CHAPTER XVIII

THE WAY OUT

The foregoing study of the Kashmir problem, its background, origin, growth and present character has made it clear that it is basically a fall-out of unnatural partition of united India in 1947 on the basis of claim of the followers of Islamism to be a separate nation. Islamism is comparable to communism. It is more an expansionist political idealogy than a spiritual tradition. But unlike communism, reason has no place in it. The concepts of Millat and "Kufr", of "Dar-Ul-Islam," and "Dar-Ul-Harab" and "Jehad" ~vhich are basic to Islam, lie at the root of Islamic separationism and the world wide Muslim problem. Ideology and methodology of Pakistan is based on them. They preclude co-existence of votaries of Islamism in peace on equal terms with non- Muslims anywhere in the world, particularly in countries run on the basis of democratic principles of one man one vote and majority rule. Wherever they happen to be in majority, they oppress non-Muslims as in Pakistan and Bangla Desh and wherever they happen to be in minority with pockets of influence, they become a factor of disruption and subversion. This is proved by the experience of India, and Cyprus in our own times.

Therefore, so long as Pakistan exists as an Islamic State it will continue to exist to keep Kashrnir problem alive. As such Kashmir problem is a part of the Pakistan problem. The two cannot be separated.

World knows of many problems that have persisted for decades and even eenturies, some of them were created by major wars and convulsions in the past and may be resolved by new wars or convulsions. Partition of India was one such major conclusion. But there is no such thing as a settled fact in history. Another convulsion or accident of history may end Pakistan. Until then India will have to live with the problem of Pakistan and its off- shoots like the Kashmir Problem in some form or other.

But that does not and should not mean that no effort should be made to solve the Kashmir problem as it exists today and allow things to drift.

Kashmir problem is basically an internal problem of India. It was created by Pak aggression, against Jammu and Kashmir State which became aggression against India when that state acceeded to India in October 1947. India was in a position to tackle it effectively on its own strength. But its unrealistic leadership gave an external dimension to it when it took the matter of Pak aggression to UNO. This enabled Pakistan to internationalize the issue with the overt and covert support of USA. The issue then got so much bogged down in power politics of the two super powers with their conflicting global interests that the internal aspect of the problem got over shadowed and side-lined by its external aspect.

Recent international developments in the wake of retreat of communism and dismanting of the Soviet system have initiated a new situation. Cold war is virtually over; USA no longer needs Pakistan as a front line state to contain Soviet Union and therefore has no compulsion to back Pakistan over Kashmir. That explains American suggestion to Pakistan to accept cease-fire line as de-facto international boundary and stop supplying arms and giving training to Kashmir terrorists and subversives. It is no longer interested in supporting the Pak demand of self determination for Kashmir through plebiscite in terms of UN resolutions. India, therefore, can now go ahead to tackle the problem uninhibited by international reactions. As a first step it should formally withdraw its complaints to UN made in January 1948. That complaint and UN resolutions about Kashmir had, in fact become irrelevant after Pak attempts to grab Kashmir by unprovoked wars in 1965 and 1971. India therefore should forget UNO so far as Kashmir is concerned, and ask it to withdraw UNO observer from there.

Even though India has legal claim over the whole of Jammu and Kashmir state including Pak occupied areas, it should treat Cease-Fire line now called "line of Actual Control", as international boundary between India and Pakistan. This will not made any material difference to Indian position in regard to Kashmir. It is well known that Pt. Nehru and Mrs. Gandhi were prepared to bury the hatchet, forego Indian legal claim to Pak occupied part of the state and accept cease-fire line as international boundary. Pakistan did not respond positively because it did not want to give up its claim on Kashmir Valley on the "principle" that as a Muslim majority region contiguous to Pakistan it should be included in Pakistan. This "principled Stand" of Pakistan can be countered by taking a similar "principled stand" in regard to Lahore and Thar-Par-Kar now held by Pakistan. Lahore was contiguous to Hindu majority part of Punjab and lies to the East of the Ravi which could form a natural boundary between East Punjab and West Punjab. Majority of its inhabitants were Hindus and they owned over 80% of its movable and immovable property. Therefore according to the criteria laid down for Radcliffe commission, Lahore should have been awarded to India.

