Kashmir, the ancient land of Sage Kashyap, the abode of Jalodbhava in the lake Sati-Sara which was drained by the Anant plough on the orders of Lord Vishnu and Jalodbhava vanquished by Sage Kashyap which made the valley inhabitable. The Nilamata Purana, the oldest source of history on Kashmir has described the legend beautifully.
Kashmir called Kasheer in Kashmiri language, however, is in turmoil today, facing an unprecedented lockdown by the authorities since 05 August 2019 after the present government under Narendra Modi abrogated the Article 370 which for long was seen as a hindrance to the complete integration of the State of J&K in the Union of India. This momentous decision has changed the very dynamics of the entire South Asian security and strategic paradigm. Kashmir, part of the Great Game of the earlier decades and later a bone of contention between India and Pakistan is geographically situated as the eyes and ears of India to the Central Asia.
However, the present problem is not of the nature of the geo-political or geo-strategic, it stems from the unique position of the Kashmir Valley being a Muslim majority region in a Hindu majority nation, India. The fact that Kashmir Valley and the Northern Areas became entirely Islamic, in the course of centuries from being a major region of Shaivism and later Buddhism, is the root cause of the problem. The gradual but definite changes in the character of Kashmir is the reason why the constant harping on the unfounded fears of a demographic change being brought about by removal of Article 370.
National Conference was the political arm of the Muslims in Valley against the rule of Dogra Hindu Kings in Kashmir. The subtle change of name by Sheikh Abdullah could not have really changed the character of the opposition in Kashmir. The fact that State of J&K has never had a non Muslim Chief Minister is testimony to the nature of Kashmir politics. No mainstream or national political parties could dare to project a Hindu or a Buddhist as Chief Minister of J&K is further evidence of the communal nature of politics in Valley. The so called Sufi syncretism is a farce, the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits is the most horrifying example of the intent of the people who consider even their own neighours of centuries as enemies. The sole reason for the genocide of Pandits in Kashmir Valley was their religion, being Hindu in the land of the pure was unacceptable to the Muslims. A Kaffir cannot choose to live as he wants, he either converts or he dies and hence the pogrom of 1990.
Kashmir feels the same way as the larger Ummah feels, after all the teachings are the same. All Masjids, all Maulvis, every Ulema, every Hadith and above all Quran speaks ill of Kaffirs, declares them heretics, infidels, unbelievers which leads to the conclusion and daily taught in all seminaries that the above all are liable to be killed by the Believers. The idea stems from the belief that there is only One God, that is Allāh, and anyone who does not follow Allāh has committed a Sin.
Pakistan has most diabolically cultivated entire generations of Kashmiri Muslims to indoctrinate them with the zeal of a Ghazi, the slayer of infidels. The so called pro- Azaadi faction was nothing but a Pakistani prop up to distract the world while it played the dangerous game of radicalisation, in the garb of assisting the US in its war in Afghanistan, Pakistan created an army of madarsa educated Taliban or students to carry out the Jihad in Afghanistan. The objective was multifold, gain strategic depth in Afghanistan with its proxy Taliban ruling and keeping the pot boiling in Kashmir through its trained cadres formed into Hizbul, Jamaat, Lashkar. The militant groups are nothing but an extension of the Pakistani Army and its notorious espionage services, the ISI. This deadly combination of the Pakistani Army, the ISI and its proxies make up the feared Deep State in Pakistan, the most powerful establishment within Pakistan.
Pakistan has gone through extreme radicalisation of its society, no state instrument or apparatus has the will or the resolve to take on the Military–Mullah combine in Pakistan. It reflects in the manner the civil society has been silenced over the years. Both Pakistan Army, its security establishment and even its political establishment wants Kashmir to be part of Pakistan. This premise of having Kashmir at any costs has blinded any sane thought from prevailing in Pakistan. It is this thought combined with the loss of Bangladesh which has made Pakistan look for solutions to its woes in Kashmir, consequently India.
If the history of Kashmir was anything, it would have been part of Pakistan but the Maharaja was keen on keeping Kashmir an independent country. The movement led by Sheikh Abdullah was about the Rights of Muslims of Kashmir Valley, it had nothing to do with the people of the State of J&K. The entire manipulation over Article 370 , the insertion of Article 35A was an exercise for domination of Muslims in Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah had played his part well to become the Prime Minister of Kashmir. The hegemony of a Muslim Rule was established by the very Constitution which spoke of equality. This continued even after Sheikh lost favour with Nehru and the Congress. The seeds of conflict were sown by the enactment of Article 370 and 35A, these were discriminatory in nature as it differentiated against the citizens of India. The Western Pakistan Refugees were never granted the Permanent Resident status by the State, these refugees who were mostly Schedule Caste were never recognised as ones, they could not avail the employment opportunities which their brethren could in rest of the country.
The entire edifice of Kashmir was built on exclusivity of it being a Muslim majority State. Article 370 and the Article 35A were the cornerstone of the Constitutionally mandated domination of Muslim majority and discrimination against Hindus in the State of J&K. The present militancy, insurgency or more aptly, the terrorism is nothing but an extension of the Global Jihad. Kashmir for long has been on the top of the Islamic Agenda as being a hotspot for liberating the Muslims from the clutches of the Hindu majority India. Almost all OIC resolutions speak of Kashmir in the same breath as Palestine. This has encouraged the radicalisation of society in Kashmir which no considers itself as different from rest of India. The idea of exclusivity is not regional identity but the fact that Kashmir is almost 100% Muslim especially after the horrific ethnic cleansing of Pandits in 1990s.
Most parties and political leaders are aware of the fact that Kashmir is an Islamic Problem, not a civil or political issue which can be addressed by political and civil measures, but are not ready to accept. This deliberate incoherence of thought is cultivated as a policy tool by most political parties who profess to be Secular. This has emboldened the feeling of alienation among the Kashmiri Muslims, they view themselves as a people who have been forcibly made part of the Union of India. The recent years have made it crystal clear that the entire Kashmir movement is nothing but a yearning to establish a Caliphate or Nizam e Mustafa and to be part of the greater Ummah from Morocco to Kashmir.
Article 370 and Article 35A were enabling provisions for strengthening the alienation of Kashmiri Muslims mandated by the Constitution. A grave wrong has been undone but the work has just begun, it is a long way to peace and tranquility in the Kashmir Valley. Long before the guns go silent and Kashmir regains its past glories.