Friday, August 22, 2008

Sacrifice Delhi , Save India

There is a nice verse in my language which says, "A nation does not mean land. A nation means people". This is what I meant when I said Save India.

Let's abolish theologies, let's abolish nationalism. Let's give respect to the human spirit. Nothing is more sacred before that, not even the constitution.

Before you get your passions inflamed, try asking yourself a simple question : Do you like India or do you like Indians ? If you choose the later, then you are a true patriot.

India does not mean the empire of Ashoka. It does not mean the pillars of learning of Shankaracharya. It does not mean the kingdoms of Ramayana. It does not mean a mega utopia which was supposedly destroyed by some invading Muslims. It does not mean the glories of the Mughal empire. It does not mean the eastern bulwark of Islam. It does not mean anything in the past. India is a living notion. It exists in the "now". And it exists in its people.

These people might have had a past, but they live in the present. We should accept what they are right now.

In our journey as an independent country, we Indians are at a crucial juncture : we have to choose between territorial integrity and human integrity. Should we continue our abnormal military presence in Kashmir ? Should we subject every person to getting frisked seven times a day before he reaches to work ? Should we subject our own citizens there to continuous curfews ? Should we continue to impose the rule of the army in one of the states ? Should we give no regard to the democratic aspirations of our own citizens ? Is this what we want to achieve as a nation ? Is this our idea of India ? How many of our own brothers do we have to kill, torture and make disappear for preserving this idea ?

If we continue to tighten our fists, we risk to alienate our own citizens. This is not nation building.

India is an amazing land of diversity. In its richness or heritage, it is no way inferior to the continent of Europe. In what way is Telugu inferior to Spanish ? Then why is it that nobody outside India is even aware of Telugu ? In what way is Kashmiri culture inferior to Polish culture ? Then why does Poland deserve a flag but not Kashmir ?

These questions can be suppressed for years when the population is poor or uneducated, but they are bound to prop up in the minds of the people. What prevents the rest of the Indian citizens from the fear of a cultural subjugation from the Hindi heartland ?

You can shove these fears under the carpet, but they will keep multiplying and keep surfacing with increased ferocity. We will see ethnic strife against minorities in Mumbai. We will see the kidnap and murder of Bengalis in Tripura. We will see Naga rebels fighting in the hills. And we will see a minor issue of 40 acres rise into a full blown freedom struggle and eventually demand the lives of 30 Kashmiris.

No, we cannot shove our fears under the carpet. We have to look at them straight in the eye, and solve the problem. If we do not do that, our country will suffer the fate of Yugoslavia. When it happens, the break up will be rapid, and it will be bloody. Horrors such as genocide will be commited. Hindus and Muslims will massacre each other. India and Pakistan will face outright war, and heaven knows if nuclear weapons will be used.

Before you jump onto the pseudo nationalistic bandwagon of Hindutva, trying to build a glorious Ram Rajya or avenge for the historical wrongs of Islamic invasions etc, please think about where this will lead you. The same is true for people who jump onto the pseudo bandwagon of Islamic glory.

Under the horrors of genocide and nuclear war, can we preserve even a portion of our civilization ? Will we be able to preserve the temple of Madhura ? Will we be able to preserve the Taj Mahal ?

What can we do to avert these dangers ? This is where comes the other part of the title of this blog - Sacrifice Delhi. We have to sacrifice our union government. We have to sacrifice some of our symbols. We need to provide more autonomy to the states. I don't know what this autonomy means : does it mean different flags ? does it mean different constitutions ? does it mean different passports ? I don't know : we need to innovate and we need to do it quickly. It is inevitable, the faster we do it, the more bloodshed we will save.

I have just visited Strassburg, a lovely city of a thousand years of history. This city had a bloody past with periodic occupations from France and Germany. Now it houses the European parliament. Why can't Srinagar be given a similar status, serving as a bridge between India and Pakistan, instead of as a dispute ?

When we think about it, the issue of autonomy is exactly where differences creeped in between Nehru and Jinnah. Let's go where our freedom fighters dared not tread. Let's try to create a union of equals. Let's redefine democracy in the internet age. Let's redefine the notion of a constitution.

Let's take our subcontinent to the true place it deserves. Can Punjab be united ? Can Bengal be united ? Can Kashmir be united ? Yes, let's break the Berlin walls of the east.

Let's forget the horrors of partition. Let's rediscover our true heritage of 5000 years together. Let's model the union of SAARC countries in the fashion of the European Union. Let's have our parliament in Srinagar. Let's have our court of human rights in Jaffna. As we sacrifice Delhi, we will save our India. We will save the spirit of brotherhood between Indians.



