First Swaminathan Aiyar, and now Amit Varma. Both outspoken liberals whom I respect a lot. As the liberal thought goes, they support a plebiscite in Kashmir and compare India to the Britishers. I am not against a plebiscite. It was promised many decades ago but never implemented. My problem lies with the fact that if a plebiscite is offered today, it’ll only take into consideration the current population of Kashmir. What about the 350000 Kashmiri pundits who were forced to leave the valley and settle down In Jammu and the rest of the country? Would their voice be considered? Shouldn’t it be?
As for comparing India to the Britishers, well, let’s just end the comparision at that. Yes, Indians tend to get emotional when talking about Kashmir. And our politicians suck at managing crises like these. We have fought wars over the region and most of us have grown up thinking the valley to be an integral part of the nation. But how can we forget the role our good old neighbour Pakistan has played over the years in bringing the situation to what it is today? While it may not be our responsibility if Kashmir becomes a nation, what are the chances that Pakistan won’t increase its presence over there? Given the choice, politicians like Mehbooba Mufti and co. will offer Kashmir to Pakistan on a platter, completely ignoring the voices of the common Kashmiri.
The politicians claiming to represent the people want Kashmir to be an Islamic nation. Now, how different is this from what happened in 1947?
In my opinion, the situation is a little too tricky to have a straight forward solution. But all said and done it’s only fair to let the Kashmiris choose their own destiny. The questions raised above may never be answered because today’s Kashmir is lead by people who hate India. The lure of power is too big for them. Perhaps it’s best to leave them to their own destiny.
Update: How it all started 60 years ago.