Thar-Par-Kar district of Sindh originally belonged to Jodhpur state It should have been restituted to Jodhpur before the British left India for good. Even otherwise it should have been awarded to India because it is contiguous to India and more than 80% of its population was Hindu.

Had India followed the example of Islamic Pakistan it too could have changed the complexion of population of Kashmir valley as Pakistan has done in Lahore and Thar- Par-Kar. India therefore would be perfectly justified in laying claim on Lahore and Thar-Par-Kar if Pakistan persists in claiming Kashmir for Pakistan.

Insistence of Pakistan on the right of self determination to Kashmir through plebiscite is not tenable. UN resolutions on the subject have no relevance now. Apart from the fact that Pakistan never fulfilled the pre condition, for holding a plebescite, it negated those resolutions when it took to arms in contravention of those resolutians to grab Kashmir by force in 1965 and 1971. Morever right of self determination cannot be given to a part of constituent of a sovereign state. That would lead to disentegration of many of the major states of the world including Pakistan and USA.

USA which had no basic geographical or cultural unity like India and which had come into existence by voluntary union of a number of independent states fought a civil war to deny this right to its southern states Pakistan has been doggedly refusing this right to the people of Sindh. Baluchistan and Pakhtoonistan want to get out of Pakistan. Therefore plebiscite in Kashmir in any shape or form must be ruled out.

Indian leadership has itself to blame for the persistence of Pakistan and its supporters in the demand for plebiscite because it failed to adopt a correct and realistic stand about Kashmir from the very beginning. This became clear to me when this matter cropped up during my talk with Philip-Talbot, the American Secretary of State for South Asia at Washington in 1964 He asked me whether it was not a fact that majority of Kashmir Muslims were for Pakistan. On getting an affirmative reply, he wanted to know why India was standing in the way of Kashmir going to Pakistan. I then asked him whether the same situation did not prevail in some of the Southern states of USA like Alabama and Mississippi. He agreed that it was so. In reply to my query why USA was not permitting them to get out of USA. He explained that they could not be allowed to secede because they were part of a sovereign state and the US Constitution did not permit secession of any part of the United States. I then told him that the same was true of India and Indian Constitution. I explained to him the implication of loss of Kashmir for the security of India as a whole. He complimented me for "Candid and Convincing exposition of India's stand "and wondered why India had been beating about the bush instead of presenting its case candidly and forth-rightly. This lack of candidness and tendency to take a moralistic and holier than thou stance compromised India's position. Had Indian spokesmen taken a realistic and factual stand, and laid stress on the fact of accession which made Jammu & Kashmir on inalienable part of sovereign India, it could have avoided many of the internal and external complications which have made the issue intractable.

Developing national and international situation demands that Indian leaders and policy makers adopt a nationalistive and realistic approach to their problems instead of looking for alibis or posing as idealists. Accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India was a conscious decision by its ruler who placed wider human interests of his people above his personal interests in a moment of crisis. Kashmir is part of India because of the instrument of Accession and liberation of a major part of it from Pak occupation by Indian armed forces and not because of Sh. Abdullah and the people of Kashmir nor has Kashmir anything to do with the secular character of the Indian state. These are extraneous matters which have not relevance and relationship to the basic issue.

False notions about secularism, secular character of Kashmiri Muslims and their voluntary decision to put their lot with India created a kind of dilemma in the mind of Indian leadership. It accepted the accession but felt shy of basing its claim on Kashmir on the fact of accession. Therefore in practice it treated Kashmir as part of India. This confusion lay at the root of many blunders that Nehru committed in regard to Kashmir in the early formative period. The most dangerous of them was succumbing to the pressure of Sh. Abdullah for a special status for Kashmir and incorporation of Article 370 in the Indian Constitution.

This article 370 which gave constitutional sanction to Kashmir having a separate constitution, a separate law of citizenship and separate flag has been the main factor in creating the widespread feeling.

