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Pak Tea House » Colonialism, History, India, Kashmir » Semantic Irrelevance

Semantic Irrelevance

By Ayush Khanna

Kashmir has been on the boil at regular intervals for a long time now and every time it is, it pleads for attention and coherently states that the status quo is unacceptable and cannot perpetuate. The state has been an innocent victim of the juvenile nationalisms of India and Pakistan. But that is only the pretext behind which the two states hide their positions on Kashmir, with the main reason being the primary resource of the valley – water.  The emphasis has been Kashmir the state, the land and not Kashmiris the people, a fact well known to them.

In the wake of the recent Ramban killings, Kashmiris ask the often repeated questions, “Why are the Indian people silent?” “Where is the Delhi protest we would like to see for Kashmir?” These questions are of course rhetorical and are poignant in their attempt to drive home the apathy of the Indian people and the distinct identity of the Kashmiri people. This apathy and the consequent authoritative colony like rule that the Indian state administers over Kashmir is what spawns and sustains Kashmiri nationalism and separatism.

Azadi, Azadi, Azadi, the bugle call that resonates across the tall mountains, rolling meadows, and swift rivers of the valley. It is an inalienable part of their discussions, their songs and their Azaans. Azadi is a very interesting phrase in the context of the Indian subcontinent. In as much as the subcontinent is perhaps the most diverse strip of land on earth, the phrase assumes immediacy for a depressingly diverse gamut of people. For the Dalit, it is social Azadi, for the Maoists it is economic Azadi, for women it is sexual Azadi from a patriarchal society and for Kashmiris, it is political Azadi.  They seek freedom from the hegemonic Indian State.

The Indian state though is not a novice in dealing with these demands. Right from the inchoate stage of India’s nationhood, India has faced these demands from a linguistically diverse group of people. Some Tamilians under Periyar (E.V Ramaswamy Naicker) and Annadurai had asked for it. So had a section of Sikhs. Groups in the northeast continue their strife for Azadi although any popular support has eroded considerably over time. The Kashmir Valley however remains steadfast in its stand. Since political Azadi is what they look for from the vice-like grip of the Indian Union, a look at the manner in which political Azadi has played out in certain parts of the world recently will make for interesting reading.

Not seven decades back, Indians too were fighting for political Azadi from British colonialists The British were as brazen as possible as far as their intentions are concerned and made no bones about the fact that they were in India to plunder her resources. The British Empire consequently waxed rich exploiting the country and her people, pushing them into abject poverty and deprivation. There was in simple terms no Azadi of any kind and Indians were entirely subject to the measures that continued to flow out of the British apathy for any moral or human rights related sensitivities in the wake of dizzying profit. It is not easy to empathize with the position of an average Indian in such a situation who was rendered expressionless, stripped of any rights, bound by the dynamics that govern the master slave relationship.  Kashmiris often make the comparison between their fate, and the fate of Indians under British rule in an attempt to evoke a modicum of empathy from the Indian people but those who experienced life under the hell of the colonial British boot represent a very small segment of the population for any significant outpouring of empathy.

But spin the globe a little and move away from the Indian subcontinent and a different story of Azadi unfolds. What about Australia, New Zealand and Canada? The perceptions of Azadi in these cases were quite different from the one that Indians fought for and that the Kashmiris are now fighting for. All of them were one time colonies administered with the sole intent of plunder. There was a system prevalent in these colonies that was openly antagonistic to the aspirations of the people. Clearly whenever this happens, the proletariat must rise and rebel against the administration. This is exactly what happened in India. The British levied exorbitant taxes on the poorest of poor, were callously indifferent to famines that killed millions, ruthlessly curbed any voice of dissent, never bestowed any real power to Indians and believed in the racial superiority of white people which they further believed entitled them to rule. And so it was in Australia, New Zealand and Canada with the difference that there was no racial difference between the rulers and the ruled after a point. This was true of the United States too, but they, like India, fought for and attained complete independence unlike the other three. So the primary reason for disenchantment and revolt is the curbing of “Azadi” that are a part and parcel of the administrative dynamics that govern the functioning of a colony.

However with time, the administration of New Zealand, Australia and Canada gradually moved into the hands of the people of these countries. Britain gradually dropped the reins of power until the people of these countries chose their own leaders and as democracy took root, and they governed themselves. The all-important gap between the administration and the aspirations of the people began closing in until they merged completely.  But what is most interesting and important to note is that the queen of England is still the figure head of these states today. These countries have accepted her as the figure head because she is not an impediment to the merging of the administration and the aspirations of the people as the monarch of England was in the case of India and what is today the United States of America. Her inclusion in the identities of the people from Australia, Canada and New Zealand is just semantics. Her inclusion or exclusion in the identities of these people makes absolutely no tangible difference to them. And semantics by itself has never been worth fighting and dying for. Australia and England are bitter rivals on the cricket pitch, many British still view the largest Island in the world with disdain as one inhabited by the descendants of convicts, there is a lot of bitterness in the relationship and yet that does not prevent the Australians from accepting the queen of England as their monarch and figurehead.  It is this very irrelevance of semantics that should be pertinent for the Kashmir question. Can we see the creation of a situation where the addition of the word “Indian” becomes semantically irrelevant to a Kashmiri with the word having no tangible impact on them?

In the 2012 Jaipur Literature Festival, the renowned Pakistani historian Ayesha Jalal said that freedom is a state of the mind.  When the host Karan Thapar inquired further and asked whether she means that Kashmiris can obtain their Azadi within the boundaries of India and Pakistan, she said, “absolutely. I’m not a believer of divisions. Azadi does not mean a seat in the UN; it means a sense of ownership of the place and constitutional rights”.  Looking at Azadi from the lens of only a division to search for a distinct identity may be a parochial way of looking at what is implied by Azadi.  This to me is integral to the idea or state of semantic irrelevance. For even if Kashmir is an independent country, the people of Jammu and Kashmir might not feel like they have Azadi since the method of administration might not be people centric. Conversely, within India or Pakistan, the administration could meet all the aspirations of the people.

But to reach such a state, the Indian government must ensure that the administration of Jammu and Kashmir is truly of, for and by the people. The AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) has to go. The merger between the administration and the aspiration of the peoples has to take place because only that can lead to semantic irrelevance. The pain and grief of the unmarked graves might never subside and might be embedded in the histories of the people of Kashmir for a long time but the least that the Indian government can do is to recover the prodigious loss of moral ground. Is the word “Indian” truly so hateful as to be worth more loss of lives and anarchy?  As of now, the word “Indian”, is not just a word that tags along with their identities. It comes with the baggage of the AFSPA in their everyday lives which is not a life that any human would ever consider as “free”. It is one that snatches away the sense of ownership of the place that Ayesha Jalal spoke about. The army should mean to the Kashmiris exactly what it means to the rest of India:  an entity that guards our borders and has no business to intrude into our personal lives.  The Indian government must ensure that the word “Indian” is just semantics with no additional baggage. One that is free of unmarked graves and rigged elections. One that is not an impediment to the aspirations of the people and the administration just like Queen Elizabeth is to the identities of Australians. If a state of semantic irrelevance is created, the people of Jammu and Kashmir will be forced to face a choice between fighting and dying for the semantics of whether they would like to see the word “Indian” disappear from their identities or whether they would rather focus on education, peace and prosperity. That is a choice that we as Indians for our part, must ensure the Kashmiris have. Once they have that choice, what they do with it is entirely their prerogative, but to ensure that they have the choice is in my opinion, the moral obligation of every Indian and thus the Indian Government.  Only once such a state is reached can the Indian Government and people even begin to explore the possibility of a common nationhood with the Kashmiri people.

I often wonder what course our history would have charted if the British government granted the first demand for Home rule by the Congress and allowed it to truly take root. If the British too had worried about the loss of moral ground and yearned for semantic irrelevance. I am quite certain that we would have had the statue of Queen Victoria outside the Lok Sabha in all her regal grandeur and opulence standing tall next to the nakedness of Mahatma Gandhi.

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340 Responses to "Semantic Irrelevance"

  1. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    mig hindu has hundred different nation.country run on justice not religion.u people wnt to run the nation on zhoot, frauds,riots, encounter,division and dreams.everything except justice.advani was king cobra cheated by his kalyugi sons.neverthles he cheated nation.he was fooling india like asaram was fooling indians.

