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 International Relations
Peace,Not Partition
Times Of India, India Friday, April 23, 2010

Madhu Kishwar
The core issue for Pakistan is Kashmir.But the core issue for India is not just terrorism but protecting our pluralist democracy.Kashmir is not mere territory to be kept under Indian jurisdiction at all costs, writes Madhu Kishwar in The Times Of India.

While it is imperative for India's well-being that we seek a peaceful resolution of our long-standing conflict with Pakistan without resort to war,it is equally important that we do not make peace with the ideology that created Pakistan through India's bloody partition in 1947.That would mean accepting the perverse notion that Hindus and Muslims cannot coexist peacefully within the same nation and society.Pakistan can afford to hold tight to that destructive ideology because it allowed a near-total ethnic cleansing of Hindus,Sikhs and other minorities at the time of partition.But Mahatma Gandhi and his colleagues had the good sense to avoid making India a mirror image of Pakistani state and society.

The core issue for Pakistan is Kashmir.But the core issue for India is not just terrorism but protecting our pluralist democracy.Kashmir is not mere territory to be kept under Indian jurisdiction at all costs.But we cannot accept the Pakistani agenda because that would mean accepting the logic of partition.


As long as the subcontinent's Hindus and Muslims believed they were two religious-cultural communities living and sharing a common soil,they could easily work out decent norms for co-living on the basis of other common layers of identity such as language,village and culture.But once the corrosive power of ethnic nationalism invaded us from Europe in the late-19 th and early-20 th century,religious differences began to be dragged into the realm of politics for mobilising communal monoliths.


Iqbal,the leading brain behind the idea of Pakistan,had in his early years composed many a beautiful verse in praise of the composite culture of Hindustan.His famous poem,Sare jahan se achchha Hindustan hamara'evokes a sentimental image of Hindus and Muslims singing joyously together in the same gulistan (garden).However,he rejected Indian nationalism after returning from Europe in 1908 and became obsessed with forging Muslim solidarity as a distinct nationality'.His demand for Pakistan was based on the head-counting majoritarian principle imbibed from Europe.
Jinnah succeeded in convincing a section of Muslims that they were a monolithic community incapable of peaceful coexistence with Hindus.Consequently,millions were uprooted from their homes and the land they considered their own.The logic of majoritarianism identifying a group by certain objective characteristics,and then claiming the right to drive them out or subjugate them as a hated minority is inherently arbitrary and divisive.


The inability of Pakistan-inspired secessionists to carry even a token minority of Kashmiri Pandits of the Valley,Buddhists of Ladakh,Dogras,Gujjars,Sikhs and other minorities of J&K,along with them,shows that the slogan of azadi is not proof of their democratic credentials.It is only a cover for the Pakistani agenda of forcing yet another partition on the basis of religion.This ideology leads a section of Hindus to believe that if Muslims cannot coexist peacefully with them in areas where Muslims are a majority,why should Hindus be forced to live with Muslims where Hindus are a majority Why should there be plebiscite only in Kashmir Why not all over India But that would mean India becoming another Pakistan a fate we should avoid at all costs for it means destroying the core values of our culture and civilisation.


This article was published in the Times Of India on Friday, April 23, 2010. Please read the original article here.
Author : Madhu Kishwar is a senior fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.
Tags- Find more articles on - HIndu | India | Iqbal | Muslim | Pakistan | partition

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