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Kashmir for the Kashmiris

By Pranay Gupte

Some say it was al-Qaeda, others see the malevolent hand of the Taliban, and still others see shadowy forces aligned with state security services. But regardless of who was responsible for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto last month, the tragedy once again brings the issue of regional terrorism in South Asia to the forefront.

But long before al-Qaeda and the Taliban emerged as destabilizing forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan, long before indigenous Islamists began raising money to disrupt national life, there was the issue of Kashmir: the 60-year dispute with neighboring India over a mountainous region that both countries claim.

It was an issue on which Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif remained unified. And it is an issue that will be conspicuous on the agenda of a new Pakistani administration after next month's expected elections – not the least because of the resurgence of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party in India, which has won important state polls in which party leaders more than once implicitly reasserted India's claim to all of Kashmir.

The Bhutto assassination, of course, is likely to have ripple effects that will most certainly be felt in Kashmir and India. But in Kashmir itself, the anti-India insurgency is far from being eliminated, even if Indian authorities are publicly reluctant to discuss it. Indian officials have even attributed terrorist acts in other parts of India to militants trained in Kashmir.

While Kashmir may not figure prominently on the global geopolitical radar because of other world crises, tensions remain high in this region, where the towering Himalayan and Karakoram ranges meet. Organizations such as Human Rights Watch are accusing the Indian armed forces of brutalizing the indigenous population; hundreds of young Kashmiri males continue to cross the "Line of Control" to obtain weapons from Pakistani-administered Kashmir; and what was once known as the "Switzerland of Asia" has disintegrated into the equivalent of a battle-scarred Lebanon or Kosovo.

The dispute has cost tens of thousands of lives over the years, and has driven an unsustainable arms race, diverting much-needed funds from domestic economic development in both countries. There was even talk in India that parts of the Pakistan-controlled section of Kashmir had been used by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda for training purposes: that wouldn't be such a stretch because the borders between northern Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir are porous, and virtually impossible to monitor continuously.

Yet, before Bhutto’s assassination, there was a sense that both governments were privately willing to give serious consideration to stepping down the conflict. One of several teams working toward this goal was the privately-funded Kashmir Study Group, which consisted of several retired American diplomats as well as influential scholars. While there's never been a shortage of ideas on resolving the Kashmir imbroglio, officials in both New Delhi and Islamabad say that the Kashmir Study Group's report was taken more seriously than several other independent studies, largely on account of the group's composition. The Kashmir Study Group's 26 members included several distinguished former American diplomats such as Ambassador Howard Schaffer, Director of Studies at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy – which is part of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service – who spent 36 years representing America in South Asia.

The group was formed in 1996 and was led by the Kashmir-born M. Farooq Kathwari, chairman and chief executive officer of one of the world's most prominent interior design companies, Ethan Allen. As a boy, he moved with his mother and siblings from his native Srinagar to the Pakistani-controlled section of Kashmir, where his father had initially gone to do business. He was refused re-entry to the Indian-held portion of the state. Kathwari eventually returned to Srinagar and distinguished himself academically at Kashmir University; he was also captain of the cricket team, an experience he often cites as shaping his leadership values.

(Perhaps because Kathwari has lived on both sides of divided Kashmir, there have been long-running rumors in India that he has secretly funded the Kashmir separatists – an allegation he strongly denies. It's unlikely that top officials in India would receive him if his presence in their country suggested a security hazard.)

While there was no formal multilateral endorsement of the KSG's recommendations, there was quiet recognition that they advanced arguments worth debating for sustainable governance of Kashmir. The group's recommendations consisted of three elements: (1) That three entities – Kashmir, Jammu, and Ladakh – would be established in the portion of the pre-1947 state now administered by India; (2) That two entities – Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas – would be established on the side currently administered by Pakistan; and (3) That an all-Kashmir body would be created to coordinate issues such as regional trade, tourism, and the environment. This body would have representatives from each of the five proposed entities, plus from India and Pakistan.

The critical subtext of the proposals lay in the fact that they acknowledged the cultural identity of the peoples of Kashmir, quite possibly for the first time. In effect, there were three categories of Kashmiris: those that live in the Kashmir Valley; those who inhabit the part controlled by Pakistan and tend to be more tribal in their characteristics; and those who live in Jammu, who are mostly Hindus.

Kashmir hasn’t belonged to the Kashmiris for quite some time now – since India and Pakistan became independent countries in 1947, carved out of the larger entity of India that was long regarded as the British Raj's jewel in the crown. Pakistan controls roughly a third of the 220,000 square-kilometer territory, seized by Pakistani-armed marauders and administered under the rubric of "Azad Kashmir," or "Free Kashmir.” India has possession of almost 45 percent of the territory, ceded to it by the Hindu maharajah of an overwhelmingly Muslim land; and China has bitten off the rest, an area so remote and forbidding that the glacial chunk doesn't even figure in most international discussions about Kashmir.

To be sure, the recommendations of the Kashmir Study Group are unlikely to be adopted in totality. They seem to challenge India's claim of sovereignty over the entire region. They don't fully address the question of terrorism. And they don't tackle the issue of how to revive Kashmir's once flourishing economy, one that drew tourists from many corners of the world to ski, to ride boats on lakes, to buy saffron and carpets, and to take in the sheer beauty of the place.
It was, after all, General Musharraf who supposedly supported the Kashmir turmoil when he was commander of Pakistan's armed forces. Nawaz Sharif was not far behind in staking Pakistan's claim to Kashmir. And Benazir Bhutto, notwithstanding her occasional conciliatory remarks about India, was steadfast in her belief that India had no business claiming sovereignty over Pakistan. Perhaps most distressing of all, Pakistan's ISI and major segments of the military believe that it is important to keep India on the edge on the Kashmir issue. One need look no further than a recent report that $5 billion that the Bush Administration gave to Pakistan to fight terrorism was, in fact, diverted to developing new weapons systems - against India. There are those who may argue that Kashmir should be left for the moment as a dormant geopolitical issue. But they are mistaken. The ultra-rightwing Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party - which recently won stunning victories in legislative elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh - is poised to make a comeback on the national scene. There's increasing uncertainty if the current fourteen-party, Congress-led coalition government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will last its full term through May 2009; a snap election may well be called before then if the Communists in India's parliament withdraw their support. The BJP is unlikely to soften its traditional hard-line stance on Kashmir - which is that all of Kashmir, not just the portion now occupied by India, belongs to India. Whatever the unfolding political scenario, it would be prudent to preempt a more volatile situation in Kashmir for the next Pakistan administration and for Prime Minister Singh's government to revisit the issue. After all, trade between the two countries - currently around $12 billion annually -- is blossoming, and there's potential for more. More visas are being given on both sides for personal and professional visits. Both countries could better use their revenues for domestic economic development instead of ratcheting up their defense budgets. All it would take for fresh talks on Kashmir is the political will to make a fresh start. One likes to think that there are Pakistani and Indian leaders who might be able to summon such will.


Pranay Gupte is a veteran international journalist who has written for The New York Times, Newsweek International and Forbes. The author of six books, he currently writes for Portfolio.Com, and is working on a major book on the Middle East.

