KASHMIR

KASHMIR
Culture

KASHMIR

The famous quote by Mughal Emperor Jahangir, on his first witnessing the beauty and serenity of Kashmir – when translated to English means “If there’s Heaven on Earth, It is here, it is here, it is here”. The land of sages – it is said Kashmir derives its name from Sage Kashyap who meditated here, and the land of Sufis – Sayyed Bulbul Shah, Sheikh Nur-Ud-Din and others, was truly a heaven where, for centuries. Hindus and Muslims co-existed here in love, peace and harmony. It was such a unique place, that distinct shades of Muslim culture could be seen here on the Hindus and the other way round. It was the only place in India with a Muslim majority and a Hindu King, Maharaja Hari Singh, yet its people lived in perfect harmony and there was a strong brotherhood between the two major communities – Hindus and Muslims. But then, ‘the Heaven’ started burning, especially after the partition of India on the basis of religion.

The core of the Kashmir problem lies at the different view-points of India and Pakistan, one rightful and the other fake. Kashmir, as per the Indian standpoint, is an integral part of the Republic of India, whereas Pakistan in its fake viewpoint, has always tried to highlight it as a disputed territory and made every effort to disturb it and burn it. What Pakistan thinks about Kashmir is that since India was divided on the basis of religion in 1947, being a Muslim majority state, Kashmir should have been part of Muslim Pakistan. Though majority of the political leaders, parties and people were against the partition, it was accepted due to political and legal compulsions of the day. There are many flaws in this argument which we must analyze to understand the whole issue. These flaws are highlighted by the following facts:

The partition of the Indian Sub-continent, as agreed upon, was done only upon the erstwhile provinces of the British India, but never of the princely states of India at that time.
In Kashmir, there was only one major political party at that time, which was National Conference. It was associated to Congress and was not in favor of partition or such communal politics.
All the princely states were free in their will and choice to join either India or Pakistan. Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, the 1st Home Minister of independent India, was responsible for instrumenting successful accession of all such states to India, except the state of Jammu & Kashmir, due to certain political scenario.
Taking advantage of the political situation there, Kashmir was invaded by the Pakistani forces in the garb of local tribals. On request of its ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, the Indian forces were rushed there to foil the evil Pakistani attempt to capture Kashmir. Following this, the ruler Hari Singh agreed and the state of Jammu & Kashmir formally became part of the Indian nation.
The formal accession of Kashmir was also endorsed by the National Conference which represented the people of J&K as the only political party there at the time.
Though it may be so that Pakistan is a Muslim majority state, but the fact is that India had even larger Muslim population (currently, it’s slightly less than Pakistan’s) while still being a truly secular nation with a multi-religious population.
There’s been a futile effort on part of Pakistan to create an impression that J&K’s accession to India was not natural and that it’s people wanted to join Pakistan. This is absurd and without any evidence of it in the political situation at that time. Neither any leader nor its people, before or after the partition voiced any such demand; though there was some chorus about independence.

If we look into the history of political movement in Kashmir, we find no connection between its leaders or people and the Muslim League. In fact there was always an air of secular nationalism and the divisive ideology of Muslim League could never find any ground there. The elite of the state were always more inclined towards the Congress leadership and the National Conference too had rejected the religion based theory of two nation.

Another misleading argument which does the rounds is that by accepting partition, India too had accepted the ‘two nation theory’ based upon religion. This was actually the demand of Muslim League in the leadership of Jinnah. We can say that this demand was also accepted by the British to a certain extent as the partition was applied upon the concerned provinces. The Indian leadership had to accept it only because there seemed to be no way out towards Independence, which the people had fought for waited so long. It was accepted by India only to expedite the political process and legal formalities for taking over the charge from the British Government. So, acceptance of partition on religious basis, making a case for two nations, and Kashmir being majorly Muslim making a case for Pakistan does not stand ground at all.

Even the facts also don’t support this and speak otherwise. For the framework of partition to happen, it was decided to reconstitute the 11 provinces of British India so as to practically enable the grouping of the contiguous areas in the West, North-West and Eastern parts of the then India with clear Muslim majority. Subsequently, the actual division of these areas was not done ‘province-wise’ as per the original demand of the Muslim League, but ‘district-wise’ so as to restrict the effect of the religion based formula.

Further, the way India has developed into a cohesive, multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-lingual secular federal nation in itself is a big blow to the so called theory of dividing the nation mainly on the Hindu-Muslim basis. It’s an open fact that the Muslims here in India today are far-far better-off in every respect than those in Pakistan and what the condition of Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan are, is also known to all.

So, in conclusion, other than the playing of the same old, worn and torn off card of religion, Pakistan does not have (and never had) any rightful claim on Kashmir, whereas Kashmir the part of the state of Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India.