  2. no-communal United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Hayyer Saab,
    .
    Most Indians here, including me, are woefully ill-informed about Kashmir but not you. To the rest of us the Kashmir issue begins and ends with jihad and Pakistan sponsored terrorism. Any mention of AFSPA etc. evokes a sense of passion matched only by LeT and Pakistan. Ayush here has taken the effort to go beyond this Pakistan-India paradigm and focused on the real people, the Kashmiris. I believe, as an Indian, and especially because we want Kashmir as a part of India, his efforts should be applauded. With all due respect I think you’ve been a little too dismissive of Ayush’s piece a little too quickly.
    You know better than most here that there is more to the Kashmir conflict than Pakistan. Please correct me if I am wrong the conflict started with the Lion of Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah himself. It was him who first proclaimed, as far back as in 1947, that “Kashmir and India were fraternal but ultimately separate entities.”. Not only did his followers welcome the Indian Army in 1947 even in 1965 the J&K locals assisted the Indian Army in apprehending the infiltrators. Pakistan’s ambitious plan failed in 1965 in large part because the cooperation from the local Muslims was not forthcoming. There is thus ample evidence that the majority in the Kashmir valley has always had a dual mindset. On one hand they have wanted to be separate from India (and leaders have been summarily ousted because of this) but on the other hand they have also prevented Pakistan’s forceful takeover. This is where it stood at least until 1988 when Pakistan, fresh from the success in Afghanistan, introduced in J&K violent jihad. By inviting the young Kashmiris cross into its territory gain combat training and return to unleash its brand of jihad in the valley the ISI hoped to replicate in J&K its recent success with the Taliban in Afghanistan. But this was a new phase in the long protracted struggle that Kashmir had not known before and the valley itself retreated from it as soon as Pakistan was forced to do so. Even so, the explanation of the crisis that erupted in 1989 (and lasted for 12 years in a long struggle of 65) has to be sought in India’s ruthless suppression since 1947 of the Kashmiri people’s democratic rights.
    .
    Self rule or autonomy lies at the heart of New Delhi’s troubled relationship with J&K. It has always been so for the last 65 years and Pakistan is irrelevant to this checkered relationship. The root cause of the conflict is due to the New Delhi-sponsored systematic subversion of democratic rights and institutions. India has summarily ousted leaders in J&K, only to install the next notable in National Conference all of whom turned out to be more regressive than the last. We have also enacted what many have called the single most repressive piece of legislation in any democracy, AFSPA, that authorizes the killing of anyone observed in a group of five by a military officer and forbids any legal action against it. Our approach to the north east is the same and if we no longer hear about them much it is due to that the various insurgent communities there have always been far too small and isolated. Hayyer Saab, with Pakistan’s retreat (and after the irreparable damage it did to the Kashmir cause), the valley is getting back to its original argument of self-rule and autonomy. Should we on our part think hard how to accommodate some of their concerns or be dismissive about them? Ayush here says that he is proposing a way for the Kashmiris to somehow accept the Indian state. The gist of his article, he says, is that this is possible, if only by making the state less obtrusive and by withdrawing the acts like AFSPA. If you do not agree with this general view what are your suggestions? The way I myself see this, Ayush’s article has boldly tried to shift the paradigm from an Indo-Pak dominated story to one that engages with the most important, and often most-forgotten, people in the conflict – the Kashmiris. And the article should be applauded as such.

  3. MilesToGo United States Safari iPhone says:

    If Bengalis can get freedom, so can Kashmiris – it’s just matter if time.

  4. PMA United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    no-communal (September 14, 2013 at 12:32 pm):
    You have provided a very good synopsis of the debate so far. India was quick to swallow Kashmir but even sixty-five years later has not been able to digest it. Kashmir is a problem for India that New Delhi does not know how to solve. The author has suggested that let being “Indian” be less important to the Kashmiris and in return they will agree to stay within India. This is just a suggestion coming from one individual and most likely it will never reach to the ears of the decision makers in New Delhi. But even at the internet debate level the suggestion has stirred raw emotions and the author is being called with all sorts of names and abuses. Perhaps you are one individual on this board who has tried to understand the point of view presented here without being helplessly sucked into the emotions of Indian Nationalism. That a geographical area as large as the Indian Sub-continent with a diversified population representing many cultures, religions, languages and races could host more than one nation is neither unique nor absurd. Jinnah and even Iqbal in his 1930 address suggested that idea but was rejected by the proponents of the One-Nation Theory. How to make all Sub-continental Indians buy into Indian Nationalism is a tricky proposition. Viewing Kashmiri Nationalism as a sectarian or an ethnic movement is a mistake that Indian Nationalist continue to make. Take care sir.

  5. Ayush Khanna United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Chotey Mian
    “We just don’t know if the cruel Indian state just took itself out of the equation, it will become a land of milk and honey and peace. I think if it was a Shia rebellion, I would support it.”
    That you have not understood anything the article is saying is evident when you say that I want the Indian State out of Kashmir. Which is why any further “criticisms” you come up with are a figment of your own imagination.
    “That you are callow is evident from the manner you dismiss any criticism to your piece. People could be polite and beat around the bush, but it is a pretty shallow piece of work. Think about it, how did I guess it was your piece? The lack of groundwork is pretty much evident. Just because you jumble together different strands of argument doesn’t make your piece original. I have learned my lesson from previous arguments with you when you started your bombastic generalizations about the Indian economy.”
    Except for your “criticism” I have welcomed criticism because beneath the veneer of criticism, what you actually indulge in and revel in, is personal attacks of a very insecure kind. You knew i was Fingolfin not because of anything else but because both HP and NC had mentioned so much. And because i was not interested in denying it when they said so. If the piece is not original, like Hayyer, I ask you to show me pieces which have said the same thing. I too would like to know where you get this idea that i am supposed to have pinched the idea from somewhere. Do oblige.
    There were no generalizations about the Indian economy. The poor are getting poorer unless certain steps are taken, and i believe that those steps are being taken only now. This debate comes down to whether you believe in Amartya Sen’s model or Jagshish Bhagwati’s model. I go with Sen. Read them up and decide for yourself if you can. But since i have said Sen, my money is now on you coming up with some cheap potshot names for him as is your wont. Anyway, another debate i am not interested in right now. Has nothing to do with this article.
    “You are welcome to hold MJ Akbar in high regard but just because a lot of people read him doesn’t make his word as gospel truth.”
    What you consider to be as truth does not matter. Time you understood that. You are a nobody. What M.J considers to be the truth does. He is a widely read author on the subject and his work has not been challenged on facts. You want to do so, then do so, I am growing weary of your own homilies which never deal with “facts” but your own petty and half baked opinions. I am not interested in your opinions.
    “That was my problem when you went on your caste theories or supposedly increase in poverty”
    In the case of the former, if you look up the meaning of “theory” you will get your answer. It is a theory. There is at present nothing to corroborate it whatsoever.
    “I am not surprised that you quote approvingly from a article that is full of such distasteful and lazy caste generalizations. How you found it elegant belies me.”
    If you had bothered to read your idol Pandita’s book, you would have realized that the Arif’s piece was throughout a satire on Pandita’s memoirs. Hence his “lazy caste generalizations”. I thought his satire was funny and yet drove home a point about the dangers of making such assumptions.
    “Terrorist attack occur all over India. Now, the level of terrorism in J&K is not greater than in other parts of India, especially areas in proximity to the red corridor. ”
    .
    There you have it. You just made that equivalence in the same paragraph!”
    Sigh! Again i am left to prod you to understand. Saying what I have said does not create an equivalence. I have not said that their aspirations are similar or that their means are similar. But yes, both have used violence and in that since there is something in common. A kid in 5th grade would know this.
    Let me make this clear to you, just because there is something in common between two things does not make it an equivalence. Understood?

    “Again, why did you stop talking about Jagmohan? Shouldn’t you have researched it a little more. I mean, for gods sake, at least read your own references.”
    I am trying to avoid anything that is not related to the article but since you cannot debate the article, I am forced to comply to your whims and fancies.
    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/kashmirtheforgottenconflict/2011/07/2011724204546645823.html
    If you listen to what Wajahat Habibullah has said in the article, you will get your answer. I did not say Jagmohan was the sole reason for the Pandits to leave or that there weren’t other more pressing insecurities that the Pandits faced, but his hand in worsening the situation and in vilifying the Kashmiri Muslims in the entire Pandit exodus saga is undeniable.
    Let me quote to you the relevant part.
    “However, there are many Kashmiri Muslims who have witnessed departing Pandits boarding vehicles organised by the state. Wajahat Habibullah, who was a senior Indian administrator in the state, allows that there may have been some instances of transport being organised for a few groups of Pandits but he denies that this was part of a widespread concerted policy.

