Lately, in the national news, Kashmir has been the hot topic. The intense religious, political, geographical, and economical debates have been heard all over the world, and yet, there has been no conclusion to this war between Pakistan and India. As an Indian myself, it is almost impossible to be unbiased in any kind of analysis of the subject, so I will not attempt to be impartial, but yet present the story as how I, first of all see it, secondly, researched it, and thirdly, believe it. There is a truth behind the Kashmir story, and the Indians and the Pakistanis must understand it. There are real people involved in this governmental affair, and being such an affair, one must realize that it is time to stop the killing and resolve this century-old war between the Muslims and the Hindus.
Kashmir was once a tourists’ paradise. The land has been known for centuries as the greenest and most temperate spot in the Himalayas. A land so beautiful, one could not even picture it in their dreams. Clear blue lakes reflects the snow-capped mountains, and lush forests of fir, pine, and spruce lining the rivers. The land was once the summer vacation spot for the British raj as well as the wealthy Indians who wanted to escape the heat of the intense summers of India.
However beautiful Kashmir is, the land is valued more than for it natural beauty. The land is a path through the Himalayas to the entire subcontinent. From Kashmir, the rivers Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum flow. These rivers are the primary sources of water for Pakistanis. The land provides for a spy camera on the nearby powerful countries of China, Afghanistan, and the Soviet republic of Tajikistan.
The “Kashmir problem” dates back to 1947 and the partition of India and Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh, the hereditary ruler of Kashmir, stalled for several months over the decision as to which nation Kashmir would join. Singh, a Hindu ruling a majority-Muslim population, finally agreed to Indian dominion on October 27, 1947, partly to gain Indian military assistance against an Islamic revolt. Muslim Kashmiris have always challenged the Instrument of Accession; India regards it as final.
In the past 50 years, India and Pakistan have fought three wars-two over control of Kashmir. The issue has been on the United Nations docket as long or longer than any other-a U.N. military observer’s office has monitored activities at the “line of control,” the cease-fire line separating the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir, since the end of the first Indian-Pakistani war in 1947. The cease-fire, which gave 65 percent of Kashmir to India, was to be temporary. A treaty was supposed to follow, allowing the Kashmiris to decide their future. To date, there has been no treaty.
The main problem obviously lies in the fact that Kashmir is divided between the Muslims and Hindus. It is impossible for two such strongly opposed religions to live together, harmoniously. Therefore, for over five decades, this war between the religions have been forged. One might say that it is a geo-political, socio-economic debate, and there are a million reasons to why Kashmir should be handed to one country or another, but why have the civilians of the country not been asked to their fate. Why have the governments of India and Pakistan stopped to consider that maybe, if the Kashmir valley was made into its own republic, then the fighting would cease, and so would the reason for the wars.
But, this is the twentieth century we are talking about, and nowadays no one just “gives up.” This land is valuable beyond measures for each country and therefore, the fighting is justified. There are many possibilities to end this war. There should be a cease-fire for Ramadan, the Muslim holiday, and maybe this cease-fire will continue into peace. Kashmir could be made into its own state, and peace could be renewed, however, the politics of the countries get in the way of freedom from the oppression of the governments of India and Pakistan. The governments of these countries have used Kashmir as an excuse for their religious warfare, and the people have suffered as a result of it. No more is the Kashmir issue a geo-political issue is it an economic one. For the most part, it has been a religious war, and therefore, it has not been justifiable for any kind of solution. Only when the governments of these countries end their religious warfare, will there be an end to this problem. Kashmir should be made into its own state, with its own government. The people have lived quietly and humbly for this long, why not let them be free to run their own regime? This problem has been going on far too long, and its time that people recognize how beautiful and peaceful the land used to be before the governments of India and Pakistan ravaged it with warfare.