Illustration by Ramandeep Kaur | ThePrint Team
Illustration by Ramandeep Kaur | ThePrint Team
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In the Kashmir valley, as with Palestine, it would be doubly cruel to blame the victims of history and circumstance for what has befallen them. The people in these now (but not always) benighted places have endured alienation, the abuse of civil liberties, constant humiliation, and even torture, and the loss of their homes and even lives. In Kashmir, this encompasses both Muslims and Hindus, though the majority is of course Muslim. In both parts of the world, history now seems to be marching on, leaving the losers to ponder over what might have been.

The world is increasingly coming to terms with a Zionist Israel that has stood stubborn in the face of global opinion and refused to encompass what many had hoped for, a two-state solution. As one Arab country after another starts to deal more openly with Israel, Palestinians are left to their devices in over-crowded Gaza and grotesquely carved-up areas of the West Bank.

It is no different in Kashmir. A great many in the valley (whose population constituted the majority in the once-united but religiously and culturally diverse state of Jammu and Kashmir) dreamt of an “azaadi” (freedom) whose definition changed from one phase to the next, and from one person to the next. Some thought of complete political independence along with a merger with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, others of outright merger with Pakistan, and yet others of an irredentist reversion to radical autonomy, with the state having its own flag, currency, and prime minister.

All of these demonstrated a lack of realism that has also been the feature of Palestinian politics and aspiration over the decades. The people in both places have lived in a state of denial, refusing to accept the bald fact that resorting to violence against an infinitely superior force is suicidal. It is, of course, true that people driven to desperation will turn to violence, no matter how futile. But it is no less true that they have suffered in the bargain from the excesses of quasi-police states, and also that both have ended up with less than what they might have got away with once upon a time if their aspirations had been tinged with greater realism.

Also read: 5 reasons for the crisis in global Islam


This could be said of Indian diplomacy too, in the context of the border dispute with China. The deal that was on offer up to 1960, and which was possibly re-offered in the early 1980s (swapping Arunachal Pradesh for Aksai Chin), is off the table. Beijing has gained in power and military traction, and now wants to eat further into territory that India has held in Ladakh, while laying claim also to at least the Tawang corner of Arunachal Pradesh. The thing about power, after all, is that it feeds the appetite for more.

And so has it been with Israel and Palestine. The deal that was on offer 70 years ago would have given the Palestinians a much bigger homeland than what they are now left with. Israel has since established more and yet more illegal settlements in territory that it has occupied. India, in turn, has bitten the bullet and scrapped two crucial Articles of the Constitution through which the people of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir had special rights. Local politicians now ask for a restoration of the status quo ante, which they won’t get. Separatist militants hope to keep the fight going for “azaadi”, but they are tools in a hostile country’s hands and have made little headway for 30 years.

There is another lesson to be learnt, or question that waits for an answer. The Palestine authority’s governance norms always compared poorly with Israel’s. Jammu and Kashmir’s governments have long been a byword for sloth, incompetence, and corruption, though its people are on average much better off than in the rest of India, in part because of generous central transfers. As for India, it has been unable to match China’s super-impressive record. How much of the loss of relative power, in some cases of legitimacy, and of autonomous volition, flows from such internal failures? Do the people in these places have it in them to face the question?

By Special Arrangement with Business Standard.

Also read: Pakistan’s enemy number one is Israel now. India can wait


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  1. Most of us indians like to argue that India has a locus standi is Kashmir because the Hindu king then opted for india which was held paramount to asking for the wishes of predominantly Muslim population ,however we conveniently ignore that the Muslim emperors of junagadh and Hyderabad also did opt for pakistan against the wishes of predominantly hindu population they were presiding over,however we argued quite the opposite in that scenario …we did have the backing of a popular leader in Kashmir at that time Sheikh Abdullah who india later imprisoned ..

