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FW: Kashmir: My Final Entry



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[Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
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> Dear Sri
>
> Thank you for the comment. It is a pleasure and a meaningful exercise
to
> engage in a discussion based on rationally constructed points as you
have
> done in your previous entry.
>
> What you raised was logical and conclusive.
>
> If the argument for a separate state based on the freedom of opinion
of
> individuals is carried to its logical end point, the result would be a

> multiude of states created on insignificant grounds which are
neverthless
> considered important by its members. If a group of people get together
and
> demand that they want to create a new state because they drive a
> particular type of car and that is the most important thing in the
world
> for them, if freedom of opinion and choice is given its full flow,
then
> they should be allowed to set up a new state. But surely, creation of
> states on such grounds will cause problems which is bound to harm
everyone
> in the society and  hence society should place limits on the freedom
of
> choice and opinion of individuals.
>
> One way to exercise this limit on freedom is, as you have said, to
accept
> the initial formation of a nation as a leap of faith and trust that
> cohesiveness will in the end benefit all. With this faith, it becomes
> meaningful to work together for the stability of the nation, even if
it
> entails short term sacrifice of freedom of the individual. If this
faith
> turns out to be right then as time progresses we may not hear of the
> Kashmir problem or North-East problem or any other destabilising
> occurrences. Indeed time has healed the Punjab problem to a large
extent.
>
> But if this faith turns out be wrong, and the differences in India are
in
> fact too fundamental to be overcome with time or economic progress,
then
> all these elaborate strategies, the loss of so many lives, the denial
of
> freedom to many, the huge military expenditure for the sake of
protecting
> our our territorial integrity when this money could have been spend on
our
> starving millions,--these are things that everyone of us is going to
look
> back and ponder, what was all this for? History is witness to the fact

> that however powerful time and economic progress are they are
> occassionally incapable of resolving fundamental issues. From the 17th

> -20th century Britian was one among the most powerful nations in the
> world, yet even such might could not enable it to solve the problem in
its
> own backyard - the Irish issue. A time span of centuries or being the
most
> economically powerful nation could not help it to solve the
fundamental
> Catholic-Protestant divide. Finally after centuries of violence it had
to
> allow independence for Ireland and it is still struggling with this
issue.
> The economic prosperity in Quebec does not deter a large section of
the
> people there from their desire to seceede from Canada even at the cost
of
> reduced economic welfare. Existing together as a prosperous nation for

> years has not been able to solve the fundamental linguistic divide.
>
> It is possible that eventually we may become a prosperous nation if we

> hold on together, indeed my intutive feeling tells me so too. It is
> possible that the people may be better off if the states were given a
much
> greater degree of autonomy. It is again possible that giving more
autonomy
> to states may lead to a catastrophic disintegration.
>
> As you have rightly said, ultimately it is definitely a question of
faith.
>
> But should we let this dependecy on faith stop us from at least making
an
> attempt to see if we are right? To see if we are justified in our
actions?
> Or should we be content with blowing our jingoistic trumpets every
time we
> score a victory? Or should we be happy every time we see in the
newspaper
> that the army has gunned down twenty militants in Kashmir?Should we
brush
> off any attempt to find out the correctness of our action by claiming
that
> any such thought or inspection is unpatriotic and is only bound to
harm
> us?
>
> In the name of all that India was ever great for- for nonviolence, for

> values, for peace, for the quest for Rightness, for the quest for
> Knowledge, for the quest for Spirituality- we as Indians owe our
nation so
> much as to at least think and inspect if are we doing the right thing
in
> the name of our nation.
>
> This will be my last posting on the debate reg Kashmir issue.
>
> Unni
>
>
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Srikumar [SMTP:Srikumar@simexmail.com.sg]
> Sent: Friday, July 23, 1999 1:39 PM
> To:   debate@indiapolicy.org
> Subject:      RE: Kashmir: Are We Right?
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> [Topics under debate]: GOOD GOVERNANCE
> ___Help make this manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!___

> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> Dear  Krishnan,
>
> First I would like to express my appreciation for the tone of your
> response.
> It is refreshing to see an exchange of opinions in this forum, which
is
> mature and adult like, which induces people to stop, think and
consider
> the
> opposing opinion.
>
> I suppose the most difficult part about defining a nationhood is
"where
> do
> you draw the line?". If a group of people claim a separate country
> because
> they speak a different language, can a subset within this claim a
> separate
> country because, though they speak the same language, they eat a
> different
> kind of food..how about because we prefer to drive a certain kind of
> car?  I
> am not trying to belittle the issue here, but I am just trying to
extend
> the
> rational argument to its extreme.
>
> I think a definition of a nation is a sort of leap of faith. Once you
> have
> formed a concept such as a nation it is very difficult to come up with
a
>
> criteria for splitting it in a rational fashion.  Splitting the nation

> is
> not just a conceptual exercise, it is also about geography. If a group

> of
> people with a particular common trait, spread all over the country,
ask
> for
> a separate statehood, how do you go about achieving this? The
partition
> of
> India based on separate state for Muslims showed us, and continues to
> show
> us, how impractical and incomplete this exercise can be.
>
> I agree that multiplicity of view points is an essential component of
> progress, but if we start splitting the country into multiple
countries
> of
> homogenous groups, does that lead to multiplicity of view points?  I
> agree
> that we should have debates and be open to different models of
> governance
> which gives a voice to every section that makes up a society, but this

> is
> only possible if the sanctity of the concept of a single country is
> accepted
> without question.  You can call it blind belief in a divinely ordained

> sanctity or whatever but, I believe that only on such a solid premise
> can a
> healthy dialogue ensue.
>
> My belief is that human beings behave as "clans" and there is a
> hierarchy of
> such clans. Which "degree of clan" one belongs to varies and is
> dependent on
> the situation. As illustrated during the recent Operation Vijay, when
> there
> is an external threat the Indianness of the nation was more obvious
and
> most
> Indians left their lower degrees of clans behind. When there is a
north
> vs.
> south problem the southern states go one degree lower, when there is a

> Kaveri water sharing problem, the people of the south sink lower into
a
> state level and so it goes. ( If you have seen the movie "Independence

> Day",
> you can see how they had depicted the whole world for once seemed to
> belong
> to one "higher degree clan" when the attack was from an external
> enemy!!)
>
> My point is that the concept of nation cannot be rationally derived.
For
> an
> alien coming from another galaxy, it would be difficult to see why the

> world
> is split into so many different nations, after all in today's "global
> village" there are very few countries which are totally homogeneous.
>
> Regards
>
> Sri



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