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To understand Modi’s new Kashmir reality, these 5 liberal myths need to be broken

Kashmir has a new status quo & Pakistan can risk breaking it. A solution can be found only after accepting that the existing borders are permanent.

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Before searching for a solution to the Kashmir problem, we should understand it better. There are deadly perils in jumping in with solutions without first understanding the facts and realities. Only quacks — or maybe faith-healers — prescribe medication for chronic ailments without arriving at a reasoned diagnosis.

There are three sets of solutions today from three categories of these “faith-healers”. First, in India, the establishment view, which finds wide popular support, is that the only problem in Kashmir is Pakistan, and the radical Islam it exports there along with rifles, rocket-launchers and RDX. Get the Pakistanis off our backs, and you shoot a sequel to Kashmir Ki Kali in Dal Lake.

The Pakistani establishment fantasy, again with wide public support, is the exact opposite: Get the Indians out by pushing, pinching, bleeding them. We defeated Soviets and Americans in Afghanistan. What is India? Then, you can integrate all of Kashmir as the fifth province of Pakistan.

The third category in our analysis today is the small but articulate and doughty group of Indian liberals. They accept that Kashmir’s accession to India isn’t final, that the will of the Kashmiris is paramount and it hasn’t yet been sought. To that extent, their basic demands for plebiscite, autonomy, even independence, are legitimate. You can’t keep them with India by using state and military power.

Also read: Even if J&K crackdown makes liberals cringe, we must support govt fight against insurgency

Philosophically, it is difficult to argue with this: India is a voluntary federation of states, so how can you force people to stay with you if they don’t want it? No surprise that this view also finds sympathy among a lot of fundamentally liberal and young elites. I understand the perils in picking an argument with them because this very position gives them the higher moral ground. But we live dangerously.

Let’s break it down to five fundamental pillars on which this current liberal position rests:

1. India made a commitment to a plebiscite in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions of 1947-48. Why did it violate these?

The fact is, both India and Pakistan made this commitment. Both broke it as well. If you read the text of the resolution (47), however, you will see a three-step ladder. The first was Pakistan withdrawing all its forces from Kashmir and then making “best endeavours” to ensure all others (we will call them jihadis today) leave as well. It never happened.

The next two steps were India thinning its troops to the minimum needed, setting up an all-party government, and then for a plebiscite to be held under a UN-appointed governor. Pakistan didn’t take the first step. India wasn’t jumping to take the next two.

2. Most Kashmiris want neither India nor Pakistan. They want freedom, or azaadi. How can you deny it to them? Think referendum, think Quebec, Scotland, or Brexit.

Once again, read the resolutions. It will take you three minutes. They do not provide independence or azaadi as an option. The choice is India or Pakistan.

Pakistan’s supposed support for Kashmiri “azaadi” is fraudulent, but it has also had some Goebbelsian success with this great deception that Pakistanis back freedom for Kashmiris. Pakistan has built this masterfully over 70 years, calling the part of Kashmir occupied by it ‘Azad Kashmir’.

Since Pakistanis claim all of Kashmir, shouldn’t they be calling it their state of Jammu and Kashmir as well? No. Because that will expose their hypocrisy in using azaadi as a cover for territorial capture. Google if there are any statements from any Pakistani leaders of consequence offering azaadi as an option. I find none. If you buy into that azaadi fantasy, please do. You can’t sell it to the rest of India.

3. Can you hold for ever a territory and people by military power?

The answer is a counter-question: Can you take away a territory and people from another country through military power? Pakistan tried this. Twice, in 1947-48 and 1965 through direct military invasion, and 1989 onwards with proxy war. There was also the little madness of Kargil 1999. These are facts. You need to understand Nehru’s shift on the UN resolutions from mid-1953 onwards. The Cold War was then ratcheting up, and Kashmir’s geography trapped it into a unique pincer where the Great Game hadn’t ended. Foreseeing trouble, he moved to integrate Kashmir in 1953 with Sheikh Abdullah’s arrest. In the next two years, Pakistan had joined the US-led Baghdad Pact, SEATO etc. It began tilting the military balance in its favour over the next decade. Ultimately it was Nehru’s pre-emptive action that saved Kashmir from military (not plebiscite-led) capture.

The Pakistanis waited until they felt they had built sufficient military advantage, caught India in a period of weakness — military recovering from the 1962 debacle, Nehru’s death, food shortages — and used its full US-armed and trained military might (read up on Op Gibraltar and Op Grand Slam) to take Kashmir, but failed.

This was the last time Pakistan could have taken Kashmir by direct military force. And it hadn’t sent its troops and tanks to win Kashmiris azaadi.

Also read: With Kashmir move, Modi has ensured map-making comes to an end in subcontinent

These three pretty much account for the twists and turns in the Kashmir story in its first UN-to-Simla epoch (1947-72), though at a kind of digital pace in fast-forward. That brings us to the fourth:

4. Why is the Modi government not settling Kashmir according to the Simla Agreement as even Imran Khan is now saying?

The answer again: Do read the short Simla Agreement. The literal sense is all India-Pakistan problems are now bilateral. Which means, no UN resolutions. The spirit was, both realise that none can take any territory by force. So, rename the Cease Fire Line (CFL) as the Line of Control (LoC) and work on persuading your people to accept it as the border. Why this wasn’t stated more explicitly is a brilliant subject for some genuine scholar, for a book called “The Guilty Indians (not just men) of Simla”.

But the spirit was betrayed as soon as the prisoners of war returned. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto began Islamising his country (yes, he did, not Zia), hosted the Organisation of Islamic Conference summit in Lahore, even named its cricket stadium after Muammar Gaddafi as he launched a fund-raiser for his “Islamic Bomb”.

The cool breeze of Simla lasted only until the bomb was ready. By 1989, Pakistan was back in “action”, trying to take Kashmir with force again, avoiding direct confrontation which it knew it would lose.