    He adds, however, another element to the various explanations on offer for the Pandit migrations.

    He recalls groups of Muslims appealing to him to stop the Pandits from leaving, which led him to suggest to Governor Jagmohan that a television broadcast be made advertising the request of hundreds of Muslims to their Pandit compatriots not to leave the valley.

    According to Habibullah, Jagmohan did not agree to this suggestion.

    Instead he made several announcements that reassured Pandits that if they did decide to leave, refugee settlement camps had been set up for them and also that departing civil servants among the Pandits would continue to be paid their salaries. The political scientist, Sumit Ganguly, adds another important factor – that Jagmohan had also announced that his government would not be able to guarantee their safety, if Pandits decided to remain in the valley.

    Although not an indication of a coordinated government policy to engineer the departure of the Pandits, these were signs certainly of a government not making great efforts to prevent the Pandit exodus.”

    “Okay I don’t understand your aim here. It was you who referred to that article not me. When you quote from an article that spends 3/4th of its material on the “narrative” of terrorists then I am not sure what to conclude. That is why most of us think that the KM leaders’ calls for Pandits to return is hollow. On one hand you want them to return but in the same vein you propagate these despicable reasons why they were hounded out.”
    3/4th of it being the terrorist’s narrative is again a figment of your imagination. That is not what it says. it gives reasons as to why the issue was not a black and white Hindu-Muslim problem but had an entirely different narrative that has escaped the likes of you who have swallowed Pandita’s narrative without pausing to exercise any grey cells.
    “You should read carefully. I mentioned about inclination of people towards sharia” Pray tell us how you are privy to such information. That you are a noted expert on Muslim aspirations goes without saying but you make blanket statements about their aspirations without even pausing to consider the ground realities of the day only reinforce the fact that you make claims without any knowledge or even notion of what is really happening around you. You suffer from the traditional bias against Islam. Only one such, can make such a stupid generalization.
    “it’s not going to lessened by correcting the numerous errors that infest your article”
    You are incapable of pointing even one. So far you have not discussed anything related to the article. Only your theories about Pandits, how Kashmiri Muslims are sharia ranting bigots etc. My article is about the idea of “freedom” and how it is perceived differently in different scenarios. I have not even touched upon any “reconstruction” or any narrative regarding the pandits because that is not my intent. So all you have done for the most part is create a strawman argument and continue criticizing the strawman that you yourself created. This is not different from what you usually indulge in.
    “If you can’t take criticisms then why write.”
    You mistake me. When i see you spiel spewing the way you are right now, it only serves to ennoble and encourage me to write further. One important purpose is to prod, incite and make guys like you rethink their biases. It’s heartening to see the result.
    “Btw, how did you come to that conclusion about the uber nationalists?”
    The common denominator is a “lack of understanding” to use a euphemism. To not use a euphemism, the common denominator is idiocy.

  6. Ayush Khanna United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Hayyer
    “He did not say his mother was Kashmiri, perhaps she was, the subject did not come up, though I believe he claims some Kashmiri ancestry.”
    His mother was Kashmiri.
    “Whether your article is about Australians or Kashmiris, it is wrong. It is not a semantic issue at all and there are no semantic solutions. Ayesha Jalal is a liberal sort of Pakistani but irrelevant to the debate because her understanding of the problem is pretty shallow like that of most Pakistanis.”
    Why such simple explanations beats a rather articulate individual beats me. Again, I’m NOT proposing a “semantic solution”, whatever the hell that means. I’m proposing a solution that makes the “Indian identity” just semantics to a Kashmiri. The solution itself has a variety of steps that the Indian State must take which include revoking the AFSPA. By just calling the article “wrong” based on your half baked understanding, you are only discrediting yourself. Understand the article first and then pass your judgement or should i say ‘pronouncement’, since i do not think you think very much of ANYBODIES opinion other than your own.
    “If your article has nothing to do with the Azaadi brigade it must be a coincidence that you preach the same narrative as they or Arundhati Roy”
    Again, i don’t. You have not understood the article despite several attempts at an explanation. Roy and the Azaadi brigade propose that the Indian state should leave Kashmir alone. Grant it complete independence. Where have i proposed that in the article? If you can point where in the article i have proposed that, I’ll eat my hat.
    “No Jammu is not part of the debate. You know even less about Jammu than you do about Kashmir. Kashmiris detest the treaty of Amritsar under which Gulab Singh purchased his kingdom. Their claims to Jammu are therefore contradict the narrative. And neither the Jehlum nor the Chenab have any part to play in the discussion.”
    Things cannot be the way you want them to be Hayyer. Go and arrogantly tell Pakistan that Jammu is not part of the debate and tell them to change their map and ensure that the Jammu region is NOT part of the J&K that they claim. The moment Pakistan stops claiming Jammu, that is the day when your claim of Jammu not being part of the debate might merit some attention. Until Pakistan claim it, which they do, you are living in your own make belief world. And since they claim it, the Jhelum and the Chenab are part of the debate too. As far as the Pakistani angle to Kashmir is concerned, water plays an extremely crucial role in their approach to Kashmir.
    “No, I think you were trying to create a synthetic mood in favour of the false narrative which you have internalized.”
    When i tell you what i was attempting to do in clear words and when “rebut” that with a ‘NO’, it goes to suggest that the only individual who has internalized anything is you and that is your dissent to the article. So that even if the true purpose of the article is put forward before you, you are going to reject that purpose, attach your own juvenile, half baked understanding to the article and continue rejecting it on that basis. There is nothing that the author of an article can do with such a reader. The only thing that can be done is to let such a reader stew in his own ridiculous approach to the article and let him be.
    ” Ayesha Jalal is a liberal sort of Pakistani but irrelevant to the debate because her understanding of the problem is pretty shallow like that of most Pakistanis.”
    This comment of yours betrays your nauseating arrogance. And after this comment, whatever little pinches i felt at your words for the article have disappeared entirely. If you in your arrogance can think that a historian as eminent as Ayesha Jalal is nothing compared to you and your knowledge on the issue, then I really do think that you are a hopeless case and your words regarding this article have to now be seen in the context of your himalayan arrogance. Plus, I was not quoting Ayesha Jalal on facts man! For the last time. I was quoting her on her understanding of freedom which she has acquired after her rigorous examination of history which is considerably greater than yours.
    “India can and will honour the treaty, groundwater has nothing to do with the Jehlum and Chenab and the discussion was about Kashmiris (and Dogras) not Pakistanis.”
    What time frame are you looking at? What do you think India’s population will be in fifty years? What do you think the per capita water availability will be then? What about 100 years? What will the scenario be then? Do enlighten us o great one.
    “I am surprised at your ability to discern Sikh communalism while remaining purblind to Muslim communalism and Arya Samaj communalism” If you think that the Kashmir issue should be seen through the eyes of Muslim communalism alone, then please go right ahead.

  7. Ayush Khanna United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Chotey man
    “If I were you, I would be concerned that the only hosannas for my piece came from Tajender and his likes, especially from closet Islamist like PMAss.”
    And i would not be concerned at all that part of your exalted coterie are the likes of Ranger, Pankaj and you yourself since you are one of their ilk now. PMA might be a closet Islamist but he is at least not a closet moron.
    “Back in March, Fingolfin harangued us on the iniquities of the Indian liberalization. Without missing a beat, he also added that he was off on a Sprinbreak!”
    Again no need to get personal and petty. You have no idea whether i intend to come back to India or not and am studying in USA since the higher education here is much better. I also made it clear the that what is good for the USA might not be good for India since the population in India is 4 times larger and the land and resources available is 4 times smaller. Never have i said that i am anti-capitalist. I have always advocated a balance of both. But these things escape you. As long as you can make a personal attack what do you care?

  8. Vikram United States Google Chrome Ubuntu Linux says:

    Lets try this again.