    This is not to say that Kashmiris are in the right , if we take the historical context the predominantly hindu kashmir underwent demographic changes due to brutal exodus inflicted upon them by various muslim rulers till the Kashmiri “freedom struggle ” forced them out almost completely beyond a small minority by violence and threat of violence … Kashmiris mostly have been in denial of this though calling it a ” conspiracy hatched by jag mohan ”

    India has since then managed to hold on to kashmir not by its moral right but because it’s army has been given a free hand by AFSPA …it would probably keep this hold on for a long time to come by like the author said it’s infinite more power …there is no right and wrong in Kashmir although both sides believe so it’s just like every war – a geopolitical power struggle in which india is on top and most probably will remain ,since we have kept one soldier posted for ever 10 kasmiris …

  2. Non-hyphenated Journalism..meaning finally understood. Split india into pieces. excellent Editorial contorl. This article is factually misleading/ignoring deliberately, for what?
    1. Indian independence Act 1947 – Raja of Kashmir acceded to India to protect his kingdom and subjects from raping Marauding Muslim army/(+ so called tribals) from Pakistan. – Is this Invalid? if thats the case entire India needs to be split. Apparently Shekhar Gupta is ok with this? We know Jyoti Malhotra is ok because she feels her native is in pakistan.
    2. Affected Party is non-muslims in it Pandits who were murdered raped and what not to be reduced to nothing in Kashmir,
    3. People of LAdakh are forced to Learn Urudu while their Mother tongue is not allowed in the only university in LAdakh.
    4. Kashmiri is not the official language but Urudu is.

    This author has cheek to compare palestine and Kashmir. This kind of psudo/neo liberalism or leftism is the reason BJP is in power… when will gentlemen like you will ever learn that you are preaching idiocy rather than common sense.

  3. “The people in these now (but not always) benighted places have endured alienation, the abuse of civil liberties, constant humiliation, and even torture, and the loss of their homes and even lives. In Kashmir, this encompasses both Muslims and Hindus, though the majority is of course Muslim.”

    When the Hindus from the Kashmir valley killed and ethnically cleansed are considered less than the perpetrators who did that, you can understand the bias of the author. But then this has been the characteristic of all the leftists who have allowed identity politics to cloud their judgement.

  4. To compare India and Israel is nonsense.. In 1947 Israel was created by generosity of imperist powers to have a hold in this area.. While India gained independence from colonist power after long misery and humiliation…. India did not annex Kashmir it was part of India and even what was created as Pakistan was part of India…. The problem it self was created by the British.

  5. You write a whole article without mentioning religious cleansing of kashmir valley, what a sham these liberals pull over hindus.

  6. ” ….. resorting to violence against an infinitely superior force …” is as you say is the only weapon of “people driven to desperation”. But then this also shows that ‘might is right’ is OK even in this 21st century, regardless of whether the mighty country is a democratic India or an authoritarian China. The “bhainsa (buffalo)” belongs to one who has the big stick! As far as Kashmir, as you know it is a “disputed” territory according to the rest of the world, including the UN. No country out of some 200 countries recognises J&K as an integral part of India. International borders have to be recognised by the world. Are you saying that a democratic India would still claim J&K as its part, ignoring the whole world’s belief that J&K is a “disputed” territory, and not a part of either India or Pakistan? How is this consistent with India’s desire for a seat at the high table of the UN Security Council (UNSC)? After all there are UNSC resolutions about the J&K. Here, wouldn’t you say the weak Kashmiris have a kind of support from the world community that J&K is a “disputed” territory, and not Indian territory? While asking for a UNSC seat, If questioned along these lines, how do you think India would respond? How would India convince the UNSC and the countries of the world that it is wrong that J&K is a “disputed” territory? 2. This situation makes the difference between the Kashmiris and the Palestinians.

  7. When a group or individuals embraces victimhood, transfers all responsibility for their condition totally onto others, live in the past ignoring the present, concentrate on revenge rather than constructive and positive endeavours of building a better future, then the result of what will happen is not hard to guess.
    Some moralists are surely going to scream ” But This Is Not Fair”

    Just remember, life is not fair !

  8. An article unworthy of publishing. I am surprised at the headline….. And I was thinking all along , that ….

    The Print was all about a neutral view….

  9. The talk about the Muslims feeling alienated irritates me no end. First they murder Hindus, rape their women, and chase they away to grab their homes. Then they feel “alienated”. In North East Delhi and Bengaluru also they practiced ISI style violence. When arrested, they feel “alienated”. I am sorry to say that the journalists have imbibed and internalised this moronic idea about Muslims feeling alienated everywhere. Everywhere, they kill, bomb, knife their hosts and minorities in their country, and then feel alienated! Wah? And there are journalists, liberals and intellectuals ready to shed tears for these “alienated people”.

  10. The obsession of Muslims by all these leftists is very perplexing. One thing for sure muslims are tenacious. They can persist for ever, are these leftists are as tenacious as Muslims ? I am doubtful. If it’s true Pakistan would still have many leftists that were there during partition.

