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The Core Indo-Pak Issue
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
Pakistan never tires of claiming that Kashmir belongs to it. Pakistan believes in the two-nation theory. Kashmir is predominantly Muslim. Therefore, Pakistan claims, Kashmir belongs to it. But Pakistan, though wrong, is consistent. It was created on the basis of the two-nation theory. This Pakistani mindset is at the heart of the problem. India believes that Kashmir belongs to it. Whether or not the people of Kashmir are Muslim is irrelevant to their nationality. India, although right, is inconsistent. That, too, is at the heart of the problem.
The Partition of the subcontinent took place on the basis of the two-nation theory. The leaders of Pakistan propagated that theory and achieved Partition. The leaders of India rejected the two-nation theory but they accepted Partition.
How are both positions compatible?
If they accepted Partition which took place on the basis of the two-nation theory then Muslim Pakistan logically should have been accompanied by Hindu India. By that logic the extremist fringe of the Hindutva brigade would, like the Pakistanis, be wrong but consistent. If India was divided by creating a Muslim Pakistan then surely, this fringe can argue residual India must be Hindu.
The leaders of Independent India hugely deceived the public by continuing to pretend that they did not compromise on the most cherished principle and pledge they made during the freedom struggle to never accept the Partition.
They couldn’t have the cake but pretended they ate it!
Later they and the courtier class of intellectuals and media persons surrounding them propagated the lie that Partition was made unavoidable by the horrendous riots. This monstrous lie can be nailed by going back to June 3, 1947 when Partition was formally accepted by the Congress. In March just about 1000 people had been killed in Punjab during the Rawalpindi riots. Lahore and most of Punjab remained peaceful after those riots. Only there was tension among the politicians. The bulk of the one million victims in the riots of Punjab were slaughtered immediately after Independence from August 17 onward through September. If the Partition was indeed unavoidable why did Mahatma Gandhi seek to undo it by wanting to settle down in Lahore just before he was killed? Why did Pandit Nehru use Sheikh Abdullah as emissary to attempt confederation with Pakistan just before he died?
Pakistan says that Kashmir is the unfinished business of Partition. It is no use disputing the Pakistani claim unless Indians start claiming that the Partition was an interruption in our struggle to achieve an independent united India. Otherwise the extremist fringe among Hindus can well claim that Partition remains unfinished business as long as all Muslims are not expelled from India. Unless we confront this core contradiction that has distorted India’s history after Independence we will never succeed in stabilizing relations in the subcontinent.
Before leading the all-party delegation to Kashmir, Home Minister Chidambaram said in a newspaper interview: "Over the years, several promises have been made to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and we should act on those promises…Based on the agreements and accords of 1952, 1975, and 1986, we must address these promises.” Fair enough! But what about the promises made to the people of undivided India for almost two decades that the country will not be partitioned? After Independence the victims of the Partition riots were too battered and bewildered to realize the enormity of the betrayal perpetrated on them. Now there remains no excuse for the Indian public to acquiesce in one of the greatest betrayals against their own people by any leaders of any nation throughout history.
After the Kargil war this scribe wrote an open letter to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on July 2, 1999. The letter concluded with the words:
India can never be secure unless Partition’s consequences are undone. Diplomacy’s success remains possible but appears highly improbable given current developments in Pakistan. Success through war should never be attempted because success can be achieved by pursuing the hard diplomatic-cum-political line advocated in these columns earlier. Without changing the Indo-Pak borders conditions can be created to induce Pakistan’s acceptance of a South Asian Union. Many would argue that after sixty years it is too late to undo the substance of the Partition. They need to be reminded that sixty years is just a comma in the history of a nation.
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Comments on this Article
09/21/2010 00:19 AM
Deepanjali B Sarkar
09/20/2010 03:27 AM
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