Very few fora and still fewer analysts have ever talked of Kashmir in an intelligent way. I feel one of the very very few is Barrister Bashani. He is a Kashmiri himself from the PoK. And his knowledge of Kashmir’s history and that of Pakistan is second to none. He is well read – with insights and perspective on almost all the components and events that have shaped Pakistan and Kashmir the way it is today. That is why listening to him alone is an educational experience.
In this discussion, he criticizes the Indian Government as well as lays out the issues of the militants and Pakistan. And, I think he makes sense in all of those issues. I don’t think he has that much facility when it comes to Indian politics, but that is expected.
He is in a discussion with another Kashmiri from the Indian side – who was instrumental in creating JKLF.
My greatest issue with such discussions is that they somehow pretend that Kashmir is only about aspirations of Muslims there and issues related to them. There is no word about the exodus and purging of Pandits from there. Would have wished Barrister Bashani had discussed that as well. The greatest point of lack of trust in Kashmiri “freedom” organizations is how the Pandits have been treated. So when BJP goes against the Kashmiri “settlement” – it is not because it is fundamentalist, but because its constituency is not being represented – i.e. Pandits. There is no future state plan for them in this whole thing. So people like those JKLF folks have to understand that Hindus in India will NOT – and should not – let any settlement happen until Pandits have a piece of their pie in their plate! To blame Advani is nonsensical. He is representing a constituency. And that is not a crime. JKLF, Pakistan etc are also doing the same. If Kashmiri Muslims’ aspirations are important than so are of Kashmiri Pandits.
Farooq Papa comments that because the democracy of India had failed the Kashmiris, they had to pick up arms. Well, were ONLY Muslims impacted by the lack of democracy? Does he suggest that even the Pandits should have picked up the arms? If anyone in Kashmir – indeed India – had justification for militancy it was were the Kashmiri Pandits. They were not just impacted by Indian Government policies but also were killed and purged by the Muslims who behaved as if their pain was stronger than Pandits’!! How can a Kashmiri Muslims’ aspiration be more kosher than a Pandit’s?
Those, whose very idea of freedom is born out of persecution, lack all legitimacy to talk of upholding democracy.
However, a must watch!