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Comments (53)

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Satish :

AND Mr. Malleck:

1. Buddhism is part of Hinduism
2. Ashoka converted to Budhism because of remorse at killing. Hmmm, I can see remorse at killings in Muslims!
3. Conversion of lower castes to Islam was by sword.
4. Conversion to Buddhism was in protest to the caste system. Dr. Ambedkar chose a subset of Hinduism instead of Islam. I am told that the Nizam of Hyderabad offered Dr. Ambedkar crores, and he responded that it was not to his liking (mildly stated).
5. Sikhism and Buddhism are part of India. Islam is not.
6. Caste system is wrong and bad. Will you admit that talakh, conversion by sword, suicide bombings, rape of women (Darfur, forget India), brutality, treatment of Women in Islam, lack of philosophy, simplistic notions of Umma, and many other issues in Islam are wrong?

It seems that Islam has been reduced to the following

Determine whether you are a muslim or not. If not, you have no rights whatsoever. If you are a muslim but a women, you have no rights and we can stone you to death for the slightest suspicion of imagined wrong doing. Oh, and you are a like a field and cannot refuse to be plowed at any time. If you are a man, pray five times a day, visit saudi Arabia and protect Muslims whether they are good or bad. Men that committ suicide and kill kafirs go to heaven for 72 virgins. Women who die in suicide bombings get to become, what?

Come on, let's get real. The prophet, peace be upon him, never said this, and that is my humble opinion. I am not that knowledgeable. I think Jihad is meant to be a self cleansing struggle within one self! The Vedas never said that a person is born to a particular caste.



Satish :

Mr. Malleck:

Pakistan, is a nearly failed state, and has a brutalized minority population of less than 3%. It has no right to talk about fundamentalism, minority rights, and how others should behave! Today's New York Times has an op ed page that talks of possible break up of Pakistan. Good luck to all those Kashmiri muslims who want to join Pakistan. They can certainly move there any time they wish, I presume.

Kashmir, regardless of the past, is an issue that should be settled; may be by creating three separate parts (Jammu, Kashmir and Ladhak). Jammu and Ladhak can be a part of India and kashmir can be a semi autonomous state under India. India has a lot to lose if there are water problems created for it because of loss of Kashmir. "Loss" of kashmir will also challenge the notion of a secular India.

There could be other solutions. Nevertheless, I do not think it will lead to friendly relations between India and Pakistan. It will be very difficult for Pakistan to remain a State without an ongoing anti-Hindu, anti-Indian, outlook. A State created soley due to a "fear" of Hindu majority, may not develop an identity beyond that. Also, the Islamic hunger for the "good" times when a minority Muslims ruled a majority of Hindus in India, is not gone. The need to rule India, and convert Hindus to Islam, has to be huge. Look at all the Muslim countries. Except for a few states, almost all have none, or small numbers of people of other faiths. The penchant for conversion by sword is not going to go away. On the other hand, the feeling amongst some Hindus that, since Pakistan is created for Muslims, most muslims should move there or to Bangladesh, can grow.

The question of Hindu fundamentalism. Is there such a thing? Is it not a reaction to Islam, British Rule, and Pakistan? Hindus have lived under subjugation for 800 years. I know of no other faith that would have put up with it. The creation of Pakistan, 3-4 wars with it, a nuclear armed state with India as its sole enemy, is scary. Muslims have never acknowledged the brutality of their rule whether it is the jizya tax, killings, temple destructions, plundering, Aurangzeb, etc. Pakistan's missiles are named Gauri and Ghazni. It is tantamount to Hamas naming their missiles Hitler or Goering! I presume some know what Hindu Kush means. Kush means kill in Persian.

Hindus too need a homeland where they can live in peace and security; don't you think? India was predicted to break up since its independence. If it were not for Hindu tolerance, Hindu ability to accept past mistakes (caste system), and an attitude of "live and let live", would India be where it is today? Hindu tolerance goes beyond logic. Note how many times Prithviraj Chauhan let go of a defeated invader only to be blinded. Foolishness, would you not say that? Hundreds of women committed suicide by Sutti when Allaudin khilji invaded Rajasthan. The Hindu King had shown his wife to him in a mirror to save his neck; only to encourage the lust in Khilji! I think I learned that in some unofficial Indian history book. Oh my God, what kind of fundamentalists are Hindus?

BJP, termed a Hindu fundametalist party, did not do away with minority rights and the freedom to worship.

Instead of harping on Kashmir, why don't you work hard to reinterpret Islam the right way? May be if and when that happens, all these issues, or atleast some, will go away.

Anju Chandel, New Delhi:

The prime problem of Kashmir and Kashmiris - muslims - is that they have always based their 'identity' on the 'religion they practice' unlike people in other parts of India. And, that is the reason that till date they have not been able to become either 'Indians' or 'Azaad Pakistanis' and in all likelihood they are going to suffer from this dilemma till the time they fully understand the meaning of a Nation and Nationality.

Irsh:

Maleck says "Who told you I am Indian? Who told you I got my education in India?"

SO you are an example of what panislamic sentiment is all about? It is the driving force of today's murderous fanatics all over the world. The desire of muslims to interfere and sympathize with muslims and their legitimate and illegitimate causes everywhere is fuelling an irrational hatred of non muslims and creates distances in the same country between muslims and their non-muslim brothers.

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

SHAVON DAS,

I cannot help but pointout to you that you are a hopeless idiot.

You write " With a country of origin India, you did not get to Canada by being a Musselman. You got there by virtue of your education. The same education you received in India, yes, a majority Hindu India".

You don't get the premise of your argument right, how can you expect to win an argument.

Who told you I am Indian? Who told you I got my education in India?

Again, you are a total idiot.

DOLIVAW66:

Shiva Das:

Spot on! The fact that we do acknowledge and bring before people the brutality and coax authorities to take action because of the free media, NGOs and the fact that people are more aware of their rights because of political parties such as BSP (a role model for many downtrodden people and not just Dalits). Mayawati for whatever her faults does have charisma and has lived a life of hard knocks, is i believe a good direction for our society to take.

Mr. Malleck hasn't responded to why the Hindu population in Pakistan after Independence declined. He has given historical reasons but cannot answer this question!

Shiva Das:

Mr Malleck,
You are a smart man and an educated man. With a country of origin India, you did not get to Canada by being a Musselman. You got there by virtue of your education. The same education you received in India, yes, a majority Hindu India. Can you show me a Pakistani Hindu in Canada who got there because of his/her superlative education? While India bends over backwards to give excellent opportunities for Muslims, Pakistan discriminates against Hindus in an institutional way in every walk of life. I doubt whether there is a single Pakistani Muslim who will stand up for any of them. Compassionate religion indeed. I graduated from a major engineering college in India where 20% of the seats are reserved for Muslims. I had to earn my entry there the hard way, and it is in my own majority Hindu India! If I was a Musselman, particularly one who was born in India, I wouldn’t harp about the treatment of the Muslim minority there.

Hyderabad (former state) was predominantly Muslim in 1947, but still 45% were Hindus. That was a whopping 30 plus million people. If Hyderabad was created as a Pakistani enclave in the middle of India, there would have been 30 plus million dead bodies coming out in railroad cars like those of my sister-in-law’s grandparents and extended family members, returned to her parents in Delhi from Lahore in 1947, curtsey of ‘Jinnah the magnanimous’.

