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Secession & System




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Postings not related to the writing of the Manifesto or policy chapters
are likely to be summarily rejected. Thanks for your understanding. IPI
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Now that there is a lull in the debate over secession, I thought I will
raise a point that I realised only recently while reading through these
IPI
debates.

One of the main objectives of IPI, as I understood, was to try and bring

about systemic reform. So could there be a systemic issue involved in
the
question of secession? For instance, could it be that if such a
provision
existed in some form, and if the overall system supported _a free and
domocratic polity_, then the presence of such a provision might actually

induce the central leaders not to pursue policies that give rise to
separatist tendencies. This in turn may help douse the chauvinistic
flames
that some local leaders try to promote.

The point is that, although it is undoubtedly true that many of the
separatist movement in the world has had racist, linguistic, ethnic,
religious underpinnings, there is not much ground to conclude that such
chavunistic sentiments cannot necessarily be countered successfully by
broader political / intellectual principles.

So much for my hypothesis. Now here is my evidence. The Quebec province
of
Canada has been going through referenda on separation about every ten
years
for the last thirty years and has failed each time, while the federal
govt.
has tried to maintain as much protection to Quebec's sensibilities.
Result,
Canada has expereinced perhaps the most peaceful of secessionist
movements.
And today, many from Quebec realise the benefits of staying with Canada,

and advantages of free trade and movement with US.

Likewise, the Scots and Welsh in UK have consistently refused to accept
separation as the answer. And increasingly there has been a greater
devolution of authority in UK.

Now an aside on Kashmir. I understand the issue is quite sensitive. But
I
would like to be _corrected_ if I am making any mistake. One of the
instruments by which the Indian claim over Kashmir is based is the
accession deed signed by the then Maharaja of Kashmir, the late Hari
Singh.
A hindu ruler in a muslim majority province. This, of course, impiles
that
the Kashmiris had the option to go the other way. Secondly, India had
accepted the UN resolution on plebicite (we now oppose it because the
Pakistanis have failed to implement the UN resolution over Kashmir.)
Nevertheless, the bottom line seems to be that if Pakistan followed or
follows the UN resolution, then plebicite would be acceptable. Finally,
do
we fear a plebicite because we have so mismanaged affairs of Kashmir,
and
alienated a large section of people there that we fear a plebicite will
go
against India?? The late Minoo Masani, one of the members of the
constituent assembly, and a very prominent parliamentarian and at one
time
the leader of the opposition, was of the view that we should not fear
plebicite, because if we really trusted Kashmiris, and treated them
well,
and did not look at Kashmir as a prime real estate sans its people, then

there is no reason to think that Kashmiris will vote against a
democratic
and free India.

Another aside. It was said during this dicussion, that India looks like
a
number of nations stuck together, and we as people hardly work together
as
one nation. It was also said that the same Indians when they go abroad
do
quite well, and get along with the other nationalities without much
difficulty. Perhaps this is because, those who go abroad have a choice -
to
stay abroad or return to India - the choice of secession, so to speak,
at
least as an individual. While many who have remained within India, are
mostly there out of circumstance, not so much out of choice. Perhaps,
this
factor plays a role in determining the outcome.

Comments are most welcome - personal or public. And I sincerely hope
that
this mail will not raise a new storm in IPI. My prior apologies to all
who
may take offence to this submission. That was not my intention.

Barun



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