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Letters to the Editor
The brilliant article “Reviving true kashmiriyat,” (Aug. 19) by Malini Parthasarathy is commendable for its narrative of events, analysis and linguistic elegance. Not many are aware that so much has happened on the Kashmir issue — Pervez Musharraf's four-point formula, the true persona of Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq and the PDP's position on cross-border power-sharing. The SAC Report and the resolution adopted by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly are also not widely known. With so much positive going on in the political firmament of Kashmir, one can only hope that the main players will seize the opportunity to find a solution to the vexed problem.
The article portrays the exact picture of Kashmir, where people are sought to be alienated from their culture. Pulled between India and Pakistan, the Kashmiris have been fighting for their true identity. It is time the Kashmiri ethos was recognised and their beliefs safeguarded.
Ms Parthasarathy's article was balanced and forward-looking. We truly need to revive kashmiriyat that has a cultural heritage and broad-mindedness rooted in the Sufi tradition. It is indeed sad to see the Valley being hounded and plagued by dangerous elements. While one can appreciate and understand the grounds of accession, the people of the Valley too need to recognise the extraordinary consideration and concessions they get from the Indian Union. They need to stay clear of religious extremists.
While we need to do everything to restore normalcy in the State, which includes the return of the displaced Pandits, we cannot allow violent, ill- intentioned elements to dictate to us.
True, a dialogue on the Kashmir issue must reach into history, and examine the commitments made by the governments in the past. But the commitments have been broken and those made in recent years hardly reinforce people's faith in the political system. The issue is political and needs to be addressed politically, not the way it has been done by selecting a power-hungry chunk in the name of elections.
It is certainly possible to preserve the distinct Kashmiri cultural identity in an autonomous political framework within the Indian Union. But first give us the right to life, the right to live with dignity, the right to self-determination, and army-free environs. Stop the bloodshed of innocents and work for a genuine regional autonomy which the State deserves.
Syed Adfar Rashid Shah,
The article presents a clear view of the mistakes made by successive governments on the Kashmir question. The call of Hindu nationalists to remove its special status, in particular, has led to the rise of the Islamist movement. The ground reality is that there is continuous political unrest in the Valley and hatred towards the Indian state is rampant. In such circumstances, it is hardly possible to implement the packages meant for the State.
Ms Parthasarathy's article is a true assessment of the grave situation prevailing in the Valley. More than sixty years of various political experiments, together with Article 370, have failed to address the grievances of the people of Kashmir. If it is trust deficit that is at the root of the troubled India-Pakistan ties since Partition, it is faith deficit that is the cause of our problems in Kashmir.
Kashmir was a Muslim-majority State ruled by a Hindu king and its accession to India was special and unique. The uniqueness needs to be given the importance it deserves.
Capt. T. Raju (retd.),
With one stroke of her pen, Ms Parthasarathy has equated the hard-line Islamists of the Kashmir Valley with the Hindu nationalists. Where is the comparison between the hard-line Islamists, who have renewed the 12th century-like attacks on anything Indian and non-Islamic, and the Hindu nationalists who demand Kashmir's complete integration with India?
We are pampering the people of Kashmir. The need to hold on to Kashmir has become all the more important as our borders have become vulnerable to international manipulations.
The resettlement of the Pandits who were driven away from the State should find an important place in any talks on autonomy.
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