You can ask who is a Kashmiri. Muslims only? What about the hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Hindus whose ancestors lived in Kashmir for hundreds, nay thousands of years. Every word in native Kashmiri is based on Sanskrit and the name of every village and city and hilltop is named as something from the Hindu legends. Srinagar is ‘Srinagar’ and not ‘Muhammadnagar’ or ‘Allahnagar’ or ‘Korannagar’. You are contending that Kashmir belongs to the Muslims. Every Kashmiri Muslim is genetically tied to Hindu blood, not to the Arabs. Actually, all of Pakistan is that way too. You all came from Hindu roots if we traverse back 600 years. Muslim invader’s swords and their sheer barbarisms made you into what you are today. I wouldn’t be too fanatical about Allah, if I were you.

India will not, and must not allow an inch more of Kashmir to be split up. I will concede that the LOC is here to stay. Let that be the permanent boundary. If any Muslim misses being part of Islamic Pakistan, let him or her sell out and move to Pakistan lock, stock and barrel. India should subsidize them with a one way ticket and a passport that self destructs in one month.

For the lady who complains about the caste based brutality in India, yes remnants of it is still there. There are still cases where grave injustices are done to women in the name of tradition. However, India has come a long way since 1947. She has a long way to go. The calluses from a journey of thousands of years won’t heal overnight. The nation’s laws are already working wonders. There are more women in leadership positions in both public and private institutions in India than any other country. India’s previous president, Sri K.R.Narayan came from a dalit family, yet he could get there. India had Muslim presidents, women presidents and prime ministers, has a Sikh as Prime minister and a Catholic as the president of a major political party. All in a majority Hindu nation. How many other countries can say that? It will take a long time to grow out of medieval social values. Some will have to be dragged forward kicking and screaming. But, India will reach there more honorably than any other country or people in this world. When will there be a black president in the US? It was not long ago that black men were lynched just for the offense of looking at white girls. That was every southern state in the US as late as the 1960’s.

Even under a BJP lead government, the Muslim population in India will be safe and left to follow their religion in peace than any Hindu will ever experience in Pakistan even under the most compassionate regime one can imagine. Mr. Malleck, wake up and smell the coffee. An Islamic state of Kashmir is not in the cards. And India will remain majority Hindu.

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

SHAVON DAS,

Of course there was mass conversion to Islam. My own great grandparents must have been Hindus -- low caste or the lowest of castes if you will. They converted to the intensely humane religion that Islam is just as Timur the Lame (or Timur Lang -- langra -- wrongly spelled Tamerlane in 'Western') did just before he went on, with the whole of Asia and Europe trembling at the advance of his army, to conquer the largest Empire of his time.

Do I hear you say that 'the whole of Europe and Asia trembling at the advance of his army' proves how barbaric Islam is. Well, no! On the contrary, in an age where similar warfare involving large land armies advancing on sedate populations was common fare all over the world (the crusades had just ended, with Europe having, in the words of Gibbon, 'been uprooted and flung in the face of Islam and been blessed in return by the Arabs transmitting to them -- the Europeans -- the translated works of Aristotle and Euclid and Plato and giving them the anatomical work of Ibn Sina and the astronomical works of the Muslim mathematicians', and the celebrated Richard Lion Heart eulogizing endlessly about Salaheddin) and when the warfaring destruction was visited on civilizations from the Dravidian Kingdoms to the Khmer Empire in Angkor, Tamerlane's empire united previously warring tribes that were hell-bent of self-destruction as Genghis Khan's empire was crumbling. Tamerlane died peacefully and was buried, according to his wish, at the foot of Imam Said Barka, who had predicted to him his rise under the protection of Allah and under whose guidance he had embraced Islam.

With every breath that I take I thank Allah Subhaana-wa-Ta'aala that my great-grandparents chose to convert from Hinduism to Islam. I don't mena to disparage Hinduism, but one, you wanted explanations, so there you are, and two, even the great Emperor Ashoka did not like Hinduism and wanted to convert the whole of India to Buddhism.

I hope that the historical lesson suffices for your education, Mr. Shavon Das.

Shalini Razdan:

What a silly, trifling piece. The condensed "resume" at the bottom listing Mr. Gupte's journalistic "accomplishments" fails to lend any consequence, credence or substance to this tired piffle.

shovan das:

dear mr. malleck,

thank you for your mail. You forgot one word that was responsible for the decline of the Hindu population : Forced Conversion to Islam. I am not a chauvinist so do not make tall claims. I probably have as many Muslim friends you have and perhaps more. And these friends of mine might not be " agnostic " as you claim to be, but they are not Hindu baiters nor Hindu haters. Look around the world and get the moderate Muslims together so that their voices are heard. Right now, it is drowned in the cacophony of fanaticism,even between Muslim sects.

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

SHOVAN DAS,

Yes, I shall explain to you why a much larger proportion of the Hindus in Pakistan chose to leave for India at partition than the proportion of Muslims that left India to go to Pakistan.

There are several reasons for this, and I shall discuss two of the most evident ones:

(1) Islam is a religion that requires a lot of discipline --- strictly speaking, besides the normal morality of the 'enhanced unto others code' which hopefully is common to all truly religious folks from all the different creeds (do unto others as much good as you would want them do unto you had you been in their place, and hold back the self-flagellation that some of them might wish that you do unto them for their sins, because with the coolheadedness that you can put yourself in their place without actually being in their place, you know that sincere repentance is far more constructive than self-flagellation to wipe out sin. Yes, Miss Khan, behen, this is the real meaning of Allah's mercifulness, and we must interpret Shari'a in the context of the totality of the teachings of the Holy Quran and of the Sunnah. The ongoing work of Tariq Ramadan and others in this respect is admirable. The website http://www.salaam.co.uk is very instructive in this contextrespect) five times prayers {a requirement that even with my best intentions in the world I rarely manage to achieve), zakaat/alms (not 100% compliance if you additionally have to pay taxes in the highest income-tax bracket), 'Asbiya (significant contribution to the building of social and spiritual capital -- again a reuirement that is extremely difficult in a modern world driven by individual competitive capitalist and hedonistic forces, to name but a few of the requirements needing the greatest discipline.

(2) The configuration of the State of Pakistan carried the foreboding of serious troubles to come --- two parts thousands of miles apart, separted by India, a large part of the land {NWFP/Baluchistan} that already was notorious for being ungovernable, where would-be conquerors from Alexander the Great to Winston Churcill had been humbled, and division of the heartland of Punjab with part the major in India and smaller part in Pakistan.

But, my discourse is not about India and Pakistan or India versus Pakistan (only a chauvinist like you sees things that way). My discourse was : What does Mr. Gupte mean by "Kashmir for the Kashmiris". Evidently, it should mean the referendum that the UNSC mandated and that India has always refused to implement. So, who is intolerant?

Oh, yes , Miss Khan there is Muslim extremism just like there is Christian extremism and Hindu extremism and even animist/pantheist and communist/atheist extremism (look at what is happening in Africa, for instance). Yes, all forms of extremism are to be condemned, no doubt. But empathy with the oppressed is also an obligation.

