This year Pakistan's 61st Independence Day has come at a time when the country is faced with a number of challenging issues: restoration of judiciary, good governance, galloping inflation, energy crisis, militancy in FATA, NATO threats, US demands and Indo-US nuclear deals. While the issues cited above will be resolved in the foreseeable future, there is one issue that defies resolution; The Kashmir Issue. And all because of the hostility, fear and distrust that lie buried deep in the psyche of the Hindu community. No wonder Bharat has always failed to reach an understanding with Pakistan. All Pak- Bharat summits - General Ayub Khan: Jawaharlal Nehru, Benazir Bhutto: Rajiv Gandhi, Nawaz: I K Gujral, General Musharraf: Atal Behari Vajpayee - have failed or remained inconclusive. Pakistan's 61st Independence Day should remind us that the Hindu mindset has not changed. Hindus bitterly opposed the Pakistan idea when it was first enunciated. They called it a " vivisection of their motherland." They refused to acknowledge that the Muslims of South Asia constituted a nation. Gandhi said, "I find no parallel in history for a body of converts and their descendants claiming to be a nation apart from their parent stock. If India was one nation before the advent of Islam, it must remain one in spite of the change of faith of a very large body of her children." The Congress also gave ample evidence of its hostility towards the Muslims. The excesses of the Congress provincial governments of 1937-39, the Pirpur Report and Fazlul Haq's "Muslims suffering under Congress rule" unveiled the true face of this so-called national party. Quaid-e-Azam saw through the malice and duplicity of the Congress." The Congress", he said, "is a Hindu organisation and wanted the Muslims to come within the ken of the Congress and Hindu Raj." Most Hindu leaders spoke publicly of driving the Muslims from India as the Spaniards have driven the Moors from Spain. Such threats aroused feelings of deep insecurity among the Muslims and were convinced that they would never get a fair deal at the hands of Hindus. The arrogance of the Congress, its rapport with the militant forces of Hindu revivalism and its deep animus towards Muslim history and culture compelled the Quaid to take a fresh look at the Hindu- Muslim question. He was convinced that in a United India, Hindu philosophy would reduce the Muslims to an abject state of slavery. He was convinced that the Muslims could save themselves from Hindu domination only by establishing an Independent and sovereign state. It was hoped that with the division of the sub-continent things would fall into place and the legacy of hatred would fade away. But that was not to be. The Hindu psyche remains as twisted today as it was yesterday. The Hindu leadership has not reconciled itself to the creation of Pakistan .As a big neighbour and as a senior partner in SAARC, it is Bharat's task to remove past suspicions and give credible evidence of its good intentions. But Bharat's record in this respect is not very inspiring. It has repeatedly flouted UN Declarations and refused to recognize the legality of Pakistan's stand. It has waged three wars against Pakistan and spared no means to destroy the very existence of this country. In 1971, it succeeded in mutilating Pakistan and separating its eastern wing. Even today it is trying to crush the defenceless Kashmiris and deprive them of their right to self-determination. Of late, especially after the INDO-US deal, Hindu leadership has become more arrogant and pontifical in its tone. Behind Bharat's inflated self-assessment lie its ago-old dreams of a Greater Bharat, the revival of the ancient Hindu civilisation and its emergence as a dominant country on the political horizon of the world. That these dreams have not faded and are very much alive can be gauged from a book Defending India, written not long ago by Jaswant Singh. In his view, the South Asian subcontinent-minus China is a distinct strategic unity, comprising countries, as far apart from Delhi as Afghanistan, Tibet and Myanamar. Pakistan and Bangladesh need not be mentioned, as they are two sons of the same soil. In fact, Pakistan is only technically foreign. Bharat subscribes to a double-faced policy; on the one hand it goes through the motions of negotiating with Pakistan while on the other hand it pursues anti-Pakistan polices and foments trouble in Balochistan and FATA. With its delusion of grandeur, hegemonic ambitions and craving for regional supremacy, Bharat will not descend from its pedestal to parley as an equal with Pakistan. Bharat's syndrome is not new. The Quaid had spotted it 60 years ago. To a question by a Swiss journalist on whether there was any hope of India and Pakistan coming to a peaceful settlement, the Quaid replied, " Yes, provided the Indian government will shed the superiority complex and will deal with Pakistan on an equal footing." The crucial question is: will Pak-Bharat relations ever become friendly? No, not in the true sense. There may be a semblance of normalcy, a veneer of cordiality but nothing more. The psychic chasm is too wide to be bridged. The Kashmir stalemate will persist. Bharat will continue to drag its feet and offer the flimsiest justification for doing so. Recall its knee-jerk reaction to last months attack on its embassy in Kabul. It promptly accused Pakistan of the crime and warned that provocations could scuttle the peace process. Bharat, in fact, wants Pakistan to freeze the issue But Pakistan cannot do so. Kashmir is etched on its heart. It cannot erase it at will. The writer is an academic