The Simla Agreement was indeed violated. Only by Pakistan.

5. But the Kashmiris don’t want to be with you, what can you do?

Again, a counter-question: Who are the Kashmiris? The Right-Nationalists are missing nuance when they say just 10 districts of the Valley can’t speak for all of the state. Because these represent the state’s majority. The liberal argument is more flawed. If the majority view of Valley Muslims then subsumes the sizeable minorities of the state, what do we do for the view of the rest, about 99.5 per cent of India? Can you have the democratic logic of majority work in one place and not in the other?

Whether you like Narendra Modi or not, he has now broken the post-Simla status quo. Pakistan’s space for sub-military manoeuvre is gone. No political party of consequence is questioning the abrogation of Article 370, only the method.

There is a new status quo now. Pakistan can risk breaking it. There is a problem in Kashmir, with anger, alienation, violence, human rights abuses, and it needs addressing. It must begin with accepting that the borders today are the permanent borders of India and Pakistan. We shouldn’t need Bill Clinton to come here and tell us that maps of the region can no longer be redrawn with blood. Once you accept this reality, you can argue about the future.

Also read: From AFSPA to street protests, Modi govt needs new thinking in J&K with Article 370 gone


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  1. LEFT RIGHT CENTER all said and done let us face the ground reality ,if all was well with 370 why was Sheikh Abdullah jailed in 1953 Nehru wanted valley at any cost so he pampered Sheikh,who was no friend of Kashmire pundits, Sheikhs journey from Muslim league to National Conference was for simple reason that he would be no body had he joined Urdu speaking Punjabi Muslims of Pakistan. The reason Sheikh negotiated 370 with Delhi was for the simple reason he didn’t want Delhi’S interference Sheikh wanted to be Harisingh ,Sheikh was hobnobbing with U S and that is why he was exiled in 19 53 and it is surprising after implementing Kamraz plan Congress did not think of abolishing 370 is surprising,G M Sadiq was one nationalist who would have implemented it in letter and spriet it was in his tenure as chief minister that he abolished title of sadre riyast with Governor and Prime Minster with chief Minister and during his tenure Congress held it’s national convention in Srinagar and it was on his insistence Sheikh Abdullah was released and sent to political wilderness till Mrs Ghandi bought him back not even asking him to fight elections and had Accord with him to form collation Govt.with is history.

  2. Your article seems based on the dangerous assumption that those opposing this abrogation are looking at it from Pakistan! It is kind of similar to the argument used by the BJP to shut dissenting voices in Gujarat.

    It’s not about Pakistan, but the people of Kashmir. A lot of people there wanted to be a part of India, and now those voices are lost! This decision has nothing to do with democracy, but everything to do with vote bank politics!

  3. Mr Gupta,
    There are many shades to the Liberal view on Kashmir.
    The ones you claim to be liberal views are, I fear, not representative.
    Liberals are neither for taking the issue to UN nor are they for plebiscite. As both of them outlived their utility. Even UN indicated that plebiscite is not a solution in a highly polarised polity.
    The governing document is Simla agreement.
    As regards to article 370 and integration of Kashmir in to India, there are two approaches. One keep article 370 as it is and slowly, over a period of time gain confidence of Kashmiris and make it void for all practical purposes. The other is abrogate the article 370 and integrate the state with india – a blunt tool. The first one is Nehru’s approach and the second is Modi’s. Both may have their pros and cons. Now that Modi wants to try his solution we should give it a chance. Only time will tell the success of this approach. But, painting all the efforts made by any party other than BJP in the past as anti national and portraying Nehru as traitor only exposes the pettiness of their leaders. Once you are a PM you should have the magnanimity to appreciate the other leader’s efforts. It is strange all others other than BJP and their supporters have turned out to be antinational!!
    Personally i feel the removal or retention of Article 370 doesn’t change the ground reality. It only helped BJP to fulfil their ideological promise and satisfy its constituency. Nothing stopped BJP to take back POK with out abrogating Article 370. Similar territorial conflicts across the world make it amply clear that one can not absorb any territory without the consent of the people. So the first step in post Article 370 Kashmir is to win back the people’s confidence. How this will be achieved , we have to wait and watch.

  4. The best Solution is creating a dominion State with Joint Control of India & Pakistan by clubbing and merging regions Like, PAK, Kashmir, Kargil, Chenab valley and Pir Panjal Areas. This Dominion State can have Distinct Autonomous regions viz, 1. Kashmir, 2. Pahari Speaking West Kashmir, 3. Gilgit, 4. Balti Speaking Balitstan+Skardu+Kargil, 5. Chenab Valley. Jammu to be made a proper state , Dogar State that they have been yearning for and be merged fully into India as a State, Leh Area to be continued as a UT of India. This will solve the whole bloody problem and will address most of the aspirations of all parties to this conflict .

  5. I wish Shekhar reads the above conversation. I know he will understand his hollowness. Unfortunately, in last few months I see him coming out as one of those jinhe “na Khuda hi mila na visal-e-sanam!”
    Rajiv, stop trying reasoning with communally brain-washed people. They never answer questions, only indulge in what-aboutery and sloganeering. Sad, a person like Shekhar Gupta has fallen to this level of moral bankruptcy.

    • Yes, Surendra. Sad but true. But that’s precisely why we’ve to keep fighting.

      It’s frightening for me that to get any reliable news on Kashmir I have to read the foreign media. There’s so little coverage in the Indian press.

      The politicians are compromised. The police. The judiciary. And also the press.

