Demystifying Kashmir by Navnita Chadha Behera

By Navnita Chadha Behera

The Kashmir factor is usually forged as a "territorial dispute" among belligerent acquaintances in South Asia. yet, there's even more to the tale than that. "Demystifying Kashmir" argues that spotting the wealthy, complicated, and multi-faceted personality of Kashmir is critical not just for realizing the structural explanations of this clash, but additionally for delivering possibilities to set up a simply, potential, and lasting resolution.

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Second, the predominant sentiment in the Kashmir Valley was a strong opposition to feudal practices, and the National Conference was fighting that battle. Pakistan was concerned not so much about being incomplete without Kashmir as about seeing a Muslim-majority state voluntarily opting to join India. That would have delivered a body blow to the two-nation theory even before it had planted its feet in the newly created Dominion of Pakistan. The Muslim League was happy to blame a Hindu maharaja for the accession to Hindu India because it would have been far more difficult to explain how a popular Muslim leader like Sheikh Abdullah could have chosen to join India or completely repudiate the two-nation theory, which he felt “breathed poison into the amosphere”: “My organization and I never believed in the formula that Muslims and Hindus form separate nations.

Realizing that Kashmiri political aspirations as articulated by the National Conference could not be met within the Indian union, Sheikh Abdullah began exploring the idea of an independent Kashmir. This brought Kashmiris in serious collision with the center. Up to that point, their disagreements had basically been about the primacy of the center’s identity and the degree of political autonomy that Kashmir could expect as a state of the nation. Kashmir had now gone a step too far: the demand for a sovereign space outside the union challenged India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

62 Chowdhary Hamidullah, acting president of the conference, had already promised the maharaja “the support and the cooperation of the Muslims forming a[n] 80 percent majority in the state, as represented by this authoritative organization, the Muslim Conference. ”63 Since Kashmir was 0860-2 ch01 11/10/06 2:17 PM Page 25 Redefining the Parameters / 25 a Muslim-majority state, the Muslim Conference reasoned, the maharaja would be forced to hand over (or at least share) state power with the Muslims.

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