A Lesson in Kashmiri: Hilal Mir

Guest post by HILAL MIR

On a clear spring day in the year 2000, the first year of my masters in journalism at Kashmir university, the class was taken to Sogam for a field trip. Zafar Hyderi, our esteemed teacher much respected for his integrity than scholarship was keen on students having practical experience. We were supposed to visit areas where only radio works because the mountains girding these areas don’t allow television signals from Srinagar Doordarshan to enter the homes. Imagine the relief of not having to watch 24X7 the official propaganda. Since Zafar Sir taught radio, these places provided him a cathartic vindication of the superiority of his medium (though secretly he might have aspired to make a name in TV). Such places are aptly called Shadow Zones. These could well be called shadow zones for other reasons too, as much of the barbarity unleashed by the state in such areas remains buried under shadows, itching to be put into words or images.

No sooner did we reach Sogam around noon that I spotted a man who worked as a domestic help for a Khoja family in Nawab Bazar, my native place in old Srinagar. He felt uneasy and asked me several times what brought us here. The reason for his tension soon appeared: a bearded Kashmiri gunman nourished by the local army unit (cleverly allowed by the state to be called Ikhwani or nawabadi etc.,) appeared with a light machine gun slung across his shoulders. Girls accompanying us grew nervous. Since I had been tasked with arranging lunch for the class, more than 35 of them, I was eager that we finish the wazwan bought from a restaurant in Lal Chowk and then study the shadow zones. On a slope, we spread a dastarkhwan and groups of four pounced on tramis.

Lunch over, an army major, probably a Keralite Christian as I could figure out from his nameplate needled to his left khaki shirt pocket, walked up to and greeted Zafar Sir. He had an unusually dark and large face accentuated by dark sunglasses so much so that a smile seemed to descend down his covered eyes and spread on the rest of the face. Whether the smile was friendly or fake, I couldn’t make out. Zafar Sir couldn’t hide his nervousness. He fumbled to explain the purpose of our visit and I don’t think the Major understood any of it.

The Major, thoroughly educated in administering a military occupation, instinctively seemed to have analysed the situation. Here is a bunch of impressionable students about to enter the media. Why lose the chance to educate this seemingly bright bunch of colonials about the “humanistic face” of Indian army. The Major then addressed us thus:

“This is a very dangerous area. We have orders to shoot anybody moving about during the night hours. But our relationship with the locals is so intimate that we can easily figure out who is who from their manner of speaking. So when a villager ventures out during the night for water or any other contingency, my boys don’t shoot as they can figure out that he is a local. And when he talks, my boys will say, ‘he is Ghulam Rasool’”.

A boy aged ten or eleven, clad in a ragged  Khan dress and a torn sweater that could have scared away vultures, dashed into the circle we had formed around the Major. The boy had in his hand a stick he was using to propel a discarded rubber rim of a wheel, a favourite childhood pastime for the underprivileged. He listened to the conversation between the Major and Zafar Sir quite intently, and then, without an iota of fear in his innocent eyes, he said, “Hatav yuhav chhuv tur wanan, yimav khochhan, yimanav mithr pakaan  (Hey, he is lying. They are scared; they piss in their pants).

We smothered our laughter. The Major probably got a drift of what the boy said. But he didn’t shed his colonial swagger and said in a patronising manner, “These boys are very naughty. They come up to us many a time in a day and say in our faces ‘kafiro, Kashmir hamara chhod do (infidels, leave our Kashmir). But they are only kids and we love them.”

Now that the army will learn the Kashmiri language, I imagine retrospectively, what would have been the fate of the ragged boy had an Indian soldier understood his chaste Kashmiri? Public Safety Act?

40 thoughts on “A Lesson in Kashmiri: Hilal Mir”

  1. Hello Dear, Dont make this up and fake it.
    we know about your jihad and your taqiya very well. dont make a fool oit of yourself.

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  2. Interesting story. However, it does put the presence of army in Kashmir in perspective. First, the only reason the Indians (and non-Muslim Kashmiris) don’t belong in Kashmir is that they are seen as “kafirs” — this is the crux of the conflict, because kids are indoctrinated in this lesson from their birth. Second, kids can walk upto the “occupying” army and tell them things like that, so one can figure out how horrible the locals’ life is because of the army. Third, if the army “pisses in its pants”, what kind of an “occupation” is this?