    “If this is the way the Indian Government deals with Gandhian methods of protesting, then can you actually ask why people use violence to get what they want?”
    Ayush, what complicates matters here is the presence of a third party. In Kashmir and Punjab, it is/was Pakistan. In the North East, it was/is China. Paresh Barua is currently living in the Burmo-Chinese border town of Ruli. Major ULFA leaders were located in Bangladesh till 2011. How exactly do you propose a country fight a proxy war ?
    The AFSPA was imposed on Punjab in 1983. It was withdrawn in 1997. This was after 3 years of peace, wwwDOTsatpDOTorg/satporgtp/countries/india/states/punjab/data_sheets/annual_casualtiesDOThtm
    If the Indian army loved AFSPA so much and if the Indian government was so beholden to the army, the act wouldnt have been lifted from Punjab so soon after the violence died down.
    I presume the Act will be withdrawn from Kashmir once the violence levels there come down to the levels in Punjab in 1995 and 1996. The trend for Kashmir was looking good for a few years, but has seen an upturn this year, wwwDOTsatpDOTorg/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/data_sheets/annual_casualtiesDOThtm
    “Terrorism stopped in the valley because Pakistan decided to stop under Musharraf and the famous back channel diplomacy started.”
    Are you saying that one sovereign state has the right to engage in a proxy war and send armed men across a border, and the other state has no imperative to stop this flow using its military ? It has to do back channel diplomacy. By this reasoning, all the Pakistani army has to do is to keep sending armed men to any part of India with instability and India should then engage in ‘back channel diplomacy’ to stop this. I am not a fan of military conflict, but this is just not sound.
    “You and I think they should because I think that will at least start the process of assimilation, but to a Kashmiri fighting for redrawing the map, contesting elections makes no sense.”
    Why will contesting elections start ‘assimilation’ ? Especially if the desire for secession is so strong and widespread ?
    “Are you suggesting that an overwhelming number of Kashmir are not secessionists?”
    I dont know. I havent spoken to each and every stakeholder. That is why let the separatists contest the polls and show all of us Indians precisely how well they are separated. If we were to rely on the comments on India’s internet and random conversations in some cities, one would expect the RSS and BJP to sweep every election in India, but they cant even win 20% of the vote these days, despite a despotic Congress.
    People are increasingly aware there have been terrible abuses by the Indian security forces all across the country. The Indian police is no better. But the alternative is far, far worse. Any change in India’s map will have lead to bloodshed on an unimaginable scale. There are laws in India that protect Kashmir from being overwhelmed by migrants. The Kashmiri spirit of independence wont be affected by all parties involved contesting elections.

  9. Vikram United States Google Chrome Ubuntu Linux says:

    Ayush, just a side comment, one cant simply map areas to populations to prosperity as you have done in the case of the US and India. 80 % of the US population lives on 3 % of the country’s land. India and US have about the same amount of arable land, but India has a better climate for farming and a more distributed water supply. Despite our massive shortcomings in agrarian land reform and irrigation infrastructure, our agricultural GDP is 5 times more than that of the US (PPP). The issue that we face is how to industrialize our economy, given that our ecology is quite challenging (heavily dependent on monsoons, retreating glaciers, desertification, deforestation etc.), our politics is quite fractious and revolves around identity and our state capacity is quite low (both in terms of numbers: US has 5 times more government servants per capita, and in terms of capabilities: relatively small pool of highly skilled policy makers, economists, scientists etc.).

  10. Chote Miyan United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Fingolfin,
    If it’s possible, could you give me an answer to the question I have posted multiple times:
    .
    1) Why are shias, Sikhs, Christians, and Buddhists not the part of the separatist movement?
    .
    Btw, that you were fingolfin was easy to guess. And no, I don’t read HP’s posts unless it is addressed to me. I don’t remember NC mentioning it. For that matter, RHR realized it later too.
    .
    “I have welcomed criticism because beneath the veneer of criticism, what you actually indulge in and revel in, is personal attacks of a very insecure kind. ”
    .
    And jealous too. Jealous because I wish I had your certitude when making sweeping statements like “South Indian brahmins are the most intelligent, etc.” I would have gone into tortuous self flagellation had I made such a statement without adequate groundwork.
    I request you again not to become agitated and start firing your accusations randomly. Please be patient with my replies. You have to understand that your pieces provide a rich fodder for us insecure folks to practice our critiques.
    .
    ” PMA might be a closet Islamist but he is at least not a closet moron.”
    .
    That I wholeheartedly agree. He is not a moron. He is a poseur. A moron may be so because of his ignorance. A poseur is a poseur because he can’t be anything more. I believe I cannot do better than quote a relevant example. Sample a morsel:
    PMA:
    .
    “Dr. Jalal & Dr. Bose both are academician & historian. One would hope that their take on history is based on research and not on personal feelings. However from their writings the pair on the subject of Freedom of British India seems to converge. In Pakistan there is a minority group holding the opinion that the 1947 division of the British India was wrong and it should never have happened. This opinion is not limited to the so called ‘liberal-secular’ camp. Indians holding this position, the majority in that country, will find their sympathisers in ‘conservative’ and ‘religious’ Pakistanis as well. Manto like millions of Muslims of certain cultural and political backgrounds was deeply disturbed by the division of the British India. Ayesha Jalal as an intellectual heiress of Manto has taken a similar position. They were with Jinnah because he championed their cause but are upset with Pakistan because it divided their community into two. The case of ‘religious-conservative’ group is simple; it finds its “refuge” in religion. But Ayesha Jalal’s position is also a sort of “refuge.” And that is where she and Manto leave objectivity and enter into the realm of personal feelings. Their dilemma is ‘how to reconcile with history.’ On his 100th. birth anniversary the question to ask is: Was Manto a reactionary?” <—– Note the use of the word "reactionary"
    .
    And then your post:
    .
    "BM
    so you think that Manto was not reactionary? cant agree with that. he was extraordinarily reactionary. it was the one thing that defined him. but i am not sure if that should ever be considered a criticism. he wrote even his fiction related to the happenings around him. there was an urgent immediacy in the plot, scenario and the characters he used. i cant remember a single story that was not based loosely in his troubled times, even ones like boo, that had nothing to do with partition, were not stories of a bygone era. ‘Boo’ was a reaction to his own sexuality and in that sense his writings about sex are a personal reaction. his ‘reactions’ to partition are priceless even today as a prism through which we can understand the times.
    but perhaps the climax of his reaction came some time in 1948 when, as a result of what Shyam, his best friend said to him( Shyam and Manto heard a story of gore perpetrated by Muslims narrated by a Sikh family. Shyam was enraged. later Manto asked him,” so you feel like killing me?” and Shyam said ,” not now. but i might have then.” after hearing this Manto decided that if his best friend could kill him, then India is not the place for him. it was a reaction so sudden that his friends were shocked. he left for Karachi by a steamer the day after that. nothing anyone said could change his mind. then when he went to Pakistan he realized he made a blunder. he wrote to Ismat Chughtai asking her to arrange for his transport back to India.
    everything Manto did was a spontaneous reaction to his surroundings and therefore his writings were too.
    even in the letters i did not spot any statement of remarkable prescience. rather, they wore a look of a bitter crone complaining about her lot to a figment of her imagination. there was a sardonic humour laced with hopeless pathos about them that was chilling, but i thought that they too were more in the nature of reactions rather than in depth analyses.
    Manto reacted. but he reacted in a manner with which few can. not through just rage or just sorrow, but through a brilliant short story."
    .
    References:
    http://pakteahouse.net/2012/05/15/remembering-manto/
    .
    I am not surprised why you are so taken by PMA's gems. All of us make mistakes. My humble plea to you is to just think a little bit before putting it on interwebs. People generally consign a piece to pulp fiction once they see such basic errors. For example: before I could even finish my critique of your comparison of India with the US, Vikram beat me to it. Btw, you and PMA should sort out your ideas about Ayesha Jalal.