Kashmiris believed that Kashmir was not India and that its future had yet to be settled. The resultant uncertainty has proved to be the biggest asset of Pakistan and its agents in Kashmir. Therefore abrogation of this Article and scrapping of separate constitution of Kashmir and extension of Indian constitution in full to that state has become the first necessity to tackle the Kashmir problem.

There is no constitutional or legal hitch in abrogation of this article and full integration of Jammu and Kashmir state with the rest of India. It has no connection with accession of the state to India. The accession tooic place in October 1947 while this article was added to the constitution two years later on October 1949. It does not hinge upon this article in any way.

Article 370 was in fact the pound of flesh that Sh. Abdullah exacted from obliging Pt. Nehru as a price for his support to Kashmir's inclusion in India in the case of a plebiscite which was looming large in the air at that time. Pt. Nehru directed him to meet Law minister and Chairman of the Drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, for inccrporating a suitable article in the Consititution of India which may enable Kashmir to have a separate constitution, separate law of citizenship and enjoy a special autonomous status. Dr. Ambedkar himself told the author that he flatly refused to aceept Abdullah's plea. He told him that as Law Minister of India he could not give a status to Jammu and Kashmir which would make it a republic within a republic in which India and Indians will have only responsibilities and no rights.

Nehru then asked N. Gopal Swamy Ayyangar, another Minister in his cabinet, to move the Constituent Assembly for inclusion of a special article in regard to Kashmir as desired by Abdullah. But his proposal met with stiff resistance from a large majority of members who saw no justification for making an exception in th case of Jammu and Kashmir. His proposal was accepted only after he gave specific assurance on behalf of the government that it was a purely temporary provision to tide over the exigency created by the UN resolution. That is why it was put in the chapter which includes temporary and transitional provisions of the constitution.

To treat this article as a permanent feature of the Constitution and oppose its abrogation has no justification whatsoever. Sovereign parliament of India which has made about seventy amendments in the Constitution of India can surely amend or abrogate this Article which has been specifically described as "temporary" by the Constitution itself.

In fact there is no need to amend the Constitution because the procedure to make this Article inoperative has been laid down in subclause (3) of this article itself. It reads, "notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Article the President can, by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify."

The rider that the "recommendations of the Constituent Assembly of the state shall be necessary before the President issues such a notification" has ceased to have any validity because the Constituent Assembly of the State ceased to exist in 1956. Therefore the decision to make this Article inoperative can be taken by the President on his own or on the advice of his council of Ministers, even without making any reference to the Parliament.

Once this Article is abrogated or ceases to be operative, Jammu and Kashmir state would ipsv facto be brought on par with other acceding states. Its separate constitution will then have to go and Indian Constitution in fulfill have to be extended to the state together with the law about citizenship.

This one step will go a long way in removing uncertainty about future of Kashmir from the minds of Kashmiris and impress upon them that Government of India means business and that the finality of accession of the State to India cannot be questioned.

Some safeguards about ownership of land and preference to local people in certain matters can be given to Kashmir within the framework of Indian Constitution as has been done in the case of Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

Reorganization of the State

Along with the abrogation of Article 370, steps should be taken to reorganize the state so as to give separate statehood to Kashmir and Jam mu region and Union territory status to Ladakh. Such a reorganization should have been done long back. It was a mistake to keep this state out of the purview of state Re-organization Commission.

Such a reorganization would go a long way toward resolving some of the internal contradictions and problems of this state. It will satisfy political aspirations of people of Kashmir, Jammu and Laddakh and preserve and protect distinct identity of Kashmir as also of Laddakh and Jammu.

Kashmir valley is surrounded by high mountains from all sides which remain snowbound for many months in a year. This has given it a separate geographical and historical identity. That explains why it remained a separate kingdom or separate province of various Indian empires all through the history.

Language has much to do with preservation of cultural identity of any area. Kashmiri language, originally written in Sharda script, a sister of Dev Nagri Script, is a developed language with a rich literature. It has been included in the 8th sehedule of the Indian constitution. Making Kashmiri the language of administration and education in Kashmir valley will go a long way toward preserving its distinct Kashmiri identity. It will slso strengthen its cultural links rrith the rest of India because Kashmir too is an Indo-Vedic language derived from Sanskrit.

