The concept of partition is anathema to Indians. Kashmir’s symbolism to India is as critical a consideration as any security significance associated with this fragment of ice and rock threaded by a beautiful valley. New Delhi is also concerned that Kashmiri autonomy would set a precedent for breakaway movements in other Indian states (e.g., Punjab or Assam).
To Pakistan, Kashmir is symbolic of its national ethos and commitment to protect Muslim interests against Indian encroachment. It believes that the creation of a separate, strongly sectarian nation is incomplete without contiguous Kashmir.
Kashmir, in brief, symbolizes the enmity that Hindus and Muslims harbour for one another.
The earliest recorded history of Kashmir by Kalhana begins at the time of the Mahabharata war. In the 3rd century BC, emperor Ashoka introduced Buddhism in the valley. Kashmir became a major hub of Hindu culture by the 9th century AD. It was the birthplace of the Hindu sect called Kashmiri ‘Shaivism’, and a haven for the greatest Sanskrit scholars. (http://hinduism.about.com/library/weekly/aa010102b.htm).
Kashmir indeed is a land of learning – or is it? (http://sakooterspeaks.wordpress.com/2007/05/23/kashmir-%E2%80%93-education-at-its-best/)
In the past 61 years of Indian Independence, what has mainland India (and Indians) done anything to help average Kashmiri feel proud of being Indian and feel connected with the mainland India?
Symbolic announcements that Babus and Netas make in New Delhi do not make the day-to-day life of the citizen better. We need action, not of the defence forces, but the human touch. There is no perennial connectivity between Kashmir and the rest of India. Probably disputed regions of Kashmir are better connected to Pakistan than with India, how ironic?
I looked up the Internet to find out
* Average per-capita-income of Kashmir vs. the rest of the states in India
* Education, health care, economic statistics of Kashmir vs. the rest of the states in India
I wasn’t able to find anything worth mentioning.
It has been suggested (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/399026.stm) that India could incur daily expenses of $2.3 million to keep a watch on disputed stretches in Kashmir.
If we can use the same funds (a portion of it, to start with) to foster, economic and social development in Kashmir, most of the issues facing India would be reduced if not resolved completely. Under the given circumstances and also because of geographic conditions, it is difficult to attract heavy industries. Generate local employment – Kashmiris are dependent on agriculture, tourism and small scale industries for their livelihood. Create framework to support these activities – use technology to solve to solve problems of transportation, connectivity.
A happy well-fed society would rarely engage in riots and terrorism. Have you heard of a Swiss group engaging in religious war, terrorism or riots? Why do such things happen in Asia, Africa or Middle east ?
Such riots are more to do with growing unrest as a result of socio-economic inequalities (to the extent of seclusion and deprivation) than the religious beliefs.