      • This speaks hollowness of thoughts. When will we Indians come out of that mental block that any thing ‘foriegn’ is the ultimate truth! If you wants to hear truth, who stopped you to go to ground to check realities. You have to depend on half truth or baked truths of BBC and Al-Zajeera channels, sitting in ac chambers claiming voices of liberals or any contrary view on the situation as false? The Print has come half way to accept philosophy of Ghazwa-e-Hind propagated by Islam with front leader being Pakistan and its army. Till now liberals and pseudosickular just never accepted this fact. Whatever had happened since 1947 , the main theme was this thinking becuase of Muslim majority in valley. And that was reason dawned on Nehru ji after making blunder of taking J&K issue to UN and putting Shaikh in jail in 1953. This was his confused state of thinking unlike a visionary. Same was repeated with Tibet, by accepting it as part of China.

  6. India has been too soft on this over last 70 years imo, not a bad thing in itself.
    However if Valley of Kashmir starts BS and violence etc , i hope India settles 50 million of NON MUSLIM landless people for all over the country and swamp the Kashmir valley. (as being muslim is their claim for separation that claim must be wiped out)
    Message being behave and enjoy all equal rights as rest of the country and welcome investments along with outsiders and prosper or else . They can take it advice or warning their choice. Time for 70 year old games are over. Ladakh and Jammu already like it. Valley can or will learn to like it .
    Good going India full steam ahead.

  7. Narendra Modi only wants the rich Indians to be able to make their holiday homes in Kashmir, that’s all. And that too those rich Indians who are his friends. By making it a union territory he will have control over who is allowed to buy property there. “Development”, if it happens, will be only incidental. It is NOT the aim of the recent steps, 370 etc. For example, if his rich friends think, why have only a holiday home there, why not live there permanently, and towards that end, why not install an industry there? Then, an industry will come up there, and some locals will get jobs by accident. To improve the lives of the Kashmiris is NOT THE INTENTION of Narendra Modi.

  8. The writer doesn’t mention even one word on Kashmiri pandits and he doesn’t even represent views of ladakhi and jammu region and its districts … he is interested in articulating views of valley people… of whom some wants to create problem for government

  9. The article is interesting. But I think if we read the article carefully to get information of the Kashmir sagae of India, the article instead of breaking the so called myths of LIBERALS the article is busting so many lies spread by the BJP and Co. on Kashmir issue. So KUDOS to Shekhar ji.

  10. ‘Once again, read the resolutions. It will take you three minutes. They do not provide independence or azaadi as an option. The choice is India or Pakistan.’

    The resolution only calls for a plebiscite administrator to conduct a free and impartial plebiscite. He or she could hear and decide what the people want- some areas may have wanted to govern themselves, some areas may have wanted to join either country. The writers statement above is not an accurate conclusion.

  11. To all of you who support the suppression of Kashmir (most of the commentators here): close your eyes and say slowly to yourself: S-E-V-E-N-T-Y T-H-O-U-S-A-N-D P-E-O-P-L-E K-I-L-L-E-D. 70 thousand.

    This includes soldiers and Pandits.

    And if you don’t feel anything inside your heart, then you are morally dead people. Unfortunately this seems to be the case for modern India.

    • Forget about our hearts.
      Even a brain transplant cannot fix your leftie, commie idiocy. The poison has spread all your body. You are incapable of understanding our feelings either.

    • The problem with so called “liberals” like you is you guys could say politically correct things but never provide any practical solutions to any problem leave alone Kashmir. You would propose plebiscite in Kashmir, then will take astonishingly opposite position in Assam (By your logic its for the people of Assam to decide if immigrants from Bangladesh to be made citizens or not)

      its a general consensus an elected government or parties in a democracy has to take some hard decision keeping in view of larger public interest. Undoubtedly BJP ‘s move is political but compared to liberal hypocrites , any day BJP can be dealt with. by general public.

      To justify my claim of “liberals” being hypocrites, please read Brinda Karat’s latest blog in NDTV. She equates India’s position in Kashmir is like Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the way US occupied Saigon. Problem is she will go into hiding if one ask about what China is doing in Tibet or their latest adventures Hong Kong. Just an example. There are plenty of such shameless double speak. Precisely for this “liberal double speak” even moderates sided with the right.

      • Liberal. Liberal. Liberal. Leftie. Leftie. Leftie. Do you have anything else to say?

        Intellectually and morally bankrupt people who keep throwing things in the air.

        • Do you have anything to say except bjp bjp bjp… you did not even attempt to reply to the points i raised…classic display of an arrogant self pro claimed (bankrupt) intellectual ..nothing else….

          In the game of football if one cant win their opponent by snatching the ball away from them, losers tend to kick the opponents than the ball at least to injure them physically……This is what your tactics….hope better sense prevail…

        • Lol you are no intellectual. Maybe a self certified one and Certainly not any liberal, you may be at best what they call in West Bengal bam/bums or in millennial lingo Macos (Marxist communist), people tend to avoid them generally as you cannot have the patience to reform their rigid views.

    • Why don’t you wake up from your la la land? Blabbering fake concerns will not affect anybody.
      Lefties should atleast once think logically pragmatic ally rather than imposing their extinct notions.

      • Wow. I didn’t mention the BJP anywhere.

        It only confirms they fact that a lot of people who post here have serious problems of comprehension and logic.

        The future of India is indeed bleak.

    • Please add to it that over 300000 pundits were driven out of their homes and made refuges in their own country. Who is responsible for that and India has spent billions of dollars there because of jihadists.

    • We are against secession of Kashmir, not so much the suppression of it. The consequence of Kashmir leaving the union will be terrible. Number of people dead in road accidents.

  12. Shekhar Gupta has rightly said “Can you have the democratic logic of majority work in one place and not in the other?”. The double standards of self labelled Indian liberals are so obvious to be seen if one is not wearing the colored glasses of fake Indian liberalism. The majority of Indians have chosen Modi to lead India but the fake liberals refuse to accept him as their leader. Simply put they are not liberal. They all have dictatorial attitude hidden under the fake color of liberalism. I won’t waste even my spit on their faces.