Imposition of Urdu as state language by Sh. Abdullah instead of Kashmiri was a retrograde step. It was aimed at weakening the links of Kashmir with India and bringing it closer to Pakistan which adopted Urdu written in Persian script as its national language after it came into existence. Acceptance of Kashmir with the option to write it in Persian or Dev Nagri Script will not only safeguard Kashrniri identity of Kashmir, but will also give a boost to the development of Kashmiri language and literature. A phonetic script like Dev Nagri script is much more suited to Kashmiri language than Persian script.

Economically Kashmir with its 30 lakh population and valuable resources of timber, fruits, handicrafts and great potential for tourism will be much more viable than many other states of the Indian Union.

Punjabi speaking Uri-Tithwal area lying between Kashmir Valley and Pak occupied territory of the state should be separated from Kashmir and made a centrally administered security belt. This area lies outside Kashmir valley. There is little in common between the people of Kashmir and the people of this belt. In fact there is lot of distrust between them. The simple folk of this area resent domination of Kashmiris over them. This area can be a kind of buffer between Kashmir and the so called "Azad Kashmir." These steps would go a long way in satisfying political aspirations of the people of all the three regions of the state, safeguarding distinct identity of Kashmir valley and checkmating Pak designs on it.

Kashmir problem is basically a religio-political and not socio-economic problem. From the economic point of view average Kashmiri is much better off than his compatriots in most parts of the rest of India. It is among the most affluent parts of India. Those who keep harping upon unemployment and economic hardship of Kashmiri youth as the main cause of unrest and unsurgency in Kashmir are either ignorant or dishonest.

Kashmir has nothing to do with the secular character of the Indian state. India is secular because it is basically Hindu. The day it would loose its Hindu character, it will cease to be secular. Therefore those who keep harping upon India's need for Kashmir to preserve its secular character indulge in self deceptions. There is no question of India needing Kashmir or Kashmir needing India. They are one and indivisible.

The one genuine grievance of the people of Kashmir is that they have not been getting governments and Chief Ministers of their choice. This grievance can and should be removed by ensuring that elections to the new state Assembly of Kashmir, whenever they are held, are fair and free and that elected members are left free to choose their Chief Minister and Government without undue interference from New Delhi. But this demands restoration of normalcy within the valley and normalization of relations between Kashmir and the center in terms of the Indian Constitution. Nehru Abdullah accord and Mrs. Gandhi - Abdullah accord point to abnormal relationship. They never had any constitutional validity. They must be discarded to enable Kashmir to enjoy autonomy as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution to all its constituent units. Provision can be made in the Constitution for som e special treatment to border states.

The administrative apparatus in Kashmir has been subverted in a planned way over the years. This has proved to be the biggest asset of Pakistan in the war by proxy that it has been waging since 1988. This apparatus should be thoroughtly overhauled and nationalized. Any government which permits or tolerates subversion of its administrative apparatus has no right to exist.

In the field of development the immediate need of Kashmir is an augmentation of power supply. With the depletion of forests, lack of adequate electric power has caused avoidable hardships to the people. Therefore, top priority should be given to generation and supply of electric power. There is enough potential for Hydro- Power in the Valley. It can be supplemented by supply of power from the National Power Grid. Salal and Dul- Hasti projects on the Chenab in Jammu region can generate enough power to serve the needs of not only Jammu and Kashmir but of Punjab also.

Another cause of hardship to the people of Kashmir is frequent closure of the Jammu Srinagar high way. An alternative link can be developed by building all weather road linking Srinagar with Pathankot via Sinthan Pass, Kishtwar, and Chamba and with Jammu via Kishtwar and Udhampur.

This road would open new areas for development besides giving a boost to tourism. Dalhausi, Chamba, Bhadarwah, Kishtwar, Batete Jammu circuit would bring tourists both national and international, in touch with some of the more breathtaking beauty spots of the world. The old Mughal road via Nandi Marga pass runs too close to the Cease-Fire Line. It would not be safe from security angle.

