World beware! Masood Azhar's rally in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, where he had vowed to recruit half a million terrorists. He managed to recruit many more
There is no need for any Indian to get worked up for what national self-flagellation champion Arundhati Roy said yesterday — that Kashmir needs 'AzAdI' from India as much as India needs 'AzAdI' from Kashmir. Instead, as senior journalist Harinder Baweja reminded Times Now in the debate in response to Roy's statement, let us think of Vir Sanghvi and any other known opinion maker who is less of a maverick than Roy. Sanghvi is one of the two writers who, in their respective columns in the same newspaper — Hindustan Times — had suggested last week that the Indian union set the Kashmir valley free for it to fend for itself.
The presumption made in course of their arguments by Vir Sanghvi and Khushwant Singh is similar to that made by the retreating British administration in 1947: The British had assumed that India was too full of contradictions to be able to manage its own affairs once the Whites left; an ‘inevitable’ collapse of the then newly formed state was doom-said. It never happened. In all probability, it will never happen to this state that is known to many as a "functional anarchy". The assumption this time is different only to the extent of no mention of inherent contradiction among Kashmiri Muslims. They are talking about Jammu & Kashmir depending on truckloads of Indian money to survive. When the privileges enjoyed by the valley's people cease to exist in the event of the area being declared free of the Indian union, tourism, the bread-and-butter of the local population, alone cannot pull the region off, assume the writers. So, that a newly formed country's future is doomed, is the assumption common to the British colonialists and the aforementioned columnists.
This is, however, the least of India's concerns. Both politically and philosophically, the mentality of being happy about the possibility that the people who don't want to live with you ultimately cannot do without you is gross and sick. After a family feud, if your brother leaves you to set a home of his own and the next day you get the news of his death, if that makes you happy, you are the perfect case for psychiatric treatment.
Whoever thought that India was not setting Kashmir free in the fear of the region dying a natural/economic death? India should — and does — worry about the formation of a new Taliban state, should the valley become an independent country. For, any country formed on the foundation of the hatred-filled, exclusivist ideology of religion alone cannot turn out to be anything other than a diabolic state of fanatics that begins by troubling the world and ends by committing hara-kiri when the sight of an absence of foreign enemies threatens its terrorist populace of unemployment.
A more immediate threat is that of the country's defence. In this regard, Khushwant Singh has been more considerate, asking for the Indian troops to stay in the valley. Vir Sanghvi, on the other hand, has had enough of the 'headache' and wants to do away with the whole geographical area entirely, caring to bother little that Pakistan-occupied and India-administered Kashmirs together would turn into a convenient transit route for the military of two hostile neighbours — Pakistan and China. It is not for no reason that the Indian Army has been guarding the inhospitable heights of Siachen for more than two decades. Obviously, if Kashmir goes, so does India's control over the Siachen glacier. A free Kashmir takes India farther away from the southernmost tip of a friendly Russia, congenial Commonwealth of Independent States and a north-eastern edge of what is now our big beneficiary — Afghanistan. This is not to suggest that a terrestrial connection exists between India and these countries at the moment. Rather, the geographical proximity to friendlier states comes in handy during emergencies like war. Let's not forget that when the once-unfriendly US stayed away from confronting India militarily during the 1971 (Bangladesh) war, one of the considerations was that the USSR was much closer to the region for a possible counter-action.
So, when Pratap Bhanu Mehta says, "I cannot imagine what it is to live like under half a million troops, a standing reminder that no matter what our politicians claim, our bonds are sustained more by force than by spontaneity," it reminds us of a 1997 television interview with the then prime minister, otherwise famous for his abnormally docile "Gujral Doctrine", where he had said, "The Indian troops are not in Kashmir on a picnic; militancy necessitated their presence in the valley."
As for Kashmiri Muslims’ ‘legitimate grievance’ — if that were the 'root cause' of militancy — here is the truth. The pre-1989 status of Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir is described as under:
• Kashmiri Muslims owned 97.4% of the agricultural land, leaving 2.6% of agricultural land to Hindus and other minorities who together constituted about 11% population of the province.
