The Secular State of India, even after seven decades after Independence, has been maintaining that Kashmir is suffering a ‘political problem’. It is further claimed that there could only ever be a ‘political solution’ to the menace of Kashmiri Terrorism.
Such declarations are emblematic of the misguided notions that dominate the mindset of the Indian state. It should be fairly obvious to everyone that Islam has explicitly political goals and Kashmiri separatism is a consequence of the political aspects of the religion. ‘Jihad’ is the means of achieving a political objective. Until their political objectives have been achieved, Jihad will continue.
Another aspect of the problem that is often ignored and the secular state refuses to see is the fact that Kashmiri Separatism continues to thrive as a consequence of its Muslim majority character. As politically incorrect as it sounds, deep down we are all aware that it’s the truth. This is not a radical statement. Kashmiri Separatism is entirely based on the premise that it belongs to Pakistan due to their shared religion.
Pakistan lays a claim to Kashmir entirely because it’s populated by Muslims. That’s the only basis for their claim. Therefore, it is not far-fetched to assert that the Kashmir problem is primarily a demographic problem, not a political one. The solution to it lies there too.
Political commentators often attribute the cause of the Jihadist takeover of Kashmir to the allegedly rigged state elections of 1987. While it did play a part, its effects did not manifest themselves in the manner political commentators believe they did. The sole reason Kashmir is a Jihadist hellhole today is due to the Genocide of Kashmiri Hindus which occurred two years later. The consequent exodus of Hindus from the valley ensured that there was virtually no community loyal exclusively to the Indian State.
Kashmiri Politicians were well aware that if they were to succeed in their goals, Kashmiri Hindus had to be removed from the Valley. Due to the absence of Kashmiri Hindus, the terrorists could then claim without a shred of shame that Kashmiris unanimously desire to secede from the Indian Union. With their departure, Kashmiri Muslims became the sole custodians of the Valley. They pretended as if a dissenting voice never existed in Kashmir. Thus, the demographic nature of the Kashmiri problem becomes evident.
We are regularly told by liberals that “Diversity is our strength!”. India is great because of its great diversity of traditions and culture, we are told. However, the same argument doesn’t appear to apply to Kashmir. They have one standard for Kashmir and another for the rest of India, it appears liberals do consider Kashmir to be a separate country already.
The entire opposition towards the repeal of Articles 35A and 370 is motivated by a desire to maintain the toxic homogeneity of Kashmir. The Jihadis in the Valley, after having committed genocide of Kashmiri Hindus, homogenized the region completely in their pursuit of the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in Kashmir.
The only long term solution to the problem of Kashmiri separatism is repopulation of the Valley with people whose loyalty lies exclusively to the Indian state. Kashmiri politicians, who are often indistinguishable from separatists and frequently speak out in favour of terrorists, claim that repeal of Articles 35A and 370 is a clear attempt at changing the demography of the Valley.
It is a historical fact that the demography of Kashmir was not changed by the Indian state. Kashmiri Muslims committed a genocide to rig the demography in their favour. The Indian State needs to step in and right the historical wrong that was committed by Jihadists in the Valley.
As liberals are fond of saying, Diversity is our strength. The Secular State of India should pay tribute to the ideals of liberalism like it does with regard to every other matter. Kashmir should be enriched with people from all other parts of India. It requires the collective strength of India as a country to rescue Kashmir from the throes of Jihad. If Diversity can be India’s strength, it can be Kashmir’s strength as well.
However, the repopulation of the Valley will not be enough. It needs to be ensured that people from across India who are allotted residence in the valley have political power that supersedes that of the Jihadist faction. The genocide of Kashmiri Hindus was a natural consequence of the policies adopted by the secular state of India since independence.
The first major policy that undermined the influence of Kashmir Hindus in the state was the land reforms carried out by Sheikh Abdullah in 1950. Through subsequent land reforms, the landholdings of Hindu landlords were continuously taken away without any compensation to them and redistributed among its Muslim population. Thus, it severely undermined the influence of Hindus in the state. It was the implementation of Communist policies to achieve communal goals.
Moreover, the right of the state government to determine its own permanent residents meant that they could effectively maintain strict control over the state’s demography. Combined with the riots committed against Hindus at regular intervals, which caused many to leave the Valley even before the Exodus in 1990, was another strategy to win the demographic war. These historical wrongs need to be corrected by the secular state of India if Kashmir is to be rescued from the menace of Jihad.
Thus, it’s quite clear that mere cultural enrichment of the Valley through repopulation is not enough. Financial repatriation to Hindu victims is also long overdue. They need to be politically empowered enough so that another genocide cannot occur after Kashmir is culturally enriched. A separate commission could also be created which focuses entirely on the welfare of the residents settled after diversity is introduced in Kashmir.
The cultural enrichment of Kashmir is the only long term solution to the menace of terrorism. Therefore, the abolition of Articles 35A and 370 is of paramount importance and only then could there ever be hope for a new dawn. But one should remember that mere abolition of the said articles is not enough, the state-backed introduction of diversity in the Valley and the empowerment of the newly settled population is essential towards integrating Kashmir with the rest of India.