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Archive for May, 2006

Kashmir

The Kashmir, India and Pakistan

Look at the Pakistan experience of India. The two countries are so fond of their own, that we are fighting on every possible pretext. More cooperation will mean less political profit for the ruling class, the politicians, but the general public will immensely benefit from the boost in trade, the pervading peace and the reduced pressure on resources for buying armory. We are deliberately kept from perceiving this by those who profit by this conflict. At the centre of this is Kashmir. Lot of people talk with a lot of passion when they refer to Kashmir. There are two lobbies. One group is for annexing Kashmir as a state of India. These people are generally fanatics with little knowledge of history and has a lot of unnecessary passion for the country. I think, on the long term they are the biggest danger to the country they celebrate, the whole region and mankind. There is another ( very minority in ‘mainland India’ and very common in Kashmir) group who tend to think that Kashmir should be free country, as their(Kashmir’s) people generally seem to think that way (The Indian government is quite aware of this, though they do no acknowledge this. But the fact that they are not performing the promised referendum is an indication that they are aware). I think both the views are wrong. Annexing Kashmir or claiming that it is an integral part of India is a result of aggressive colonial mentality. Those who think this way think of Kashmir and some other parts of India as colonies of India (or, to be more sober ‘integral parts of India’). They think the inhabitants of these places are inferior to that of the mainland India (deja vu?). The other view is wrong in the way is that it does not look into the long term effect of the action. People of Kashmir may form a free nation, but too soon they will be caught between three unfriendly countries- India, China and Pakistan. Each trying to exert its pressure on the small country which will have too little to defend with. Ultimately they will suffer. The best way to deal with the situation is to give the people of Kashmir a lot more freedom than they now enjoy. This will ensure that they are treated humanely, will restore the status given to them by our constitution, as well ensure the extremists get much less supporters among common men. The moment they will get involved in governing their own land, they will stop being frustrated. And the separatist movement will lose th very ground.

I must mention that in this regard the attitude the Indian government is showing is not very praiseworthy. India is ready to talk with Pakistan about the fate of Kashmir, but is unwilling to talk to the political parties of Kashmir, especially the separatist leaders. They are now willing to talk to the Indian government means that they understand that violence is leading them nowhere, and they are willing to compromise. This is the best time to settle the problem. What is surprizing is that the government is willing to talk to Pakistan, but unwilling to talk to Kashmiris, to decide their fate. In the experience of the past half a century has clearly shown that force is not really the best way to solve the problem. We must give the Kashmiris their share of right to decide their own fate.

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Nationalism

The biggest threat our country (and the whole world) is facing now is nationalism. In fact, not only in our country, but in many places around the world. It could even lead to a crisis. In the present age, as the world is drawing closer and closer, nationalism is dangerous for the humankind.

The general idea being fanned in many countries is this: you must be very loyal to your country, and should not hurt your countrymen’s interest. But as a nation you are free to be very aggressive outside your country. That is absolutely allowed.

When men used to live in groups, same kind idea prevailed between groups. As the more and more groups are aggregating into bigger groups idea of being loyal to the country came up as being loyal to a small group was not good enough. At present the situation is that countries are coming closer and closer than ever, thanks to science and technology. To keep up with this, men should be loyal to the whole of humankind, and not just to one country. This will as a total will cause more good than damage. Never before two countries as far as the US and Japan rubbed their shoulders as often as they do now. So if we keep scratching each other’s face, chances are we could get hurt more than ever before.

Whenever man can identify two differing groups and associates himself/herself with one of the two, the next thing he/she tends to do is to find fault with the other. Even all cultures seem to have an embedded system of identifying and publicizing faults of the other culture they come in contact with. This comes, partly from insecurity of losing the pervading social order, and a foolish passion for one’s own culture.

We may remind here that the sentiment of Aryan superiority over all others was a prime reason for the last two world wars, which should have taught us a lesson, which we seem not to have learned.

