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Mirwaiz Hiding in Closet?
by Dr. Rajinder Puri Bookmark and Share
Political leaders attempt to acquire substance without strength. They little realize that lasting strength comes only from the public.

A recently released cable by Wikileaks created both elation and dismay. According to the diplomatic cable Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who leads the Hurriyat conveyed to the Americans his solution for the Kashmir dispute. He wanted the Line of Control (LoC) to be converted into an international border; three separate legislative assemblies for the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh; the Governor and Chief Minister from each region to assume office by rotation. He is quoted with the view: “First, the LoC would become border, but every effort would be made by parties on both sides to make it irrelevant similar to the soft barriers that define borders in Europe.” According to the cable many others like the People’s Democratic Party led by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and Mehbooba Mufti also supported similar views.

The elation arose from this constructive proposal which offers a basis for meaningful negotiation. It may be recalled that top RSS leaders on the other extreme have also voiced the opinion that the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh be made separate states, and the Valley be granted pre-1953 autonomy with some modifications. The National Conference has long advocated such autonomy. My own view has always been that J&K should be trifurcated into three states, and New Delhi should strive for an association like the European Union with Pakistan that eventually would allow soft borders and no visas.

The dismay arose from the inhibition displayed by the Mirwaiz to publicize his views. Clearly there exists a real prospect for a consensus approach by all parties on the Indian side. Such publicly acknowledged unity would greatly facilitate India’s efforts to bring Pakistan on board. Instead of propagating their views the Hurriyat leaders confine themselves to criticizing the army and the police. Human rights are crucial and everything must be done to achieve them. But surely that should not preclude the effort to find a lasting solution as well? And for the solution to be lasting should not the public be taken into confidence and its opinion prepared for the change? 

The Mirwaiz has not propagated his views to the public. He runs to Beijing, to Washington, to Islamabad and to New Delhi looking for support. He does not seek to influence the public. He reflects in fact the malaise that has overtaken Indian politics. Decisions are sought to be achieved through bargains behind the curtain. Popularity is sought through sound bytes on television.

Gestures have replaced actions. Postures have replaced policies. Political leaders attempt to acquire substance without strength. They little realize that lasting strength comes only from the public. And the public has more common sense than all the great leaders adorning the various national capitals put together. The Mirwaiz should start addressing the public with total candour. The result might surprise him.  

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Comments on this Article

Comment Mirvaiz deserves congratulations for his pragmatic views. He needs to be supported whole heartedly by the entire natiion.
He might be hiding from public gaze due to extremists' threats. The nation- particularly media- should stand up (at least vocally) to demoralize those monsters.

Mahesh Chandra Dewedy
09/11/2011 22:55 PM

Comment Once upon a time, I visited Åland islands (Mariehamn), which is an autonomous region of Finland. Not knowing that it was an autonomous region of Finland, I noticed a different flag there than the one of Finland. Out of curiosity, I asked the person working nearby - "which is this flag and that why it is not a Finnish flag".

The person responded instantly - Oh, this is Åland flag, you know, we have our own flag. We speak Swedish (unlike in Finland), but when we got independence we had not any other option than to be part of Finland, it happened all in a hurry. But we have this flag of our own that matches more to Swedish flag than Finnish and we speak Swedish' !!!

That was a surprising answer to an Indian.

The islands' people, having total population between 25 to 30 thousands, as white people as Finnish, the same religion but feel and believe they are separated from main stream Finnish.

[Åland islands are demilitarized autonomous part of Finland, local government exercises various central government powers.

The equilibrium exists because there is peace, economic stability, honesty and absence of dirty politics in the entire region of Scandinavia.]

The answer was surprising because the residents there have kept the identity as 'non-Finnish' and are proud that their flag that matches more to Swedish flag than to Finnish flag.

If they are even minutely provoked, what will happen ? In case of conflict between Finland and Sweden, to whom they will support ?

If article 370 was applicable to those 600 odd princely states that existed in 1947, there would have been advises to make them autonomous too.
Then, citizens of those 600 odd autonomous regions would have felt separate identities than rest of the 'main' India.

And thus, it would have made it closer to the recent chinese dream of dividing India into 30 or so nations.

We can start with one autonomous region at least to constitutionally register separate identity of certain part of India. The only difference will be that in absence of the kind of equilibrium the Åland islands have, the newly autonomous region of India will not have it.

And thus, we will see future of Åland islands in India in our lifetime.
But, rather than doing all those extra constitutional work, why can't we create sense of Indian identity everywhere, so that the urge behind the feeling for any such autonomous region can disappear by itself ?

Pakistan was created based on certain religious identity of Indians, 6 decades later, there are more identities grown up there - Baluch, Sindh, Shia, Sunni, Punjabi and so one, which amount to the kind of intensity that need some solution like new nations/autonomous regions etc.

There is no end to sectionalism, if the mother society can not induct the sense of belongingness in the child societies, child society will develop their own identities large enough to be separable.

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
09/10/2011 15:28 PM

Comment What a major failure this is for the "ïnterlocutors"of all hues!
Guts and plainspeak are always missing here.

09/10/2011 09:22 AM

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