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  3. Fourth, India in this story is represented by a Keralite, a Christian, a dark complexioned guy, who perhaps doesn’t even speak Hindi. Separatism on the basis of regional, religious, linguistic identity and skin color is specially unique to Kashmir.

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    1. What is wrong with a Keralaite being dark-skinned, and India being represented by him? Aren`t most Indians dark skinned? Why would calling a dark skinned man, dark skinned be racsim??

      There is nothing “seperatistic” about how Hilal has defined the Major. Unfortunately, it`s your prejudices that interpret it as racist.

      AS for this being unique, let me tell you, Indians are the most racist people on earth. Want proof? Try reading the matrimonial section of any Indian daily!

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      1. Indians are racist? .. Indians are a complex people. They are secular, communal, racist, liberal etc and many other things. Are they the most racist people on earth? Come on, surely the Pakistanis who considered their shorter and darker east Pakistani brethren as being inferior to themselves and went on to murder and rape millions as a result, surely they deserve that honor

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  4. Dear Mr. Kaul,

    Had your surname not suggested a Kashmiri identity, I would have taken your Fourth (supplementary) point with a pinch of salt.

    The bases of separatism you list are not “specially unique to Kashmir.” It is only a question of who is calling whom a separatist, and on what basis.

    For example, if people who culturally identify with parts of India that lie outside the Hindi-Punjabi-Urdu speaking parts of the country seek to assert their regional or linguistic identity they are “regional”, “parochial”, even “separatist”, whereas the regionalism, parochialism etc. of North Indians goes under the name of “nationalism”.

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  5. I didn’t exactly understand what the kid meant. Who’s the Indian Army scared of? The Kashmiri Awaam? Or their “well-wishers” from across the border? I remember coming across an article by a young Kashmiri lady who referred to ‘fearsome, bearded, armed men’ coming from across the border during early 90s. Is the Indian Army scared of these men?

    And there seems to be at least one factual inaccuracy. The post refers to the Major wearing a Khaki uniform. To the best of my knowledge, none of the Infantry regiments of the Indian Army wear Khaki uniform (From the context it appears that the said major belongs to Infantry). It’s Olive Green. Always.

    However, I am not sure whether Mr. Mir is aware of the fact that Khaki happens to be uniform of Pakistani Army.

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  6. well said R.Kaul , even the news that Brazilian football coach for the kashmiri team Mr Juan Marcos Troia received threats to his life forcing him to consider leaving Kashmir, is a non story for them.

    Instead of brazilian , if he was a Western national at least there may be some hue on similar lines of Islamophobia

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  7. It is unfortunate that Indians from different states are pitted against kashmiris,we should appreciate the Govt to select a Kerala Christian to fight against the Muslim Kasmiris.

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  8. @Advocate-of-Cultural-Plurality
    I advocate what you advocate — cultural plurality. And that is exactly why I think the idea of Kashmir’s separation is a bad idea. Yes, you guessed it right – I am a Kashmiri speaking Kashmiri, and the title of this post brought me back to this blog after a long time. My point is, if a Keralite Christian has no problem identifying himself as an Indian, why does a Kashmiri Muslim? Cultural plurality is well and good, and it is alive and well in Kashmir as long as Kashmiris themselves don’t kill it. An Indian “occupation” is neither killing it nor suppressing it. The nationalism that you are attributing to North Indians only is actually more or less spread across the length and breadth of India now, and only stops at the Banihal tunnel. The only thing Kashmiris are not getting as part of India is an Islamic nation. I guess they are entitled to that too; just don’t camouflage it as anything else.

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  9. Dear Nagal,

    When you say “to fight against the Muslim Kasmiris”, I request you to choose your words more carefully as such blanket generalizations are both misleading and dangerous. ‘Kashmiri Muslims’ is an extremely broad term in the sense of its use in context of such a sensitive issue. Indian Army is not in the valley to fight Kashmiri Muslims in general, who are as much as citizens of India (at least technically) as you (assuming you are)and I are. Also, being a Kashmiri Muslim doesn’t automatically make a person an enemy of the Indian state.