Jammu region stretching from Pathankot to Panchal range which divides it from Kashmir area of over ten thousand square miles and population of over thirty lakhs is the richest and strategically the most important region of the state. It has been getting a raw deal from successive Kashmiri dominated Governments of Jammu and Kashmir.

Formation of separate Jammu state would satisfy political aspirations ol its people, quicken its economic development and remove the bogey of Hindu domination over Kashmir. It would be economically viable with big potential for tourism, forest based industries and power generation. Contentment of the people of Jammu would prove an asset for Kashmir also, because it provides the iink between Kashmir and the rest of India.

Laddakh region stretching from Padar in Jammu to Tibet is the largest but most sparsely populated region of the state. Muslim majority Kargil area which was part of Baltistan region, new under Pak-occupation, was tagged on to Laddakh after Cease-Fire. It should be given the option to be included in Laddakh or made a centrally administered area.

As a Union Territory Laddakh could be developed fast as a great tourist attraction. Its Capital town Leh, is among the highest human habitats in the world. It is linked by motorable roads to Srinagar via Yojila Pass and to Chandigarh via Rohtang Pass. In view of strategic importance of Laddakh and widespread distrust and disillusionment of its people with Kashmiri dominated administration, it would be dangerous to delay the acceptance of longstanding demand of its people for separation from Kashmir.

To ensure coordinated development of the three new states and centrally administered areas, a development council on the model of North Eastern Council should be set up. Himachal Pradesh can also be included in such a council because of its close links with Jammu and Laddakh. All the twenty states may also have a common governor and common high court.

While respecting the autonomy of all the three regions and avoiding undue interference in the democratic process and choice of Chief Ministers by the respective Legislature, the central Government should see to it that no liberty is given to any person, party or group to interfere with the legitimate aetivities of the Defense forces or harm security interests of the country.

Implementation of the steps mentioned above and prosecution of the "war by Proxy" to the finish can go on side by side. Abrogation of Article 370 and creation of Uri-Tithwal security belt will be helpful in restoration of Law and Order and checking Pak infiltration from Pakistan.

Announcement about reorganization of the state will have a salutory effect on the minds of the common people of Kashmir Valley. It will remove the fear of Hindu domination that has been systematically created in their minds. They will get a clear signal that their political aspirations and Kashmiri identity can, and will be, satisfied within the framework of the Indian Constitution. Most thinking Kashmiris know that rulers of Pakistan are not interested in independence for Kashmir. They want to annex it to Pakistan. They also know that Pakistani, particularly Pathans and Punjabis, are more interested in using Kashmir as their pleasure ground than in its economic development and general welfare of its people. The memories of 1947 when Pak invaders turned every mosque in Baramula into a brothel are being revived by the experience of Kashmiri girls who have been lured to Pakistan for training of arms. This is having a salutary effect on Kashmiris who are basically a peace loving people. Because of insular character of Kashmir and their experience of non- Kashmir rule they have developed distrust for all non- Kashmiris. Islamic frenzy has been swaying their minds and hearts for some time past. But it cannot be sustained for long if they are made to realize that they can enjoy self-rule with added benefits as an integral part of India.

At the same time it is necessary that no softness is shown to Pak agents and their patron, Pakistan. Pakistan has gone too far. Things within the valley were never as hopeful for it as they are now. Its military position is now better than ever before. It has an arsenal of nuclear weapons also. Therefore any talk of normalization of relations with Pakistan is just hogwash. Pakistan may force another war on India any time. India, however, will have to adopt new reciprocal policy to ward Pakistan.

Future of Kashmiri Pandits

Then there is the question of future of Kashmiri Pandits. Forced exodus of about two hundred thousand Hindus from Kashmir is the most distressing fallout of the recent developments in Kashmir Valley. All secessionist organizations and elements of Kashmiris have been working together to drive out or eliminate the Hindu minority from there.