  11. Ayush Khanna United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Vikram
    “ne cant simply map areas to populations to prosperity as you have done in the case of the US and India. 80 % of the US population lives on 3 % of the country’s land. India and US have about the same amount of arable land, but India has a better climate for farming and a more distributed water supply. Despite our massive shortcomings in agrarian land reform and irrigation infrastructure, our agricultural GDP is 5 times more than that of the US”
    You are unaware of the context in which this is being discussed. Chotey Mian and I had an argument about the kind of growth India was seeing. i was not happy with it. I said we could not adopt unfettered capitalism. He was taking a hackneyed pot shot at me when he said that I saw no contradiction in criticizing unfettered capitalism and studying in the USA.
    What you have said here only drives home my point. In America, it is possible for 80% of the population to live of 3% of the land. The countries population is considerably smaller and arable land roughly the same. Which is why depite this statistic you do not have the kind of depressing hunger and poverty that you see in India. I have been here for more than a year now and i have simply not seen anything or anyone as poor as the millions of the poorest of the poor in India. That level of malnutrition and hunger is just not there. Even the very poor in America have the basic food, clothing and shelter. In India, if 80% of the population were to live of 3% of the land, that would mean more than a billion people living of 3% of the land which would mean 98617.2 sq km. In America 80% living of 3% of the would mean 333 million living on 294800.25 sq km. Do you see the difference. I’m sure you do.
    Which is why i was saying that what is possible in America is not possible in India. India cannot afford it. You should also know, that India is one of only three countries in the WORLD whose Global Hunger Index (GHI) went from 22.9 to 23.7 in the period of 1996 to 2011!! (The higher the GHI the worse it is). All other developing countries including Pakistan have been able to improve their GHI, lower it. India has not. It has on the other hand, worsened a lot. This is the same period where India’s “power” was supposed to have been unleashed and everything hunky dory. Personally, I have a problem with growth of this kind. People like Chotey Mian do not consider this to be a problem. I do. Hence i have a problem with growth of this kind. It is a question of whether you do or not.
    Also, India’s population growth is much more than that of the USA, so in the future, any claims that what is happening in the USA can happen in India also become even more ridiculous.
    “How exactly do you propose a country fight a proxy war ?
    The AFSPA was imposed on Punjab in 1983. It was withdrawn in 1997. This was after 3 years of peace”
    You do NOT fight a proxy war by brutalizing the people of your country. That is NOT how you do it. You do it by being efficient at the border, by improving your intelligence network, by diplomacy etc. Not by imposing the AFSPA. I asked you earlier how the AFSPA has helped and you were silent because there is no way it helps. Except for brutalizing the people, it does nothing. Despite the AFSPA, violence in the valley continued unabated, the parliament attack happened, several attacks across India that were traced back to Kashmir happened.
    You also make the mistake of equating Punajab with the “outliers”. In the Indian consciousness, they have never been the same. Punjab and Punjabis have always been more mainstream Indians than the “outliers”. The approach has been completely different. There is a lot more sympathy and empathy for Punjabis and Punjab among Indians in general than for these other states. That is why it got repealed quickly. Another important fact, if one is needed(but this is perhaps the most significant), is that the Prime Minister in 1997 was Inder Kumar Gujral a Punjabi himself. I have no doubt that the fact that he was Punjabi played a very important part in all this. As a Punjabi, he was hardly keen to see the AFSPA perpetuate in his home state for more than exactly as long as it had an excuse to. The very fact that Punjabis have been mainstream Indians is evident from the fact that they have occupied all sorts of high offices in India including Prime Minister and President, something that is unthinkable for the outlier states. Especialy Prime Minister. So at no cost do I think you can compare the two.
    We need to remember two points here about AFSPA and the place where it all began — Nagaland, in 1958. Nagaland today is peaceful. It is not free of intimidation, extortion or factional killings, but not a single Indian solider has fallen in combat here for the past five years. The State government has been asking, since 2005, for the removal of the Disturbed Areas Act. The Government of India refuses to listen.

    What is the greater abomination then? Is it that the Army, which is easy to blame and always in the line of fire, is stuck in a thankless task? Or is it that the civilian government which first sent them there is unable to take the political decision that will bring the boys home? Fifty-four years is a long time to have a law as revoltingly brutal and obscure as AFSPA. Now, both sides are stuck. The army says it is like its “Bible” and that if the Act is removed it will face the prospect of fighting “with one hand tied.” The central government says that it can’t persuade the Army to back down.

    If in Punjab the act was revoked after 3 years of peace, that is clearly unthinkable in Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur etc. Forget Kashmir.
    “If the Indian army loved AFSPA so much and if the Indian government was so beholden to the army, the act wouldn’t have been lifted from Punjab so soon after the violence died down.”
    Please tell that to Palniappan Chidambaram our defense minister. I really wish he could hear you. Because not few days back Mr Chidambaram said in reply to a question about why the brutal act was simply not done away with, He said, ““you should ask the question to the armed forces and ask why are they so opposed to even some amendment to AFSPA which will make [it] more humanitarian. We have [the] Jeevan Reddy Committee report but yet if the Army takes a very strong stand against any dilution or any amendment to AFSPA, it is difficult for a civil government to move forward.”
    So the armies propensity for the act has tied the civilian governments hand. It’s time you recognize that in India, the army is not without voice and does take a stand. it maybe that a lot of the blame lies with the civilian government for not showing more spine, but that the army loves the raw power and opposes any change in it tooth and nail is without an iota of doubt.
    “Are you saying that one sovereign state has the right to engage in a proxy war and send armed men across a border, and the other state has no imperative to stop this flow using its military ? It has to do back channel diplomacy. By this reasoning, all the Pakistani army has to do is to keep sending armed men to any part of India with instability and India should then engage in ‘back channel diplomacy’ to stop this. I am not a fan of military conflict, but this is just not sound.”
    Where in the world did you get that from? I am just giving you the reason for why the terrorism in the valley stopped. Am i saying that if a terrorist aims a gun at you, you show the other cheek? No. I’m not even saying that India’s own military should not be used against Pakistan to threaten it( accurately target terror camps, assume aggressive posturing etc). But I am emphatically suggesting that the bloody AFSPA is NOT the answer.
    “Why will contesting elections start ‘assimilation’ ? Especially if the desire for secession is so strong and widespread ?”
    Because that is what i have said in my article. That freedom is not a seat in the UN but a sense of ownership of the place and democracy taking root so that the administration and the aspirations of the people can truly be in sync. Please do go through the article.
    ” dont know. I havent spoken to each and every stakeholder. That is why let the separatists contest the polls and show all of us Indians precisely how well they are separated”
    I’m sorry but in my opinion you are just saying this for the sake of the argument. You have seen all sorts of commentators here right from the liberal left to the extreme right and everybody is cognizant of the fact that Kashmiri’s want independence and are secessionist. They may give their own correct/incorrect reasons for it but everybody knows and acknowledges this. So i do not believe that someone as well read as you are “does not know”.
    Aside from this, there have been several polls and surveys that have ascertained that India is not wanted in Kashmir by more than 97% of the valleys population. As overwhelming as you can get. The results of this survey are excepted by all. They are only confirming a known fact.
    “People are increasingly aware there have been terrible abuses by the Indian security forces all across the country. The Indian police is no better. But the alternative is far, far worse. Any change in India’s map will have lead to bloodshed on an unimaginable scale.” I don’t agree with this. This theory can be contested. According to the Kashmiri’s getting their own country will be much much better than living under Indian brutality. And as in the context of the status quo i completely accept that. What i have been saying in this article is that the Indian state should change the situation so that being a part of India is “better” for the Kashmiris than being independent. As of now, this is simply not the case.
    ” There are laws in India that protect Kashmir from being overwhelmed by migrants.” Again these laws do not justify anything. They are in place for all Himalayan states. They do not see the brutal side of the Indian republic. No reason for Kashmiris to.
    “The Kashmiri spirit of independence wont be affected by all parties involved contesting elections.”
    I think it will. But in a good way. Meaning it “could” gradually in time, make a demand for independence irrelevant. That is what i hope for.

  12. Ayush Khanna United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Vikram
    Please also go through this since you are so keen on defending the Indian State’s use of the AFSPA.
    http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/un-asks-india-to-repeal-afspa/article3263687.ece

  13. heavy_petting United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Sorry, Chote,
    .
    “Note the use of the word “reactionary”",
    .
    Sorry to disappoint you, Chote, PMA’s use of the word “reactionary” is perfect here. All he means is if Manto was unhappy with the partition of British india and wanted a re-union. The word reactionary fits like a glove here. Sorry buddy, better luck next time!