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  10. the above comments make me realize why Kashmiris will never feel like a part of India. not with this mindset of the public at large. its no longer the fault of the british divide and rule policy or the partition time politics or the army atrocities or AFSPA or the general govt apathy or even foreign militants. the India public at large is at fault for the alienation of our own fellow citizens; not just in Kashmir, but also in the North East and the naxal/maoist belts!
    it is our fault. we cannot blame anyone else for all the internal unrest in our own country.
    Jai Hind. but do we really mean it?

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  11. R Kaul’s response is a standard Kashmiri Pandit response—raise the bogey of Islamism every time Kashmiris demand their right to self determination. A dialogue with such an ossified political stance is futile. But it is important to reply to his knee jerk conclusions. First, it is the Major who is accusing the child of labelling Indian soldiers as kafirs. There is no way to ascertain the veracity of his statement, especially in light of the mountains of lies unleashed by the massive Indian juggernaut, the politician-military-journalist-corporate complex. But as pre-determined mindsets do, Kaul paints the canvass blindly.
    Second, Kaul attempts to link Kashmiri “separatism” with racism of the skin colour. It seems to be purely coincidental that the Major was dark skinned. He could very well have been a ghora-chitta Punjabi, Kumaoni, Naga or even a Kashmiri. Worse, it could have been Omar Abdullah. The junior Abdullah is a white-skinned “civilian” administrator of the world’s most unreported and sly military occupation. Do you really believe India is morally bound to allow Kashmiris an “Islamic nation” you think “they are entitled to”?

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  12. @Javed
    Well, then you tell me why the need for separatism and “self-determination” is limited to one community and one region in the whole state? Why does a Ladakhi in the North and the Jammuite in the South ask for self-determination? Why does a Hindu Kashmiri or Sikh Kashmiri not ask for self determination? Why can a Kashmiri not live peacefully in a unified India created out of similarly diverse peoples and regions?

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    1. If the demand for right of self-determination is limited to a single community, does that make it invalid? Was the demand for right to self determination not limited to particular communities in East Timor, Kosovo, Quebec, Northern Ireland? Why do Kashmiri Pandits support India and not their Kashmiri Muslim neighbours with whom they share the bond since the creation?

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      1. Why do Kashmiri Pandits support India and not their Kashmiri Muslim neighbours with whom they share the bond since the creation?
        Answer:

        Seccularism even with all excuses (As in India) is a detested word among the Muslim polity(Aontemporary proofs : Egypt , Syria, Tunisia). Can you make a statement that the other part of kashmir(PaK) follow a system which is tolerant to minorities at least to the extent as in India?

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        1. If the demand for right of self-determination is limited to a single community, does that make it invalid? No it doesn’t. But it should be limited to that community and the area they live in, and the reason should be clear — unwillingness of an Islamic majority to live within a non-Islamic system. Why don’t we KPs support you? Simply because we don’t see what the quarrel is about, and we see no reason to rise against our country. Loving our state does not mean hating our country. Ironically, KMs have always dominated the scene in the state at other people’s and other region’s expense, and they are the ones playing the victims. Stop fighting and the Keralite Kafir will get out of there in no time.

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      2. Dear Javed,

        You have answered your question yourself.

        Mr. Kaul’s reply was in response to your assertion that Kashmiri Pandits always raise the bogey of Islamism whenever the question of right to self-determination comes. In response, to his reply you asked the question about what is wrong in a particular community (ethnic or religious or both) seeking self-determination. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong in that. But then the logical extension of this statement (read along with Mr. Kaul’s reply) is that the common thread in this ‘single community’ (which you have referred to in your reply) is Islam. And that’s what, in my opinion, Mr. Kaul had meant.

        Without making contradictory statements, you can simply say that it’s the Kashmiri Muslims who are seeking self-determination.

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  13. Same old, same old. there have been so many debates here on kafila but raman kaul saab refuses to move on, to even pretend that these arguments have taken place. but i respect him for making his points without bile or hate, and same for Javed here.

    I think that the “Islamism” bogey may not be a complete bogey. Clearly, it is Kashmiri Muslims who want azadi and the Hindus don’t so there must be something about religion?

