Saturday, June 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Kashmir autonomy & Mughal mindset in Delhi

“The high cost of rigidity” by I.K. Gujral has surprised me. Mr Gujral would like India to invite foreign observers to watch the election process in Kashmir, and then he would like India to discuss the autonomy issue of Kashmir. Well, if Kashmir can become autonomous, why not Assam? If foreign observers can be invited to Kashmir, why not to Assam? You cannot judge the problem of Kashmir and Assam separately.

I am an Assamese Indian, and I do not support the autonomy of Assam, and in a similar way, I cannot support autonomy of Kashmir.

If Mr Gujral thinks a little deeper, he would realise that by giving autonomy to Kashmir, we will compromise with our vision of India, and we will lose our battle against Pakistan and Islamic forces in the subcontinent. Many of my American and Canadian friends ask me why should India seize Kashmir. This misconception of “capturing” Kashmir is a product of India’s apologetic view on Kashmir. What our diplomats do not understand is that India is not a European nation, and neither it is an Islamic nation. India is an Indian nation, and its core force of unity is cultural.

Kashmir is an integral part of India not because we “captured” it after Independence, but because it has been a part of India since the pre-historic time of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Indian diplomats, like their Pakistani counterparts, have a fantasy to begin Indian history from 1947. If you ask them more, they will reluctantly go two or three hundred years before and start the history from the Mughal empire. What these diplomats miss is that present India is larger than the Mughal empire. Assam was never part of the Mughal empire. But, now Assam is an integral part of India. Why did it happen? Because we Assamese trusted the Congress party that Indians would give up that narrow mindset of being a citizen of the Mughal empire, and instead create a nation for Indians. However, this Mughal mindset is still prevalent in Delhi diplomatic circles.


When I was reading Mr Gujral’s article, I was thinking that probably Mr Gujral also belongs to this circle. When we Assamese or any other Indians, who were never part of that empire feel this Mughal mindset among Indian diplomats, we feel as if we have been betrayed; as if we have been unknowingly captured by the Mughals.

Mr Gujral and Indian diplomats should explain to the foreign diplomats that by making Kashmir a state of India, she is defending herself. And, then if our diplomats have more courage under their skin, they should tell the international community that if Pakistan continues to ignite a feeling of separation in Kashmir and Assam, then India will have no option but to defend Sindh and the rest of Punjab as well. This is what a true independent Indian mind will do. But, a Mughal India cannot think this way; this is the problem with Mr Gujral and his fellow diplomats.

Indian diplomats and politicians should think beyond their Mughal and British colonian hangover. They should let their mind think and believe that India was not born in 1947. India has been there since the time of the history of civilisation, and Kashmir, Assam, Sindh and Punjab.... all these are an integral part of India. And, then they should let their mind know that present India is not a descendent of the Mughal empire or British empire. It is the descendent of India of Ashoka, Gupta and Harsha. But Pakistan is a descendent of the Mughal empire.

Once we are very clear of our identity and vision, Kashmir or Assam is not a big problem for us. The big problem is Pakistan. That country still carries the terror of Mughal dynasty, and as the true descendents of Bharata, we should continue our battle against Mughal, now in its latest incarnation in Pakistani form. “The high cost of rigidity” as Mr Gujral wrote, is not because of India’s rigid policy of “no autonomy” for Kashmir, but because of India’s rigid mindset of procrastination against Pakistani terror.

BIKUL DAS, University of Toronto, Canada

Excellent: We thank you for giving an excellent treat to readers in the shape of the article “The high cost of rigidity” by I.K. Gujral. Flexibility is indeed a sign of life as rigidity is a negation of it. It is heartening that the voice of sanity is still audible in the world.

By the way was it necessary to add a foot note to the article that “the writer is a former Prime Minister of India.” I hope the intention was not to belittle the towering personality of the author or to disparage the standard of general awareness of the readers.



Politicians & education

Kudos to Musharraf! Someone out there took a good decision! To fight any election, the candidate must be a graduate. At least he (Musharraf) values education.

When will the Indians wake up? In fact, will they ever? Indian politics, education...everything seems to have stagnated. In such a situation, “braindrain” is undoubtedly inevitable. Why will youngsters stay here when their capabilities and knowledge get more recognition somewhere else? Also how can an educated person like to be governed by illiterate people, be they from the BJP, the Congress, SP, RJD or whatever.

Any legislator must at least be a graduate, any minister must at least be a master in the subject of his undertaken ministry and probably any President should have a cool Ph.D.

We’ll create new states, change Madras to Chennai; but what about those scores of decisions and steps which are too necessary to wait?

Fifth pass politicians can’t contribute in achieving Kalam’s dream of a developed India; rather they delay it. So why aren’t they thrown out of our politics? On the other hand, they are often considered as people who’ll understand the problems of villagers and slum-dwellers better! As if education hampers understanding them!

“Mera bharat maahaan” but naturally “pareshan” (troubled)!



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