Friday, November 14, 2008


When I was in Grad school, I emailed a random Kashmiri guy* (whose website I had come across accidentally) asking him if he wanted Kashmir to be part of Pakistan or India. He replied, "Neither, we want an Independent Kashmir".

What? Come again.

See, for a long time, all I heard was that Kashmir was part of India, the crown of India and Pakistani militant Infiltration is the sole reason for problems in Kashmir. People of Kashmir of course wanted to be part of India. Those of them who didn't, must have been just brainwashed by Pakistani militants. So, as Arvind Swamy jumps into the fire to protect the burning Indian flag with Tamizha Tamizha playing in the background, I had goosebumps. Gosh, a hero after my own heart(any which way, no?:)).

Now, Faisal of Kashmir was telling me that Pakistan alone was not responsible for the problem.

Then I thought may be the Indian military presence and their inhuman treatment is the cause of resentment. Military people are always like that, taught to act on command and not on reasoning.

Or may be Faisal was one off case.

But What if he is part of majority? If majority of people residing in Kashmir want independence, wouldn't it be oppression on our part to keep them glued to India. I feel Kashmir as part of India and they don't.

They argue that Kashmir as a region has nothing much culturally with the rest of India. So is Tamil, Telugu, Konkani, Bengali. So should India just break into 50 different countries, then? Where does that kind of reasoning end?

That's when I realized just as I was brought up under the tenets that Kashmir to Kanyakumari is India they have grown up with the tenets that Kashmir should be a separate country.

Idea of a nation lies sometimes in just the arbitary lines drawn and the propaganda about the Nation that ensues it. i,e British united the different kingdoms into a place to rule and drew the lines of India when they left. Nehru did a good job of Kashmir to Kanyakumari Propoganda. So, I have India.

Someone out there feels that another set of arbitary lines should be drawn and would call it Independent Kashmir.

I would like to stick with lines that I have grown up with.

I also find the process of deconstructing ideas such as these these easy but it takes a little more time to reflect in my actions or my opinions. In this case, may be I don't want to reflect it on my opinions either.

Feelings for India - Patriotism/ Jingoism, whichever way you refer to it, is one of my stronger identities. This kind of thought process leaves me to question even that basic identity of mine. I don't think I want to lose something that I have identified with all my life.


  1. True - the concept of nation-states is a far recent one but the concept of regional identity is probably earlier than that. But if we go by that, then every state and every district and then every city might want independence and be a separate country; there is really no end to that line of segregation. But, as you said, it is all what we grow up with and if they grew up wanting independence, that is what they will want.

  2. :) Exactly.
    What do you want though on this issue?

  3. I would like to make two points, I dont think the Kashmiris fully agree on what azadi means. Definitely, a large section of the valley's population wants to have nothing to do with India. But I think most of the population (esp. in the rural) areas is ambivalent and very tired of the insurgency which hit the villages the most, they want to move on. I think the high turnout in the recent polls is one indication of this. Make no mistake, them being ambivalent doesnt mean they consider themselves Indian like villagers in Punjab and Tamil Nadu might do.

    The deepest resentment among Kashmiris is caused by the presence of the army there and the atrocities fringe elements of the security forces have committed. But there are other important reasons too. Key among them are the rigged assembly elections of 1987 which actually trigerred the uprising. Also is the gradual erosion of Kashmiri autonomy as per the instrument of its accession. This was particularly unfair because many other states like Mizoram which were actually UTs before are now among the most autonomous states. And the autonomy of big states has also grown due to the emergence of regional parties.

    I think if Kashmiris have to be won over then their autonomy has to be restored and the army has to be withdrawn from the state. Otherwise, they actually have a pretty good case for wanting to secede.

  4. Vikram,
    make no mistake(:)), I would like kashmir to be part of India too.
    With regards to what they want, I can only react based on what I read which include the blogs(written by kashmiris) I read, few kashmiris i get to meet and media.

    "he deepest resentment among Kashmiris" - if you get a chance to read the few kashmiri blogs, all of them ask for independence, the economic development that government of india has been doing for the past 8 years or so, in their own words(i.e they acknowledge it), doesn';t mean much to them.
    they say they can do it as an independent nation.

    Thanks for visiting