Hindukush.:


Jinna and his party decided to rule over a part of land. May be his ego did this. So divided the people based on religion.

But we Indians reject this concept of all majority muslim areas should go with Pakistan.

People who want to break away, do not have right to choose criteria to divide the land. They get want is thrown at them.

I wish we could have waited for one more year for independence, Jinna would have gone from the scene.


Hemant :

Miss Khan,
Let us not discuss how Muslim men treat their women. For them women don't even exist. Islam need a update version and please work on that rather than wasting your time here.

Enncce:

Pakistan's conduct is best comparable to that of a 'crooked tail of a dog', genetically deformed. No amount of emotional or political ingenuity can rectify it.
Why do they waste their energy and resource over 'Kashmir, Kashmir' when an integral part of theirs based wholly on religion, decided to break away from it.
They must get over their magnetic attraction to 'Pushing' doors marked 'Pull' and thereafter bleating to the world at the injustices being inflicted.
Their policy of self destruct is now maturing and shall haunt and destroy them if they do not change tack.

Hemant :

I only see one problem in the world, that is Pakistan. There is a direct or indirect Pakistan link to any terrorist attack in any part of the world today. The Govt. and certain mind set of good percentage of Pakistani people are to blame for this. Hope all world take a note of this and fix this country once for all so that world can be a better place.

shovan das:

Dear Mr. Malleck,

Since you claim so much of injustice from " hindus ", would you please explain why the population of Hindus in Pakistan have reduced to about a tenth of the population registered in Pakistan in 1947 whereas the Muslim population has grown by over four fold in India. Get over your inhibitions and smell the coffee.

Miss Khan:


@Mohamed MALLECk You are absoulutely right about Hindu chauvinism to some extent like BJP or people like BALTHAKRE

.But let me add extreminism is always evil.and i think these extremists have no religon because every religon teaches us tolerance, respect for others and peacefull society.

@Vinay Dont u forget what u do to the outcasts. they are also hindus and the way u treat them its terrible.they are not even allowed in ur schools and they even cant marry with hindus of uppercaste.The way u treat ur widows.I have watched the movie WATER and it causes shivers just imagine ur head being shaved!!!

Vinay:

I think Muslims should stop complaining about being discriminated against by Hindus and see how Muslims regularly blow each other up every day in Afghan, Pak, Iraq, Algeria, Palestine....

Market places, Mosques, funeral processions are all fair targets for brave soldiers of Islam, hoping for a piece of paradise in after life.

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

DR. CHAT

What do you mean by : "They [Indians] have their own caste issues and being a muslim is better than a low caste person".

You say you're a scientist? Go do your own science ... maybe like Dr. Wouter Basson of South Africa.

Now, now! Don't tell me that a scientist like you does not know who that is.

anil sharma:

gupte's original piece and the so-called debate among hindus, secularists and the islamists on this website are all sickening. it is this kind of back and forth clap trap that has kept the sub-continent a poor, backward region. this attitude has allowed the pakistani leadership-military as well as political to bend over backwards in the service of the west. it has also allowed the bjp and other fundamentalists to make political capital out of such patent non-issues. that jinnah erred grievously by following savarkar's two nation theory and created two countries divided on religious lines is now as clear as daylight. the congress leadership of those days-including gandhi and nehru also failed the people of the sub continent by accepting the partition. the british were too delighted by their last act of savagery. none of them, jinnah, gandhi, nehru or mountbatten can be absolved of the guilt that rests on their shoulders for the mass murders that followed in the aftermath of the partition. the kashmir problem is the residual effect of a silly and unnatural partition that was forced on the people. the sonner we learn that all organised religions are self-perpetuating frauds the better it would be for humanity. even as religious a person as mother teresa has despaired about a loving god and all that. looking for solutions for the people of kashmir on religious lines is as foolish as the original sin of dividing india on religious lines. if the country could live together during muslim or british rule, what calamity could befall if there is a democratic rule over a unified india. you may argue that clock cannot be put back, but the only answer lies in undoing the folly of partition. the germans have showed the way, it is time that the indians, and this includes the pakistanis too take a lesson fom the germans. stop talking about divisions of kashmir look for ways to undoing the partition.

anil sharma:

gupte's original piece and the so-called debate among hindus, secularists and the islamists on this website are all sickening. it is this kind of back and forth clap trap that has kept the sub-continent a poor, backward region. this attitude has allowed the pakistani leadership-military as well as political to bend over backwards in the service of the west. it has also allowed the bjp and other fundamentalists to make political capital out of such patent non-issues. that jinnah erred grievously by following savarkar's two nation theory and created two countries divided on religious lines is now as clear as daylight. the congress leadership of those days-including gandhi and nehru also failed the people of the sub continent by accepting the partition. the british were too delighted by their last act of savagery. none of them, jinnah, gandhi, nehru or mountbatten can be absolved of the guilt that rests on their shoulders for the mass murders that followed in the aftermath of the partition. the kashmir problem is the residual effect of a silly and unnatural partition that was forced on the people. the sonner we learn that all organised religions are self-perpetuating frauds the better it would be for humanity. even as religious a person as mother teresa has despaired about a loving god and all that. looking for solutions for the people of kashmir on religious lines is as foolish as the original sin of dividing india on religious lines. if the country could live together during muslim or british rule, what calamity could befall if there is a democratic rule over a unified india. you may argue that clock cannot be put back, but the only answer lies in undoing the folly of partition. the germans have showed the way, it is time that the indians, and this includes the pakistanis too take a lesson fom the germans. stop talking about divisions of kashmir look for ways to undoing the partition.

Dr. Cha:

Kalam is a real muslim (very spiritual). A great scientist, he is a role model for me, I am also scientist and heard him speak several times. I personally saw him once. The teacher who encourged me in my childhood was a muslim. I do not believe Indians are saints. They have their own caste issues and being a muslim is better than a low caste person. I am Indian American who believes in god no matter what you call him "Buddha" or "Allah".

1) On its king's request India protected Kashmiris from slaughter (my friends uncle was captured in this fight)
and thereby the king "legally ceded kashmir to India". UN resolution etc. came into picture later owing to the charitable nature of India. Will US let UN decide whether Texas belongs to US or Mexico?
2) The division is based more on % of land and not on Hindu/mulim majority. In that case one will have a diconnected pieces of land mass for each country. Pakistan got more land ( very fertile) that it should have.
3) I have many Konkan ( a region formed by the Hindu Kashmiris who fled after Islamic terrorism took over Kashmir) friends, they have been killed/forced out. Many people now living in Kashmir are from terrorist organizations.
4) We broadly have 2 types of muslims (1) educated who have limited kids and educate them and (2) uneducated and often poor who have several kids and do not educate them. The second type have issues and become separatists etc. while the first become eminent citizens.
5) India even has quotas for Muslims who are economically backward. Definitely a hard working Muslim has a decent chance in India.
6)Muslim population in India grew to 18% from 9%. Whereas, there is no significant Hindu population in Pakistan or even Kashmir.
7) After 1947 many Hindus in Pakistan have been slaves.
8) Cold war and the side effects of arms in the wrong hands did not help the situation.
9) Indian military has its own issues with misbehavior.


