Indian reunification is actually a brainchild of the former justice of Supreme Court, Markandey Katju, who conceived it in 2012, and aims at unifying India with what is now Bangladesh and Pakistan under a secular government. The nation was divided on the spurious two nation theory of Ali Mohammad Jinnah, propagated over years, the theory that people of different religions cannot live harmoniously together, which was actually the upshot of the divide and rule policy of British. This partition resulted into innumerable issues and complications in the subcontinent while Kashmir issue is one among those.
It has been around 72 years of partition; Kashmir is a boiling pot since then. The partition within Kashmir is a legacy of it. Kashmir suffered a serious divide internally. Lot of hatred has developed between Hindus and Muslims. Unfortunately, this hatred is being carried and nurtured to this day with ever increasing intensity.
Both India and Pakistan are in a race of nuclear arms, military race, while the masses suffer from insecurity, poverty, illiteracy, malnourishment and underdevelopment. India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir and both nations claim their rights on entire part of territory. There is also a regular trade of fire across the LOC, damaging properties, taking lives of both armed forces as well as common people, and causing large scale displacement on both sides. On an ordinary day in Kashmir, you would always hear a story of an anonymous gunman killing an anonymous person and then you realize how it was connected to the core issue itself. That’s how deep this political issue has gone inside Kashmir. Ever since partition Kashmiri people are at receiving end. Atif, a 12-year-old got killed recently when Militants did not let him go from the house where they were holed up. It’s just difficult for anyone to comprehend the nature of this incident. You cannot judge who killed Atif, the bullet of Forces or the Arrogance of Militants. Another issue is that of growing trend of radicalization. Young men both Educated and illiterate Glamorize the weapon. Value of life is so low and violence has been so normalized that even the horrific murders seem just normal. Few months before a girl was murdered while the murder was recorded in a video. She can be seen pleading before her killers & begging for her life. Over the time the outrage over such horrific human rights crimes has been declining. People have started taking these crimes as Normal and a usual happening. This trend of a society becoming accustomed to violence and accepting it as its fate is a very dangerous sign. It would be just a miscalculation if you do not see it growing and casting itself into mainland of India and Pakistan, and then beyond!
In a situation when Kashmir is controlled by 2 nuclear powers and due to its strategic position, it will always be a root cause of the instability and hostility in the whole region. Kashmir is a bone of confrontation and a contributory cause of indo-pak hostilities from day one of independence. For India it is an example of her secular identity, gateway to central Asia and for Pakistan an unfinished agenda of partition, according its two-nation theory.
Complexity of the issues around resolution of Kashmir once and for all prevents even great statesmen to think out of box solutions. But the hardwired thinking prevents peace from happening to us permanently. It has taken a huge toll on our psyche. It can be assumed that we may be one of those fewer regions in the whole world whose Human Development has been very discouraging in the recent history. We have suffered huge and can definitely not afford to suffer more. People at the helm of affairs may have to someday give up their hardwiring and think extraordinary.
If we go by the general psyche, a common Kashmiri Muslim can never be made to understand that it is not an issue that he is living in India while most of the Muslims went to Pakistan. It is always difficult for him to believe that his Nation is India and not Pakistan. For a Kashmiri Muslim the very existence of Pakistan symbolizes his oppression. His heart pinches him and his mind is restless thinking about his ill fate. Unification of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with Kashmir as nucleus can prove virtuous to both nations and hence also to an ordinary Kashmiri because unified India and Pakistan will be his natural home, since he may not have to push his mental faculties to think otherwise. We share common history and culture of thousands of years We can be a one Nation with Kashmir as a center stage for launching peace in the subcontinent
Most of the people in subcontinent think of reunification as flawed idea, however history has witnessed the mighty reunifications of Vietnam in 1975 and that of Germany in 1990. Justice Katju has sowed a seed which may grow into a tree someday and yield fruits. It is fundamentalism on both the sides which may come in its way, but there’s a hope in many passionate souls which will see its materialization someday. Education, dissemination of real information around two nation theory, and the costs this fake theory had already on us will be the tools that can be used to build a common consensus about the larger idea of Reunification for the greater good of this part of the world.
The article has been prepared with a positive input from Afiya Javaid, Human rights student, Jammu University and Mohsin Ilahi, Research Scholar, AMU Aligarh.