… of information. That is happening all around the world when it comes to the India-Pakistan conflict revolving around Kashmir. Lot of people neither know who is revolting, what are the causes, what are their demands and why? I’m not a ‘Pundit’ either and I had information only in bits and pieces. I thought let me take a quick peek in the history books and understand the why and what next of the problem.
Wikipedia is a great source of information. In this article on history of Kashmir, it covers almost every thing you should know about Kashmir. There are no specific mentions on who was the original ruler of the kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir. But it does tell us about the dynasties that have ruled the heavenly country. Yes, J&K was a country. Kashmir traditionally had more concentration of Muslim population. For almost half of the last 1000 years, the country had muslim rulers. They were either Mughals or Afghanis. However in later parts of 18th century, it got invaded by the Sikhs who ruled the the state until the partition. It is also believed that the Sikh king of Gulab Singh collaborated with the British in order to remain King. The British too agreed as it was difficult for them to manage the country with such challenging climatic conditions.
The Hindu Muslim conflict in Kashmir is believed to have started in the year 1925 onwards when the last King of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh ascended the throne. The Maharaja was believed to be intolerant of Muslims and thus caused much of an unrest in the valley, leading to tensions and minor unrest. The last nail was drawn when the Maharaja was given a choice to join either India or Pakistan post Indian Independence. I’m quoting a point from Wiki, which they have used form a book written on Kashmir’s freedom struggle… “Prem Nath Bazaz, founder of the Kashmir Socialist Party in 1943, a reliable primary source of history, reiterated that a majority of Kashmiris were against the decision of the Maharajah in his book, The History of The Struggle of Freedom In Kashmir. He writes, “The large majority of the population of the State, almost the entire Muslim community and an appreciable number of non Muslims was totally against the Maharjah declaring accession to India.” This statement, and the decision reached by the legislative assembly are important because they dispel any belief that the Kashmiris’ religious ties with Pakistan did not necessarily indicate a will to unite. Indeed, the ethnic bond between Kashmir and Pakistan influenced a majority of the people to seek accession with Pakistan. The Hindu Maharajah would not listen, and continued to delay his decision about which nation to join.”
Maharaja Hari Singh took too much time to decide on which way he and his people should head leading to different small groups of Pathans attacking Srinagar. Their intention, it is said, was only to threaten Hari Singh so that he makes a quick decision in favor of the majority of his population. However Lord Mountbatten, from whom he sought help, and the Indian National Congress found opportunity here. They agreed to help Maharaja Hari Singh on a condition that he joins India. The instrument of accession was immediately signed and Kashmir became a part of India. The India Pakistan conflict on Kashmir has been going around till date and mostly the topics revolve around this issue.
The Pakistanis have been arguing on this since last 63 years that the rightful justice was not done with them as well as the Kashmiris. They (Kashmiris) wanted to join Pakistan, their King might have agreed and still they were not allowed to do so. Three wars were fought to resolve the pending issue (Yes I call 1999 Kargil also as war). Last 30 odd years have seen lot of militant movements in the valley, mostly in the 90s. Although most groups have taken advantage of the situation, there also have been many peaceful protests from the Kashmiris who so desperately want to end the ongoing feud between India and Pakistan over the control of ‘their’ land. Most of the Kashmiris now are believed to have no loyalties towards either Pakistan or India. They want their good old peaceful and heavenly place back.
More than 40,000 civilian lives have been lost, Hindus and Muslims alike. Many homes have been destroyed. People are struggling for jobs and business has almost come to a stand still. I’m yet to visit but being told that these days you see more Army men than tourists in Srinagar. It is very saddening that the militant protesters, the opportunistic Mujahidins, the Indian Army and now the politicians have toyed with the valley like any thing. People are still protesting and the guns are still trying to kill them. Thanks to these guns, the once serene and beautiful place will never be same again.
I’m with the local Kashmiris. They need justice.