Shaguftagi-e-Gul-o-nastaran nahi bhoolay

Haseen phoolon ki woh anjuman nahi bhoolay

Bhulaaon kese manazir teri baharon ke

Teri fazaaon mai kaliyaan khilaayen ge aik din

Teri baharon mai phir muskuraayen ge aik din

Mere Watan Mere Watan

Mere Watan teri jannat mai ayen ge aik din

 

An ongoing Epoch written by Hafiz Mazhar Ud Din and composed by Nisar Bazmi brings chilling and emotional reminders that the land of Kashmir, soaked in blood evokes permanent emotions and yearning for freedom. Kashmir with its fate tied to Pakistan will not wither away; nor will Pakistan.

 Kashmir is a landlocked region sealed by mountains where big powers have washed dirty laundry for a long time. It’s only natural geographical and cultural opening is through Pakistan that was deliberately denied. The tragedy is etched in annals with successive lines in blood, memories of billions and the history the world ‘does not want to know’.

Since the late 50s when Pakistan became a strong country (coincidently invocation of Article 370), no one in the world wants to acknowledge (let alone resolve the miseries of Kashmiri people). At the heart is containment of Pakistan, a country that became even more stronger after 1971. This is the reason why the fate of Pakistan and Kashmir are tied. Pakistanis are virtually Kashmiri and Kashmiris are Pakistan. This is why like the mighty Indus, the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej, Kashmir runs in our blood. It is only when Pakistan breaks through this containment shell, would the people of Kashmir become independent. Till then there will be no international law, no international conscience and no yearning for human rights. The big powers and their minions will continue to betroth a communal and fascist India just like they appeased Hitler till it was too late.

Therefore, struggle and aspirations of the people aside, it is also an endless tale of geostrategic intrigues, betrayals to people, and cantankerousness. Nehruvian biases, Patel and Menon’s Machiavellism, the Kashmiri uprising, Radcliffe Award, the divided riparian, accession of Bikaner, Tibet, the Ceasefire Line, the Line of Control, the terrorism bogey and now Article 370. If Narendra Singh Sarila, the ex-ADC to Lord Mountbatten is to be believed, “all this was the fallout of the British geostrategic designs to contain communist Russia and China”.

To begin, the amended Government of India Act of 1935 provided in Section 6 that a princely Indian state shall deemed to have acceded to either of the dominion on the acceptance of the Instrument of Accession executed by the ruler thereof, as a logical heir to the British Crown was legally misconceived. It was declared so repeatedly.

In the case of Madhav Rao, the Supreme Court of India found it strange that India should have claimed that it inherited any aspects of the paramountcy exercised by the British Crown. The Indian Supreme Court in Premnath Kaul and the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, in Magher Singh, observed that with the lapse of the British paramountcy, whose heir was not India, Kashmir became an independent and sovereign state in the fullest sense in international law. This was the argument also taken by Pakistan.

As the Governor General, it was Mountbatten’s responsibility to ensure that clauses of the Independence Act of 1947 should not have been unilaterally changed by India in the 1935 Act and therefore declare the Instrument of Accession illegal. Why so? Sarila writes, ‘the plan for smaller Pakistan was not worked out by Lord Mountbatten in 1947, but by Lord Wavell in 1945’ a clear indication that the logic was strategic.

For many reasons that are not relevant to today’s subject, Britain deliberately left the question unresolved whilst it had its own governor general heading India. A divide was orchestrated which created a perpetual hate within the subcontinent and put India and Pakistan on extremes of divides. With compounding atrocities in Kashmir and repression of minorities by Hindu rightists, this sentimental effect will expand exponentially and hold the future of billions of people in the region hostage.

The BJP for the time being can congratulate itself on abrogating Article 370, which already means little to strengthen the legal argument of the case. In doing so it has opened a box of radical communalism whose memories still haunt; the massacres of 1947 including Kashmir. This makes India ultimately vulnerable to its own genie.

In Kashmir, each change of hand was preceded and followed by massacres. Sikhs selling Kashmir off to East India Company; Menon and Colonel Manek Shaw forcing the Maharaja to sign a prepared ‘Instrument of Accession’ despite a ‘Standstill Agreement with Pakistan’; the duplicity of Abdulla and the Indo-China War. Not to mention the many wars between India and Pakistan and blatant violation of human rights and international law by India; the repeated massacres, high velocity calibre weapons, pellet guns and incendiaries. To the international community over 600,000 lives are too few to wake its conscience. Alas, when these fires of hate begin to devour from within, it will be too late for India and the world.

How more immoral can the international politics be? An illegality that began with the unilateral amendment in Section 6 of the 1935 Act and ending with abrogation of 370 (created by Nehru to cover up an illegal occupation) was tied to the band wagon of 9/11. A legitimate freedom struggle became a ‘no go area’ for international politics. Bilateralism of Simla was restricted to the boundary dispute and ‘will of the people’. Yet India used it effectively with the International community to mask its draconian actions in Indian held Kashmir. 

Kashmir is neither terrorism nor a territorial issue. It is a question of hearts and minds, emotive factors and the democratic principal of choices enunciated in international law, democratic constitutions and 18 UN Resolutions. A long history of over 600,000 deaths invokes bitter memories of Kashmiris massacred by extremist Hindus (groups that form BJP), beginning July 13, 1931. This includes the violence in Srinagar Jammu, Poonch and the untold Jammu-Himachal Pradesh massacres in 1947. In the recent uprisings (already three decades old), over 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed by Indian security forces and Hindu hardliners. Even since Article 370 has been revoked over 50 Kashmiris have been killed by Indian forces.

It is a shame that most of these executions were carried out by Hindu right wingers against unarmed Muslims, herded into killing grounds like cattle and butchered with guns, swords and machetes. This ‘Blood Memory’ combined with repression has passed through generations to a point that wheeling dealing Kashmiri politicians have become irrelevant.

So, what follows next is the Indus Basin Water Treaty. Will India unilaterally abrogate that too. Perhaps with tacit international support India will try that too. But nature also has its laws and course. Will India be able to alter the course of an entire ecological and geological comprising the world’s highest mountain ranges?

Rather than huff and puff, Pakistan needs to know that the entire plan is about its containment.

It is not India or the world that hurts Pakistan. It is the intelligentsia and desi liberals within who believe that Kashmir is an issue created by the army. Had the armed forces not been there, Pakistan could have been next.

Pakistan also needs to awaken and realise that all its woes pertain to its containment. It is time to become stronger and self-reliant. The road to realising national objectives is long, difficult and complicated. Short, mid and long-term plans to get out of this isolation needs to be made and implemented.