SAMosa Takes

Make Kashmir Pakistan’s problem, not ours

There’s a cautionary tale of a mother who repeatedly had to prevent her small child from putting his hand in the fire to see what it felt like.

Jun 7, 2017
By Jug Suraiya
 
There’s a cautionary tale of a mother who repeatedly had to prevent her small child from putting his hand in the fire to see what it felt like.
 
Finally, she felt the only way he would learn not to put his hand in the fire was to let him do it once, get his fingers burnt, and he’d learn his lesson and never do it again.
 
And that’s exactly what she did and that’s exactly what happened.
 
Does this story hold a lesson for us regarding Kashmir, and what has come to be known as the Kashmir problem?  Perhaps it does.
 
Like a problem child, Kashmir – or at least some elements in Kashmir – want to put their metaphorical hands in the fire by seceding from India and joining Pakistan.
 
Such people – who are a minority in the state, but a highly aggressive and conspicuous minority – has compelled India to try to curb their stone-pelting and other agitational activities by deploying Armed forces against them.  In the process, many lives have been lost, a stigma for India’s democratic polity.
 
But what if India – like the mother in the story of the child and fire – was to allow this small but strident minority to have its way?
 
If Kashmir was, in fact, to join Pakistan, what would happen?
 
Over the years, Kashmir has received huge subsidies from India, from heavily subsidised rice to other benefits like government jobs and grants.
 
The robust Indian economy can afford this.  Pakistan’s economy is a basket case.
 
Very soon, Islamabad could find that by taking Kashmir within its fold, it has taken on much more than it can afford.
 
The very same stone-pelters of today would turn against Islamabad, and become another thorn in the side of Pakistan, as Balochistan and Sindh already are.
 
The tables could well turn and the anti-Indian protestors may well want to secede from bankrupt Pakistan and rejoin an indulgent India.
 
From being the Line of Control, the LoC would become the Line of Consent.
 
Won’t happen, of course.  But just imagine if it did. Imagine what would happen if Kashmir was allowed to experience its own agni pareeksha, its own ordeal by fire.
 
Times of India, June 7, 2017

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