Don’t shut the window Let the fresh air come in

Delhi has single-lens answer to all what is going wrong in Kashmir. It blames Pakistan for everything that has resulted in the destruction of Kashmir. Delhi insists : “Pakistan is creating troubles in the Valley.” The argument goes that Islamabad wants to annex Kashmir by force. And, when its previous attempts to do so by waging wars failed, it launched a proxy war.

Diplomacy is a delicate task. It requires deep thinking about the consequences of each word spoken and each action taken while negotiating critical issues. No one can be punished to negotiate.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been hailed for his offer of talks of peace with India and also riled for his jibe “small men occupying high offices.” If he were a real sportsperson –politician, he should have been careful in choosing his words. This applies to the men in responsible positions in India, too.

Talking peace is very important. Its importance is more when the distrust characterizes the relationship between the two neighbouring countries that share the common history and have been the part of common geography for centuries together before a new nation of Pakistan surfaced on the map in 1947. The unfortunate legacy of this is the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. To be precise, the issue relates to some sections of Kashmiri Muslims.

The contesting narratives what is wrong in the relations between two nuclear-powered neighbouring countries have suppressed the yearning for peace by the peoples of the two countries. This yearning is widespread and limitless. In fact, the desire for peace is insatiable.

But when it comes to J&K, the two countries have failed to find a middle ground. The efforts of reconciliation swing between hope and despair. In less than 48 hours, the hope for peace turned into a cry for war.

India claims Kashmir as its integral part like any other part of the country. The State is part of the political map of the country. It is governed by the governments that are elected under the Indian electoral system. The country is diverting huge amount of taxpayers’ money to manage things in the Valley. It also is spending incalculable amounts of money in the place for the developmental activities and promoting the youth to get into constructive activities.

It is nothing short of a perfect story that Delhi wanted to script in Kashmir. It results in imperfection. That is a mind-boggling question. Kashmir is undergoing intense troubles. These never ending acts of violence have changed the whole landscape.

The more worrying factor is that it is now threatening the very social fabric of Kashmiri society, the cohesiveness of which had stood in a pleasant resistance to the attempts to cause fissures in it on the political and sectarian lines. These attempts did not succeed because Kashmiri bonds were strong enough to resist all these moves to tear the society apart. But now it is changing. If some of the recent unfortunate incidents are any pointer, there is an imminent threat of it imploding from within.

The charge is not quite unfounded. Ironically, the substance to the whole thing has been provided by Pakistani leadership itself. A glaring example is when Pakistan launched Kargil war, the world came to know that Pakistan was seeking to widen the trouble. In Kashmir with the help of its army. India lost more than 550 soldiers to uproot Pakistani soldiers from the Himalayan heights. Pakistan had to eat words of the non-involvement of its military in the war when it conferred bravery awards to Pakistani soldiers killed in Kargil war
Pakistan has been squirming after it lost East Pakistan in 1971. The whole thing was aided and abetted by India that had become home to more than 10 million refugees from the place, which is now known as Bangladesh.. Pakistan had vowed to avenge its dismemberment.
Secondly, Pakistan wanted to complete what it always called “ unfinished agenda of Partition,” wherein, according to it, the Muslim majority state of Jammu and Kashmir should have been the natural part of new nation for Muslims. India has more Muslims than Pakistan, a fact that Islamabad ignores.
The correctness of these arguments has been judged by the history and historians. There are some of the unfortunate and unforgiving incidents that have drafted the recent chapters of history of the two nations. But, Delhi cannot obliterate the facts that there was something wrong with its policies too that made Pakistan to interfere in J&K the way it did. That part has been ignored. Delhi should see that how Pakistan has become a part of the problem or no Kashmir solution is possible without it. The house is not in order. That is where Pakistan is taking advantage. Both the countries are playing hawks and doves at the same time. That may be part of the new brand of diplomacy of arm-twisting and arm resting at the same time.

But the two countries should know that they are neither America nor China. They have their limitations. Kashmir wants to get rid of the violence of all sorts. There is a way out there. The need is to open the windows to let the fresh air in.