  14. Ayush Khanna United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Chotey Mian
    ” Why are shias, Sikhs, Christians, and Buddhists not the part of the separatist movement?”
    I have answered this question innumerable number of times. Arif’s article also points to it. I am not going to go into it again. There is a limit.
    One can also ask why the Punjabi Hindus were not enthusiastic about the Punjabi Suba demand by the sikhs and if you think that they were not into it because the sikhs were being communal then you do not know the minority-majority dynamic. I can assure you my family is not the least bit communal(even thought they were neutral towards the demand, unlike others who opposed it). Whenever the majority makes a demand collectively for statehood or nationhood, it is natural for the minority to be skeptical, the minority is never so enthusiastic about it on the account of insecurities regarding their own future in the new setup and hence displays greater inertia against change in the status quo. So it is with the Kashmir question. The Sunni’s have not done anything as a whole at any point for insecurities, but those will still be there. This is all i will say on the issue and i’m not addressing the question any further.
    “Btw, that you were fingolfin was easy to guess. And no, I don’t read HP’s posts unless it is addressed to me. I don’t remember NC mentioning it. For that matter, RHR realized it later too.”
    Oh ya, that is believable, you read Tajender’s posts even if they are not addressed to you but not HP’s?! What tosh. And no doubt you will now come up with some rant about how funny Tajender’s rants are and that is why you read him, but for myself i have no doubt that you read it.
    Other than that, NC’s snide Byomkesh Bakshi remark was pretty clear to me but maybe not to you and maybe i am giving your intelligence more credit than it deserves.
    Raza did not notice because he does not read all comments only select ones so he was not following the whole thing. Of course if you are trying to suggest that you are smarter than RHR then go ahead, but i really do not think so.
    “And jealous too. Jealous because I wish I had your certitude when making sweeping statements like “South Indian brahmins are the most intelligent, etc.” I would have gone into tortuous self flagellation had I made such a statement without adequate groundwork.”
    It was not a statement but a theory and one i do not believe in but think ‘might’ be possible for certain reasons. I have made this clear to you umpteen number of times.
    The good thing about you knowing my name is that you know i am decisively not a Brahmin and that such a theory does not stem from some ego-trip. Besides, let me remind you that you said that there is absolutely No problem in one group being smarter than the other so maybe the “tortuous self flagellation” is still justified for being who you are and might not yet be wasted.
    “You have to understand that your pieces provide a rich fodder for us insecure folks to practice our critiques.”
    You do not understand the first thing about critiques and do me a favour and stop using the royal “us” and “we”. i don’t think anyone on this blog likes to see you as their spokesman since you quite shamelessly use them to drive home your own biases, prejudices and personal attacks. Speak for yourself because you really are only speaking for yourself. If i ask you to name the individuals you speak for, you will be forced to shut up with the royal “we” and “us” anyway. Might as well stop now.
    “A moron may be so because of his ignorance”. That is not the meaning of the word moron. Perhaps, based on your own definition of the word you would be a moron yourself for not knowing what the word means. Also, the whole world would be full of morons for not knowing something or the other. Sherlock Holmes would be a moron for not knowing that the earth revolves around the sun. But I’m quite sure you would not call him a moron :D

  15. Ayush Khanna United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    NC
    Excellent post. You summed everything up brilliantly. That is exactly where i am coming from. Thank you.
    PMA
    Thank you sir.

  16. Ayush Khanna United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    HP
    Forgive me for not acknowledging you were right the first time. I knew the debate would be dragged into all sorts of directions if it was known I was Fingolfin(what with the history here and all) and i wanted to stick to the article.
    I don’t know how you guessed it but you did. Kudos sir!

  17. RHR Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    Finglofin/Ayush Khanna

    Thanks for writing this article. The best thing about it is the discussion between you, Chote Miyan, HP, NC,Hayyer, PMA and all.

    This is serious discussion and I ahve always said that it is the commentators which provide the gloss to PTH.

    Regards

  18. Chote Miyan United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Fingolfin,
    Moron: (synonym) airhead. ignoramus. know-nothing.
    .
    HP,
    reactionary: opposed to progress or liberalism.
    .
    If you guys can’t afford a decent dictionary/thesaurus, do let me know. Consider the money spent by your folks in educating you at English Medium schools as wasted or to use a more colorful Hindi term: “gointha(uple) mein ghee sukhana”, a rough translation of which is “to waste ghee in (trying to light up) cow dung cakes”
    .
    “I have answered this question innumerable number of times. Arif’s article also points to it. I am not going to go into it again. There is a limit.”
    .
    Could you please post your reply just one more time, just for this specific question. Please!

  19. Chote Miyan United States Safari Mac OS says:

    RHR,
    thank you for your kind comments. :)
    .
    Fingolfin,
    .
    “Again, i don’t. You have not understood the article despite several attempts at an explanation. Roy and the Azaadi brigade propose that the Indian state should leave Kashmir alone. Grant it complete independence. Where have i proposed that in the article? If you can point where in the article i have proposed that, I’ll eat my hat.”
    .
    My apologies to Hayyer for intruding upon his answers but I couldn’t help commenting on this one since I made a similar accusation. The thing is when you write prose like, “Azadi, Azadi, Azadi, the bugle call that resonates across the tall mountains, rolling meadows, and swift rivers of the valley.” it’s pretty much evident. Thanks for the laughs though.
    .
    “That level of malnutrition and hunger is just not there. Even the very poor in America have the basic food, clothing and shelter. In India, if 80% of the population were to live of 3% of the land, that would mean more than a billion people living of 3% of the land which would mean 98617.2 sq km. In America 80% living of 3% of the would mean 333 million living on 294800.25 sq km. Do you see the difference. I’m sure you do.”
    .
    I think you should pay attention to Hayyer’s advice and desist from writing on things that you have very little understanding about. What you are saying about US is true for Argentina and Brazil and other latin american countries. They all went through a period of grinding poverty. While I have given up on expecting a serious understanding on any issue from you, at least have the grace to not misinterpret someone else’s position. My point about India’s GDP is on this site for all to see and judge for themselves. Contrary to your cut and paste job from the ramblings of your equally goofy patron saints, I had quoted facts and figures. Do you want some proof? And, yes, if you have been paying attention, the planning commission has come out with a report that the poverty level in India has declined at a rate faster than anytime in history. That lines up with the UNDP report. As for the caste stuff, well, what can one say. We are always regaled by your theories, which you drop like a hot potato the moment it’s rigorously questioned.
    Tajinder and co. may be ignorant but I have rarely met a fellow who revels in ignorance. What a waste.

  20. heavy_petting United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Chote
    .
    “Reactionary” is also used in the following sense: A reactionary is a person who holds political viewpoints that favor a return to a previous state (the status quo ante).
    .
    Chote, nice try, but PMA was right. Better luck next time.

  21. Pankaj India Google Chrome Windows says:

    @ Ayush Khanna
    .
    When do you think you will be able Achieve Azadi
    .
    Indian Govt has promised and Authorised ME to tell you
    Azadi will BE GIVEN to Kashmir in the year 20000 AD
    Yes TWENTY Thousand AD
    .
    Here in India People are Reading your TOMES
    and WEEPING Tears of Joy ; Pain ; Regret ; Anguish
    .
    THANK you for Pointing out the ERROR of our WICKED WAYS
    .
    Ayush Khanna Today you have become More Popular than
    ALL Bollywood Stars and All Politicians and ALL Cricketers put together
    .
    Ayush Khanna where were you before ; Why did nt you give us your
    WISDOM and Guidance before
    .
    You should write a Book
    .
    It will be a Best seller
    .
    Or else AT LEAST please show your FACE by giving an Interview
    to the TV / Print media .
    .
    Here in India People are dying to meet you
    .
    Some have even called for Ayush Khanna to be made the
    NEXT PM of India But Please REMEMBER
    the Pre Condition is that AZADI will come ONLY in 20000 AD

  22. Hayyer United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    no communal:
    You have summed it up accurately enough and there is nothing to be added to the summary. My initial comment to Ayush Khanna was about the immaturity of his understanding. I made no other comment. It was his long response to me that set off the debate with him, which I have no desire to extend. I am therefore not responding to his last post which suffers from the same defects as those that came before. Note in passing though his quote of Mridu Rai, a leftist of the Arundhati Roy mould who is also partisan for conjugal reasons.
    The facts about Kashmir are clear and simple, the narratives are contrived, including the transparently fake one pushed by Delhi. I am against AFSPA and strongly support restoration of autonomy to J&K. Whether it will turn out to be a good thing for Kashmir is a separate issue. I use my head not my heart when I discuss Kashmir
    I sympathize with Kashmiris, not with their narratives, in the creation of which Pandits and Muslims are equally adept. When a Kashmiri gets done with telling his tale it bears as much relation to the truth as a Hollywood production does with the event it picuturized. Ayush Khanna’s views are the outpourings of a troubled heart that mistook the happenings on screen as a representation of the reality.
    I particularly object to a Kashmir solution defined by semantics. It is clear enough what Kashmiri means, or Bengali and so on; India is not that clear semantically speaking, and Pakistan is only a boundary definition-not even that if you take Kashmir into consideration. When a Kashmiri says he is not Indian it is clear enough what he means, but only if a clear meaning of India exists in contradistinction to Kashmiri or Bengali-not otherwise.
    I have been accused of not understanding the piece. It is possible that I have failed to understand Ayush Khanna. It is not usual for me to fail to comprehend what I read; in this case the probability is that I have failed to penetrate the dense outpourings of a confused mind, expressed in confused language,rather than failed cognitively.

