may have their own point, but Kashmir would be better off if on this occasion some brain breaking is done as to where do we stand between the two nations and how do we theorise our problem. (It doesn’t mean UN resolutions are irrelevant. And for God sake don’t always rush to the conclusion that thinking afresh is another way of promoting status quo. That is just ridiculous.)
At the time when the Muslims of undivided India discovered the contours of their problem as them being reduced to a permanent minority in a democracy that India would become after British left, thinking went into the political effort. No body then knew what exactly would it mean in terms of geography and polity, but almost everyone from Abul Kalam Azad to Jinnah, and from Syed Mawdudi to Allama Iqbal, measured the expanse of the question that was confronting Muslims. The immediate political responses flowed from that larger understanding about the fate of Muslims in the independent India governed by the western style democracy. Had it not been the element of haste, Iqbal’s dream of a Muslim state would not have been what Pakistan is today.
Iqbal never saw it in terms of animosity between Muslims and Hindus. He saw it as something of a historical inevitability that would benefit both ‘India and Islam’. His vision of rearranging the sub-continent is way different than Indo-Pak rivalry. He tried to read out to us, through his poetry and prose, the details of the pronouncement that the geography and history had made in favour of the sub continent. We reduced it to a slogan and the result was the madness of partition.
If that framework of animosity, strengthened by partition and the post partition politics, is not broken, Kashmir will only become someday as bloody as was partition once.
In fight or love, elephants always make the grass suffer. This expression of cynicism, and hopelessness, best fits the people who are caught between two organized powers. During the entire period of cold war this was true of the poor nations who invited hell by way of the industry of capitalist West or the ideology of communist Russia. From Vietnam to Afghanistan how many generations have now grieved like that proverbial grass! And does Kashmir belong to the same family of grass. We have to do a more serious thinking. This can only be done if we disentangle our minds from the construct of indo-Pak animosity.
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Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Nov 2011 00:00:00 IST
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