Resolution of Kashmir Problem

Prof. Suresh Chander Perhaps no other treaty, after a war, in the world had its reverberations for almost two hundred years as the treaty of Amritsar 1846. It may be interesting to examine this treaty and its after effects till date. The treaty resulted in the merger of Jammu under the control of Maharaja Gulab Singh and an entity called Kashmir directly administered by the Lahore Darbar. This gave birth to a new state called Jammu & Kashmir popularly known in the state as Jammu va Kashmir – ‘va’ is Persian/Arabic word for ‘and’. Thus two States, Kashmir and Jammu came under one kingdom namely Jammu & Kashmir. After this treaty, Europeans started visiting the valley. For them, Kashmir became synonymous with the valley and the state as they found very little interest in the other parts of the state. Kashmiri leaders and civil society took full advantage of this confusion. In the process they became the sole arbitrator of the state and the only voice of the state. For almost all experts in India and abroad, Kashmir means the valley only. For all practical purposes Jammu and Kashmir became Kashmir. The expression Jammu and Kashmir remained only in the government documents. Jammu became hyphenated with Kashmir. This misconception was further strengthened on 27 May 1949 by the then Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Affairs, Gopalaswami Ayyangar, stating, “in the Draft Constitution, the Schedule mentions the State of Kashmir” and “in the list that is attached to the Constituent Assembly Rules, it is already described as Kashmir”. Objections were raised by members of the Constituent Assembly, notably Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra from Bengal and Professor K T Shah from Bihar, about describing the State as only the State of Kashmir instead of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. As a result, the deadlock continued. Ultimately, Ayyangar moved an amendment to his own motion and suggested that the name of the state be read as the “State of Kashmir (otherwise known as the State of Jammu & Kashmir)”. It is a classic case of ‘Tail wagging the Dog’. The younger generation both in Valley and Jammu is confused. The Kashmiri youth due to the socalled “Kashmir Issue” are not sure about his status. And a Jammu damsel bemoans as follows: Kashmir is Kashmir Jammu is also Kashmir Ladakh is also Kashmir GB is also Kashmir POJ (Pak Occupied Jammu) is POK (Pak Occupied Kashmir) Jammu & GBL – What am I? In absence of the Amritsar treaty Kashmir would have become part of the British India and Jammu would have been one of the several states under the British. The British would certainly not have introduced the State Subject to allay the fears of the Kashmiri Pandits. Extending the argument further, Sheikh would have no reason to mobilise Kashmiris against a Hindu Maharaja. It may appear to be ifs and buts of history of no relevance in the present times. However, sometimes the solutions to present problems are hidden somewhere in history. Going fast forward to 1947, Kashmir would have become part of Pakistan just like Sindh, Balochistan, and Pushtun areas. Unlike Sindhis, Pushtuns and Blochs, Kashmiris would well have forgotten their Kashmiriyat under the boots of Pakistani Generals. Pakistan would have been deprived of the K word, what they call as the jugular vein of Pakistan, a cornerstone of their internal and external policies. Pakistan’s existence lately has become due to the K word. No Mujahids would be there to liberate Kashmir. We would have a peaceful region devoid of conspiracy theories, deprived of wisdom of the intellectual class for resolution of the Kashmir problem. No LAC violations resulting in casualties everyday and uncertainty of lives of people on both sides of the line. Can we unwind History? Certainly not. But we can unwind the treaty of Amritsar to the extent it is possible today. How? Terminate the alliance between Jammu and Kashmir forged in 1846. The K word will reduce its domain only to the valley. Jammu will become free from the protagonists enthusiasts of the K word. The Kashmiris will be happy as they have always hated the Amritsar Treaty 1846 The fears that the remaining part of Jammu and Kashmir will be easily swallowed by Pakistan is to insult the Kashmiri identity so laboriously built by Sheikh Mohmmad Abdullah. They know that Kashmiris will be nobody in Pakistan, their Kashmiriyat will be buried deep down. It was precisely for this reason that Sheikh very correctly threw his lot with India in 1947. The supporters of the K word will have no interest in Poonch, Rajouri etc. So hopefully that part of the country will become peaceful. Jammu and Kashmir will become peaceful neighbours sans their conflicts usually seen in a joint family. Both regions will prosper when there will be no conflict of interests. The biggest gainers will be the Muslims of Jammu. There will be no big brother from Kashmir any more. It is said that there are many Kashmirs within Jammu, mainly in Muslim majority areas of the Jammu region. The development in these mini Kashmirs will bring enormous prosperity to these areas in particular and Jammu in general benefiting the local inhabitants. New Jammu: It will be of Jammu people, by Jammu people, and for Jammu people in sync with Prime Minister Modi’s Sab ka Vikas, Sab Ka Saath mantra. (The author is former Head of Computer Engineering Department in G B Pant University of Agriculture & Technology)