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The Problem

Is a subject of hot debate now. The rise of the extremists in the muslims is a very recent phenomena. It started, as far as I know, only after the second world war. Islam is, or rather muslims are, by and large cornered in the new world. The western nations, doubtlessly, are far more powerful than the muslims of the east. As a sense of oppression has been flowing among the muslims of all nations, terrorism seems to emerge as the solution to many of them. This is out of a desperate feeling. Feeling as a group of being oppressed and ill-treated. Western media is playing a very vital role in this context. They generally tend to reflect their own country’s interest. That they do that is sometimes ensured by force. Not exactly by killing or taking prisoners, the west has a method much better than that. It is one of threatening, of charging the man or group in question antinationals. This allegation often steals these people of their credibility among the common men, as they are taught to be very jealous about what they call is their ‘national interest’. It is put into everybody’s head that political nationalism is a virtue. Out of this, all that is expected, is a mess at best.

Searching the Cause

Many like to put terrorism as a result of poverty and lack of education (they mean formal education). But this does not explain numerous extremists from rather affluent families. On the other hand, some are of the view that Islam has something wrong in it, that it preaches killing, oppression and hatred of other religions etc. etc. To answer these, we may turn back to history. There was never anything like these surprise killings (i.e. terrorist activities) in the muslims even fifty years ago. There were killings, as there are in every society, but they had nothing to do with muslims especially. On the contrary, the in the early days of Islam, when the Arab world was very powerful, the caliphate treated the christians quite kindly. (It might be a bit irrelevant here, but the Qur’an says that one can find many kind people among those who call themselves christians. In fact, in his lifetime, Muhammad came in contact with a few christian saints, and held a very high opinion about some of them. The Qur’an preaches- one who kills a man, as if he kills the whole of mankind; one who saves a life, as if he saves the entire mankind. It does, at places, allow killing; but only when attacked and to stop corruption. So the idea of killing innocent civilians can not be found out there. Here one can mention that there was a red-cross like system was implemented by Muhammad in wars he fought). Some claim terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. Stricly speaking, they are true, but, it has a lot to do with muslims, at least in many of the cases and in the present scenario. This is a fact which should not be denied.

The Solution (As seems to me)

The answer lies in the political situations, history, and the general perceptions (or we should call prejudices) among nations. And a very important player in the game is what many of us hold dear. It is nationalism in politics. Even rather peace loving people think there is nothing wrong when a nation as a whole behaves selfishly. It actually does a lot of damage. To subscribe to nationalism jealously one generally needs an enemy, another nation. Sometimes people like to have more! At the end, both of them lose a lot as a whole. Who benefits is the ruling class as they can claim a lot of benefit from patriotism and devotion to nation from their people. A lot of money can be spent in the name of national security, and the biggest advantage of this is that nobody can question where the money is going. Also there is something called the war economy. But all these benefits have one requirement: an enemy nation. If a nation can be subdued by another, then the ruling class get the resources that the ruled were enjoying, but is bound by little liability, compared to what they will be at their own nation. (A classic example may be Iraq. In the US media a lot of people against the war talk about the (roughly) two thousand ‘sons of the soil’ who are lost in the war. But nobody there is much bothered about the (official figures) sixty thousand people killed in the invation. The nation of iraq is suffering from other problems also. Its system of law and order and ration etc. has broken down drastically as a result of the war. But who cares?).

The pictures of Abu Ghraib and Guatemala bay means a lot. It signifies the american attitude towards the east. Maybe also towards the non-white. The US army entered into the city of Mecca created fear, despair and anger among the muslims. But they could do nothing up front. The muslim majority countries expressed their feelings. That is all they could do. I am not saying they should have waged a war against the US for such a stupid reason (though it is very symbolic). All I am saying is had they been powerful, such a thing would never have happened.

As a religion becomes older, its’ rulers somehow tend to become afraid of the changing world. They try to protect the world they know, by becoming more rigid. This has happened to Jews, to the Christians, and now I see it happening to the Muslims.

All these things sum up to the scenario that we are in now. I can not suggest a ready solution to all these problem. I believe nobody can. We can only strive to reach a better situation.

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