Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Quiet Diplomacy and Kashmir

Rashid's commentary on resolving the Kashmir dispute ‘quietly’

(Dr. Rashid Para, 41, was born in Naira village in the Pulwama district. He did his childhood schooling in the local government run school in Tahab, and from the 6th grade attended the Sainik School in Nagrota, Jammu. He passed the 12th grade class with distinction. He received admission to pusue medical studies at the Pavlov Medical University, in St. Petersburg, studied Russian at a language school in Tablisi, Georgia, before proceeding to the medical university in Russia. Subsequently he completed his post graduation in anesthesia and critical care at the Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar. He is presently serving at the Government District Hospital in Pulwama. Dr. Para is founder member and senior central executive council member of the Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK), and spokesperson of Anesthesiologists Association Kashmir. In his leisure time he enjoys playing with his children and in parent-teacher and related functions at their school.)


There is no doubt that most Kashmiris across the LoC like the resolution of Kashmir dispute as per the UN resolutions. But ups and downs in the Kashmir history since 1947 itself prove that these promises were never kept and they were broken either by our leaders for their vested interests or by the two countries for their ‘national interest’. Thus with time Kashmir’s political track was deliberately made complex with pseudo accords. But in the 21st century different powerful countries have slowly started recognizing the hotspots that are responsible for disarray in world peace. There is every need to address sincerely the political issues of Kashmir, Palestine and Afghanistan for a durable world peace. The Kashmir problem because of its complexity on ethnic, political and geographic dimensions is held hostage by India, Pakistan and China, and as such the solution to this vexed problem is not easy. Wars have been fought in 20th century and in 21st century unresolved Kashmir dispute has destabilized South Asia. No political party in either country can risk their future by taking a daring decision on Kashmir. Both countries have used Kashmir as a Trojan Horse to bring each other down. However, a resolution to this issue could have brought enormous prosperity to the people of these nations.

The major political parties like Congress, BJP, PPP, and PML have used Kashmir as a tool as and when required. Some call it atoot ang and some jugular vein. But none of them has ever thought about the actual stakeholders: the Kashmiris on the two sides of the LoC. Every politician voices Kashmir in this subcontinent but none of them agrees to evolve a consensus. Both countries venerate Kashmir but work least to the expectations of the people who have been kept divided for too long to sustain this partition any more. So it becomes imperative for all parties to act and expedite immediate roadmap to its solution.

During the recent visit to J&K, Home Minister Mr Chidabram talked about “quiet dialogue and quiet diplomacy” and Prime Minister took it further by inviting separatists to work jointly for an amicable and agreeable solution. So it will be a test for all parties across the political spectrum to sit under this umbrella of quiet diplomacy and quiet dialogue to shun their differences and find a workable solution for the Kashmir dispute.

Freedom is dear to any nation. Kashmir’s history itself speaks volumes about the existence of Kashmiri nationhood. So the separatists practicing this political thought are not historically wrong and may be politically correct, but Kashmir at present is a dispute between two nuclear countries, so the complexity does leave a room for mainstream parties to debate out their autonomy and self rule agendas. There is a factor of trust deficit also. The Agra summit is an example of that where Vajpayee and Musharraf were about to make a breakthrough but were immediately brought down to ground zero by vested interests. The two countries will have to move ahead for a lasting solution to this issue.

Politicians of India and Pakistan will have to acknowledge the truth behind our history before making any efforts vis-à-vis Kashmir. Why are Indian and Pakistani leaders so afraid to win a noble prize on Kashmir? Why can’t they silence the rabble-rousers who have taken Kashmir from trajectory of peace and harmony to hatred and belligerence? India and Pakistan will have to think about Kashmir’s future seriously. In this war of attrition none of them will emerge a winner except that these nations will sink because of the prolonged side effects of the conflict itself.

We need to be flexible so that all parties together can work out a roadmap that can lead us to a viable solution. Few of our leaders did give up their hard stand for Pakistan which India needs to appreciate and in reply needs to express its willingness to resolve the dispute. At present there is not much difference between Geelani Sahib’s three-point formula and self rule, and then autonomy is part of it. So the only thing needed is unity of leaders for the Kashmir cause. All leaders will have to know that they have to carry on board a broad pluralistic society of J&K with three distinct ethnic regions. They will have to ensure its integration in all respects and focus on equitable and unequivocal development of all regions both in power sharing and economic development, and ensure participation of all people of these regions on the principles of egalitarianism. We have to believe that J&K can not become one religion state; it has to have a secular face. The talks should be focused enough so that they lead to a concrete conclusion.

We also have to acknowledge borders are becoming meaningless in the rest of the world. Kashmir could be the finest place to start with because of its attractive tourist destinations and easy connectivity to major SAARC countries and existence of old silk route. Hong Kong is another good example to take lesson from. Very few people know that Hong Kong is not an independent country, but is a geographic part of China. Officially Hong Kong is Special Administrative Region, and is a territory of the People's Republic of China. Beginning as a trading port, Hong Kong became a crown colony of the United Kingdom in 1842. It was reclassified as a British dependent territory in 1983 until the transfer of sovereignty to the People's Republic of China in 1997. Hong Kong is a global metropolis and international financial centre with a highly developed capitalist economy.

Can Kashmir also move ahead in similar direction and leave behind the bitter memories of the past. But unfortunately people in Kashmir are apprehensive of their leaders for their failures as is evident from enormous research work of scholars, books, documents etc. None of them ever took their job seriously except that they kept on adding their names and images to these pages of Kashmir’s history making them swollen, expanding their volume but keeping the miseries of the people at the same place as they were in 1947. So leaders will have to ensure that mindset of people is changed. More mistakes on Kashmir will be disastrous. The people of the state are calling for a final political solution to the Kashmir issue.

Now we keep our fingers crossed and see how the three formulae, the azadi, autonomy and self rule finally converge to bring the relief and lasting solution to the people of Kashmir who have suffered throughout the history.

1 comment:

vishal said...

What will happen to those 150 terrorist organisations that pakistan created for getting kashmir out india they still exist what happens to the more 50000 poeple extremist poeple who are part of those organisation,,,I dont think it can ever happen,,, may they do something with kashmir region but not with ladakh or jammu region,, people wont support them