By Lakshay Nanda
“Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, hameen ast-o, hameen ast-o, hameen ast.” “If there is a paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this.” Amir Khusro would have been quite intrigued by the beauty of this place until he had been born in the political enigma of today. Going through the blog of popular news daily, pertaining to the tensions in the valley regarding the talks which never conclude, I read one of the comments which asked, “Why don’t these people settle their differences? Why don’t they make a firm decision regarding this issue?” All I could wonder was a simple reply, “Why should they?”
I started questioning few of my rational as well as irrational friends and acquaintances about it. “To whom does Kashmir belong? Does it belong to the Republic of India or does it belong to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan?” I learnt various answers and opinions about it. They varied from “strongly India” to “who really cares”. Surprisingly, most of them didn’t give a concrete reason for their support and validity of opinions. I wondered if the replies would have been diametrically opposite had the Pakistani audiences would have opined with.
Kashmir, an independent kingdom under the Hindu Lieutenant General Maharaja Hari Singh soon became an apple of eyes to the new state of Pakistan and the new independent India in 1947. While the independence charter which drew Pakistan and India as per new boundaries allowed the princely states to have their own will to join any of the two nations or remain an independent state, Hari Singh opted for the option to remain independent. Despite Kashmir had a major Islamic population and was one of the building bricks of the word ‘Pakstan’, which described Kashmir as ‘k’ in the acronym, Pakistan was much eager to acquire the state at any cost. The same proposition was being offered by the Indian government with lucrative offers but Hari Singh was adamant about his decision despite being a land-locked state.
While talks continued to work and fear from USSR and Chinese aggression prevailed over the dale, the tribal Kabailis of North West Frontier Province invaded the valley and marched towards the capital city of Srinagar (if it’s incorrect to invade and march forces in a state not under our control, I would request the readers to also consider Operation Polo for Hyderabad state). Unable to cope up with the invasion, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession with the Indian government, which formed Kashmir as an Indian part, alas, half of the part then already occupied by the Pakistan forces. With later wars and settlements, a line was drawn to cease fire which resulted in a new dispute on who owns what. And today, we arrive at various parties who claim their stake on this sarcastic paradise!
New governments, new meetings, new talks and new problems are very much close to this issue and they continue to erupt from time to time to keep the viewer’s active and aware, despite the tragic loss to life and property in mass numbers. The Indians, the Pakistanis and the Separatists owe different opinions with different propositions and continue to fight with each other; sometimes in words too. With recent talks called off due to Indian view of proxy war of terrorist by the meetings between Pakistani envoy and the separatists, the bitterness continued to get hard until nature’s fury of flood washed away this gloom. Since, the catastrophic floods in the state, the upsurge of humanity in the valley and the faith instilled by the Indian army took new dimensions from the obtuse view that predominated a few days ago.
While the books which showcase prayers among the nationwide population seek the blessings for the valley, the commoners would indeed think that the evil ends and a normal life could commence again. Unfortunately, the fear that envelopes them along with the crossed fingers is the fear of political stigma over the nature’s curse once again. Shall they thank God for blessing Kashmir as a paradise? Or shall they just thank God for Kashmir’s existence?
About the Author: Author was born and brought up in Delhi. He is currently pursuing MBA at IIM Indore. He has keen interests in reading and writing and has written a fictional novel which is awaiting publication. He is currently working on his second novel.