Imagine a poll across the country on ways of resolving the Kashmir problem। I would expect more than 80 per cent to turn up saying they would like to see Kashmir as a part of our own country and the rest of the 20 percent would care less what goes on in Kashmir. However, its immaterial. This is the issue thats running the business of politics and defence in three countries. Not that I have anything against the defence… if at all its the portion of society I respect the most. But the issue has been alive for 60 years coz its not all that simple.
The Mountain Shield
Himalayas are one of the youngest mountain range in the world, it stands tall from Kashmir to the north-east of India and acts a shield of protection for not only India but also for China and Pakistan. This is the single most important reasons for India and Pakistan to want it so bad. Having Kashmir as an undisputed part of itself would ensure India a huge security from a large part of their land borders. The terrain not only restricts army attack options but also, as was apparant in Kargil, gives and edge to the ones sitting on top. Besides, it would also act as a wall to setup infrastructure to spy or plan air attacks on a no. of neighbours. Imagine India having to protect only Punjab and Rajesthan borders against Pakistan as most of the other borders of India would look after themselves.
Paradise on earth
Kashmir is surely one of the most beautiful place across the world. Imagine the obscene amount of money that can be made from a good tourism from this state. I can pretty much guarantee that if the Kashmir issue and terrorism around get resolved today, the tourism in Kashmir would be on full swing within 3 months time, thats how attractive Kashmir would be to travellers around the world.
The Big Egos
Most of the political issues have clear solutions within a few years of the issue being born, however, the political egos of the nations and the politicians running the governments prevent the issue to die off. It a part of their agendas for next 4 elections, a little step towards the portrayed resolutions would be used in the election campaigns as the biggest leadership legends of all times and strength of character. And the bull shit doesnt stop here, the issue is provided enough oxygen to stay lit by various means to satisfy egos of the ruling few or of the masses.
In my point of view, the fortunes of Kashmir should lie in the hands of the real owners of the valley – the Kashmiris, the ones who have their roots in the place and it really really belongs to them. I have had interactions with a few Kashmiris youngsters who have had to run away from their beloved valley because of the amount of stress they were under from the terror lots and consequently from the army. Imagine a scenario when some of your childhood neighbor visits you and asks you to fight for your independent nation (which you are apparantly not sure was ever independent or whether it should or should not be in the first place) and be a martyr and then you have to explain yourself to the armed forces and convince them that you havent been involved in any of the terror activities in your own neighborhood. Living in the peaceful parts of the country that we do, its almost impossible for us to even imagine something like that in our lives. I truly believe that the Kashmiris should be put in the hot seat (under a UN controlled election may be) to decide whether want to stick to one of the countries or exist independently.
Kashmir Vs Tibet
Consider the Tibet situation, being an outsider, most of the Indians that I come across feel for the Tibet and the Dalai Lama. Not quite the same way about Kashmir though, the mass ego comes into picture. Wouldnt you like to see a peaceful Kashmiri community to live and prosper with peaceful relations with their neighbours. (expecting more No’s than Yes’s on this) In the global environment that is to come in near future, I believe national boundaries would be as material as they are today. Knowing a Kazakistan culture would be similar to understand a Tamil guy for a north Indian or vice versa. We would soon be living in a world where a single global visa and work permit would allow you to travel or work anywhere in the world. Visa to a country would include conditions to restrict working in the cities with high population density or ensuring setting up business in the countryside… who knows. Think beyond your own short term national interest and mass ego and decide for yourself what you would think would be the best for the people who live their lives in their beloved valley everyday amongst all the stress and pain.
As I said, the Kashmir problem might seem a really complex and high significance in the first sight, however, getting another perspective to the story might make it a lot simpler for all the parties involved. But this revolution has to start from the masses.. from us.