India has been fighting against itself for the last 50 years. Left by the British to try and make a conglomeration of princely states the ideal of all Indians living together under the same rights having the same security was an inconceivable notion 50 years ago. However, through the Iron clad ideals of a few independence leaders India remains what it is today. Sardar Vallabhai Patel ordered the Reconquista of the princely state of Hyderabad and then Goa. Unfortunately, at that time he never had the chance to do what is needed in Kashmir. This problem itself then festered for almost 50 years.
Government after government has treated Kashmir as a special case. Not only giving laws for autonomy but laws against what every citizen of India might’ve hoped for truly including Kashmir into the rest of mainland India. None of them could ever move to or hope to settle down and could always remain but just tourists. The Valley having a majority of population would always hold the rest of the population in Jammu and Ladakh as hostages to their own demands. This being much to the frustration as well as discomfort for the vast minority populations of the state living in Jammu and Ladakh.
Government after government would pour federal funds into the state to try and rejuvenate industries as well as communications and transportation. Unfortunately for the Valley, these efforts at integration have failed. We can all remember the poor plight of the Kashmiri pandits, who were driven from the Valley on an almost overnight the basis with threats to their lives, changing the demographics completely.
It reminds me of a similar scenario in apartheid South Africa where a minority white population held control via a tightly controlled elected system. Apartheid, stands for Apartness. That is exactly what the political leaders of the Kashmir Valley have over the last 50 years tried to promote perhaps for their own political greed or false ideology that they cannot integrate on certain basic fundamental rights to all Indians. Unfortunately for the Valley whose majority population is Muslim they have been subject to external propaganda as well as a consistent belief that their values air a sense of superiority to the rest of all Indians. Islamic theology has always stated that a true believer in Islam often has the air of superiority many times over when compared to a Kaffir or nonbeliever.
It is this air that has promoted decades of non-integration with the rest of the state as well as the mainland. This has resulted as previously stated by seeking to maintain the demographics by chasing out the Kashmiri Pandits on violent basis.
Eventually the world saw through South Africa system of racial inequality and by financial and economic means allowed for the majority of population to allow for all South Africans to exercise their vote a general democratic election.
In Kashmir’s scenario, specifically the Valley of Kashmir this can never really be exercised in view of the trauma that Hindu Kashmir have had to face by their violent Exodus.
Over the last few days and after a landslide election the BJP party led under the dynamic leadership of Narendra Modi and Home Secretary Amit Shah may yet try to reverse decades of injustice towards this unequal state. It is time for the “apartness “to be removed. It is time for all Indians to make Kashmir a part of their home. It is time for Kashmiris to allow back in those Kashmiri Pandits who had to flee with their lives and the backpack 30 years ago. It is time for “Apartness” to be removed and the notion of Kashmiriyat to truly flourish.