    But Kaul saab there’s a social history to this, and, yawn, may one point you for the nth time to Mridu Rai’s book?

    The problem with the islamism bogey is that it makes it simplistic, as though that is all it is about. Why is it that I have whiskey-guzzling atheist mullah-hating Kashmiri Muslim friends who are as passionate about azadi as anyone else?

    I have to agree that Kashmiris have some racism – it’s unmistakable in some of the articulations of their identity politics. And when I say Kashmiris here I include the Pandits!

    If its about Islam why do most Kashmiri Muslims want azadi and not merger with Pakistan?

    Would Kashmiri Pandits have chosen to be “Indians” if India was a (non-Kashmiri) Muslim-majority secular democracy?

    Why do Kashmiri Sikhs not get purged out of the Valley? Surely they wouldn’t like to live in a Shariah state?

    Do a people whose politics or religion or religious politics we don’t like not have the right to self-determination?

    Should the British not have given India freedom because of the caste and communal contestations?

    If Nepal could be a Hindu-majority Hindu monarchy-turned-secular republic, why not Kashmir?

    If a people who are communal are to be denied their democratic rights, why should Narendra Modi be allowed to contest elections?

    Surely, Kashmiri Muslims must have many different reasons to demand azadi? Someone wants it for Kashmir, someone for Islam, someone to become a Prime Minister, someone to get rid of AFSPA and PSA, someone to merge with Pakistan? So let us hold a plebiscite, let people choose between India, Pakistan and Azadi? Given that different people want different things, let us apply the principle of democracy and let the majority decide?

    I love Kashmir and would like it to be part of my country. But not over the barrel of the gun. If India can hold onto Kashmir without AFSPA, PSA, CRPF, Army, BSF (except for the border), rigged elections, crushed protests, bunkers in neighbourhoods, without having children shout India Go Back, without people willing to die for Azadi… I’m fine with it. Why is it that this great beautiful secular country of mine is not able to sell its greatness, democracy, pluralism, secularism to a majority of the people of the Kashmir Valley?

    Because they’re bigoted Muslims? Well then let’s get rid of these bigoted Muslims. Just as those wanted Pakistan and Bangladesh are separate. What is the big deal? If I cannot buy property and live in my ancestral land (Lahore), and I’m not dying because of that, why can’t Kaul saab let go of Kashmir?

    And lastly, yawn. Tell us something new.