• Muslims owned 96% of the fruit orchard acreage in the valley, whereas Hindus owned only 2.8% of the fruit orchards.
• Muslims owned 98.7% acreage of Kareva highland, growing saffron, whereas Hindus owned 0.03% land yielding saffron.
• The export of dry fruits — almond and walnut — was a monopoly of Muslims in Kashmir, with Hindus having negligible or no share in the export of dry fruit from Kashmir.
• The export of precious walnut and willow-wood was wholly a monopoly of Muslims, with Hindus having no share in it.
• Muslims’ employment in the horticulture industry approximated to 800,000 people working on 481,000 orchard holdings. The employment of Hindus in the horticulture industry was less than 0.5%.
• Of the industries using electric power in Kashmir province, Muslims owned 98.9% and only 0.02% were owned by Hindus.
• The handicrafts and handloom industry of Kashmir was almost wholly owned by Muslims; it provided employment to 91,941 people of whom only 0.4% were Hindus.
• Of the 17,776 members of the handicrafts and handloom cooperative societies in 1985-86, the years when the Muslim fundamentalists were turning militants, only 0.3% belonged to Hindus.
• In 1985-86, the number of small-scale industries and industrial units registered with the Directorate of Industries in Kashmir province was 46,293. The number of units registered in the name of Hindus therein estimated to only 0.01 %. 98.7 % of the industrial units were registered in the name of the Kashmiri Muslims.
• The Khadi and village industries, registered under the Khadi and Village Industries Board, provided employment to 28,110; of them, 98.8 % were Muslims.
• Road transport in Jammu & Kashmir, the primary means of communication in the absence of railways, was a monopoly of Muslim transporters and transport companies, with Sikhs having a marginal 4.2 % share. Hindus of Kashmir had a negligible share in the transport organisation of the state.
• According to the statistics and figures collected from government sources for the years 1985-86, the State Transport Corporation employed 6,434 persons of which Kashmiri Hindus accounted for 0.8%.
• According to the figures available for the year 1985-86, the entire boat transport in the state was monopolised by the Kashmiri Muslims. The number of the various types of boats, was as follows:
Type of Boats .....…………………….. Number……… Number of persons employed
Tourist house boats .......................... 825 ........................... 3, 300
Passenger boats ............................ 1, 152 ........................... 2, 304
Carriage boats ................................... 685 ........................... 1, 037
Fishing boats ..................................... 480 ............................... 960
Tourist doonga ................................. 275 ............................... 825
Taxi boat ............................................ 785 ........................... 1, 570
Total ................................................ 4, 232 ........................... 9, 996
The entire fleet of the boats of various types, listed above, was owned by Muslims. The fleet included high-cost luxury house-boats, which had considerable commercial value.
• The hotel industry is a highly lucrative industry in Kashmir. It was always a closed preserve of Muslims of Kashmir. Muslims owned almost 96% of the hotel property in Kashmir, Hindus owned only 2.2% of the hotel property.
• 94% of the State subsidy paid on horticulture, agriculture, agricultural implements, fertilisers, pesticides etc. was appropriated by Muslims in Kashmir with less than 2.4% of the subsidies received by Hindus.
• Muslims appropriated the whole of the subsidies directed to the state on industrial loans, exports, self-employment schemes, etc. The share of Hindus of Kashmir in such subsidies was negligible — less than 0.1%.
• The share of Hindus in the industrial loans provided by the state government, the loans on self-employment schemes, loans on small-scale industries and cottage industries like handicraft and the lands allotted for the establishment of such industries, was negligible — less than 0.1%.
• Hindus were almost fully excluded from contracts and public works undertaken by the Government and were given, on an average, a share of 4% in the works undertaken by the state.
• The share of Hindus in the exploitation of forest products, until the forests were nationalised in 1979, was 6.2%.
• The licensing for quarrying and mining of marble brick-kilns was a monopoly of Muslims.
• The manufacture and export of carpets, of Kashmir was a monopoly of Muslims.
