Pak Policy is Based on Fear and Hatred of India
| Dr. Rajkumar Singh - Expert, Indian Politics & Foreign Relations - 31 Aug 2019

Kashmir Problem: A Legacy of the Past

The two countries, if arrayed as Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India can hardly find a solution to the problem of Jammu and Kashmir, which demands a secular approach, transcending religion. The ground has to be prepared from where the nettle of communalism must be uprooted.

By Dr. Rajkumar Singh

The region Jammu and Kashmir, an area of 86000 square miles located in northwest India and northeast Pakistan has been violently disputed by these two South Asian neighbours since 1947.

With the partition of the Indian subcontinent, the region was split as well with two-thirds going to India and a third going to Pakistan. Since then India continued to resist conducting a plebiscite by the population of the region while Pakistan, times without number, renewed its call for a referendum by Kashmiris.

On being defeated in Kashmir related declared wars and emergence of Bangladesh in December 1971 Pakistan began to wage a proxy war through the Pakistan based extremist groups along Indo Pak borders and inside Indian territory which later became a single major hurdle in normalisation of Indo-Pak relations.

Several rounds of talks and attempts made by governmental and non-governmental agencies failed to provide an acceptable solution of the problem of Jammu and Kashmir followed by a war-like situation prevailing between the two countries for decades. Even today India continues to assert its sovereignty or rights over the entire region of Kashmir but Pakistan maintains that it is a disputed territory.

Why Kashmir is essential for India and Pakistan?

India and Pakistan have been in a state of war over Kashmir ever since 1947.  India is fighting for Kashmir as proof of its adherence to the secular way of life. Kashmir should be with India as it proves that a Muslim majority area can be part of a predominantly Hindu secular state. This is the great value of Kashmir being a part of India, the country with the second-largest Muslim population in the world.

Pakistan wants Kashmir because it is a Muslim majority area and thinks that it belongs to it by right. Islam, whether as a separatist force that had not aligned itself with the mainstream anti-colonial movement or as a movement that sought to create a national state for its people, has always been at the root of the conflict between India and Pakistan. The matter is more evident in Kashmir because Kashmir, unlike the rest of undivided India did not follow the logic of partition based on religion.

The first Indo-Pak war of 1947-48 ended in a ceasefire with Kashmir being divided between the two countries. Pakistan has always looked at this situation as an unfinished task that would be complete only after Kashmir becomes an integral part of Pakistan.

But the Government of India has, no doubt, a good legal reason of the view: 

The Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir had unconditionally acceded to the Indian Union;

The accession was accepted by a freely-elected Constituent Assembly of the State of Jammu and Kashmir in 1951 and was reaffirmed in the State’s Constitution in 1956. Thus, the whole of Jammu and Kashmir becomes an integral part of the Indian Union.

The solution of the Kashmir problem is important not because it is a Muslim majority area but because it has the key to normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan. At New Delhi and Islamabad the presence of a deeply ingrained conflict mentality, not to say a culture of mistrust, seemed to have made any initiative towards cooperation and accommodation unacceptable to domestic public opinion in both the countries.

Relations with Pakistan appeared to be a continuation of the old communal conflicts, and there could be no real solution until that basic conflict in the minds of the people in Pakistan and India was resolved.

Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, in his letter to Chief Ministers, on 1 November 1957, did not claim that India was free from this communal temper, but it did not dominate everything else as in Pakistan. No Government in that country had any policy except fear and hatred of India and, till that ceased, the future was dark. He, however, accepted his failure to win the goodwill of the Government of Pakistan.

Communal legacy of partition

As the subcontinent was partitioned on the basis of religion and in the background of communal riots, it became the single determinants that govern Pakistani action. For India, this jingoism did not last long.

In those days when Kashmir became part of India emotions were high, and quite legitimately so. India was still a very young nation-state and threats from neighbouring Pakistan loomed large in the post-partition national psyche.

The nation-state is popular endorsement of territory. This implies that in all authentic nation-states territory is sacralised. The territorial acquisition is not just a matter of geography, there is a profound sense of cultural attachment to them. It is quite useless to look for rational reasons behind this sentiment.

However, Jingoism differs from patriotism and the latter goes a step further. Patriotism is also concerned with people who live on the soil and puts people on a par with the soil, Jingoists are never happy with it. Jingoism is dismissive of people and of cultural diversities.  It is solely besotted by considerations of territory.

A patriot is also devoted to the soil but realises that the best way of firming up national boundaries is by paying attention to the people who live within it. In both instances territory is critically important.

People’s views on Kashmir

It was this cultural attachment of the people of India that looked to Kashmir as its integral part. The territorial bond that unites and vivifies the Indian nation-state is not just a subcontinental characteristic. 

Unfortunately, we have become to use thinking of every problem or most of the problems in terms of communalism, of Hindu versus Muslim or Hindu and Sikh versus Muslim and so on. That has been an unfortunate legacy of ours, and the extent to which it took us cannot be forgotten by us nor the tragedies that it has led to.

Even at this juncture, the case of Kashmir stands apart, because Kashmir is not a case of communal conflict. It may be a case of political conflict or a case of any other conflict, but it is essentially not a case of communal conflict. We have cast eyes on Kashmir not for any gain but because of old bounds, because of old sentiments and new sentiments also.

Kashmir is very close to our minds and hearts and if by some decree or adverse fortune Kashmir ceases to be a part of India, it would be a wrench and a pain and torment for us. In this connection, it is worth assessing whether Kashmir is a symptom or a disease.

The two would have found some other reason to stay distant because they have not yet overcome the religious differences, which led to the partition of the subcontinent. After the constitution of Pakistan on the basis of the two-nation theory, the rulers or political parties have been at pains to run down secularism in India.

It is a secular state, as is clearly and unambiguously stated in its constitution, in contrast to the theocratic states of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka and unlike all its unitary neighbours India has inherited a quasi-federal state structure. Pakistan has been insisting on describing India as a Hindu country. 

On being influenced from the approach there have been serious suggestions from Pakistan to divide the state on the basis of Hindu and Muslim, the formula used at the time of partition. Such proposals have never been taken into consideration as it would harm the Indian polity as well as the Muslim population in the country.

The two countries, if arrayed as Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India can hardly find a solution to the problem of Jammu and Kashmir, which demands a secular approach, transcending religion. The ground has to be prepared from where the nettle of communalism must be uprooted.

File Image credit – Agency / Wikimedia / Kashmir Tour mart / Google

(Author Dr. Rajkumar Singh is an Expert of Indian Politics & Foreign Relations. He is Professor for the last 18 years; Head of the P.G. Department of Political Science, B.N.Mandal University, West Campus, Saharsa (Bihar), India; Author of over 15 books; His recent books include Challenges of Contemporary India-Polity, Justice, Education, Empowerment and Judiciary and Tireless Border Diplomacy of India with China and Pakistan. Contact -



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INDIAN OBSERVER POST (IOP) is a Class, Creative, and Constructive News platform which publishes ONLY exclusive and Special News / Views / Interviews / Research Articles / Analysis / Columns / Features and Opinions on the national and international issues, politics, security, energy, innovation, infrastructure, rural, health, education, women, and entertainment. Email –






(Onkareshwar Pandey is Founder, Editor in Chief & CEO, Indian Observer Post and former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor, (News), ANI. Email - SMS- 9910150119)





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