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Kashmir: Are We Right?



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[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
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Kashmir: Are We Right?

I cannot help but thinking that if Kashmir were to become an independent

state some day, and if some students in an independent Kashmir were
studying
history some years after the independence, would they be looking on
those
whom we now classify as terrorists, with the same reverence as an Indian

student holds Bhagat Singh or a South African student holds Nelson
Mandela
or a Vietnamese student holds Ho Chi Minh. Surely their causes are
similar,
their methods the same and the strength of their convictions comparable.
And
would the same thoughts be running in their minds regarding the Indian
soldiers as that which runs through that of an Indian student about the
British soldiers when he reads of JallianWala Bagh?

Can we justify ourselves for our actions in Kashmir? Or will history put
us
in the category of despots ruling over a subjugated people? Surely, as
long
as we refuse to hold a plebiscite we are by any standard imposing our
will
on the Kashmiri people. We cannot escape this simple fact. But the
question
does not end there. Is our act of denying the right to self
determination to
the people  of Kashmir justifiable? If so on what grounds?

The ground cannot be that of a benevolent despot ruling over a nation.
Neither can India claim that we have been benevolent to the people of
Kashmir for we have always taken away the rights that we promised them
when
they joined us nor can we put forward anything substantial to show that
Indian rule has been beneficial to the people of Kashmir. We cannot
justify
the occupation of Kashmir on the grounds that it is an integral part of
India and any question on Kashmir threatens the sovereignity of India,
for
if that was the case then India was an integral part of the British
Empire
and the justification for Indian independence is lost. We cannot justify
it
on the grounds of sovereignty, for sovereignty is not divinely ordained,
it
is conferred on the governing by the governed.

Is the Indian occupation of Kashmir then unjustified? I think not. It is

justified on a simple ground. On the ground that Kashmir remaining a
part of
India is a necessary condition for the welfare of the vast majority of
Indians. How is it so? It is so because the separation of Kashmir from
India
will be the first step towards the crumbling of India, separation into a

large number of warring states competing for scarce resources with no
central authority to guide them and innumerable disputes facing them.
The
separation of Kashmir will cause a domino effect with Assam, Punjab,
Sikkim,
Nagaland all separating from India, for the reason that applies to
Kashmir
applies to these states to a high measure. Regionalism will then give
the
final push towards the creation of an Asian Balkans.

The larger question then is the existence of State of India justified in
the
face of opposition from some of its constituting members. I think it is.
It
is justified because on an average, the State of India can provide
higher
standard of living to its subjects than what a conglomeration of small
states could provide. It maybe possible that an industrialised state
like
Maharashtra maybe able to provide better quality of life to its citizens

than what the people of Maharashtra are getting under Indian rule. It
may be
possible that an agriculturally prosperous state like Punjab maybe able
to
provide better quality of life to its citizens.  But taken in totality
the
welfare of those who are the citizens of India right now will fall if
India
splits into a number of states. The justification of the existence of
the
State of India is that in totality in can provide a "larger amount" of
welfare to its citizens than the "sum of  welfare" provided by a
conglomeration of independent states.

On that alone is the existence of India justified. On that alone is the
denial of the right to self determination to any state in India
justified.
On that alone is the occupation of Kashmir justified.


Unni



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