• The manufacture and export of shawls of Kashmir was a monopoly of Muslims.
In any event, losing Kashmir will be a big embarrassment for India which has, since its inception in a new awatar in 1947, always opposed the idea of the two-nation theory. The possible argument that can be guessed hypothetically at the moment, which the government might forward then, is that "a 'Hindu' India did not throw out a 'Muslim' Kashmir"; rather, "the 'Muslim' Kashmir, despite all efforts by a 'secular' India, did not want to continue to live as a part of this country". And Pakistan would be happy that it's agenda of partition is finally complete.
A whole lot of untruths would start donning cloaks of legitimacy if India and Kashmir were to part ways. The international community would forget the incursion and invasion of the valley by Pakistani tribals in 1947. In India, the Hindu right wing will feel less inhibited to call first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru a moron; for it was his wisdom that brought about the UN-imposed ceasefire over the Line of Control at a time when the Indian Army was pushing the invaders back and was on the verge of recovering the entire lost territory. Whichever party rules India at the time of Kashmir's departure would have to forget coming back to power for a long time to come. What would be touted as "self-determination" or "plebiscite" would camouflage the 1990s' brutal religious cleansing — it's not "ethnic" cleansing; Kashmiris converted to Islam and, hence, cannot have a different ethnicity — carried out by Muslims in the areas and the hurrah of AzAdi would outshout the agonising cries of Kashmir's Pandits, which are already reduced to a squeak, in wilderness.
Why did things come to such a pass? It beats reason why India cannot be a Melting Pot; why it should follow the British ways of multi-culturalism where every culture keeps demanding a bigger share of the pie, gets it more often than not but is still left feeling let down. For, this is the root cause of the strife: The more you give, the more they demand. It beats reason why India has to be condemned to live forever the folly of the foolhardy promise that was made to Kashmir during its accession to the union and not repeal Article 370. What is so communal about all states of a union being governed by the same set of laws? What is so communal about a uniform civil code where all religions ought to be bound by the same set of civil and criminal laws? Why should Muslims fear that bringing about uniformity in law would mean a 'Hindu-isation' of the laws of the land and, therefore, oppose the idea? There are indeed a few exemplary acts in the Muslim Personal Law that, in case of a uniform code, can be incorporated to let citizens of all religions benefit from them.
Vir Sanghvi thinks that Indian Muslims do not share any affinity with their fellow religionists in the Kashmir valley, and so his proposed separation of the region from India will not have a telling effect on this country's secular credentials. So I thought, till I got to see a written statement in the last blog-post here in Research from an Aligarh Muslim University staffer. In context of the controversy surrounding the now-dumped state government proposal of transferring some land to the Amarnath Shrine Board for two months every year during the pilgrimage, N Jamal Ansari had originally written: "There is (a) danger of permanent settlement if any temporary settlement is allowed in the area. Then it will change (the) demography of the region, which will further complicate the issue." Since this is a perception and not the absolute truth, I had to edit it to: "Kashmiri Muslims are not convinced that there is no danger of permanent settlement, if any temporary settlement is allowed in the area. They fear it is Government of India's conscious effort and first ominous step towards changing the demography of the region." One might, of course, argue that the cited writer does not represent all of India's Muslims. Those forwarding this argument should then be reminded of another Muslim homogeneity: When the nation was debating whether or not Parliament House attack conspirator Mohammed Afzal should be hanged, while Hindus and followers of other religions were divided on the issue, not a single Muslim thought leader or opinion maker based anywhere in the world spoke or wrote in favour of Afzal's hanging.
