Posts Tagged ‘Junagadh’

Kashmir and the forgotten Sheikh

January 18, 2009 7 comments

Sixty years after Kashmir threw in its lot with India, the state remains an enigma for policymakers. Even back then, the Kashmiri Muslims – the majority in the state – led by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, had defied popular perception that Muslim majority states would prefer joining Pakistan. Abdullah had snubbed Jinnah by refusing to even meet him when the latter came to the Valley in the hope of convincing the young leader to support Pakistan. (via The forgotten Sheikh).

An enigma, inside a puzzle wrapped in a mystery …

Kashmir remains an interesting complication – from a historical perspective. It was Muslim majority – so Pakistan could take a technical refuge under the Indian actions in Junagadh and Hyderabad. Since, it had a Muslim majority, Pakistan could lay claim to it.

The Hindu ruler wished to remain independent – and then changed his mind – and decided to join India. Popular leaders of Kashmir, like Sheikh Abdullah, also wanted Kashmir to be a part of India. Hence the legitimacy of Indian claim.

Note the body language

Note the body language

Colonial detritus

The jokers in the pack were the legacy Colonial rulers – in India and Pakistan. The Governor General of India was Mountbatten – and the Pakistani Generals and some Indian army officials were British.

The collusion between these colonial agents in the dying days of the Raj, has created a festering problem – which India and Pakistan are still fighting over.

We can continue with this problem for the next 60 years – without success. Instead, a better idea may be to put the Kashmir problem into a cryogenic chamber and revive this issue 50 years later.

Westernization of the sub-continent

India’s independent movement created leaders like Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Sheikh Abdullah – who have been forgotten. Instead we now see only the Taliban – created by the West.

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