In all the situation is not simple. There are all types of chauvinists, supremacists etc. not contained in any one race/religion. I see the major problem as illiteracy and ignorance. I pray to Allah, Buddha, Jehovah and Ram ( who are all the same) so that peace may prevail.

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

Pradeep. Pankaj,

Thanks for being voices of reason.

I did not want to be polemical, but what Mr. Gupte wrote about various groups in Kashmir and the brandishing of the possible return to power of a hardline BJP was too much reminiscent of the kind of arguments that were made following Tito's demise about the former Yougoslavia, with the invocations of Ottoman rule and then-sporadic later daily exhumations and reburials of supposed martyrs to highlight real or imagined Ottoman atrocities in ordeer to justify new atrocities.

I admit that that may have been the exact contrary of his intentions, but let it be clear that whther BJP accedes to power of not is an internal matter to India. Other commentators have pointed to appeasing gestures made by BJP. I am not going either to dismiss those gestures as populist vote-catching, image-refurbishing ploys or to elevate them to the status of deeply-sincere confidence building measures among neghbours. Mr. Advani visited his birth-town of Lahore and had nice things to say about Pakistan on his return to India, and we know that kind of treatment he got from his friends for just saying nice things. Whehther the y were sincere or not is for Advani to tell us. Whether he still feels the same way is for Advani to tell us.

Prasad speaks of a 'Solomonic solution' of partitioning India into 25% Muslim, 75% Hindu reminiscent of the baby disputed by two purported mothers and brought up for King Solomon's decision. Well, it is not only Kalam Azad who was against the partitioning of India. Tens of millions, Muslims and Hindus were against the idea.

Pradeep and Pankaj are right that all this is behind us and we ought to be more kind to each other and move forward. Brandishing the possible return to power of the BJP as a spectre or scarecrow and unnecessarily highlighting divisions within Kashmir was not a very promising way to acieve this rapprochement.

I hope I have made my points clear. Let us respect each other. That is the first step in reclaiming the full measure of our dignity, on both sides.

Pankaj:

A couple of readers have already pointed to inconsistencies in Mr. Gupte's article. On the partition of India it would be worth clarifying a couple of points.
(a) The independence of India from the British allowed the Princely states to choose whether to accede to India or Pakistan or to remain independent.
(b) In the remainder the demarcation between India and Pakistan was based upon majority "areas" rather than provinces (states, if you prefer) as was witnessed by the partition of several provinces.

The above is obviously a very simplistic representation of what was quite a complex formula.

It behooves all of us to remain dignified in our responses even in an anonymous forum such as this.

We can all concede that linguistic, religious, ethnic, social/economic/political minorities everywhere are subject to varying degrees of challenges. But are the challenges of a poor or a cripple worse or less so because of some other "tribal/group" characteristic?

Some of us rise above these challenges while others, unfortunately too many of us, attribute blame to a group different in some respect from us. It is easy to be a "victim" some times justified but many times only due to ignorance nut usually the "victim hood" lasts too long past necessary.

All of us are guilty of this at some point in time or the other.

A Kashmiri:

This is a weak article. Mr. Gupte seems to be rambling about many issues without making a clear point.

Mr. Gupte's assertion that Kashmir has not belonged to Kashmirs is patently false. Since 1947, not only Kashmir Valley,but the non-muslim regions of Jammu and Ladakh have been governed by Kashmiri Muslims. Without local representation development of these regions has been systimatically stymied by the rulers in Srinagar.

Kashmir (J&K) enjoys a unique and special status within India. No outsiders can buy land there. Yes - no indian citizen can buy land/property in J&K but Kashmirs are afforded all privilages afforded to any Indian citizen anywhere in India. On the other hand, Pakistan treats POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) like a colony. Perhaps Gupte can get first hand account from Kathwari.

Gupte identifies three types of Kashmirs. Those from POK, Kashmir Valley, and Jammu. This is again incorrect. Inhabitants of Jammu are Dogra - not Kashmiris. Are Mirpuris tribal? - And what about Ladakhis? Gujjars? Pandits? Lumping them all as "Kashmiris" simply highlights his ignorance about this subject. Astonishingly, Gupte has nothing to say about Kashmiri Pandits - the original inhabitants of Kashmir Valley who have been ethnically cleansed out of their homes in Kashmir Valley and many of whom are living in deplorable conditions in various refugee camps in India.

Prasad:

60 years back the undivided India should have been divided based on percentage of hindu(75%) and muslim (25%) population rather than on majority areas concept.let alone kashmir the creation of pakistan itself is mired in controversy, if today a referendum is held in pakistan how many want to live in pakistan? The aspirations of NWFP were not taken into consideration at the time of partition.Pakistan has no moral ground for claiming any part of karshmir since the instrument of accession between the Indian government and maharaja hari singh is perfectly legal, it would be in the interest of subcontinet that pakistan vacates the occupied part of kashmir before forced out.

jai hind

Khyama Kaul:

Is incoherence, discontinuity and preposterous argument in fashion? Or is it something that Washington Post has recently taken fancy to?

If that is so, the article just fits the frame.

The claim that ‘Kashmir is an integral part of India and Pakistan occupied Kashmir essentially belongs to India’ is not something only BJP in India has been parroting. From Nehru to Rajiv Gandhi and from Deve Gowda to Manmohan Singh, all have made this claim repeatedly.

However, it was under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the right wing BJP led government offered a change both in tone and tenor of this claim. Vajpayee became the first Prime Minister in India’s political history to suggest “some give and take” for negotiating peace with Pakistan. It is all in the public record and wont be difficult for Mr Gupte to access it if he cares to go through newspapers, magazines and video footage. All the reports from Kathwaris’ to Dixon Plan, some of which were either eating dust in the cupboards of New Delhi bureaucracy or being scripted in palatial houses in the US, were re-read, reviewed and discussed during Vajpayee’s government. The whole Kashmir peace process, dialogue and negotiations with Pakistan saw their pinnacle during the “ultra right wing Hindu BJP” led coalition in India.

So it is hard to understand the author’s suggestive correlation between the resurgence of the right wing BJP in India and the “prospective danger in Kashmir.”

It is also unclear as to what the author means when he says Bhutto’s assassination is of course likely to have ripple effects in Kashmir and India. How come? Mr Gupte has left it unexplained and jumped to another incongruous claim. He says “Indian officials have even attributed terrorist acts in other parts of India to militants trained in Kashmir.”

If author wished to give references of the cases where Indian officials falsely charged Kashmiri militants in the terror acts occurring in other parts of India, he could have said it more clearly citing some examples. However, the fact remains, Kashmir based terror groups like Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba have spread across India and there is enough evidence found against all three of them. Jaish and Lashkar were not only banned by India but by the US as well after their involvement in December 13 Parliament attack in New Delhi, was proved.

At the same time, Mr Gupte contradicts himself when he claims that “hundreds of young Kashmiri males continue to cross the Line of Control to obtain weapons from Pakistani administered Kashmir.” What is the source of this claim? This allegation has generally been made by Indian intelligence agencies or Indian Army and often Kashmiris have denied this allegation. I am sure they will disagree with Mr Gupte on this.