  23. Pankaj India Google Chrome Windows says:

    @ Hayyer Sir
    .
    Kashmiri Narratives and reality ; both DO NOT Matter
    .
    What matters is the WILL and STRENGTH of the Two parties
    ie India and Pakistan
    .
    Kashmiris are simply caught in between
    .
    They have FOOLISHLY sided with Pakistan and are hence paying the Price

  24. Pankaj India Google Chrome Windows says:

    @ Ayush Khanna
    .
    You Pakistanis and Kashmiri Muslims FAILED to get Kashmir through
    EXTERNAL agression ie war and Internal armed Rebellion
    ( As per Indian Constitution :
    what is going on in Kashmir is defined as Internal armed Rebellion )
    .
    So Now Kashmiris with the help of Pakistanis are using HIRED
    Writers like you to CRY A river about the SUFFERINGS of Kashmiris
    .
    But You New Kids on the Block or New Writers on the Block
    DONT UNDERSTAND That India has been VERY successful in
    Thwarting the MIGHTY USA on the Kashmir issue
    .
    From 1990 to 1994 USA was Hell bent on hauling and dragging India
    over the Human Rights issue
    .
    Do you Know why
    No because you were perhaps a LITTLE KID in 1994
    .
    USA was AVENGING India’s support to USSR in the cold war
    .
    And India’s ECONOMY was weak ; USSR was dead ;
    Pakistan was sending thousands of Jihadis in Kashmir
    .
    Pakistan was the ALLY from the Cold War who was getting US
    support on its Kashmir policy

  25. Pankaj India Google Chrome Windows says:

    @ Ayush Khanna
    .In the Early Nineties
    There were massive civilian casualties or rather COLLATERAL DAMAGE Often FIFTY People used to be SHOT at one time
    .
    Mr Ayush we have FACED the Following
    .
    1 ) Many LECTURES by Various
    TWO BIT Assistant And Deputy Secretaries OF STATE DEPARTMENT
    .
    2 ) MEMOS from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch ;
    .
    3 ) Protests outside our Embassies ; Paid Articles in USA Media
    .
    4 ) US Congressional Reports and VARIOUS Think Tanks and Research Institutions in USA hammering India’s Human Rights Record
    .
    So even with USA breathing down our Neck we managed to hold onto Kashmir
    .
    Why Because we were LUCKY in TWO aspects
    .
    1 Pakistan was Talibanising itself after 1989
    2 Pakistani economy was much more Weaker and Indian economy had started strengthening
    .
    Americans are pragmatic people
    .
    They realised in 1994 that India had much more ECONOMIC potential than Pakistan and the LECTURES on Human Rights Stopped
    .
    So Now Nearly Twenty Years Later AN ITSY BITSY Writer Ayush Khanna
    wishes to Shake up India by his Writings .
    .
    Grow up KID .
    .
    We have been facing White Skinned ;American ; Christian
    Human Rights WALLAHS since the Time YOUR GRANDFATHER DYED
    his Hair
    .
    In Comparision You Must be what Brown; A Pakistani And A Muslim

  26. Ayush Khanna United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Chotey Mian
    “My apologies to Hayyer for intruding upon his answers but I couldn’t help commenting on this one since I made a similar accusation. The thing is when you write prose like, “Azadi, Azadi, Azadi, the bugle call that resonates across the tall mountains, rolling meadows, and swift rivers of the valley.” it’s pretty much evident. Thanks for the laughs though.”

    What’s evident? That I want the Indian State out? Please do point us to the logic that lead to such a conclusion. I want to try and understand how certain human being’s brains function in such novel ways.

    “I had quoted facts and figures. Do you want some proof? And, yes, if you have been paying attention, the planning commission has come out with a report that the poverty level in India has declined at a rate faster than anytime in history.”
    I too quoted facts when i said that India had gained points on the Global Hunger Index(GHI) only one of three countries to do so in the period between 1996 and 2011. The poorest of the poor therefore are finding it harder to eat and you are talking about poverty elevation of certain sections. The fact that food availability has reduced and malnutrition increased is evident by the manner in which India has performed on the GHI. This is also in complete agreement with what Sainath and Amartya Sen have been saying about what is happening in India. WHat kind of growth are we talking about when people are not able to find as much food as they were sometime back? You need food and education to “grow”.

  27. PMA United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    heavy_petting (September 15, 2013 at 9:16 am):
    heavy_petting (September 15, 2013 at 5:33 pm):

    Ayush Khanna describes it best. Petty.

  28. Chote Miyan United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Heavy_petting,
    Don’t advertise your ignorance. Using Manto and reactionary in the same sentence is akin to using sagacity and your name together. I also see that the object of your defense has assumed an air of injured innocence, which is surprising because he wastes quite a bit of time educating us infidels about the delicate difference between Ghalib and Ghalab.
    Inculcate good reading habits and don’t waste time learning stuff from your adda friends.

  29. heavy_petting United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Hey Chote, You have so much to learn (manners, one of them), difficult to know where to begin! Here’s a bit of knowledge dedicated to your monumental ignorance, the Progressive Writers Association of Pakistan did blacklist Manto as reactionary. Now go to sleep, homeboy!

  30. Chote Miyan United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Fingolfin,
    “What’s evident? That I want the Indian State out? Please do point us to the logic that lead to such a conclusion.”
    .
    It’s your style, my friend. Let me quote an apt description of that genre:
    .
    “The volume of writing is enormous, these days, and much of it has a sort of windiness about it, almost as though the author were in a state of euphoria. “Spontaneous me,” sang Whitman, and, in his innocence, let loose the hordes of uninspired scribblers who would one day confuse spontaneity with genius.

