India is celebrating its Independence Day with profound reverence; obviously, even after 65 years have passed, a sense of huge achievement still lingers.
It is wished that India continues to make great strides in all spheres of life, enabling its people to finally realise the dream of an equitable development that will actually add to the real sense of achievement.
And on August 14, Pakistan also observed its day of independence. The entire Indian sub-continent, nearly consisting of one fifth of the humanity, rejoicing is in itself a remarkable feat. Yet there is a tiny black spot on the moon, as separatists have asked people in the valley to mark August 15 as a black day.
For that matter, Kashmir has been experiencing a complete shutdown on the Independence Day for almost quarter of a century.
The Independence Day is naturally a moment of great pride and gaiety. Alas, in Kashmir it’s reminiscent of an intractable conflict.
Notwithstanding the fact that both India and Pakistan consider the conflict on Kashmir a territorial dispute, people of Kashmir treat the problem as denial of their fundamental rights.
The differing understanding of the nature of this problem has added to the complexities of this dispute. Does this problem entail a simple conflict on Kashmir or is the Kashmir dispute merely a symptom of a much larger and a deeper conflict? In case Kashmir is the only reason and cause of the conflict, there is still some hope left.
Despite its proven intractability for the last 65 years and having triggered two-and-a-half Indo-Pak wars, the problem may get resolved eventually, irrespective of the question when. However, if Kashmir turns out to be a symptom of a deeper malice, there is absolutely no hope of any solution to be found howsoever strong the desire for peace might be.
It’s a simple analogy: A property dispute between two siblings, no matter how much stubborn the respective claims could be, is probably resolvable with a proper give and take. On the contrary, resolution of an ideological dispute even between two brothers, unless one among them is completely overpowered, is highly unlikely.
Kashmir hangs in a perfect balance between hope and despair. Pakistan’s new envoy to India Salman Bashir has claimed that the newfound bonhomie between the two countries has never been like this.
Certainly, there is a marked upswing in the relationship between the two ever-bickering neighbours; several confidence-building measures have considerably improved the atmospherics.Still India and Pakistan have miserably failed to reach an agreement on even marginal issues like those of Sir Creek and Siachen. Kashmir is quiet, yet the dispute remains unresolved.
Pakistan is placed at a precipice, still it has not given up the option of supporting militancy inside Kashmir. The Indian Army is bracing for an eventuality of a Taliban influx in Kashmir after the 2014 American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Will Pakistan again push foreign militants inside Kashmir to take on the Indian army? What does that mean? The disastrous consequences of such a reckless action may be well known to both India and Pakistan. Low intensity war in the past has proved to be more disastrous than all the Indo-Pak wars combined together.
The lull in violence has hardly proved an incentive for the two nations to resolve their long pending disputes.Without the resolution of all big and small disputes, there can’t be any peace is an elementary knowledge. Still India and Pakistan have failed to solve even the smallest of the doable problem.
Do India and Pakistan lack a keen desire, moreover the vision, for peace?
Despite a feeble desire, deep cynicism has come to engulf the entire subcontinent. A genuine autonomy may eventually satisfy the Kashmiri political aspirations. However, New Delhi considers conceding even limited political rights as an acknowledgement of Kashmir’s separate political identity based upon the two nation theory.
Since forced assimilation will further alienate Kashmir, there seems to be no solution in the offing. In 2012, transfer of population from one country to another still continues, albeit at a very limited scale; Hindus feeling insecure in Pakistan are migrating to India. And a section of estranged population in Kashmir considers even a moth-eaten Pakistan as a saviour.
Partition of India in 1947 was believed to be a solution to a problem that has utterly proved to be a wrong prognosis. Since undoing the Partition will prove to be more disastrous, there seems to be no way out. In the absence of peace, the only other option left is destruction.
(The views are author’s personal. The organisation does not necessarily subscribe to them)