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  14. @Vij Saab
    Let me answer your last question first. I HAVE let go of Kashmir, and so have all Kashmiri Hindus. Any Kashmiri Hindu who says he will go back is living in a dream world. When we get riled up at the mention of Kashmir, we do so as Indians, and because we understand what all the duplicity is about. Personally, I believe Kashmir should be let go. But only Kashmir valley – the 10 districts of the valley. They should not drag the rest of the state or the country with them — other parts do not want any part of it. But giving it secular legitimacy or a matter of victimhood or human rights is what I don’t accept. Other regions of the state were also “occupied” and they always got the worse end of the deal, still they are fine being with India.
    > Same old, same old. there have been so many debates here on kafila but …
    Yes, the comments are same old, same old, and so are the blog posts. When you start writing something new, you will get new comments. Would you, for example, accept a guest post written from my point of view? Or from a point of view that shows India in a good light in Kashmir? Or from a KP victim of Islamic terror in Kashmir?
    > But Kaul saab there’s a social history to this, and, yawn, may one point you for the nth time to Mridu Rai’s book?
    Well, Vij saab, Mridu Rai’s book is not the Bible on Kashmir — it is just a point of view which is as skewed as any. Only more so.
    > The problem with the islamism bogey is that it makes it simplistic, as though that is all it is about.
    > Why is it that I have whiskey-guzzling atheist mullah-hating Kashmiri Muslim friends who are as passionate about azadi as anyone else?
    Islamism is the basis of it all. Everything else is a derivative. Even the founder of Pakistan, I am told, was a whiskey guzzling pork eating Muslim. It is the ideology that counts.
    > If its about Islam why do most Kashmiri Muslims want azadi and not merger with Pakistan?
    How do you know that? Is that a result of some survey you conducted? I have lived among them and know that their loyalties are only towards Pakistan. But seeing the way Pakistan has gone, some find their support of Pakistan indefensible, so they talk about azadi.
    > Would Kashmiri Pandits have chosen to be “Indians” if India was a (non-Kashmiri) Muslim-majority secular democracy?
    “Muslim-majority secular democracy” is an oxymoron. But we WERE living in a Muslim-majority society until ’89, until we were kicked out. A select group of Kashmiri Hindus in the past may have been among the elite, but post-independence, most Hindus in the valley were living simple lives and were discriminated against in the society. They were not living as elite rulers, as some are trying to project.
    > Why do Kashmiri Sikhs not get purged out of the Valley? Surely they wouldn’t like to live in a Shariah state?
    They wouldn’t and they won’t. In the late eighties, the Punjab imbroglio had not yet died down fully and the Muslims used the Sikhs’ dissatisfaction at that time to keep them as allies (“India is our common enemy!”). Sikhs who could stay stayed. Still Chhattisinghpora happened, which I am sure you will blame on the Indians. All said and done, no Sikhs will stay if Kashmir secedes. Do you see any of them saying “Hum kya chaahte..”? If you know the answer to the question, “azadi ka matlab kya?”, then you will know it is limited to certain people.
    > Do a people whose politics or religion or religious politics we don’t like not have the right to self-determination?
    I never said they don’t. But the question is at what level do you start letting people self-determine? At mohalla level, at district level, at state level? Should we let Jama Masjid area in Delhi self determine? No country in the world functions that way.
    > Should the British not have given India freedom because of the caste and communal contestations?
    India-as-part-of-Britain is not remotely equal to Kashmr-as-part-of-India….. Yawn… don’t ask me to explain the logic again. It is like comparing apples to oranges.
    > If Nepal could be a Hindu-majority Hindu monarchy-turned-secular republic, why not Kashmir?
    It can be. Yawn… don’t attribute to me things I didn’t say. In the end I will say, it is a cantankerous part of India that should be let go, even if their demands are not justifiable. Just start talking about Kashmir’s separation from J&K. Surprisingly nobody, not Javed, not Hilal, not Shivam talks about that. That is your only way out. If it is about Kashmiri identity then start talking that way. It is Kashmir’s accession to J&K that started the problem, not Kashmir’s accession to India.

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  15. Fair enough, Kaul saab. You’re saying Kashmir should be allowed to go even though, in your estimation, its demand to do so is illegitimate (though I don’t understand why it’s illegitimate). I would be for a world where there are no nation-states so there’s no question for a mohalla to want to be a nation-state. But such as the world is, I think a state, an entire region (like Nepal, bangladesh, bhutan) is very feasible and viable. I also agree with you there’s no point forcing Jammu and Ladakh to go with the Valley. I don’t think you’ve been able (this has come up in the past) to argue with the Indian occupation of Kashmir is different from the British occupation of India.

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  16. I must also add that your Islamophobia shows when you say:

    “Muslim-majority secular democracy” is an oxymoron.

    Why is a Muslim-majority secular democracy an oxymoron (heard of Turkey?) and a Hindu-majority secular democracy is not an oxymoron?

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    1. The Wikipedia page on Islam and Secularism has a list of Muslim-majority countries which are also secular. While the list is not very large (relative to the number of muslim-majority countries), it is not insignificant.

      We middle-class Indians don’t give much thought to Africa — frankly, our attitudes towards Africans are racist — but it is worth noting that the first president of independent Senegal was Leopold Senghor, a very distinguished French poet who was in office from 1960-1980. Senghor was a Roman Catholic in a country which is 90% Muslim. (Check the Wikipedia page on Senegal.)

      Even where Islam is a state religion, matters are more complex than we think.

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  17. It’s a pity Hilal Mir’s very interesting piece here has run into the usual stalemate of unimaginative comments. I thought his point was a brilliant one: an occupation army that can’t be bothered to learn the language of those it occupies has little chance of winning “hearts and minds”, has it? The little boy just made nonsense of this claim under one of its officers’ noses — he just demonstrated that if India holds on to Kashmir it does not do so with the consent of Kashmiris (the violence of occupation flows from this).