Interesting that GOI officials confided in Mr Gupte and to no other serious journalist in India or abroad that government of India was considering Kashmir Study Group’s recommendations for the resolution of Kashmir. But as far as the official records go, never has an Indian official made any such acknowledgment. It seems the information has directly come from Mr Kathwari who dictated the text of this article to Mr Gupte. Otherwise how would Mr Gupte know that there was a “quiet recognition of arguments made by the Kashmir Study Group.”

Another amusing argument Mr Gupte makes is that Kashmir Study Group’s report was taken seriously by the Indian officials because of the composition of the Group. When have the nation states made decisions on the basis of the composition of Study Groups? Mr Gupte seems to be unaware of international relations, Nation Interests and Power politics.

The author also seems to be ignorant about demography of Jammu and Kashmir. The Hindus living in Jammu are not Kashmiri. They are Dogras. Mr Gupte surely needs to know that it was NOT “after all General Musharraf” who supposedly supported the Kashmir turmoil FIRST. All the Pakistani regimes and rulers backed kashmir trouble from the very beginning of 1947. That is why the four wars. And one of the biggest supporters of cross border terrorism in Kashmir was Zia-Ul-Haq and Benazir Bhutto.

There are other details as well but I would hold myself back from writing a book on ‘Mr Gupte’s Musings’.


Khyama Kaul:

Is incoherence, discontinuity and preposterous argument in fashion? Or is it something that Washington Post has recently taken fancy to?

If that is so, the article just fits the frame.

The claim that ‘Kashmir is an integral part of India and Pakistan occupied Kashmir essentially belongs to India’ is not something only BJP in India has been parroting. From Nehru to Rajiv Gandhi and from Deve Gowda to Manmohan Singh, all have made this claim repeatedly.

However, it was under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the right wing BJP led government offered a change both in tone and tenor of this claim. Vajpayee became the first Prime Minister in India’s political history to suggest “some give and take” for negotiating peace with Pakistan. It is all in the public record and wont be difficult for Mr Gupte to access it if he cares to go through newspapers, magazines and video footage. All the reports from Kathwaris’ to Dixon Plan, some of which were either eating dust in the cupboards of New Delhi bureaucracy or being scripted in palatial houses in the US, were re-read, reviewed and discussed during Vajpayee’s government. The whole Kashmir peace process, dialogue and negotiations with Pakistan saw their pinnacle during the “ultra right wing Hindu BJP” led coalition in India.

So it is hard to understand the author’s suggestive correlation between the resurgence of the right wing BJP in India and the “prospective danger in Kashmir.”

It is also unclear as to what the author means when he says Bhutto’s assassination is of course likely to have ripple effects in Kashmir and India. How come? Mr Gupte has left it unexplained and jumped to another incongruous claim. He says “Indian officials have even attributed terrorist acts in other parts of India to militants trained in Kashmir.”

If author wished to give references of the cases where Indian officials falsely charged Kashmiri militants in the terror acts occurring in other parts of India, he could have said it more clearly citing some examples. However, the fact remains, Kashmir based terror groups like Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba have spread across India and there is enough evidence found against all three of them. Jaish and Lashkar were not only banned by India but by the US as well after their involvement in December 13 Parliament attack in New Delhi, was proved.

At the same time, Mr Gupte contradicts himself when he claims that “hundreds of young Kashmiri males continue to cross the Line of Control to obtain weapons from Pakistani administered Kashmir.” What is the source of this claim? This allegation has generally been made by Indian intelligence agencies or Indian Army and often Kashmiris have denied this allegation. I am sure they will disagree with Mr Gupte on this.

Interesting that GOI officials confided in Mr Gupte and to no other serious journalist in India or abroad that government of India was considering Kashmir Study Group’s recommendations for the resolution of Kashmir. But as far as the official records go, never has an Indian official made any such acknowledgment. It seems the information has directly come from Mr Kathwari who dictated the text of this article to Mr Gupte. Otherwise how would Mr Gupte know that there was a “quiet recognition of arguments made by the Kashmir Study Group.”

Another amusing argument Mr Gupte makes is that Kashmir Study Group’s report was taken seriously by the Indian officials because of the composition of the Group. When have the nation states made decisions on the basis of the composition of Study Groups? Mr Gupte seems to be unaware of international relations, Nation Interests and Power politics.

The author also seems to be ignorant about demography of Jammu and Kashmir. The Hindus living in Jammu are not Kashmiri. They are Dogras. Mr Gupte surely needs to know that it was NOT “after all General Musharraf” who supposedly supported the Kashmir turmoil FIRST. All the Pakistani regimes and rulers backed kashmir trouble from the very beginning of 1947. That is why the four wars. And one of the biggest supporters of cross border terrorism in Kashmir was Zia-Ul-Haq and Benazir Bhutto.

There are other details as well but I would hold myself back from writing a book on ‘Mr Gupte’s Musings’.


NS:


People like Mohammed Malleck, remind me of the Islamist appeasers in the Indian Congress and the liberal Indian media when he uses words like "progroms" to describe Gujarat riots. No one condones these riots - its a blot on India and there is a whole nation that feels that. We dont need any one's blinkered view of the riots or the toll it took on the country.Of course you wont hear much about the train in which Hindus were burnt alive by Muslim jihadists, would you ? Those are "incidents" but the riots are now "progroms". !

Blithely ignoring the plight of the Kashmiri pandits or the atrocities that Hindus had to go through under 800 years of islamic rule requires a special kind of cognitive dissonance that comes readily to people like Mr.Malleck.

EVEN TODAY, there is a mountain range that goes by the name HinduKush ! i dont know if there is any other structure that has a grisly name that is equal to that.

I am proud to say that Dr Kalam is from my home state and no i never heard him WHINE about his status as a Muslim in India - he is an example of how hard work and perseverance will pay even in a country as imperfect as India is. He is among the most admired Presidents in India because he seen as a patriot - not Muslim, Hindu, atheist etc

Muslims are treated WAY BETTER as a minority in India than the way Hindus were ever treated by Pakistan - the 1947 partition that uprooted millions of Indians from their homes, left many of them killed, maimed, raped is a harsh reminder of that fact.

Look at how things have turned out today a good 60 years after Independence - the biggest enemy of Pakistanis today and in the past are Pakistanis themselves. The country every one in the West is deeply worried about is Pakistan - a country with a known nuclear technology proliferator in AQ Khan and is a breeding ground for the jihadi terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and every where else in the world.

And Kashmir is now supposed to be turned over to these radical jihadists and mullahs ? Kashmiris believe in Sufi teachings which is very uniting whereas the Paki jihadists are nothing but a bunch of Whabbists who have NOTHING in common with them.

And as the wars of 48, 65, Kargil showed India, the Pakistanis dont believe a whole lot in peacefully talking about Kashmir.

Actually Pakistan now needs peace more urgently than Kashmir does !

Pradeep:

It is scary to see the childish finger pointing that still goes on ....60 years down the road. None of us were alive during the independence period and so we will never know what had transpired. Fact is my father's family had to be uprooted from their land to move to India, just the way, a whole bunch of mohajirs had to move to Pakistan at great cost.