    • Even Hitler was chosen by his people. So it is illogical to use that as a criterion for justifying whatever the great leader does.

      Do the BJP trolls know anything else that abusing the world liberal? Do they even know what it means?

      • Morally dead are the people like Rajiv who dont care about Kashmir Pandit. Tomorrow Mallapuram in Karayla want Azadi because muslim ate in mahiti tu in mallapuram. What all Rajivs will do ?

        • I think your level of English comprehension is very poor. Go back to my post. I talked also of the Pandits and the poor Army people who are killed.

          Anilji apna level thoda sa uuncha karo.

      • Do you even know what else Hitler did? Burning the Reichstag etc? There wouldn’t have been another election if Modi is another Hitler. You are just trying to scare ignorant people by your comparisons with Hitler.

      • Did you know that Liberals supported self- determination in Czechoslovakia, which lead to dismemberment of Czhechoslavakia, increased the popularity of Hitler and ultimately to world war two?

    • @Ak Dev
      Excellent post. I wish there is an option to upvote comments. The Print doesn’t want to show most Indians support Modi.

      The level of support for fake posts from Pakistanis and pro Pakistan Hindus like ashok will become too obvious.

  13. Accepting the existing borders (LoC and LAC) as permanent is the only feasible solution. After that india may have to deal with the Kashmiris wanting an independent Kashmir, but that would be an internal matter for it.

  14. Shekhar, a sovereign state needs no one’s permission to exercise its authority. The leaders of the Indian state, guided by woolly thinking, did not understand this. They then teetered between a state based on repression and committed to cheating the people, to a state that stood by helplessly as non-state actors exercised power and coercion. Modi changed all that. It is as simple as that. Moreover, much like Gandhi did in 1918, Modi garnered the voice of the people in support of his actions.

  15. All arguments of Shekhar Gupta when it comes to the legality and morality of the actions of the Indian government is classic ‘whataboutery’ : “what about what Pakistan did in the past about UN resolutions, military aggression etc etc ?” Is our aspiration to be a Hinduised, marginally more sophisticated version of Pakistan, which is a failed state and religious theocracy? Such arguments are quite disappointing coming from a seasoned journalist like Mr Gupta, who (one would have thought) has nothing to lose from speaking truth to people in power.
    Mr Gupta argues that democratic will of people of Kashmir is overruled by the democratic will of Indians to keep them subjugated.I am not sure it is too much to expect an ex-editor of a national newspaper to have heard of John Mill and the concept of ‘Tyranny of the majority’. Suffice to say, this goes totally against the spirit of democracy and has led to some of the worst excesses known to mankind.
    If we genuinely believe that Kashmir is part of India and Kashmiris are Indians, we would not be imposing the worst excesses of British colonial raj on them. Our Prime Minister claims that he has removed the chains that were binding Kashmiris for years.To stop them from hearing their good fortune, he has cut off all modes of communication inside the state and to stop them from dancing in the streets with joy, he has imposed a curfew and put all their leaders in prison. In the new India,Black is white and night is day.Let us all rejoice.

    • John Mills blah blah blah blah

      Modern civilizational norms are highly unstable to handle Islamic Jihad. There are so many very dumb Kaffirs,. The Islamic Supremacist Jihadis depend on the dumb kaffirs to advance their cause.

        • ‘Whataboutery’ is not such a bad argument when it comes to international and national diplomacy. It is a balancing act needed for political and otherwise survival. You can set good examples, when you have ensured your survival. You have to attack his article based on the points. Not merely on the premise that he questions the idea of India be adhering to the resolution when Pakistan failed to do so.

          Just because something’s been made trendy somewhere doesn’t mean we start blindly applying it without evaluating it for ourselves. Tit for tat may or may not make the whole world blind. But a human purposely blinded by another is destined for elimination.

          He did point that the majority in the rest of India is not expected to opine collectively, similar to how the majority in Kashmir does. Holding a certain majority to higher standards than another sounds patronizing to the latter.

          If you hope that the moment Indian troops are withdrawn, Kashmir nahi banega Pakistan, you are fooling yourself.

          The leaders in prison are the same ones who blackmailed on behalf of the discriminatory article, which exists to dole tax money while they relax and wait till radicalisation is complete.

          Are you aware of the fabricated news and militant infiltrations? Are you aware of the stone pelting industry funded from outside the borders? Do you hope they will be holidaying after such a change has been made? If not, perhaps you see why security restrictions were necessary.

          Are you sure that Article 370 and 35A have been the best that the Kashmiris could have had? Or do you think that masses can never succumb to false and destructive propaganda? Because answers to these have important consequences for the future of a people.

    • If you can’t understand this: “Can you have the democratic logic of majority work in one place and not in the other?” said by Shekhar Gupta, get your medical check up done.

      • @jaiprakash

        Seriously man. You ask us to read an article from Islamic Express! I deleted IE from my bookmarks a while ago. If you are really a Hindu, you are exhibit A on why we were invaded and enslaved for so long.

        You are another fascist “liberal”. 370 was introduced and established undemocratically against the vehement protests of people of Jammu and constitutional experts. It has been used to promote violent Jihad.

        If you are not a fascist you will actually read Sekar Gupta’s column.

        • Don’t shoot the messenger if you don’t like the message(or truth).Calling people(or newspapers ) names is the tactic of playground bullies,not grown ups.Let us have a grown up conversation, Kafirji or whatever your real name is.
          Why should it matter what my religion is.I am a proud Indian .And yes ,I am a liberal because I am a proud follower of the most liberal religion in the world which gave the world Vasudaiva Kutumbakam and Tat Tvam Asi. We can’t turn back the wheels of time and correct real and imagined mistakes of history.Live and let live.Stop hating.

    • @Jaiprakash, the article you cite says nothing new. Nor does it address any of the points. The point that the abrogation move was avenging what happened to KPs was never even made. You did not answer any of the specific questions asked.