    The breezy style is often the work of an egocentric, the person who imagines that everything that comes to mind is of general interest and that uninhibited prose creates high spirits and carries the day.” –Shrunk and White (If it’s possible do read that book. It’s small and precious)
    .
    That “euphoria” is what comes to mind when reading your pieces or in this case a bastardized version of magical realism. Are you a fan of Rushdie? Of course, in addition to “uninhibited” prose, you also bulk it up. This piece and the subsequent posts, for example, are a perfect illustration of how to start on a random note and then change your positions so much that the original writing becomes unrecognizable. You started off by claiming that India and Pakistan’s fight over Kashmir was about water! That should confuse Pakistanis as well because so long as I remember, they have always maintained that Kashmir was the unfinished business of the Partition. Now you are saying that you never stood for Azadi for Kashmir. But then how do you reconcile this statement with the demands of Kashmiris themselves. They have been pretty unambiguous about what they want. They claim it as a ***nationalist*** struggle. Or are you telling us that this is also a bargaining chip like what Jinnah did? As Hayyer very eloquently wrote, there may be confusion about the idea/semantics of India but there is not confusion in the mind of Kashmiris as to what they want or understand about themselves. If what you claim in your most recent post, and assuming that tomorrow you don’t wake up with a different stance, I am in almost complete agreement with your position. But I am not sure how much Kashmiris will agree with you.
    .
    “Whenever the majority makes a demand collectively for statehood or nationhood, it is natural for the minority to be skeptical, the minority is never so enthusiastic about it on the account of insecurities regarding their own future in the new setup and hence displays greater inertia against change in the status quo. So it is with the Kashmir question. The Sunni’s have not done anything as a whole at any point for insecurities, but those will still be there. This is all i will say on the issue and i’m not addressing the question any further.”
    .
    But that’s not what you started with. It is something you have slyly included after I brought it up and now realizing the weakness of your earlier claims you rather grandly announce that “i’m not addressing the question any further.” You cannot because you have no stand. You inserted that earlier hypothesis about how Hindus and Muslims view each other in Kashmir with relation to the Indian state because it sounded good and now you are slowly backtracking from it. Not only that, you are dressing up someone else’s argument as if it was your own.
    .
    Similarly, with this Arif’s piece. First you said it was elegant, then you said it was a wholesome critique and now that it was a satire! Now since you have rebuked me that I don’t understand even the word critique, I assume you don’t understand satire. Elegance can be subjective and so can be satire(especially to the object of satire). But most of us know what a critique is. If it was a critique, then it was very bazaru sort of critique. If it was a satire then it was even worse. Apart from being completely tasteless, the author displayed a complete lack of empathy. For example: you can write a satire about Syrian being gassed but most civilized nations will see that attempt in a poor light.
    .
    Similarly with the role of Army. First you said that the Army wants to subdue Kashmiris (though you never explained why the Army has such a preference for Kashmiris). Then you backtracked with some confusing mis-mash about Chidambaram’s statement and what not. The army’s stand is clear. It says if you want to deploy them you have to give them legal protection. It’s like asking the Marines to stop a riot. They are not trained for it. That is the reason why it refuses to get entangled in the Maoist conflict. The army had learnt its lesson from the Sri Lankan conflict where it fought with one hand tied to its back. The collapse in Kashmir is not an army problem. It’s a civilian problem.
    .
    As for the HDI bit, if you wish I can repost the whole series. Btw, what do you say about the Planning commission latest claims? Are they lying? I really want to hear your opinion.
    .
    “The good thing about you knowing my name is that you know i am decisively not a Brahmin and that such a theory does not stem from some ego-trip.”
    .
    Oh that I knew from before. I guess you have forgotten but parallel to your “brahmins are the most intelligent theory” you also floated the thing about Kshatriyas having better built and that you were one. Of course, that claim was hurriedly withdrawn once the stuff about nutrition et al. was brought up. I must say, however, I do have more faith in your claims about physical prowess. And I never said it was some sort of ego trip. I am surprised that you have assumed that. In fact, I had counseled that you shouldn’t have ***inferiority*** complex vis-a-vis Brahmins and I still maintain that. You are not bereft of intelligence. You are just lazy.
    .
    “He was taking a hackneyed pot shot at me when he said that I saw no contradiction in criticizing unfettered capitalism and studying in the USA.”
    .
    Hmm..Not exactly. It was when you were shedding crocodile tears over the fate of poor in India. I thought it was particularly galling that immediately afterwards you gleefully announced that you were on a Sprinbreak!
    .
    Also, if Bangladesh’s condition is so good, why are there migrants from Bangladesh and not in the reverse direction. Can someone answer that??
    .
    And finally, I don’t read Hp’s posts unless it’s addressed to me. I do skim through Tajinder’s especially when he and Raj are locking horns. I make it a point to read Rexie’s posts and AKB’s too. He has the best limericks. Now that I have told you the reason why I thought it was your article, it should be clear why I thought so.
    .
    Also, it’s rather amusing that all the chest beating about the brutal Indian army is coming from Pakistanis, especially Punjabi Pakistanis. It amazes me how they can say that with a straight face when they know what is going on in Baluchistan.

  31. Chote Miyan United States Safari Mac OS says:

    HP,
    Poor you. Are you hurt? I am sorry. So you are quoting progressive writers association’s claims? Awww. See that is what happens when you write first and think later. We were discussing Manto in the present context. He was branded a “reactionary” ***then***, which was a very age specific criticism. Your chief, without understanding this, of course, proceeded straight away to make that claim for ***now***.
    .
    “On his 100th. birth anniversary the question to ask is: Was Manto a reactionary?”.
    .
    That is a ludicrous claim. And I am being kind. And please no homilies about manners and etiquettes etc. The loudest noise for that stuff comes from folks who recently got civilized and have all the passion of a recent convert. I hope you are not one of them. Thank you.

  32. heavy_petting United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Chote, you are cho chweet, lovable sweet chubby little fellow, are you! Who is a reactionary who is not depends on who’s saying it no? The reason why the PWA called him a reactionary is as valid today as it was then. That reason was in the meaning of the word itself (http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/reactionary.html) Only a fool (not a surprise is it) will find faults with someone’s language because of that.

  33. Chote Miyan United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Ok fine. He is your prophet and you can construe whatever hidden meaning he was putting forth. If what you are suggesting is really implied, a reasonable term would have been atavistic or simply nostalgic. But you are welcome to use reactionary in the way you are suggesting. But it’s a good start. You have progressed to using google instead of calling x y and z.
    .
    My last post!

  34. heavy_petting United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Good thing, your last post. What amazes me, however, is how long you continue with your bull before falling in a heap!

  35. adi United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    If Kashmir becomes independent then it will be annexed by Pakistan and China in a jiffy.
    Look what happened to Poland in 1939 between Hitler and Stalin.

    Pakistan wants to become the beloved of arabs and of their god allah by presenting Kashmir as playground for arab sex-boys and bird-hunters. Whoever denies that is fooling himself or trying to fool others.
    Islam’s long term goal is to exterminate non-muslims and their claims completely.
    Pakistan is islam’s fascist-imperialist tool.

    Kashmiri muslims, esp. sunnis, esp. those who like fascism and Pakistan, are actually the enemies of Kashmir. Some kashmiris understand that well.

    We have to go according to the intentions of islam and not what some kashmiri muslims, fooled and misused by Pakistan, wish to delude themselves as.

  36. Ayush Khanna United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Chotey Mian
    “It’s your style, my friend. Let me quote an apt description of that genre:”
    My style indicates to you my logic? This whole exercise of discussing with you has come home to roost as a waste of time.

  37. Vish United Kingdom Google Chrome Windows says:

    @Ayush Khanna, “This whole exercise of discussing with you has come home to roost as a waste of time.” Thank God you finally saw the light. All these verbose articles and even more verbose ‘arguments’ by keyboard warriors of the cyberworld, don’t make an iota of difference in the real world.

  38. Chote Miyan United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Ayush,
    (1) Style of your writing implied, but not confirmed, that the article was by you.
    (2) The lack of logical flow in the arguments of your subsequent posts confirms that the article was by you.
    (3) As you can deduce, one cannot claim a lack of logic at a starting point. Your article painted a particular narrative, which was subsequently weakened by your own logical somersaults. Hope that is clear.
    (4) Btw, I forgot to mention another important point that was raised by Vikram or Arzu: the refusal of separatists to contest elections. I don’t need to add your justification here for the comical relief but here are some excerpts that might be useful:
    .
    “Let us come to Kashmir elections. All along, you have been adopting the election boycott strategy. You also did so in 2002 and 2008, but people did come to vote in large numbers in the assembly and Panchayat elections. There is a debate in Kashmir whether election boycott politics has failed. Do you sometimes consider the option of de-linking elections from the larger political issue of Kashmir?

    Please try to understand that India is exploiting election results and selling the voter turnout not only in India but also at international forums. The majority in Kashmir is suppressed. We are the sufferers. Our stand is that we should not provide India a chance to exploit us.

    Do you sometimes feel disappointed after seeing a line of voters outside the polling stations despite your calls for election boycott?

    As far as the leadership is concerned it remains our moral obligation and responsibility to guide the people and show them the right path. We should tell them what is right and what is wrong. After that if people do not follow, it is up to them. People are themselves responsible for their actions. Aren’t they?”
    .
    http://beta.dawn.com/news/1020464/interview-pakistans-stability-is-of-utmost-importance-to-kashmiris/2
    .
    Apparently, the people themselves don’t seem to agree with the separatists. They lined up in huge numbers for casting their votes. That is, incidentally, the same plea made by most of us to the Maoists: to fight an election and show their popularity. For some reason, they always seem to shy away from it.

  39. Ayush Khanna United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Chotey Mian
    I don’t see any logical mistake that i have made in my article or subsequent posts. THat you should talk of my style rather than any specific logic relating to the articel indicates that you have nothing. You invent one for me, then that s another matter.
    I have already mentioned that incriminating the separatists does not in anyway impact what I am saying. My point has always been the attitude that the Indian army and the Indian Government should employ. Whether the separatists are faultless or not has no bearing on that whatsoever. I’m not here to defend them.
    Elections in Kashmir should not be taken as assimilation of Kashmiris into India. They take part because despite the fact that they want Azadi, they also do not want their issues of today to remain and fester further. That is why they vote.

  40. Currently it sounds like WordPress is the top blogging platform available right now.
    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

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