Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sanghavi for Kashmir secession

Vir Sanghavi argues that India should just let go of Kashmir. His argument is partly founded on the definition of democracy that the state ascribes to, and partly on the argument that we have done all we could have for the Kashmiris and yet have only ungratefulness and zillat(" Pakistan, a small, second-rate country that has been left far behind by India, suddenly acts as though it is on par with us, lecturing India in human rights and threatening to further internationalise the present crisis") to show.

He says that already Kashmir is overprivileged in terms of its special rights: 'Under Article 370 of our Constitution, with the exception of defence, foreign policy, and communication, no law enacted by parliament has any legitimacy in Kashmir unless the state government gives its consent. The state is the only one in India to have its own Constitution and the President of India cannot issue directions to the state government in exercise of the executive power of the Union as he can in every other state. Kashmiri are Indian citizens but Indians are not necessarily Kashmiri citizens. We cannot vote for elections to their assembly or own any property in Kashmir. '

Moreover, the state is a big drain in grants and central support, shouldering out needy states like Bihar by a factor of ten.

And of course, the enormous drain on military expenditures, lives, morale and the increasing threats of terrorism.

He argues against the fear that this solution would encourage other secessionist movements. Ultimately, there has to be some out-of-the-box solution to the Kashmr crisis, ans it's far ahead of any other secessionist threat that has ever faced the country.

The reason he ascribes to India's holding on to the truculent and bloodied Valley is machismo.

I liked his arguments. Just some doubts: if we're thinking of letting it go, why not first start with revoking Article 370 and see if it worsens the situation any further, besides the three months long riots. The entire Valley is guilty of ethnic cleansing in the nineties; silence and even tacit support by the populace in the terror campaign against the minority is how the Jews were cleared off too. What stops us from flooding our Bihari migrant workers to the Valley like the Chinese fed their Han population to Tibet? Fear of unrest? How worse can it get than it has been so far? After all, these are the people who scared away the tens of lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits from their own homes?

Bloody protests will follow, but as I said, what's new? The two outcomes to the revocation would be either eventual peace (with the current status accorded a huge bargaining advantage in favor of the nation) or eventual secession. Either way, we would not lose face as a credible democracy in the long run.

Instead of cutting off the hand, why not first take out the iron fist beneath the velvet glove first?

9 comments:

Nothing Spectacular said...

Great thought! I like it :-)

TradeExpress said...

caution is adviced when going through articles which bind the individual and state into a comely "we". the immediate conclusion is, i as an individual and my larger abstraction, the State, which come togather to form this "we", are benevolent.

The Indian state's concessions to the Kasmiri state may be likened to bones thrown to a chained dog to keep it quiet.

i prefer the views of a dissenter like Arundhati Roy (http://newshopper.sulekha.com/newscomments/2008/08/kashmir-needs-freedom-from-india-arundhati-roy.htm).

the problem in Kashmir is tremendously complex, consisting of a complex series of actions and reactions. but any conceptual framework which assumes a benevolent "we" meaning the State, couldnt we farther from the truth, or even a genuine assessment of the problem.

bookz said...

tradeexpress,
It is bloody simple. The valley muslims are a drain on India's meagre resources and a danger to it. Today they are India's liability. If we let go off them, then they will be the international communities liabilty. It's simply a matter of who is willing to bear the cost? I would think, it would be a country whose security would be threatened if it didn't. That unfortunate country happens to be India.

Kholu said...

@tradeexpress: i like that bone analogy. But i disagree with the chained part. India has allowed the J&K ppl to migrate and settle into other parts of india at will, they have been treated as more than equals and given their right to vote, self administration like all the other states in India. Compare that with what has been going on in PoK, and may be you will see the "chained dog" analogy in a new light. As for people like Roy lesser said the better.

@Gullu: While as a plan on the drawing board it sounds pretty good I would not like to be the person who has to implement it. China has been able to do it in Tibet coz of a range of factors that are unique to China - lack of civil rights, government controlled media, single party system to name a few. And don't forget that china wields a much bigger baton on the world stage than India.

Bland Spice said...

Hi Pankaj,

Roy seems to more or less reiterate what Sanghavi said. But her contention that a motivated rally is a referendum in itself is dangerously naive. A rally has an agenda - usually a minority (tho' not the rule). People who do not share the same agenda do not rally (Ex. babus rallying for increased pay; you won't expect the non-babus to hold similar rally).

@Kholu - My point was more in facetiousness. But if we're talking about secession, we should abrogate Article 370 first and see. How worse can it get?
More terrorists? But isn't that what the ISI is doing right now? Sending as many as possible. The bottleneck has been the Indian military action and NOT the will of the separatists.
More agitation? Can it get worse than this?

Kholu said...

Gullu i sure agree with u about taking away article 370, it should not have been there in the first place. I read an interesting article on how 3 PM's from the same family have contributed to the mess J&K is these days(will save that story for another day). As far as ISI sending terrorist is concerned am least bothered about that, those kind of supply chains don't last long enough, cause for concern are things that result in home grown terrorism.

Also the fact that iron fist can only work in places where the system does not run on consensus, dude this is india, you take away article 370 and ppl like lalu and paswan will be howling their balls out of their throats. Don't know if any political party will ever have the will to take out article 370.

But yes you are right the bottle neck has been the indian military action, but its a double edged sword, there is hardly a militancy/terrorist movement in the world which has been wiped out just by use of force. Palestine, Afganistan, Iraq, Ireland, Indonesia, Assam, Punjab being the case in point- if the srilankan govt is able to destroy LTTE i guess it will be a first, but who knows how long before another Prabhakaran pops up.

TradeExpress said...

roy and vir have followed different threads of reasoning to arrive at the same conclusion.

roy - we need to let them go because they want to (a huge majority seems to want to go)

vir - we need to let them go because they're sucking out our resources.

its obviously also not all hunky dory in the valley - the human rights abuses by the army have been well documented, including by organizations like human rights watch.

TradeExpress said...

if the govt was confident of a majority not wanting to leave, there would have been a referendum.

i'm tempted to think vir is being disingenuous to further a sensitive conclusion. but just because hes a charming man and does good food articles doesn't mean he upholds "liberal" values :).

gayatri said...

Couldn't disagree with u