      • The article I cited clearly states why democratic ethos is much more than the will of the majority.The abrogation move does not avenge the Kashmiri pandits in any way.One cannot correct a past mistake(I.E; the persecution of Kashmiri pandits)with an even bigger mistake(I.e the persecution of Kashmiris).As Gandhiji said,an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

        • Do you believe that Jammu and Kashmir is a democracy? Do you believe it is an integral part of India?

          I am sure your first answer is no, because Kashmir was not really a democracy at the state level exactly with respect to your objections regarding the case of minorities.
          If your second answer is yes, then you should be able to see how the abrogation of Article 370 although going against the majority in Kashmir, helps the case of minorities and that of ‘democratic ethos’. The only sacrifice that the majority will be making is having to share their rights with the minorities. Since the protests can get violent, and the issue has always been more complicated than local protests (presence of a belligerent neighbour that fuels chaos), certain security restrictions and temporary provisions are needed. It has of course been mentioned that once the transition from what it is now, to a democracy, is complete, people will have the right to vote their representative to govern the state.

        • Yes, it is not yet clear how India as a whole will benefit from the abrogation of 370. The creation of Telengana was done even more undemocratically. No one opened their mouth about it. One of the chief orchestrators was P. Chidambaram, who is passionately arguing for democracy.

  16. I completely agree with Vish here that Shekhar Gupta has completely lost the plot by stating that the LoC should be taken as the fait accompli international border.

    As for unilateralism shown by India, I just have one case that Pakistan unilaterally incorporated a part of PoK (that it calls Gilgit-Balistan) into its own territory. It is for the Indian political establishment outside Kashmir valley to give response to its lack of response to that event. The case for plebiscite had lost validity when Pakistan started incorporating parts of PoK into its own territory while doing ‘bhoodan’ by gifting parts of PoK to China. Furthermore Pakistan has settled Gilgit-Balistan with punjabi ethnic population from its mainland. So there is no question of plebiscite. Additionally the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits in the Indian administered part of Jammu and Kashmir just added to the woes of plebiscite seekers.

    The best course of action for India going forward is to build consensus in the Indian administered part of Jammu and Kashmir. To do that India needs to involve the entire Kashmir valley into the mainstream political process. As for the house arrest of some Kashmiri politicians is concerned it is a preventive measure. The politicians did not help their case by using incendiary language. Furthermore the said politicians might have some vested interests. I am no expert in the quantification of these vested interests but just for an example.There are many Supreme Court decisions that do not apply to the valley like use of government houses by ex-CMs.

    Strategically India needs to wait for some time for Pakistan to implode on its own.
    India can help that case by developing its economy massively and modernizing its armed forces.
    India needs to build a narrative that can defeat Pakistani (ISI sponsored) narrative in the online forum as well as in international forum. Covertly India should promote a secessionist narrative in the local Gilgit-Balistani population by utilizing the fissures in the Pakistani society. Gilgit-Balistan is strategically more important than other parts of PoK.

    A fantastic step by India is to make a separate union territory in Ladakh so that the issue of PoK is separate from the Aksai Chin region. There are some statements by former governor Karan Singh that indicated that it was his suggestion to make Ladakh a union territory in 1965. A big question for the politicians of the day is why was it not implemented then? Something to think about for the liberals .

    It is my opinion Nehru did no favor to the Kashmiris by going to UN and begging for a plebiscite when the instrument of accession belongs to India. It would have been more logical to press on even if there is some bloodshed at that point in time. Sardar Patel was more goal oriented when he dealt with Junagadh and Hyderabad issue. Some bloodshed is inevitable when the whole two nation theory was completely flawed to begin with.

    • Sorry to break your bubble. What you say on “winning the hearts” has been tried. Didn’t work.
      Need to increase Kaffir population to at least 30% in the valley.

  17. A very Good Article. Though you were very subtle in your criticism of Nehru, but you did finally point out that Nehru realised his mistake in 1952 and put Shekh Abdullah in Jail. Had Nehru any foresight and not been a stupid idealist he would have had negotiated a better accession treaty and dealt with the Paki invaders properly.

    • Those are all minor issues. The dumb idiot went to UN, that was the biggest blunder.

      Still Nehruji was patriotic, loved and cared for India.

      Unlike me.

    • The article misses the main point that unlike other states Kashmir did not merge with Indian become a part of India only through an instrument of accession with certain conditions All the stateholders were side lined and never consulted.Imdia still has diffentiated federalism in Nagaland and many north east states.As a buniya now you are a Hindu majoritian facist.

      • Not only, Kashmir, all the princely states merged with Indian union on the same basis, instrument of accession. When British left, the left it to the princely states to accede to the Indian Union.

    • Please remember , the Pak raiders were within 60-70 kms of Srinagar when the accession was being negotiated . Everything had to happen in a few hours . SO, there was no scope for fine tuning or looking at better clauses. That is why the terms of accession agreed were a bit more in favour of J&K than India . Nehru – Patel and others had to quickly finalize something and the send the troops in with no time to waste. This was done within 24 hrs of signing accession. Let’s salute them for getting 70% of J&K with India.

  18. Shekarji, Nice article. I may disagree with some of the lines in point 3 related to Nehru changing his mindset in 1953 and his strategy protected Kashmir from Pakistan. Nehru’s folly was visible as he was clue less, when he went into trap of Sheik Abudulla. In fact, Nehru also played his dirty game no recognizing constant assembly of J&K initially when Sheik Abdulla boycotted the election and again it is the same Nehru who went and jailed Sheik Abdulla for long time, not in Kashmir but in Kodaikanal (may Kodaikanal also looked like Kashmir for Nehru). Liberals are liberals and that is why they are called so. They don’t understand the logic, nor they care for country. They just care for the word liberalism and their existence today is sufficient. They don’t think about future, nor they learn from past. I see many of them today, even in this comment section, asking us to talk to China and Pakistan to solve all the problems (and they really believe so!!) and these neighbors come to the table with their guns. You may change the mindset of nationalist, but not the liberals as they don’t mind supporting enemies (oh.. I am using strong words, according to them friendly neighbors). Recently I heard a posting in Washington DC…. the post said “Oh.. those poor Kashmiris…few of them are just innocent terrorists. Oxymoron indeed!!