Kashmiri Hindus who are now better known as Kashmiri Pandits have been living as a besieged community since the advent of Muslim rule in Kashmir in the middle of the 14th century. They got relief when Maharaja Ranjit Singh conquered and annexed Kashmir to his kingdom in 1819 and made it a separate province of his expanding kingdom of Lahore.

They occupied a place of pride in Kashmir during hundred years of Dogra rule. They made the best use of the facilities for higher education and improved communications with the rest of India.

With the accession of the Jammu and Kashmir state to Incia by Maharaja Hari Singh in October 1947, a new chapter in the life of Kashmiri Pandits began. Many of them joined with Sh. Abdullah when he converted his Muslim Conference into National Conference in 1939. But Sh. Abdullah developed distrust for them soon after he came to power in the wake of the accession of the state to India. He took full advantage of his Kashmiri Pandit associates to extract maximum concessions from the central goverenment at New Delhi led by the most celebrated Kashmiri Pandit of our time, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.

But he soon found out that like other Hindus the first loyalty of Kashmiri Pandits also was toward India and they would not stand by him in his endeavors to make Kashmir an independent State outside India.

Sh. Abdullah devoted one full chapter to Kashmiri Pandits in his autobiography. He advised them to give up "the role of spies and fifth columns of the central government at Delhi." This gave a clear indication of his belief that Kashmiri Pandits may become a hindrance in the way of separating Kashmir from the rest of India and making it a separate sultanate or Islamic Republic.

The recent developments in Kashmir's Valley and the united efforts of protagonists of Kashmir's merger with Pakistan and advocates of independent Kashmir to drive out Kashmiri Pandits from the valley and liquidate those who have not left the valley so far is the logical follow- up of the above assessment of Sh. Abdullah about Kashmiri Pandits regarding their first loyalty to India. Kashmir valley is now almost completely Muslim in its demographie complexion and Kashmiri Pandits are running from pillar to post for survival. This has added a new dimension to Kashmir problem.

Can Kashmiri Pandits go back to the valley or will they have to wander around India and the world like the Jews who were driven out of Israel many centuries ago? Their plight in their own country is the greatest challenge to the capacity and credibility of Indian leadership. It is my considered view that not only the future of Kashmiri Pandits is tied up with the future of Kashmir Valley, but the future of India in relation to Kashmir is also tied up with them. If Kashmir is to remain a part of India, Kashmiri Pandits will have to go back to Kashmir Valley not only for their own sake but also for the sake of wider interests of India as a whole. Their return and rehabilitation in Kashmir Valley must be part of any solution of the Kashmir problem.

But now it will not be possible for them to live with Kashmiri Muslims in the same Mohallahs and neighborhoods. Islamic fundamentalism which does not permit co-existence of Muslims and non-Muslims in peace on equal terms anywhere in the world has got complete grip over the minds of the new generation of Kashmiri Muslims. Kashmiri Pandits therefore will have to live in separate settlements within Kashmir valley.

Sh. Abdullah has written in his autobiography that some Kashmiri Pandit leaders had suggested as early as 1890 that Kolgam area in south Kashmir adjacent to Jammu region should be made a separate Kashmiri Pandit district of Kashmir. He has not given the reason why such a demand was made and what was the exact motivation of those who made it. But the situation which has now developed in Kashmir has proved the forboding of those who raised the demand a hundred years ago, to be correct. A sanctuary or a separate district for re-settlement of Kashmiri Pandits in the southern part of Kashmiri Valley has now become an imperative necessity. It is the only effective and feasible way of preserving Kashmiri Pandits in their own home land.

Such a reserved area or district for exclusive resettlement of displaced Kashmiri Hindus should stretch from the Jawahar tunnel under Banihal Pass to Zojila Pass. It should include Verinag Springs, Acchabal, Kokarnag, Mattan, Martand and Pahalgam besides the holy cave of Amarnath. Mattan and Amarnath are the holiest spots in the valley which attract thousands of pilgrims and tourists from all over India. Pahalgam is the most popular tourist spot for Indian tourists. Therefore, it should not take long to develop this area as a major pilgrimage center and tourist attraction of the valley. This will not only quicken the development of this area but will benefit the rest of the valley also.