Nevertheless, on the basis of informal talks with several members of the Muslim community, it is reassuring to find that hardly any Indian Muslim living outside Kashmir wants the valley to secede. Should that lead to a deliberate communal state policy wherein India engages Kashmiri separatists of the Hurriyat fold in talks with delegates of government functionaries that are predominantly Muslim? No. The incident of arson and setting a local police commissioner's house afire, despite his being a Muslim, indicates that this tactic will not work. Several Kashmiri Muslims who wanted the region's freedom but were against the idea of joining Pakistan have been eliminated from the scene. The compulsion to toe the Pakistani line is so pitiable that the son of one such victim, Sajjad Lone of People's Conference now speaks of separation from India but keeps the choice of the valley's independence or its acceding to Pakistan tacit. This is to cite just one example of the fear factor. Much as the separatists fashion themselves, militants and terrorists as "freedom fighters", and draw audacious comparisons with Bhagat Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose while arguing with Indians, the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter is all too known: Unlike the Kashmiri murderers, India's freedom fighters never bombed and gunned down ordinary civilians, school children, office goers, shopkeepers and bystanders during the Raj.
Kashmiri terrorists killing Kashmiri civilians:True, the times are too volatile to repeal Article 370 that caters to Jammu & Kashmir or enforce a UCC in the whole of India. But granting more autonomy to a region, which is already more privileged — and pampered — than any autonomous domain can be, makes little sense. Kashmiri separatists are bound by no code of ethics or bond of religion or ethnicity. It is impelling to conclude that they are a band of sick marauders who relish the feeling of perpetual anger, enjoy the sight of constant destruction and are alien to the idea of a normal, peaceful life. The world in general and India in particular cannot afford to lose Kashmir to a mob.
• January 1999: 56
• February 1999: 40
• March 1999: 36
• April 1999: 43
• May 1999: 37
• June 1999: 67
• July 1999: 42
• May 2000: 74
• June 2000: 14
Muslim terrorists killing Muslim civilians:
• The 19 February attack on the Friendship Train service between New Delhi and Lahore, Pakistan, that killed dozens;
• The 18 May bomb blast at the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad that killed eleven;
• The 11 October blast at a Sufi mosque in Ajmer, Rajasthan, that killed three.
Freedom fighters? Whose freedom?
Innocent blood: Lying in these coffins are little children who fell to the bombs and bullets of Kashmir's terrorists
The writer is a mathematician and linguist, now a corporate communicator and has been a science journalist, a teacher and a marketing manager (in reverse chronological order) in his previous vocations
I. Instrument of Accession executed by Maharajah Hari Singh, ruler of Jammu & Kashmir (princely state), on 26 October 1947:
II. Resolution of the UN Security Council of 13 August 1948
III. Article 370 of the Constitution of India:
Temporary provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. —
(1) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, —
(a) the provisions of article 238 shall not apply in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir;
(b) the power of Parliament to make laws for the said State shall be limited to —
(i) those matters in the Union List and the Concurrent List which, in consultation with the Government of the State, are declared by the President to correspond to matters specified in the Instrument of Accession governing the accession of the State to the Dominion of India as the matters with respect to which the Dominion Legislature may make laws for that State; and
(ii) such other matters in the said Lists as, with the concurrence of the Government of the State, the President may by order specify.
Explanation. — For the purposes of this article, the Government of the State means the person for the time being recognised by the President as the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers for the time being in office under the Maharaja’s Proclamation dated the fifth day of March, 1948;
(c) the provisions of article 1 and of this article shall apply in relation to that State;
(d) such of the other provisions of this Constitution shall apply in relation to that State subject to such exceptions and modifications as the President may by order specify: Provided that no such order which relates to the matters specified in the Instrument of Accession of the State referred to in paragraph (i) of sub-clause (b) shall be issued except in consultation with the Government of the State: Provided further that no such order which relates to matters other than those referred to in the last preceding proviso shall be issued except with the concurrence of that Government.
(2) If the concurrence of the Government of the State referred to in paragraph (ii) of sub-clause (b) of clause (1) or in the second proviso to sub-clause (d) of that clause be given before the Constituent Assembly for the purpose of framing the Constitution of the State is convened, it shall be placed before such Assembly for such decision as it may take thereon. (3) Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this article, the President may, by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify: Provided that the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the State referred to in clause (2) shall be necessary before the President issues such a notification.
IV. The US's Worldwide (Terrorist) Incident Tracking System: Spotlight Kashmir
V. The Amarnath shrine land transfer dispute