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Of Promise and Denial

Among many things that have become apparent during the ongoing crisis in Kashmir is the resentment of both India and Pakistan over their hankering for the land of Kashmir. The failure of the government of Kashmir, whose power struggles and tactics have blinded them to their responsibilities towards the resolution of this unsettled dispute has infuriated many. Blaming Pakistan for exacerbating the crisis and in turn holding India responsible for its armed occupation won’t help. To restore peace, the demands of the people of Kashmir should be prioritised – India and Pakistan should proceed with holding a plebiscite, as already agreed by their Governments, so that the people of this territory may decide their future themselves.

Every protest caused by any means has finally lead to the demand for independence. In this struggle for freedom Kashmir has sacrificed many of its people, mostly youngsters, and almost every family has been impacted whether directly or indirectly. All those living in this part of the world have experienced tragedy. The slogans of freedom are even on the lips of little children. The outrages of people are clogged vehemently, though only for a time being. How can people not consider their liberty when at every moment of their lives they are forced to confront the fact that they live in an occupied land? Kashmiris over and again find it unbearable and the process of violence continues which further marginalise them. August is the month of reverberations – on 14th and 15th August, 1947, Pakistan and India respectively attained their independence, and the fate of Kashmir’s future was determined. While both India and Pakistan are celebrating their independence and are projecting their might and power, we living in Kashmir have to watch through gritted teeth. The threat of nuclear-war is a constant cloud over the inhabitants of these neighbouring countries. The recent processions in many parts of the world over Kashmir, particularly in Pakistan, irked India. Flanked by heated arguments and under the shadow of war both India and Pakistan reacted strongly.  

Don’t we deserve a future – free of all invaders, martinets and oppressors? Through the on-going protests Kashmiris want a permanent solution to their problems, the slogan we want freedom is overheard in all places of Kashmir. The Kashmir issue is undoubtedly complicated but it is ripe for a final solution. There has to be a time when both the countries, India and Pakistan, have to look beyond excuses and must hold a plebiscite. Let the battle of reprisals and animosity, of two neighbouring countries, not ruin the Kashmir valley anymore. The present perilous situation in the Valley is getting worse with killings and injuries and protests seemingly unending. Enough blood has been spilled in the Valley. It seems human lives have lost significance here and have turned into a mere plaything! Courage is required to find a permanent way to resolve this problem. There must finally be an end to it.

The opinion as put forward by Salman Rushdie to resolve this dispute is, as a Kashmiri, quite absorbing:  

“In an ideal world, you could reunite the Pakistan-occupied part of Kashmir with the Indian-occupied part and restore the old borders. You could have both India and Pakistan agreeing to guarantee those borders, demilitarize the area, and to invest in it economically.”

This outlook of the unified whole of independent Jammu and Kashmir together with Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and others, could prove a defining purpose to bring everlasting peace in the whole of South-Asia. But for Rushdie also it is possible only in a sane world: “In a sane world that would happen, but we don’t live in a sane world.” 

Muddasir Ramzan was born in 1990 in Kashmir, India, where he resides. He studied English Literature at the Central University of Kashmir and is a budding writer. His writings have been published in various international journals in India, Pakistan and London and he writes a regularly blog for the Muslim Institute. He can be contacted at muddasirramzan[at]gmail[dot]com.