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The Kashmir Question

Updated on December 30, 2017

The Beginning; Article 370

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is part of India, but it is governed by a special provision of the Indian constitution often referred to as Article 370. This article was introduced by Jawaharlal Nehru the then prime minister of India. There was no compulsion on the Indian parliament to enact this amendment which required a 2/3 majority, but Nehru in his wisdom got this article incorporated in the constitution.

The article in short states that Kashmir's accession to India was conditional and the state was allowed to have its own flag and a separate constitution. The state was insulated from the rest of India by a proviso that no other Indian could buy any immovable property or settle in the state. More important no central law passed by parliament was applicable to the state till its legislature approved it. This was a draconian proviso and sowed the seeds of separatism, for which history will never forgive Nehru. He died in 1964 but left this article like an anchor around the neck of the Indian state and now one does not know what to do. Successive Indian governments have grappled with this measure but nobody has had the guts to abrogate this proviso. This includes the BJP led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee who ruled for 6 years. Even this man who was a die-hard opponent of Article 370 did not lift a finger to remove this obnoxious article. It is worth examining that such a proviso does not exist in any other constitution of a major power in the world, yet it is very much there in the Indian constitution.

The River of No- Return

The writer Mikhail Sholokov wrote," And quiet flows the Don". This is an eternal river of Russia and it flows slowly and there is no going back. To my mind. the same applies to Kashmir as even now with a so-called strong leader in Narendra Modi, the article 370 remains and is fundamental to the present violence that has gone on unchecked for almost 90 days.Despite the curfew, this seems to have gathered more momentum than ever. What is the solution? Modi when in the opposition talked about many things. Notably, he talked of a uniform civil code and the abrogation of Article 370.

People took him at face value for all that he stated and the RSS the parent body has been talking about these two factors for last 70 years. Sadly talking is not doing and their earlier plea that there were not in power, they could not act on these two contentious matters that bedevil the Indian state. But despite being in power these worthies have not moved an inch in the direction. Granted,a historical aberration is not easy to correct, but some action was expected on these two issues and despite the BJP has been in power for 6 years earlier and now for close to 3 years the matter has not moved forward. These two look like the Rock of Gibralter that is supposed to be unsinkable.

Nehru's Mistakes

Kashmir is a part of the Union of India only in the maps and paper. One-third of Kashmir is occupied by Pakistan and another major part( 30000 square miles) is occupied by China.This is the Aksai Chin area which for years was left untended and without the semblance of any administration by none other than that worthy, the then Indian prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. This man also agreed to a ceasefire at a time when the Indian army was driving the invaders back. Historically his apologists have never explained the compulsions of Nehru on these points. In addition, he also accepted the demand for a plebiscite in the state for the people to decide for them. He even made this announcement in a Public speech in Srinagar in 1948. Later he tried to backtrack by not holding the plebiscite as he was well aware that the vote will be against India.

Last Word; Way Forward

The question now is where do we go from here? A plebiscite will mean that Kashmir at least the valley will vote to secede from India and that will be the end of the Indian union. It cannot be allowed as the right of self-determination cannot be exercised by a small group of people. It could well open a Pandora box as other states may also want to secede. One should not forget that in the late sixties, Annadurai the Tamil leader had in a speech in Madras articulated freedom and secession from the Indian union.

The states in the North East will also ask for the right of self-determination. At the same time, India is unable to control the valley which has seen a rise in militancy in daily attacks on the security forces. Thankfully the suicide bomber concept has not caught on in the Valley, otherwise, there could be hell to pay.

The only choice is to meet force with force. Look at the way the Russians crushed the Chechen rebels.It was a ruthless attack with no quarter given. Has the Indian state led by a Hindu leadership this mettle? One does not have to look for answers as its crystal clear that the leadership itself all along was reluctant to take action against Islamic militants as it would alienate the vast Muslim minority in India as well as the Islamic nation who with one voice support Pakistan.

There appears to be a change after the advent of Narendra Modi and the Army has killed five times more militants this year compared to earlier years. This does show a new resolve and there is a possibility that Islamic militancy and terrorists can be controlled.


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    • emge profile image

      Madan 16 months ago from Abu Dhabi

      Dear Ashutosh, nice comment. Yes, something drastic has to be done otherwise it's the end of the tunnel.

    • emge profile image

      Madan 16 months ago from Abu Dhabi

      Dear Readmikenow, thank you so much for your comment. The situation is indeed difficult.

    • AshutoshJoshi06 profile image

      Ashutosh Joshi 16 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Personally I never had an iota of doubt on how India became a messed up affair after congress took control of independent India. I give two hoots to these sychophancy historians and intelengentsia who brainwashed us into believing in the one family legacy. Even Gandhi is to blamed for ignoring the pressing issues. The great Nehru laid the foundation and same was carried down the generations.

      Coming to Kashmir, while the nationalism coupled with jingoism will have us shouting our lungs "Kashmir is integral part of India" on ground level its only a wasted resource which costs us billions of dollars for its sustenance and maintenance too. The seperatist there are a free voice on Pakistan payroll and Indian subsidies. Compare civilan life too we are literaly paying for their existence.

      Taking of solution well as long as Pakistan exists the staus quo remains. They will continue to inject venom into the Kashmiris through proxies so much so that even if we crush the seperatist movement completely in the valley, and the detractors elsewhere, still a new breed will rise with their fangs up only to spit venom!!!

    • Readmikenow profile image

      Readmikenow 16 months ago

      This is very enlightening. Like you said, what to do now? It's amazing that India with its many languages and cultures have been able to remain a nation as well as a democracy for as long as it has. This is a difficult situation. I know of nothing that would help this to resolve it easily.

    • emge profile image

      Madan 16 months ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thanks Lions 44, that's the problem as Nehru messed up.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 16 months ago from Auburn, WA

      Thx, Madan. Great concise history of the problem. I never understood why there was ever a question about Kashmir's status. It always appeared from the outside that it's been a part of India.