    As for Mr. Kaul’s comment: “Vij saab, Mridu Rai’s book is not the Bible on Kashmir — it is just a point of view which is as skewed as any. Only more so,” I was tempted to ask why my book was “more” skewed than any. But forget it, Mr. Kaul’s response is probably going to be as ignorant of my views as “any” (as he has offered in the past on Kafila). Life’s too short to volunteer oneself for a display of sanctimoniousness.

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    1. Thanks Kafila. Definitely Mir has won the Hearts and minds of you white Indians(Hindus).
      Thanks also for creating new synonym for oppressor – dark Indian in Kashmir.

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      1. Shivam, could you as moderator explain to me what this response to my response means? White Indians and dark Indians… could he mean brown sahibs v….and … no, I don’t get it. All I can tell is that said person is not advocating some happy rainbow coalition.

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  18. @Shivam
    At the risk of being branded as having “ignorant and unimaginative views” I will answer your questions. Yes, I am an Islamophobic, or rather an Islamismophobic, if there is such a word — and I am really afraid, really phobic. Nothing good will come out of the spread of Islamism (or of Hindutva, or of Christianism). In fact, I am a strict believer in separation of state and religion, and I think Islam is the biggest anti-thesis of that. Turkey is an exception, rather than a rule — I could have said that in my original comment. India is an example of a Hindu-majority secular democracy, but since there are not many such countries, there is no question of rule or exception. Personally, I believe that religion should be a personal thing, rather than something on which nations are sought to be separated.

    Minus Jammu and Ladakh, Kashmir is only 7% of the area of the whole state, or 15% of the state under Indian control (read my explanation on my blog). Well, if that is a nation state, I am all for its independence. I agree it is time India gave it up and moved on. I would like to see more vocal Kashmiris who ask for a smaller piece of the pie. May be they will get it. I am not optimistic, though. And I don’t think it is a viable country, given its size.

    Regarding how India-in-Kashmir is different from Britain-in-India, let me tell you my reasons. Britain was a country from another continent, another race, that came to India and occupied it. J&K is part of the subcontinent, most part of it is anyway India, and it was a certain twist of events that led to Kashmir landing up in India. Jammu is India, Ladakh is India, and Kashmir happened to be in between, under the same Raja who couldn’t make up his mind. Rest is history. It was part of the real estate that was distributed between India and Pakistan, and some of that turned out to be unfair to some people — lots of people. In spite of that, Kashmir had some India in it, it had some Hindu history, some Hindu population, even if not a majority any longer. How is that comparable to British presence in India?

    @Mridu
    Maybe I got ahead of myself. I will hold my further comment until I have read your book — maybe you should send me a copy ;-). The title of the book itself is something that I find partisan. As I said before, there have been all combinations of “rulers-subjects” in the subcontinent before partition. Also, during our discussion last year, you promised to return with more. You never did. :-)

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    1. @Kaul: I wonder the point of all your pontification when you say of a book “it is just a point of view which is as skewed as any. Only more so.” without having read it !!!!

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    2. Just to throw in my two pence worth on Mr R Kaul’s observations on British colonial rule and Indian state in Kashmir.
      Colonials rules are characterised by the suppression of the culture and language, and economic exploitation of the local populace. Rulers show absolute disregard and contempt for the local culture and attempt to purify it or make it more civilised (both in their definition), they impose a language unknown to the population as the official language and they utilise local resources for only for the their own development of and benefit.

      And all of these take place under the active patronage of the state as a matter of policy and will not be limited to the individual whims and fancies of an officer employed with the rulers.

      I do not think Indian state exhibits any of these characteristics in Kashmir. There is no denying the fact that the Indian state has acted in excess and imposed draconian laws not worthy of democracy, violated human rights on many counts, but this in itself does not make it a colonial ruler. No, this does not exonerate the state either.

      I cannot but think about the Pakistani rule in east Pakistan – perhaps because Bangladesh is celebrating 40 years of experience this year. The west Pakistan had a minority share of Pakistan’s total population, but still it had the largest share of revenue allocation, industrial development, agricultural reforms and civil development projects. Pakistan’s military and civil services were dominated by the,Persian cultured Punjabis and Afgans. Only one regiment in the Pakistani Army was Bengali.

