Nyla Ali Khan is an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City Community College. She is a former Visiting Professor at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, and former Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. She is the author of four books, and several articles that focus on the political issues and strife of her homeland, Jammu and Kashmir, India. She is the granddaughter of Sheikh Abdullah.
In the era of Khruschev the Soviet Union had publicly declared itself a supporter of the Indian stand on Kashmir. In 1962 a Russian veto had defeated a Security Council resolution on the plebiscite issue. By 1965, and after the fall of the Kruschev regime, Russian attitudes were significantly modified.
I have often noticed that the two nuclear powers on the Indian subcontinent, India and Pakistan, attribute to Kashmiris an inferior intellect, a lineage, and a mystique that has allowed the dominant regime to manipulate the Kashmiri "Other" as a stereotypical and predictable entity.
The culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse population of Indian and Pakistani-administered Jammu and Kashmir has been unable to reach a consensus on the future of the land and the heterogeneous peoples of the state.
In Kashmir, rights relating to life, liberty, dignity of the people, and freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution, embodied in the fundamental covenants and enforceable by courts of law, have been gravely violated.
The Constitution of India seeks to guarantee respect for the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, and the integrity of the electoral process. But time and again, provisions of the Constitution of India have been flagrantly violated in Kashmir, and the ideals that it enshrines have been forgotten.
It is now that the Left in India is urging the federal government to initiate unconditional talks with all stakeholders in Kashmir. Otherwise, up until now, the Left didn't even support the autonomous status of Kashmir, and the Kashmir imbroglio is not a conflict between the forces of Marxism and capitalism.
For Pakistan, Kashmir represents the infeasibility of secular nationalism and underscores the need for an Islamic theocracy in the subcontinent.
The partition of India in 1947 legitimized the forces of masculinist nationalism and enabled hatred for the "other" to irreparably mutilate a shared anti-colonial legacy and cultural heritage so systematically that the wounds inflicted by the partition are yet to heal.
Both India and Pakistan have a long history of deploying rhetorical strategies to skirt the issue of plebiscite or complete secession of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. When feeling particularly belligerent Pakistan cries itself hoarse declaring the legitimacy of plebiscite held under United Nations auspices in J & K; India responds just as aggressively by demanding the complete withdrawal of Pakistani troops from the territory of pre-partition J & K; or, in a moment of neighborly solicitude, for conversion of the LOC to a permanent International border.
The diversity of India cannot thrive on facile attempts to create the homogeneous category of "Indian." Nor can it thrive on dubious attempts to gloss over xenophobic provincialism or a highly culpable state-sponsored marginalization of a minority community.
In establishment Indian and Pakistani thought, Kashmiris are defined as different from the nationals of the two countries.
The rhetoric of hate and binarisms pervades the politics of the "Third-World" and of the West.
In a post 9/11 world, in which the uncritical essentializing of people from the "Third-World" has been legitimized; Iraq and Afghanistan have been dehumanized in an attempt to disseminate enlightenment in those "dark" regions; the discourse of "honor killings" is prevalent in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan and has carved a niche in Western academic discourse as another instance of the incorrigible bestiality of the Orient.
The creation of India and Pakistan were pyrrhic victories for their denizens because the political, socioeconomic, psychological, and culture havoc wreaked by that momentous event is reflected in those pogroms, ethnic cleansing, proliferation of nuclear weapons, poverty, and riots that continue to cause seismic tremors in the Indian subcontinent.
The increasing communalization of Indian politics is a juggernaut that annihilates the myth of secularism in India.
For India, Kashmir lends credibility to its secular nationalist image.
The much-lauded parliamentary democracy in India has been unable to protect a genuine democratic set-up in Kashmir.