In a function held recently in Delhi I said that the only solution to the Kashmir issue was reunification of India and Pakistan under a strong, secular, modern minded government which does not tolerate religious fanaticism or bigotry and suppresses it with an iron hand.
In response 'The Pakistan Observer' said that I had gone mad and become a lunatic. Well, everyone is entitled to his opinions, but is my view really so bizarre ?
When I meet Pakistanis (and I have many Pakistani friends ) I feel no different from them. We talk in Hindustani and feel one. Recently I had a long meeting at my residence with Dr. Khalil Chishty and his wife and son soon after the Supreme Court judgment in his case.In foreign countries Indians and Pakistanis mix up as if Partition has not taken place. And what is the basis of Partition ? It is the bogus two nation theory, that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations. I submit that this theory was only a product of the British policy of divide and rule to make Hindus and Muslims fight with each other.
If this theory, that religion is the basis of a nation, is accepted then logically England should be partitioned into at least 6 states. The majority in England are Anglican Protestant Christians, but there are many Scottish Presbyterians, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, etc. Similarly, France has a sizeable Muslim population (descendants of North African Arabs belonging to the former French colonies in North Africa). The French Muslims too should be given a separate state (if the two nation theory is accepted as valid ).
Anyone can see that this will create chaos. Hardly any country can survive if this theory is accepted because in almost every country there are people of different religions. And in the Indian subcontinent secularism is all the more vital in view of the tremendous diversity here (because the Indian subcontinent is broadly a country of immigrants, as I have pointed out in my article 'What is India' on my blog justicekatju.blogspot.in and in the video on the website kgfindia.com ).
We can see the result of creating a theocratic state (Pakistan) in which chaos and religious extremism is prevailing so that people cannot lead normal lives. Apart from the minorities (Hindus, Christians, Sikhs,etc), Ahmadis, Shias, etc are also persecuted, and intolerance and terrorism is the order of the day. So secularism is the only policy which is suitable to our subcontinent.
Secularism does not mean that one cannot practice his religion. Secularism means that religion is a private affair unconnected with the state, which will have no religion.
Some people asked me whether my idea of a united India and Pakistan is feasible. I replied that I know this unity will not be achieved in a short time. However, I am planting a seed. No doubt it will take 10 or 15 years for the seed to become a tree, but if the seed is not planted today there will be no fruit bearing tree in 10 or 15 years. I am confident that a united, secular, modern minded, India will come into existence one day, but whether I will live to see that day is doubtful (I am 67 years old, though mentally still young )