    • Firstly, Jai Shri Ram folks.
      This Shekar Gupta indulged in whataboutry, and raked up the past. This old timer journalist loves to fudge the issue, the secret Jan Sanghi in him inside sings the tune of Modi.
      Perhaps if Mr Gupta does not varnish the Parchark’s misdeeds , there may be a bogus tax raid, the Print might be shut down. Maybe this Gupta operates under the same constrains as India’s other media, after all our country ranked pretty low in the international press freedom rankings.
      The fact of the matter is the majority of people in Kashmir want INDIA Out.
      The Kashmiri has lost more than 50,000 lives in his freedom struggle
      More lives than India lost during her own independence struggle from the British.
      INDIA acts like a colonial power in Kashmir.
      In the modern world it is assumed populations have the right to self determination.
      The fact that the Modi policy is supported is that we do not have already educated population.
      The Hindu mind is poisoned by communal hatred, it cannot distinguish right from wrong
      Vande Mataram my duckies
      From a liberal

      • @Mian Ashraf Ali Deobandi

        “The Hindu mind is poisoned by communal hatred”

        Olah Hoo Uber

        Hindus were never United actually still not united. Islamic Jihad United Hindus.

        Relentless Islamic Jihad changed he population from Nehru supporters to BJP supporters.

      • who cares what the kashmiris want? They want Inia out of kashmir, we want muslims out of kashmir. Settle hindus in the valley. OUR self determination, moron. I am proud of my poisojned communal mind. What u gonna do??

  19. Have we not paid homage to our gallant armed forces defending every bit of Kashmir? What else can be more befitting than that of the Govt’s decision on Kashmir as Mother India.
    Salute the Govt as any Indian. All talks about opinion ! Opinion of whom?

    The Party has been elected to run the Govt based on thumping majority of Indian Nation and Ias a proud citizen respect it.
    The Indian Nation has already given its opinion through the massive mandate. We as citizens of this Country Respect
    and Salute the Decision . Vandemataram

  20. As said, No patriotic liberal Indian object to abolition of Article 370 only question is the way it was done against basic conscience of a democracy. In fact if you observe, every act and style of or major decision of Modi sounds like a deep conspiracy, secretive style decision making be it night top secret decision of Demonetisation, Mid night drama of GST implementation, be it politicizing and orchestrating electoral gain out pulawama attack, kedaranath visit or bringing down state governments…. You look any major decision, it looks more like a conspiracy style rather a Govt. decision with all stakeholders aboard. Modi’s thought process is conspiracy oriented, may be Gujarat riots is the starting point.

    • @Baba
      Sure we are impressed by your respect for democracy and how much you cooperated with the Government last 5 years.

      And if we had the hateful lefties would have discussed in a democratic fashion. We are impressed.

      • It is funny to call a person left liberal…. LEFT AND RIGHT are two sides of same coin…. As Right can’t be liberal so as Left… This bullshit word is coined by Right wing to quell opposition. We are emotional fools

  21. Completely agree with Mr.Gupta that the solution to problems of Kashmir can only begin when the LoC is accepted as international border. However given that Pakistan is so invested in the “Kashmir banega Pakistan” narrative, we in india should have no illusions. We should expect terrorist attacks both directly from Pakistan or inspired by them and constant political, economic, diplomatic pressure from the Chinese. The road ahead will be tough and it will take great national commitment to fully integrate Kashmir and turn the LoC as border to fait accompli. I see it as a long national tryst with history that will take half a century or more and probably cost the blood and toil of my generation and the next to see this through. This is not a task for weak willed people.

  22. I don’t know where Shekar got all these so called “ Liberal Myths”!!

    The ask is very simple, the abrogation of Art 370 was like bulldozing Without concurrence of J&K assembly and hence non democratic. Does he agree or not?

    All the five myths are well settled.

    • Tired of very dumb and naive Kafirs assuming you are really a Hindu.
      Islamic Jihadi land conquest schemes depend on stupid kaffirs. Kindly read some history on Islamic Jihad.
      Words like “democracy” “freedom” “human rights” are SELECTIVELY used by Islamosupremacists to advance Islamic Land Conquest.

      Innocent Gandhiji : Hundus and Muslims are brothers.

      Islamosupremacist Jinnah: My brother Gandhi has 3 votes and I have only one vote, so I am out.

      • This is true. I believe in Jinnah’s Lahore declaration speech. Amazingly the ratio was not 3:1 as the liar claimed.

        The main idea behind Pakistan ideology was to create a very large and powerful Pakistan and Hindus will be scattered in small regional enclaves.

  23. General consensus in unbiased reports is that Zia-ul-Haq was responsible for “Shariazation” or “Islamization ” of Pakistan.

    An interesting fact that the media is usually shy of writing is that Zia-ul-Haq was commanding the Jordanian military during the Black September ethnic cleansing of Palestinian muslims. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan has a statement highlighting the cleansing of Palestinians by Zia-ul-Haq, Jordanian military and Pakistani military. Moshe Dayan has also stated that Israeli Defence Forces would not be able to kill such vast number of Palestinians muslims as done by Zia and Pakistani military.Zia’s experiences during the Black September events hardened his belief that for Pakistan to survive there is necessity for Pakistan to radicalize. Zia was a hypocrite falsely trying to emulate Israel.

    Please read the relevant literature before making such comments stating that Bhutto was responsible for “Islamization” of Pakistan.

