In this interview with Souad Sharabani, Dr. Nyla Ali Khan talks about the hidden tragedy in Kashmir. Please, click here to read the interview.
She says, "The borders that were brutally carved by the authorities at the time of partition have led to further brutality in the form of those riots, organized historical distortions and cultural depletions with which the histories of independent India and Pakistan are replete.
For India, Kashmir lends credibility to its secular nationalist image. For Pakistan, Kashmir represents the infeasibility of secular nationalism and underscores the need for an Islamic theocracy in the subcontinent. Once the Kashmir issue took an ideological turn, Mahatma Gandhi remarked, “Muslims all over the world are watching the experiment in Kashmir . . .. Kashmir is the real test of secularism in India.” In January 1948, India referred the Kashmir dispute to the United Nations (Hagerty 2005: 19).
Subsequent to the declaration of the ceasefire between India and Pakistan on 1 January1949, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was divided into two portions. The part of the state comprising the Punjabi-speaking areas of Poonch, Mirpur and Muzaffarabad, along with Gilgit and Baltistan, was incorporated into Pakistan, whereas the portion of the state comprising the Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and the large Jammu region was politically assimilated into India. Currently, a large part of Jammu and Kashmir is administered by India and a portion by Pakistan. China annexed a section of the land in 1962, through which it has built a road that links Tibet to Xiajiang (see Rahman 1996: 5–6). The strategic location of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) underscores its importance for both India and Pakistan. The state of J & K borders on China and Afghanistan. Out of a total land area of 2, 22, 236 square kilometers, 78,114 are under Pakistani administration, 5,180 square kilometers were handed over to China by Pakistan, 37,555 square kilometers are under Chinese administration in Leh district, and the remaining area is under Indian administration (Census of India, 1981: 156)."
She continues, "The Constitution of India seeks to guarantee respect for the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, and the integrity of the electoral process. But time and again, provisions of the Constitution of India have been flagrantly violated in Kashmir, and the ideals that it enshrines have been forgotten. In Kashmir, rights relating to life, liberty, dignity of the people, and freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution, embodied in the fundamental covenants and enforceable by courts of law, have been gravely violated. The much-lauded parliamentary democracy in India has been unable to protect a genuine democratic set-up in Kashmir. The Government of India cannot continue to install Heads of State in Jammu and Kashmir, and claim that it is not plutocratic. The non-governance in Jammu and Kashmir, and the growing disconnect between the rulers and the ruled in the State seem to have lulled the Government of India into further apathy. Heads of States, particularly of trouble-torn ones cannot avoid their ethical and moral responsibilities toward peoples of the States by letting their lives be torn asunder by paramilitary forces and other “upholders” of the law.