I think we don't have to sacrifice anything but all we kashmiris demand is an end to the human rights vioalation by Indian military in kashmir...thats all we ask for....isn't that fair enough???
just give the people the sense of freedom they had before the start insurgency and u will urself see a reversal in the sympathy towards pakistan or any other country....
freedom doesn't always mean independence...!!!!!

Kashmirviews said...

Hi Red pill,
Your novelistic fantasies deserve kudos, but nothing such is gonna happen.

For the sake of someone's inetegrity and all that Kashmir cannot sacrifice its freedom.

Why do such countries at the first place occupy others, then come up with the theory that breaking away of that part would trigger other liberation movements.

For God sake, Your lesson should have been towards the country which occupies and punctures every abdomen in its colony.

Sorry I may sound harsh in my comments but i cannot hide things.
Waiting for your reply at

Ray Lightning said...

Hi Mirallionz

This is not a simple question of human rights, brother. This is a question of respect to the Kashmiri people, from the rest of the Indians. This respect and honour is lacking in our relationship (as pointed by a Kashmiri blogger recently). I believe that the Indian union has to be a union of equals. It is Kashmiri people who should decide whether they want to impose a curfew in Srinagar, not some guy sitting in Delhi. As a fellow Indian, I would like to get this respect restored in our relationship.

Half a million Indian soldiers in Kashmir is our national disgrace. This has to change, we will work for it. Don't ever lose your hopes.

Hi Umar (kashmirviews)

India was all but 2 months old when it decided to "occupy" Kashmir ? That's some rapid thinking about having colonial ambitions, right ?

I come from the city of Hyderabad, which got merged in the Indian Union in September 1948. In that sense, Kashmir is an older part of the Indian union than my own city, by 1 year. Then Goa got merged into India in December 1961. So Kashmir is older than Goa by 14 years.

Whether you like it or not, Kashmir is a part of the idea that is India. India entered Kashmir because it is a part of the idea when India was born. It is not about creating a colony that India got into Kashmir. Kashmir is no different from Goa or Hyderabad.

If Kashmir goes, the very idea of India will be gone. This is the fact.

So is Kashmir a part of the idea of Pakistan (Pa"k"istan will become Paistan without Kashmir). That is why Pakistan sent its troops into Kashmir (even before India).

The countries of India and Pakistan are very different from what you see in the rest of the world. They are not like China, Turkey, Germany or England. They have no interest in grabbing land and making colonies. The best you can compare them with is the European Union.

When you want to have independence for Kashmir, well good. Go ahead, good luck. But I also remind you that this means the idea of the Indian Union (or Pakistani Union) is destroyed. Be ready to face the consequences of this. Don't feign innocence there.

Koshur said...

Ray, this is a beautiful write-up. I agree that this is infact where India should be headed toward - Towards decentralizing the power - from Delhi to the individual states. I think it will go a long way to solving many of the regional problems.

I beleive I read a idea from Barkha Dutt's article (on NDTV website); she writes that she faced a lot of criticism for even suggesting such a thing.

In the end, I really feel that is where all this is destined for.

But we all have to agree that the Kashmir issue is bigger than just a state-central power struggle.

Kashmirviews said...

Hi ray,
where you have been.

pari said...

The problem in India is every state is so obsessed with its history, culture, language that they consider every other culture worthless. Jihadis are those people who even dont connect with local people. They don't dream of good life for all kashmiris . They are those whose mission in life is to only keep repeating the differences to people to prevent them to take a few steps and connect to larger world. Kashmir considered as part of India is taken as some attack on freedom. A thousand policemen in valley for law enforcement is taken as harm. People of kasmir are always misguided by those few who have their own dreams bigger than wellfare of general public . And whenever govt start to take action against those Jihadis there is public outcry of killing, injustice. God give some wisdom to common people and then everything will be fine.

Kashmirviews said...

Hey Pari,
Read today's Friday Dec 5 local newspapers and see that almost 50 papers have the same story on frontage. 13-year-old girl gang raped by 6 troopers. Imagine this happening elsewhere in India, the billion population would have spewed venom and resentment.

And it is not the first time.

So sitting 3000 km away wont do, ask common kashmiri what he wants, and he will say the same what you people fear of.

If you think that you cannot live with your soulmate, you can get a divorce, likewise why no law for Kashmiris who do want this forced marriage with India or any other state.


Rabia said...

"Do you like India or do you like Indians ? If you choose the later, then you are a true patriot."

this is really well-stated. I'm a Pakistani and at least for Pakistan, the question of provincial autonomy vs. increased federal control (which has always been accompanied by increased islamization) has been the dominant narrative of the last 60 years. The answer for Pakistan, at least, is clearly more provincial autonomy and a breakup of the power of the most powerful federal level insitution (the army).