Pakistan also had a number of serious misfortunes -some serendipitous and some with unintended consequences: the rejection of British provided modern education by Islam which the Hindus adopted with fervor, the woeful shortage of qualified people to administer the new country but a well trained Military which would eat up an ever larger portion of its GDP, a major controversy over Kashmir which drained its poor resource base and required splurge on military and finally, aligning with the West (Islamic refutation of communism) which would allow others to exploit it for games of their own that went on for ever...cynics may say, it still goes on. Of course, the worse of all the misfortune is that Jinnah died within a year after the birth of the country, leaving the country rudderless.

It would be nice if we could look forward and figure out if there is a way to sort out the mess we are in. For whatever reason, the two countries' fate is intertwined - what the heck, we are the same people - irrespective of our faith.

anthroguy:

there were millions of kashmiri hindus ethnically cleansed and forced to migrate from kashmir by their muslim "brethren", when they are given their due, maybe people will give a ear to people like malleck. Muslim discrimination against Hindus in Kashmir is a fact and the Pandits have the corpses to prove it.

In addition, every Indian knows about the Islamist tendencies of a Pakistn that will have no Hindus in the near future, why should you get more minorities to suppress?

India is not perfect, no country is, but Pakistan is a surefire killzone for minorities. The ones that are left are showpieces, nothing more and with all this political turmoil going on, why dont you get your own house in order before you ask for territory. With what's going on now, Pakistan may cease to exist in its current form in a decade.

Rudy:

I do not know what Malleck means by "pogroms" in Gujarat and Kolkota (sic). Riots occured at both places, but Kolkata was many years ago. Roits also have occured in Mambai, Meerut etc. Perhaps he is sensitized to "pogroms" by witnessing the exodus of Hindus from the Kashmir valley and from the Islamic Republic of Bangladesh and the slow death of the Sindhi hindus, but somehow, I suspect not.
His selective sensitivity betrays an intellectual dissonance that, unfortunately is all too common in the Muslim intelligensia.

Tiger:

Re: The group was formed in 1996 and was led by the Kashmir-born M. Farooq Kathwari.........

Mr. Kathwari's son was killed in Kashmir fighting alongside the Taliban/ jihadists.

Mr. Gupte's naivete is stunning!!

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

SCEPTIC,

Of course, millions of Muslims prosper in India despite the pogroms of Gujrat and Kolkota. Why? You just cannot, CANNOT stop a good man.

You mention Abdul Kalam. Have you read his autobiography, Wings of Fire? Have you measured the odds that he had to fight against?

Oh, I have also succeeded very well; so have my wife and children. I won't nother to tell against what odds. What difference would it make to tell?

But, go ahead and read "Wings of Fire".

Sceptic:

It appears that Pranay Gupte is trying to appear very pontifical, pandering for a position on some panel I presume?

Set up a committee to adminster trade etc ! How specious! That group from (sic) Azad Kashmir consists of wild eyed, unkempt and bearded radicals who would rather mullah fy the sub continent.
Do not see how any reasonable person can deal with the type and that too in issues like trade etc. when all they care about is 72 virgins in 'jannat'and jihad in present life. RIDICULOUS!!

Also, India is home to several million muslims - who prosper within India unlike the sorry plight of the few hindus left on the wrong side of the border - only, because they made the mistake of trusting the Pakistanis at the time of partition. BETRAYED by PAKISTAN and then by INDIA as these persons cannot easily get Indian citizenship.

(Air Chief Marshal I.H. Latif - Chief of Indian Air Force, and then Governor of Maharashtra.
Zakir Hussain President of India.
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed President of India.
Abdul Kalam President of India, Chief of Defence Research & Development Organization.
Azim Premji - Owner of WIPRO and Indian Billionaire in USD terms ..not to mention the millions of other prosperous and educated muslims living in India ...I could keep going on)

India is a secular country, and hence it does not matter if the citizen is a muslim or a hindu or a christian, buddhists or jews or Seventh Day Adventists. Yes, India is home to all these and more religions.

Therefore, the very thought of breaking out Kashmir out of India on the grounds of Muslim religion should - per this contorted logic - also bring into question the presence of these millions of muslims who call India home and live outside Kashmir ?!

Also, handing over regions like Ladakh - Buddhists, and Jammu - Hindus to Pak or some form of muslim majority rule would helter skelter condemn these groups to intolerable slow torture at the hands of the rabid mullahs as these hapless people would then pay for the very air they might breathe in Pakistan. Please read about Pakistan's enlightened blasphemy laws which they apply with zeal in this 22nd century.

Having said all that, I would be just as happy if India fenced off Kashmir with electric fences and hand the Kashmir valley over to Pakistan so that they may go and stew with their "brethren" in (sic) Azad Kashmir. Recollect the Pakistani help to their citizens in (sic) Azad Kashmir during the last earthquake.

Leave Ladakh and Jammu to India as these regions are not Muslim majority areas and by the Paki logic this should be in India anyway.

Mr Gupte you should perhaps learn more about India before getting on this high horse of presuming to solve Pakistan's Kashmir deliriums.
Especially by trying to appear above Indian parties who advocate right wing nationalism, wrong though it may be.

BTW what do you think of Pakistan's MML party - very secular and high minded I presume??! That is the most moderate Islamic party there aint'it? Leave aside the other much worse radicals in Pakistan.

BTW did you see my nom de guerre I kind feel scared giving my name. I don't obviously want to run into these jihadists or mullah specified fatwahs.


Usmaan:

Some facts from the United Nations website:
"The Kashmir dispute has been in turmoil since India and Pakistan had the first war (on Kashmir) in 1948 and took their dispute to United Nation. The Representatives for Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, the United Kingdom and USA jointly submitted the dispute in UN Security Council (UNSC). The UNSC passed the resolution 47 at its 286th meeting held on 21st of April 1948 which states; "both India and Pakistan desire that the question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan should be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite".
Initially, Pakistan and India had agreed to the resolution, later India not only denied to implement the resolution and called it as unfeasible but also refused to accept any third party arbitrator role. In 1949 the Security Council had established a "line of control" (LOC) between the part of Kashmir forcibly seized by India in 1948 and the part of Kashmir under Pakistani influence (Azad Kashmir). "

Jack:

Mr. Gupte - it's baffling to read a synopsis of the history of the Kashmiri accession to India under Maharaja Hari Singh, and not come across a key player like Lord Mountbatten's name and role even once. Are you sure you have been consulting historical references that are not tinged by ideology on either side of the border? Also, Kashmir was not the only Muslim majority state that joined India. So did Junagadh and Hyderabad; of course, they had Muslim rulers. So, if Muslim rulers could choose to merge their states into India, frankly, what's the big deal about the Hindu ruler of a Muslim majority state choosing to sign a legal instrument of accession to India?

