I’ve been having similar thoughts to those that Vir Sanghvi expresses. Its only with a heavy heart, and despair, that one is forced to say this. I’ve always believed no problem is big enough if people are rational, open minded and fair. Sorry, those have turned out to be big ifs. If we cannot own a people, there’s no point owning the land. Tactical superiority and all that be damned – armed defense no longer depends on who owns the higher hill. And our false machismo about “how can we give away even an inch of our land” needs to be relooked at – since the Kashmiris do not consider their place part of “our land”, who are we to ? I’d love to be friends with the Valley and its people, but like Sanghvi, it looks like its gone beyond the point of no-hope. As he points out, plenty and more has been done. In fact I suspect that the special status might be one reason for Kashmiris thinking of themselves as a different country altogether. Bihar has had rigged elections, and pretty much every other state to some extent. A lot many places have less progress, more poverty. Yet you do not see this degree of a desire for secession, and at this scale. If indeed most Kashmiris want to join Pakistan, or be an independent country, let them. ONLY the valley, of course. Not Ladakh, not Jammu. And then, make sure we have NOTHING to do with them. Economically, politically, from the tourism point of view, whatever. Let’s see how well they do without the larger embracing idea that India is. Let’s see if narrow parochial, diehard ethnicity does better than what India’s been managing to do. Even if the Valley then runs into problems, or needs help, sorry, you asked for it, idiots. You think we’re out to get you ? Wait till you do it to yourself, or worse, the mess that Pakistan is happens to you. Alvida, guys. I suspect the resilient Pundits have already kind of given up on the Valley, and in fact, many have done well in other parts of India. I have friends amongst them, and think we should do our all to ensure they are well settled in India. [ Or at least as well settled as the rest of us are 🙂 ] I hate thinking in terms of a “them”, but in case, to hell with them, and good riddance. Update:
Just came across a similar thought expressed by Swami Ankesaria Aiyer too. Reproducing the conclusion of his point of view :
India has sought integration with Kashmir, not colonial rule. But Kashmiris nevertheless demand azaadi. And ruling over those who resent it so strongly for so long is quasi-colonialism, regardless of our intentions. We promised Kashmiris a plebiscite six decades ago. Let us hold one now, and give them three choices: independence, union with Pakistan, and union with India. Almost certainly the Valley will opt for independence. Jammu will opt to stay with India, and probably Ladakh too. Let Kashmiris decide the outcome, not the politicians and armies of India and Pakistan.