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Opinion: The Fate Of Kashmir Should Be Decided On It Being An Integral Part Of India

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Before I start this article, to anyone who will make an effort to read this article, the Kashmir issue is an issue that goes beyond the government ruling at the centre in India. So whether there is the Modi government or not, for India, it is a matter of its own existence as a unified India.

As voices for the conflict between Israel and Palestine rise, the Kashmir issue keeps coming up with voices mostly from Islamic nations portraying India as an occupant of Kashmir. Though the Modi government is wrong on many fronts, especially minorities, the standing on the Kashmir issue has been in cognisance with the historical stand taken by India.

Police in Kashmir clash with protestors
Representative Image.

The conservative voices of the Islamic nation portray Kashmir as a Muslim versus India conflict. But is this the reality? Merely because most Muslims reside there, is it necessary to be viewed from the glasses of a very myopic religious angle?

Let’s be truthful for once, the division of India was done on a religious basis where the leaders of the then Congress accepted the demand for two nations to fulfil the demands of most Muslims residing in India at that time. Pakistan was formed for Muslims only. This is the bitter truth. The minority that still resides in Pakistan was the result of the byproduct of confusion or confidence that remained in the minds of the minority that has lived in those lands for centuries.

In no history of the world has any country has ever given up their land to make people of a religion happy or comfortable. Whether religious conservatives of Islam accept it or not, Indians treat Muslims as part of their culture, and therefore, willingly gave up their part of the land. No offence, but no country, whether Islamic or unislamic, will ever do the same in the future.

After the partition, the states of Hyderabad and Bhopal again tried to divide India into many pieces based on religion. This whole plot was foiled by using army resources. This very attempt to continuously divide India immediately after partition became the ground for the future standing taken by the subsequent governments.

Indians, in general, started feeling how much sacrifice should India make in terms of its lands so that Muslims feel safe. It became an ever ending agenda of then Muslim rulers to separate Indian lands so that Muslims could self govern in India even when Pakistan had been formed on the behest of Muslims.

Since Kashmir will be part of India was decided on the decision made by then ruler of Kashmir, India then firmly took the stand of not giving more lands to Pakistan to appease the population of Pakistan.

It is a historical fact that Muslims came to India as invaders just like their predecessor or future invaders like Britishers, French, Dutch or many more. India, with all its faults and weaknesses, had been wealthy in a traditional sense, which attracted the attention of foreign entities from Greek till the Britishers at last.

Representative Image.

Till the Mughal rule in India, the invaders had become a part of India and its culture that made them the very people of India.

As is evident in the case of Afghanistan, it is difficult to maintain outside rule without the full cooperation of the people of that land. This was true in the times of Mughal or any other foreign rule in India. From Akbar to Shah Jahan, they were smart enough to realise that as long as religion was not used as a coercion method to rule, they would be able to maintain their dynasties.

This is the very reason that these rulers did not force conversions of the population to the ruler’s faith on a mass level. But as soon as this very rule of not using religion as a coercive force was abandoned by Aurangzeb, the decline of the Mughal dynasty and other Muslim dynasties started in India. With the death of Aurangzeb, the fall was final for the Mughal rule.

This whole sequence of Muslim rule in India is an undisputed fact no matter how you may present it. At last, India came to a point where indigenous rulers, whether of Hindu or Muslim origin, had full control over India, leading again to colonisation.

The invasions by the Muslims at many times has been associated with looting India for its wealth along with the destruction of temples and killing on a large scale. With the partition of India, this history has often brought out negative feelings for Indians for the history associated with Muslim rule in India.

Kashmir CRPF stand guard
Representative Image.

The way Turkey and other handful Islamic nations have tried to make the Kashmir issue related to Muslims rather than the refusal of India to give more of its land to any neighbouring country is slowly giving voices to anti-Muslim sentiments. No country likes to give pieces of land to a handful or divide itself for some people.

I am sure Indonesia or Turkey would not divide their country for its minorities to make them feel safe. So why are countries like Turkey or Indonesia unfair to India?

Even in the United Nations, Pakistan and Turkey try to present the issue as people’s right to self govern. But then, when a monster has been fed, it will always demand more. Today in Kashmir, the right to self-determination is demanded based on religion. Next time it will be some other region in India because now India has a big population.

Should the United Nations decide the demand for the right to self-determination based on religion? Because as of now, other than religious issues, there seems no other reason to exercise freedom of self-determination in Kashmir.

The terrorist organisation Hamas of Palestine sees Kashmir as a state of Muslims and not as a long historical part of India since the 6th century BC. This same stand is reiterated in many articles written by Muslim scholars at international levels with a lot of prejudice and bias against India.

Often, this is perceived as a deliberate attempt to refuse acknowledgement by the Muslim section of India’s past and her sacrifice for her Muslim brethren in India.

Kashmir is not only a state that has a Muslim majority. It is also a part of India for more than 10 centuries. So if the fate of Kashmir should be decided, it should be decided based on it being an integral part of India and not on a religious basis to keep a group of people satisfied.

Why can’t a country like Turkey, which is supposedly democratic and republican, understand this? Will the world ever be fair to us and understand the sacrifice made by India for Muslims and let India be the ruler of its own land without the propaganda of Muslim versus India in its very own Kashmir.

Featured Image via flickr
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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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