Indian industrialists and Kashmiri Pandit entrepreneurs can be persuaded to invest in this area for its development. It should be able to provide security and comfortable livelihood to all the displaced Kashmiri Hindus who are now living in agony in camps at Jammu, Delhi and other towns of north India.

To this end, the following two things will be helpful:

1. A Kashmiri Hindu Resettlement Fund should be created. Major contributions to this fund will have to come from central government and state governments. Substantial amounts can be raised from the general public also.

2. A Kashmiri Hindu Resettlement Board be set up. It should include representatives of the central and state governments and Kashmiri Hindus. It must undertake survey and construction of resettlement colonies and townships in this reserved area. The migrant families can also contribute their mite in the construction of the houses which could be transferred to thern as permanent allotees on completion.

This plan, if executed quickly and efficiently, can save Kashmiri Pandits from their present agony and reserve their Kashmiri identity along with the identity of the Kashmir valley. Some seats can also be reserved for them in the legislative assembly of Kashmir.

The plan of action for a solution of Kashmir problem given above is practical and feasible. It can safeguard the unity, distinct identity and autonomy of Kashmir Valley without disturbing the unity of India. The suggestion about a distinct area in South Kashmir to be earmarked for the resettlement of Kashmiri Hindus who have been driven out of their homeland is just, fair and workable. Kashmiri Pandits, the original inhabitants of the valley who have preserved its culture, language and way of life through the centuries have inalienable rights on Kashmir. They must get a share of the territory of Kashmir where they may be able to live with honor and without fear.

Kashmiris can have a government of their choice like the people of other states through fair and free democratic elections and without interference from outside. But conditions must be first created for holding elections and starting the political process. The present situations in the valley are not conducive to it. Steps will have to be taken to weed out the terrorists and Pak agents first. The sooner it is done the better it would be for all concerned.

It would be wrong to compare Kashmir with the states of USSR which are falling apart. Unlike India which has been a distinct geographical and cultural entity since the dawn of history, USSR has been a continuation of the colonial empire of Russia comparable to colonial empires of Britain and France. Communism provided a new authoritarian cement to keep it together when other colonial empires were cracking. With the end of communism and dismantling of communist system the Russian empire has started crumbling. Central Asian Republics had nothing in common with Russia. Even then certain common interests, particularly in the field of economy and defense, developed during the last seventy years, may keep them together in the same form for some time.

Kashmir on the other hand has been an integral part of India geographically, culturally and politically. It cannot be cut asunder from India. Pull of Pakistan is temporary because Pakistan itself cannot remain cut off from Hindustan for long.

It would be in the best interest of Pakistan to accept the suggestion put forth by the USA about treating the Line of Actual Control as an international boundary between India and Pakistan. Acceptance of this reality on the ground will only give dejure recognition to what has been a de-facto reality since January 1, 1949. With goodwill on both sides this line can be rationalized to make it a defensible border for both India and Pakistan. As things are, Pakistan is bound to be a gainer in such a rationalization of this line.

But if Pakistan persists in its intransigence in the hope that war by proxy that it has been waging in the valley since 1988 will secure for it what it could not secure through three wars with India, then India, too, will have to pay back in the same coin.

As things are, Pakistan is moving on the path of war for which it has chosen the ground of its own choice. Failure on its part to retrace is bound to lead to an open war in which India may chose ground of its own choice. Maybe destiny is driving Pakistan to its doom. According to Maharishi Aurobindo's forcast, the time for the end of Pakistan and partition is coming. Pakistan has failed to cut itself off from its Indian or Hindu past in spite of the worst efforts of its Islamic rulers during the past four decades. It is going to break down under the weight of its own contradictions. The war toward which it is moving may prove to be a decisive catalytic agent for ending Pakistan. That will ultimately end the problem, including Kashmir problem, that appeared on the scene as off-shoots of the Pakistan problem. Till then India will have to live with the Kashmir problem in some form or the other.

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