If our Pakistani friends on this forum and elsewhere could spend a little less time and energy bashing "Hindus/India" and "Jews/Israel," and think that much harder about how to tackle the serious problems facing their own country, they and their country would be that much better off - and so would their neighbors in India and Afghanistan, thanks to Pakistani state sponsorship of terrorism and violence! Seriously, you've had your own country for 60 years now, so stop fixating on India and Kashmir as your sole raison d' etre. At the end of the day Kashmir is of no consequence to Pakistan. Partition is finished business to Indians and much of the rest of the world. It's 2008, friends, not 1947-48. The Line of Control should be turned into the international border. Period. Move on.

Nivedita:

Mr. Malleck,

Since you cannot reason with logic, you instead get self defensive. Its amazing how one can indulge in Hindu bashing and be so "secular", yet God forbid if any Hindu tries to set the record straight as far as Kashmir or anything else is concerned. Thanks for exposing the double standard.

Idolator:

Latest peace of Islam from Pakis:

CNN is reporting of the 10 Pakistanis recently arrested in Spain for terror plots, at least 3 had come recently from Pakistan to blow themselves up in public transportation in Barcelona.

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Mohammed, is the most backward and intolerant nation on earth.

Indians should know what they will have in store if Kashmir becomes an Islamic nation right next to India.

Rahul:

Author did not saying anything about Hindu refugees who have been driven out of Kashmir by Muslims. Many Hindus have been massacred as well.

This is another typical Islamic expansionsim campaign with another 100 percent Islamic nation being proposed in Kashmir. Just like creation of Pakistan, Hindus will be massacred inside Islamic nation but meanwhile Hindus will continue to let Muslims live along side them in Hindu majority areas.

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

NIVEDITA,

I have already told readers what I think of Hindus like you (again, not all Hindus, but those like you!).

I am now waiting for Mr. Gupte's response.

Nivedita:

Mr. Malleck,

I did not understand your statement: Cannot contradict me?

As far as as the illegal ceding of part of Kashmir is concerned, go read your history dude. Illegal since PoK is "occupied" not legally Pakistan.

Wikepedia on Zulfikar Bhutto:

" Bhutto also signed the Sino-Pakistan Boundary Agreement on March 2, 1963 that transferred 750 square kilometres of territory from Pakistan-administered Kashmir to Chinese control."

Seems to me you are at a loss of rebuttal, are you?

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

NIVEDITA,

Cannot contradict me , can you?

But, let's stick to what you yourself have said : " Bhutto ceded a chunk of Kashmir to China illegally"

Illegally? How so? In defiance of what law?

Nivedita:

Mr. Malleck:

You berate the author for not having provided a substantial background on Kashmir. But I think you've oversimplified the premise of Hindu states going to India and Muslim ones to Pakistan.

Hari Singh chose independence for Kashmir, i.e. neither accession to India nor Pakistan.

The Pakistan army invaded Kashmir and to save Kashmir from the marauders, Hari Singh acceded Kashmir to India. The matter subsequently went to the UN where a plebiscite was to decide the future of Kashmir. This was to happen only when Pakistan fully withdrew from PoK. That did not happen and subsequently, Bhutto ceded a chunk of Kashmir to China illegally. Pakistan then began its cross-border infiltration to take over Kashmir which has resulted in the current imbroglio.

As far as Hindu chauvanism is concerned, I'll just say that extremism in one religion breeds it in another. Not that its justified, but if you're constantly cornered, then even the most docile and tolerant start biting back.

Sager:

Mr. Gupte:

Can any of you including Mr. Kathwari, assure us if granted independecne, Kashmir will remian a SECULAR DEMOCRATIC LIBERAL state with clear separation of state and islam or will it become another ISLAMIC REPUBLIC under SHARIA LAW?

Intellectual honesty

Kudos Nivedita for pointing out intellectual dishonesty of Washingtonpost, if you can call BJP righ-wing hindu nationalist, why don't you call republican party right wing christian nationalist white republican party or conservative party in England? Well we all know what will happen then to our little colonial brain-washed midegts.

Nivedita:

I take offense to you saying that the BJP is an ultra right wing Hindu party. Would you characterize the US Republicans as "the ultra right wing Christian party"? Its amazing how secular=anti-Hindu in a predominantly Hindu nation. Is that line meant to please the Western audience? I am Indian and also a proud Hindu. Perhaps that makes me a Hindu nationalist like the rest of them "communal Hindus"!

As for Kashmir, I think all Indian political parties are well aware and will accept that the LoC (Line of Control) would be an acceptable international border between India and Pakistan if Kashmir were to be bifurcated (political rhetoric nothwithstanding).

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

It is a pity that apart from advocating positive consideration of the Kashmir Study Group recommendations, Mr. Pranay Gupte stops short of spelling out what "Kashmir for the Kashmiris" means. Mr. Gupte rightly invokes the circumstances of the 1947 partition, but does not give details. What was designed at the time of partition was that majority Muslim states would join Pakistan and majority Hindu states would join India. If that principle had been respected, Kashmir, which was and is majority Muslim, should have joined Pakistan. But it happened that the state's ruler was a Hindu and he dithered. There was another parallel: Hyderabad, where the majority was Hindu and the ruler Muslim.Muslim ruler? No equivocation!! Hyderabad joined India.

The Kashmiri ruler's typically Hindu equivocation triggered an initiative for invasion by Pakistani vigilantes led by clergymen. The Kashmiri ruler called for official Indian army help. And as happened when the communist-aligned ruler of Afghanistan called for Russian help in 1979 and Russia invaded casuing the ceopolitical catastrophe the world is afflicted with to this day, the Indian army also moved into Kashmir and defeated the non-state Pakistani vigilante 'defenders' of the Kashmiri Muslim majority. That's how we had a 'balkanised' Kashmir.

Now, Mr. Gupte is proposing the equivalent of the post-Tito Yougoslav solution, brandishing the spectre of a BJP return to power. He writes : " ... not the least because of the resurgence of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party in India, which has won important state polls in which party leaders more than once implicitly reasserted India's claim to all of Kashmir."

The resurgence of the BJP is an internal Indian godsend or devilsend, it depends on Indians to decide. "Kashmir for the Kashmiris" would, for all unbiased people, mean a totally transparent, free and fair referendum. A 1950 resolution of the UN madated the conduct of precisely this type of referendum, and, just as Israel impunitively ignores all Un resolutions, India has also been allowed to ignore that resolution.

Take another look at the name of this commentator. Muslim! Muslim borderline agnostic as I always call myslef. My parents were originally from India, my father having been born there. My grandfather was deported from Mauritius and barred from re-entry into Mauritius for a period of one year in the 1940's because of his being part of the initiators of the Mauritian-chapter of the "Brtish Quit India" movement. My relatives owned the now-WAQF Board-owned "Taher Baagh" in Mauritius where Mahatma Gandhi addressed the Indian community of Mauritius when he was on his way back to India from South Africa after his elating victory over the British Crown concerning the pass laws in apartheid South Africa.

I am very, very open-minded in my outlook: why, I am a REAL good Muslim, sans borderline agnostic.

But I have suffered immensely from Hindu chauvinism, which is worse outside India than it is within India. Of course, I am sure that you yourself, like the majority of Hindus (not all, not readers of Indian Express newspaper, but readers of Madras-headquartered The Hindu), are tolerant and broad minded.

So, let's be fair, Mr. Gupte. Let me have your response.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.