The secular democracy is based on the ideological stand that religion is a personal sphere of human life whereas the politics and governance are the public domains of human life. Religion and its associated rituals are part of the cultural life of the people belonging to a particular religious community. The way we name the children, greet each other, speak and write a particular language, wear an attire eat the food, have our marriages, perform the last rites of the dead persons, celebrate the festivals, construct the buildings and assert our civilizational identity are directly or indirectly related to our religious community consciousness.Thus the expressions like a Jew, a Christian or a Muslim irrespective of how much practising religious people the are highlight the cultural identities of the people and we recognise them from intra-community similarities and inter-community differences.Thus secular democracy does not reduce the individual human beings to homogeneous entities to ignore their mutual differences. It is very unlikely to expect from the human beings to rise above the religious consciousness and vote the people of other community. In the distribution of public utilities the biasness and discrimination against the other in general and the minorities in particular is an empirical reality.The secular parties that promised the people equal opportunity, peace and security and justice and development could not deliver in these things in reality.The conflict between high level of aspirations and low level public delivery led to the frustration among the people who could not benefit from the secular democracy. So retrogression to the community consciousness and groupism and therefore biasness becomes a rule.
In the specific geographical setting Kashmir surrounded by the Buddhist dominated Ladakh and Tibet in the north and Hindu dominated India in the south and Muslim World in the west, the attraction of Kashmiri Muslims towards Pakistan, Afghanistan Central Asia, Iran, Turkey and Arabia is a natural tendency. Thus be it the celebration of Eid festival, Pakistani cricket match or Pakistan war against its enemy, the Kashmiri Muslims are bound to be on the Pakistani side. Once the common Kashmiri Muslims express their heart felt feelings it creates an embarrassment for the secularists and an irritation among the non-Muslims. It will be a permanent phenomenon for which there is no solution.
From the above discussion it can be concluded that the former Dogra kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir is a meeting place of the Buddhist civilisation in the east, Hindu civilisation in the south and Muslim civilisation in the north and west.The constituent regions of Jammu and Kashmir have more commonalities with their adjoining countries, than among each other.The state is in fact an aggregation of diverse regions brought under the control of Jammu based Dogra kingdom of Maharaja Gulab Singh by force from 1821 to 1846 and even thereafter. It was because of the lack of its internal coherence that the kingdom disintegrated soon after the British paramountcy lapsed in mid-August1947. An independent Jammu and Kashmir could not last longer than two months and one week from 15th August to 21st October 1947.Therefore the former Dogra kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir does not qualify to become an independent country. Neither Maharaja Hari Singh nor the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front have been realistic and democratic in aspiring to convert the former Dogra kingdom into an independent country. A region-specific approach for conflict resolution is more viable in the erstwhile princely state than a single blanket approach for the entire territory of Jammu and Kashmir from Karakoram mountain range in the north to Jammu Plain in the south.
Similarly, the Muslim dominated regions of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be kept together for long in the name of a hypothetical Islam alone.The sectarian fault-lines between Shia dominated Gilgit-Baltistan (including Kargil) and the the Sunni dominated Azad Kashmir became a reason apart from geography to separate the two regions falling on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control.
Those Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir who believe that religion is a significant force to keep the people well-knit and bonded with each other ignore the role of ethnicity and language in segregating the people of different ethno-lingual origins. The people of Kashmir Valley, Chenab Valley, Pirpanjal-Mirpur region and Muzaffarabad Division are dominantly the Suni Muslims but politically they have not been on the same page. The Kashmiri speaking Muslims have historically recognised Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah as their leader whereas Choudhary Ghulam Abbas was the most popular leader of the Parmi Muslims speaking Pahari/Gujjari Pothwari/Punjabi and Hindku languages. The Kashmiri Muslims allied with Nehruvian secular democracy, whereas the other ethnic groups favoured alliance with Jinnah’s Muslim Pakistan in1947.
It can be deduced from the above discussion that a historical and ethnic community living in a distinct region sharing a common history, language and culture is an ideal unit to qualify for a modern sovereign nation-state.Thus Buddhist dominated Ladakh region, Dogra dominated Jammu region and Kashmiri dominated Kashmir region from Patnitop to Zoji La Pass qualify for becoming three distinct nation-states in their own right. Similarly, the Balti, Shina and Pahari speaking areas divided along the Line of Control qualify to become the three distinct nation-states. Same is true about the Burushoos of Hunza Valley. The Gujjars unlike the Burushoos are scattered in the Shiwalik Hills and Lesser Himalayan regions have no dominance in any definite geographical region although numerically they are more in number than Ladakhies and Burushoos.Therefore people belonging to different religious, lingual and caste minority communities deserve the non-territorial reservation policies to preserve their language and culture and also have their social, economic and political empowerment.
THE RESTORATION OF AUTONOMOUS STATUS OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR STATE:- The immediate solution of Kashmir problem is to restore the Statehood of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory and hold transparent elections to establish a democratic government in the state. The Central Government must also restore immediately the State Subject Laws of Jammu and Kashmir State existing in the state since 1927. Following the accession of Jammu and Kashmir State with Indian Union the State Subject Laws of the state were protected under the Article 35-A of the Constitution of India from 1954 to 2019. The Article 35-A authorised the Jammu and Kashmir State Constituent Assembly to define the citizenship rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir State to ensure their exclusive right over the land, government employment, admission in the educational institutions and the government scholarships in the state. Under the changed circumstances the State Subject Laws of Jammu and Kashmir State can be protected under the proposed Article 371-K through an amendment in the Constitution of India
Given the historical fact that Maharaja Hari Singh at the time of signing the Instrument of Accession has written in the covering letter of the legal document that the future Constitution of India will not be a binding on Jammu and Kashmir State except for the subjects covered in the Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir State with respect to defence, foreign affairs and communication; the Government of India must allow the Government of Jammu and Kashmir State to hold transparent elections in the state to frame the Jammu and Kashmir State Constituent Assembly for the purposes of drafting, debating and adopting the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir State within the framework of Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir State with Indian Union in 1947.
THE REPUBLIC OF KASHMIRISTAN :- The Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir State with Indian Union need to be transformed into the Comprehensive Defence Agreement between the two entities.The Comprehensive Defence Agreement between Kashmir and India will limit the jurisdiction of New Delhi to strategic defense, hard foreign affairs and physical communication only.
In order to accord sovereign status to the Kashmiri speaking territory and to make the necessary arrangements for economic development, foreign direct investment, international trade, people to people contact, scientific and cultural cooperation of Kashmiristan with rest of the world, the state needs to be granted the authority to conduct its soft foreign affairs.To ensure economic cooperation of Jammu and Kashmir State with its neighbouring countries there is a serious need that the state must have the authority to enter into agreement with the foreign countries and institutions to make the necessary infrastructure development and institutional arrangements for economic cooperation of the landlocked state with Indian Union, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan Central Asian States and other countries. Similarly, the area of defence can be limited to strategic defense of strategically important sectors of international border between the former Dogra kingdom and it’s neighbouring countries. Similarly the communication links of India in Jammu and Kashmir State can be confined to the physical communication facilities like national highways, railways and airlines.The realignment of the international border between Kashmiristan and Pakistan can be done in such a to have the ethnic reunification of the divided ethnoses. Which ethnic groups will stay with Kashmiristan and which would stay with India or Pakistan can be determined on the basis of principle of right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Ladakh within India and the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan within Pakistan. Thus the nation-state of Kashmiristan can ultimately emerge as a buffer state between India and Pakistan.
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