      On the question of language, the estrangement was at such that the struggle for freedom became synonymous with the struggle for the right of language (Bhasa Andolon).

      These are easily observable signs of colonial exploitation of people of east Pakistan, which led to the Bangladeshi sub-nationalism. I do not think the same can be said about the Indian state of Kashmir.

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      1. Pinak is right. If the British had not acted in a colonial and exploitative way, the Raj would not have been termed colonial rule and Indians might have even been happy living in a British empire as equal stakeholders.
        A classic case of colonial rule in the subcontinent would in fact be Balochistan where the region’s natural resources are being exploited by the Pakistani state.

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  19. Raman, gifting my book to you might have been an investment except that I am not too optimistic it would change anything. Last year, you said the same thing, and when I interjected you admitted the same thing — namely that you in effect were taking umbrage only at the title of my work and did not know its substance. I don’t believe it would be wise economics to throw money at a stuck record (notice I am referring here also to your tendency to have preconceived notions), so I’m out. :-)

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  20. Wow – Mr. Kaul, thank you for voicing what a lot of us Pandits have felt for a long long time. Finally a voice for the rest of us Kashmiri Indians.

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  21. There’s a huge non-sequitor in the article, actually two..One has been covered by Rajarshi – Indian Army is never clad in khakis, that is the colour of the Pak Army uniform…Its always olive green..

    Second, officers/men of the Indian Army deployed in Kashmircannot speak Kashmiri?! A very large part of the force deployed at any point in time in J&K come from JAK LI and JAK Rif – regiments that recruit exclusively from J&K…There are enough Kashmiri officers too…Part fo the standard operating procediure for any unit deployed is to have at least some officers and men proficient in the language…

    Yes, about the larger issue of J&K, if a bunch of Kashmiri muslims dont like to remain within India, tough luck to be honest…The fate of 140 million Indian muslims canot be endangered because a few million KMs want to secede…And the security of 1.2 billion Indians cannot be left in the lurch with an “independent J&K” sandwiched between a Talibanised Pakistan and a rapacious Chinese state…

    Shivam does well to bring up the example of Turkey – well, Turkey, “a secular muslim democracy”, does not allow the Kurd to secede, isnt it? We have stronger reasons than that, and daresay KMs in India have much better chances (and above all rights – equal to all Indians, a right to vote, but not a right to veto) than Kurds in Turkey…

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    1. Turkey, “a secular muslim democracy” . that too the qusetion is how long its going to remain so. Celebrating the Ottoman ancestory has taken precedence over existing Attaturkian seccular establishment

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      1. Turkey is not a “secular Muslim democracy”. Kemal Ataturk ripped out Islam from the heart of the Turkish Republic, that is why it is “secular” with a Muslim majority population. Ataturk is hated by most conservative Muslims because he forcefully “nationalized” Turkish Muslims – they were to be Turks first before they could be part of the “ummah”. The Koran was to be written in Turkish, not Arabic. Instead of Arabized script, Turkish was to be written in the Roman script. Women were encouraged to unveil. The mullah-masjid-shariah nexus was repressed with force. He said things along the lines of “For five hundred years, these rules and theories of an Arab sheikh and the interpretations of generations of lazy and good-for-nothing priests have decided the civil and criminal laws of Turkey…It might have suited tribes in the desert. It is no good for a modern, progressive state.” I really doubt that it is an Ataturk-type republic that the separatists of the Kashmir valley are fighting for – rather, they want quite the opposite.

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  22. Mr Kaul, thank you for speaking up for us Kashmiris. First time hearing a rational voice on this issue

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  23. “Kashmiri Indian”…what an oxymoron !!! I wonder whats wrong with Kashmri Pandits…why the hell they wanted to side with india…if they ahd sisied with their cultural brethren in 1989 none of these sorry things would have happened.

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  24. @Yousuf
    Kashmiri Indian is not an oxymoron, it is a reality. It is “Azad Kashmir” that is an oxymoron. Both of them – the one across the LOC and the one in your dreams. Regarding ’89 the same thing can be said about you people — why the hell…..? So many sorry things could have been avoided.

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