  24. Two small points. 1. Since no political change in our part of Kashmir is possible, is it not our duty, as the world’s largest democracy, to reach out to the Kashmiri people, reduce at least the objective causes for their anger and alienation, make life easier and better for them. In that sense, how would they view the abrogation of Articles 370 ( a toothless tiger which does not block any Indian strategic interest ) and 35 A, no different from what many other states have in force, heightening their fears of being swamped by Hindus from other parts of the country. The recent constitutional changes were an old ideological conviction but they do not change facts on the ground to India’s advantage. 2. Since the entire state has been carved up between three countries, nuclear armed, is it not in our interest to seek dialogue with both and seek a better trilateral modus vivendi. When the most sober Minister in the government talks of First Use, it shows how dangerous the standoff has become.

    • Other than China and India no nuclear power has a no first use policy. If US and Russia are not in a perpetual dangerous standoff then this isn’t dangerous either. As for seeking dialogue to come to some modus vivendi , that is not possible till Pakistan and China are both intent on changing borders overtly and covertly.
      On the first point of reaching out to Kashmiri people, do you seriously think that has not been tried for the past seven decades ? The fact is that winning hearts and minds is near impossible when the carrot of independence for some or the prospect of merger with Pakistan for others continues to be on the table. The constitutional changes are not merely cosmetic, strategic decisions have long term consequences. It gives space to develop a new constituency with vested interests in the union and while there will be no swamping by hindus some critical mass of demographic space in the long run can completely change the politics of Kashmir. This is a marathon not a sprint.

  25. Agree with your reasoning but for the conclusion. The international boundaries must be the 1947 boundary not the LOC. I’ll explain..

    The instrument of accession was a legally binding document. Even Pakistan made it’s boundaries using the same document. Therefore Pakistan cannot argue about the legality of the document.

    Hence the area that is within Indian boundaries are legally acquired. But is it the same with Pakistan occupied Kashmir or aksai Chin? No, because POK is just a land grabbing act and Aksai Chin is the old Chinese cartographic aggression. India has done a bad job of protecting its boundaries. Instead of pushing the pashtuns back across the international border we ran to the UNSC for a perverted solution.

    Pakistan has used the old Islamic way of thinking “taqiyya” For which a simple example is the Simla agreement. Lie when you are threatened and once respite is won press your advantage. Pakistan is unilaterally trying to make a bilateral issue into a multilateral one by putting a gun to its head.

    There is no question of turning back at this stage. In fact I advocate the opposite. Once Delimitation and election in J&K is over take the issue of POK to the full closure. Legal rights are with us. A question to Pakistan that they can never answer legitimately is how they got possession of POK. Our entire argument should be based on this premise.

    Off course effective ground work is the essence of success in this venture. I know that if there is a team that can effectively achieve the full target it is the present team available today.

  26. The crux of the problem is not all Kashmiris want azadi or join pakistan.The problem is handful of Valley muslim eite who do not like to be called Indians.Even muslims of lower castes like bakarwals,shias….etc have no problem joining India while kashmiris minorities of jammu and laddakh always wanted to be part of India.So it is actually the pro-pak valley elite and privileged feudals who are behind the ,azadi bogie who in fact represent the feudal elite muslims in India who actually engineered partition itself and left for pak..Actually after the formal take over by British post 1857 kranti or whatever alienation had started setting in among muslim elite and feudals which after 100 yrs resulted in partition.The present J&K elite families alienation and bonding with Pak can be traced back to over 100 yrs of what they see as their glorious but different culture to larger Indian secular psyche.kashmiriat is just a bogie now.

  27. I tend to go by what Shekhar Gupta has to say; however, I am not going to harp on the past and would wish to look ahead.

    I have served in the valley when the militancy had peaked and won’t wish to see a repeat of that. I also agree that we won’t be able to keep the people of valley straitjacketed by use of force, indefinitely. The heart of a large section of Kashmiri is neither with India nor for Pakistan; it’s for Independence which could also be managed with a degree of autonomy and could be enabled under a thoughtful collegial Indian state.

    In my views, “The unilateralism and confinement of the mainstream leaders like and not just ‘Omar Abdullah’ isn’t going to take anyone anywhere and would just satisfy Nagpur and their appendages, including those leading the current Govt.

    I hope someone thinks in line of involving Kashmiris.

  28. The writer has lost the plot even more then ‘nationalists’ and ‘liberals’. The moment India accepts the LOC as the international border, it loses the argument. Either the whole of J&K as signed over to India, belongs to it or none of it does. The halfway house as it exists now is neither fair to Kashmiris or has any legal sanction. By accepting LOC as the international border, India weakens it’s own case. The obvious question is if J&K belongs to India, how can it accept Pakistan occupying a part of it. Tomorrow if Pakistan occupies a part of Gujarat or Rajasthan or Punjab, would India happily accept a new international border. So why the discrimination against J & K.

    • Beautiful
      May this happen to you more often and on a consistent basis.

      Pakistan losing its voice in The Print 😂😂

  29. Jumping the gun, may I ask what will the next pretext the Pakistani army adopt to perpetuate hostilities with India should India hand over Kashmir to Pakistan on a platter.
    It would be suicidal for the Pakistani ruling elite (including the top military brass) to live in peace with India; they have invested too much in the “India business” and are now accustomed to life on the gravy train.
    Not just India Pakistan, China, USA, Russia and France, too, would find a peaceful India-Pakistan to be bad business.
    In the event of peaceful India-Pakistan:-
    1) Pakistan won’t need China that bad and so CPEC goes out of the window as does much of the manufactured bonhomie.
    2) The USA will rue the loss of India’s arms business and also rue the fact that Pakistan no more has to boot-lick it to exist. And what about the thriving Think Tanks- save a prayer for them too.
    3) Russia will miss the money it will lose because India won’t need the S 400 and the submarines etc.
    4 ) France just can’t afford missing out on the pending 200(?) Rafale to be sold to a desperate India.
    (To assume that India still needs all of this for China and not Pakistan is just balderdash. The only deterrent for China would be a robust Nuclear arsenal so maybe S400 would still be on the cards.)

