I am a Kashmiri. I regard not only Kashmiri Pandits but also Kashmiri Muslims as my flesh and blood. Therefore I grieve over the sufferings of all Kashmiris, whether Pandits or Muslims, and want it to end. I condemn killings of Kashmiris, and am sad about the recent events in the valley.
Nevertheless I believe that the Kashmiri youth in the valley who are supporting the agitation for azadi are totally misguided, and so I am presenting my views. Please consider them coolly, and if you disagree feel free to criticize me ( but in polite language and giving your own reasons ).
1. Many of you want azadi from India. But azadi can only be a means to an end, not an end in itself. The end must be raising the standard of living of Kashmiris. I have repeatedly said that if it can be demonstrated that azadi results in raising the standard of living of the Kashmiri people, i.e. creating large scale employment for the Kashmiri youth, providing for healthcare for Kashmiris, abolishing poverty, providing nutritious food, etc I will support the demand. After all, as I have repeatedly said, the test of every system and political act is one and only one : does it raise the standard of living of the masses ?
But it is certain that the azadi you demand will lower the standard of living of Kashmiris, far from raising it.
Azadi for Kashmir will result in Islamic revivalism, imposition of Sharia law in Kashmir, etc which will be disastrous for Kashmiris as it will drive Kashmir into the dark middle ages. The mentor of the separatist leader and Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani was Abdul Ala Maududi, who propagated Islamic revivalism, and strongly opposed secularism and womens' emancipation.
Geelani's ideology, and that of other separatists, appears to be the same, otherwise why do they not disclose what is their plan for raising the standard of living of Kashmiris assuming azadi is achieved. They are totally and deliberately silent about that.
Burhan Wani was turned into a hero by many Kashmiris. But to my mind he was only a pawn being used by certain vested interests ( see my blog http://justicekatju.blogspot.in/…/the-kashmiri-separatist-m… ). What was Burhan Wani's ideology ? Was it Islamic fundamentalism ? What were his plans for raising the standard of living of Kashmiris once azadi was achieved ? Did he even think about this ? Umar Khalid of JNU compared Burhan Wani with Che Guevara. But Che had an ideology ( whether one agrees with it or not ). What was Burhan's ideology ?
I have repeatedly said that in view of the tremendous diversity in our sub continent only secularism can hold us together ( see my blogs in this connection ). Religious fundamentalism will drive us back into the middle ages and make us poorer, whereas our goal must be to modernize and spread scientific ideas among the masses. That is the only way to raise the standard of living of our people and give them decent lives.
2. Kashmir is too small and economically backward to survive as an independent state. So azadi, even if it is achieved, will soon thereafter result in Kashmir coming under the Pakistani military jackboot and imposition of the feudal, outdated Sharia law and Wahabiism. Have you seen what is going on in Pakistan, of which you will then become a part ? It is true that there is communalism in India too, but it is nothing compared to what is happening in Pakistan. Ahmediyas, Shias, Hindus, Christians, etc are regularly killed there by the religious bigots. Recently a Hindu doctor of Karachi was killed. What was his fault ? That he was a Hindu. Blasphemy laws are applied to victimize innocent minorities. Recently about 70 people were killed and over 100 injured in a bomb blast in a hospital in Quetta, many of them lawyers and journalists.http://www.reuters.com/arti…/us-pakistan-blast-idUSKCN10J0I7
Journalists who write independently are regularly killed. People are afraid of speaking out openly in Pakistan, which has become a Jurassic Park. Do you want to be a part of that ?
3. Many Kashmiris claim that Kashmir was never part of India. This is untrue, and the truth has been explained in detail in my blog http://justicekatju.blogspot.in/…/the-false-claim-of-kashmi…
4. Kashmir has a large handicraft industry, and a huge market for it is in India. In almost every town in India there are shops of Kashmiris selling carpets, shawls, and other handicraft items. When I went to Kovallam beach in Trivandrum, Kerala I found 3 Kashmiri shops there. All this huge market will be destroyed if Kashmir separates from India, and the workers and owners of these handicraft industries will become unemployed. Have you ever thought of that ?
5. Some people talk of U.N. Resolutions. But these were passed a long time back soon after independence in 1947 when our leaders were inexperienced and under tremendous pressure of powerful nations who had their own axes to grind. It is well known that the U.N. is dominated by powerful nations which have their own vested interests. Why should we bother about what happened so long back, and under pressure ?
6.So what should you do in the circumstances ? You must give up the slogan of azadi and instead raise the slogan of reunification of India and Pakistan ( and Bangladesh ) under a secular government which does not tolerate religious bigotry or extremism, whether Hindu or Muslim, and crushes it with an iron hand. Such reunification will automatically solve the Kashmir problem. For my detailed reasons see my blog