  11. Finally some sane response. What the world now calls Palestinians are people of diverse ethnicity who were brought into the region by Imperialist Ottomon rulers to reduce the Jews to a minority. Ninan would like to ignore this fact.

  12. This is a place where anti- national if not anti human rights articles will pass as liberal intellectual opinion. Our sad story is that this author will be quoted to stitch anti India narrative.
    I wish I could say here “difference between pizza and your opinion is that I ordered pizza.

  13. What nonsense?
    1)The author says that Kashmiri
    Ppl endured alienation, abuse of civil liberties and constant humiliation. They are not totally innocet. Are they? They ve a society where movie theatres are not allowed, how many ppl speak Kashmiri in Kashmir.
    2) You are placing Hindus and Muslims equally in Kashmir. Are Hindus not minorities in Kashmir? Hindus in Kashmir ve endured alienation, abuse of civil liberties, and constant humiliation by the majority of Kashmir not by Govt of India.
    3)Why is this guy making China party to the Kashmir problem? Is he happy that Communist party is interfering in Ladhak?
    4)The author seems to be disappointed with the loosing steam of Kashmiri separatists. These separatists took money from both sides and put their children in foreign universities and at the same time encouraging local school children to throw stones at security forces.
    5) Author is speaking about Azad Kashmir. Did he forget that India didn’t annex Kashmir. India waited for Maharaja of Kashmir’s decision but Pakistan didn’t. What do you think will happen to Kashmir if it becomes independent? Will Pakistan allow it to be peaceful? If it becomes part of Pakistan do you think it will be any different from Gilgit Balitstan or Balochistan?
    6) Author seems to be upset about separation of Ladhak from J & K. Ppl from Ladhak were minorities? Don’t you think they ve desire to grow? Why should Ladhaki ppl suffer coz of separatists ppl from Kashmir.

  14. It is disturbing to note a person like TN Ninan write weird ideas. Youthful President Bill Clinton may have once talked of two potential nuclear flash points on the earth being Palestine and Kashmir but it is totally illogical and stupid to equate two issues as done by TNN now. Add to this confusion, he has added India’s response to China on the border issue. The only common point in these issues is that they have originated in the decade of 40s and 50s!

  15. T N Ninnan should stick to economics. This corelation of kashmir and palestine appears to be an afterthought to stay relevant.

  16. Ha ha, The Print summary –
    Past – So called courtiers, disguised as Journalist. Crying now in the days of Mr Modi

    Present – Beg for Indian money and publish Anti India article. And earn from both sides

    Future – Crib on how they got it all wrong in 2014, 2019 , 2024 and for many years

  17. I’ll only comment on Palestine since Kashmir or Kanyakumari or Kanpur or Kuala Lumpur issues are not like Palestine. One just needs to zoom out and see the region with some unbiased eye – Israel a tiny nation is a leading light on every front possible despite the genocide (and the real one not the Imran Khan one) and hatred it faced in the past.
    Israel has not just conquered in terms of human knowledge but also militarily defeated the invading neighbor.

    Best case scenario for Palestinians is to convert to Judaism and return to their roots as well as modern schools.

  18. a very thought provoking article.
    one distinction between palestine and kashmir. as you have mentioned, the kashmiris were themselves divided over what they wanted, add to that pakistani sponsered terrorism, we have greater chaos and hardship.
    hopefully kashmiris would realise it sooner than later.

  19. It is strange and suggestive that The Print should feel compelled to believe (and hence convinced) that the Kashmir issue stands a on all fours with the Palestinian instance, in the sense that it is well-known truth that, before the forcible conversion of the Kashmiri Pandits to Islam, all the inhabitants of the Kashmir valley, since time immemorial, were known as Hindus–choefly because there was no Islam when the Hindus were living there. It is also well-known that, until the Islamic invasion and mostly forcible conversion of the population to Islam, all the inhabitants of the land geographically known as India were NOT MUSLIMS–unless, of course, it is the theory of The Print that the population of the valley have ALL ALONG BEEN Muslims by ফেইথ.
    It is not known if the Palestinians were Muslims by faith even before the birth of the Prophet and Islam.
    This being so, is is proper for The Print to equate the Kashmir embroglio with the Palestinian issue–for whatever ulterior motive the article may have been published.

    • Finally some sane response. What the world now calls Palestinians are people of diverse ethnicity who were brought into the region by Imperialist Ottomon rulers to reduce the Jews to a minority. Ninan would like to ignore this fact.

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