    Moral of the story is that the so-called international peace brokers (the P5 of the UNSC) are the true villains of the Pakistan- India (and so, too, the Kashmir) tangle. Its a pity SG chose not to touch on this fundamental propellant of the Kashmir dispute.

  30. Thanks for this wonderful article. I would like to agree with Kalpesh, but more pragmatic would be to accept the status quo, then work on healing and progress while handling Pak-China nexus with saam-daam-dand-bhed. To start with, Indian consumers should stop buying Chinese goods.

  31. When Hari Singh signed the ascension agreement with India, it was for entire J&K, including the regions illegally occupied by Pak and China.

    There are no 2 ways to see this. An agreement is an agreement. What is rightfully ours is rightfully ours. One doesn’t cede claims to part of one’s house no matter whether some goon has forcibly occupied it and can’t be shoved out immediately.

    We should strengthen ourselves to the point where we can eventually throw the goons out. Righteous might.

  32. Well argued. But there have been so many such arguments put forward over the years. All have failed. We can continue them as infinitum.

    But it’s not a question of logically explaining who is right and who is wrong.

    The basic problem is that Kashmiris don’t want to be part of India.

    So what exactly is the problem with that?

    It happens all over the world.

    In you have autocratic rule like in China, you crush such movements. If you have democracy like in Europe, you let Brexit happen.

    It’s clear what the BJP and the rest of India want.

    But keeping 8 million people against their wishes doesn’t seem a good idea. It’s bleeding them, bleeding India and bleeding Pakistan.

    And it may end in nuclear war.

    There is nothing liberal about this idea. It’s basic common sense.

    • That is a silly comparison with Brexit. UK did not just let a referendum in Northern Ireland., the French did not just let the Basques secede, the Spaniards don’t just welcome the independent nation of Catalonia , Turkey didn’t just give independence to the Kurds, Russians don’t suggest that the Chechens join the UN as the newest member etc etc { i can list at least ten more off the top of my head, so this preaching of liberalism to india is very selective}.
      On the specifics of Kashmir, India has faced four wars of aggression, faced a long insurgency and has had multiple large scale terror attacks. To now expect that indians should just leave for some silly notion of liberalism is the height of unrealistic stupidity.

      • I think you live in a cocoon. Actually you are using stupid arguments without thinking what you’re writing.

        Let’s take the example of Spain. Tomorrow if half the Spanish Army is used to suppress Catalonia and kills 70000 people, it will be thrown out of the EU.

        And your level comes out clearly when you give the example of Turkey and Russia.

        So keep killing people. That’s what you’re saying. This is nothing to do with liberalism. This is to do with simple murder. And you are one of the murderers.

        • Do you know the history of Spain and Catalonia ? It is easy to spout nonsense about liberalism when you know nothing. Let me forgive your pathetic ignorance, tell me how many Catalonians today are running around carrying AK 47s or even throwing stones. So, keep spouting that nonsense about murders. You are a moron who knows nothing. Perhaps you should stop showing your ignorance to the world.

          • You are showing your pedigree by using abusive language. Do I need to say more?

            You have such an illogical mind: Kashmirs are not running around in India using AK47s. If at all they are doing, it is within Kashmir. Too difficult for your bird-size brain to understand.

        • “Rajiv”
          You can put lipstick on a pig, it is still a pig. You are trying to present Islamic Jihad as some kind of freedom struggle. No one in the world believes you. You heard the thunderous silence last week. Kaffirs are completely fed up with Jihad and are committed to defeating Islamic Jihad. Despite supporting Pakistan to undermine India, China is a solid Kaffir superpower determined to defeat Jihad along with Russia’s.

          You are welcome to bark all you want.

  33. As usual you have explained the problem with so much clarity
    You are one of the rare breed of Indian journalists

  34. Sir, as usual this is a brilliant practical piece with a sense of foreboding of the way it will go. There are two problems though: One emotions always trump practicality, across the world and secondly I am quite sure that some of your views would also go revision some time soon. The second problem confuses me this time and always for this and other pieces of opinion !!

  35. Shekhar cannot write more precisely than this in the ‘National Interest’! Hopefully, he will write with such logical precision (not Modi hatred) elsewhere as well.

    That there was never an option for independent Kashmir and that Pakistan was not fighting war of independence for Kashmiris are facts. The issue post 1972 Simla was just simple – how to convert LOC into IB. But instead of settling this issue once for all, we allowed Art 370 to continue and then mollycoddled the ‘Azadi’ movement in Kashmir. Indeed, after 1971, we should have removed Art 370 like we did now and worked on converting LOC into IB. That Congress did not do it is a fact and Modi was left to do this work finally after 30 years. Now that this issue is sorted, we will deal with the disturbances in the valley as we dealt with Khalistanis in the 80s and 90s. As regards Pakistan, it will be a long haul and we may have to actively engage in breaking it up like we did in 1971. Only then we can hope to settle this issue finally.

  36. Brilliant analysis but SG ignores a sixth reality. Pakistan Army’s existential need for a continuing Kashmir problem that justifies its power, position and perks of office.

  37. I live in India but I am a hardcore Paki supporter. I was depressed to watch an Indian Muslim Syed Akbaruddin proudly, boldly asserting India’s position. He is too patriotic to my liking. India won and Paki lost.

    Me and my other depressed anti nationals including “Hindu” Yen Ram, Arun Dhoti Roy, Mani Sank Ayyar (hard core Pakistani), Pron Oy Roy are all holding a vigil tonight at India Gate crying about the victory of India. Please join us if you are a Pakistani Resident in India.

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