1971, Majlis & Vande Mataram

We wrapped up the debate on 1971; as I quipped I had been forced to “Defend the Indefensible. Most of the audience who spoke up did so in our favour (the audience was very mixed).


I found this an interesting debate because it was extremely difficult subject area; I could have argued for either side but it so happened I was slotted into “Team Pak”, which frankly suited me.

My “Pakistaniyat” is surging at the moment after Iran, Queen of the East, was slighted last week. I’ve realised Pakistan is the Persianate Shield and a stalking horse for our Turanian civilisational-complex. Once we cede the Satrap on the Indus; all chaos follows.

So this debate, which was rather serendipitous since it was only a matter of “timing” (I had gone for Chaat & Chat and then got drafted/enlisted myself in the debate) chimed with my own awakening Pakistani identity; dormant for so long.

However this does not change my pro-Hindu anti-Islam convictions (contradictory much I know). The latest controversy at Majlis is that the old logo had Vande Mataram on it, to which the Pakistanis are objecting to.

Vande Mataram

I’m extremely upset about this since as a Briton I’m rooted in a love for tradition. If the Majlis logo had Vande Mataram when it was founded in 1891 then it must continue the same tradition.

There are understandable concerns about VM’s anti-Muslim bias but Pakistanis must transcend the tit-for-tat mentality. Otherwise I will be making a move to change the name of Majlis to something neutral like “South Asian Gathering.” The Persianate culture did not come to India peacefully but forcefully and if we Pakis are to take on historical slights at every opportunity then we must also accept the dismantling of our shared culture.

VM is a rousing anthem about an ancient people waking up to defend their Motherland. It is a historical fact that those invaders included the Muslims and therefore just as God Save the Queen has some problematic verses so will VM. It doesn’t mean that we have to deny it but rather accept and understand the context in which it arose.

As a Kaffirstani I dislike the intense Pakistani attachment to Islam. Pakistanis must learn now to slice away this reflexive association and start immersing ourselves in a Hindu cultural framework. Just because India destroyed Babri Masjid and assault Allahabad does not give Pakistan any permission to destroy Hindu temples or rename Lakshmi Chowk. In fact Indo-Islamic culture has always been syncretic and Pakistan must embrace the Indian as well as the Islamic.

Cambridge as a South Asian Hub

Incidentally I was the first speaker of the first debate, in over 30 years, of a 128 year old Society that was extremely influential in the politics during the Raj.

As an aside Cambridge has always been a hub for South Asian politics unlike Oxford; Allama Iqbal, Chaudhary Rahmat, Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi are all associated with the college. I imagine this has to do with Cambridge’s more “radical” politics as opposed to Oxford being more conservative and establishment driven.

What I enjoy about Majlis is that it chimes so well with my online interests in BP and BC (BrownCast). A decade (patchy at times) of BP gives me a rather deep familiarity with the minutiae of South Asian contemporary politics and history..

The arguments on 1971

I made two arguments (we were limited 5 minutes each) and I got a bit carried away so I thundered them (at heart as a Kaffirstani, I’m quite the chameleon in my relentless need to blend in I take on lots of different roles):

(1.) The cause for a Just War. India did not sufficient explore diplomatic or international consensus. India as an “aggressive power”; 1948 Hyderabad, 1963 Goa and of course 1971 East Pak.

Furthermore the need to establish some greater consensus was not geniune as the Soviet Union was trying to avoid conflict a month before.

(2.) The nuclearification of the Subcontinent stemmed immediately from 1971 (December 1971 the war was lost, Jan 1972 Pakistan began the nuclear program).

I’ve heavily condensed my two arguments but I was only meant to deliver the main thrusts.

I was followed by my very good friend MJ, who’s a brilliant postdoc physicist (he’s Indian Hindu but his ancestors are from Dhaka). He structured his arguments as follows:

(1.) India was forced to act on its principles and help midwife the Bangladeshi people to freedom.

(2.) The genocide of the Bangladeshi people (he prefaced his remarks with gonimoter maal).

Following that we had some other argument (3 Prop, 3 Opp including ourselves) however my second Prop focused on the “hypocrisy” of Indian foreign policy.

To cut a very long story short I do think the Prop carried it because we did not contest the need for Bangladeshi independence but rather drew upon the reasons for Indian interference in 1971.

42 thoughts on “1971, Majlis & Vande Mataram”

  1. Not sure what the precise wording of the motion was, but having to argue the Pakistani side re: the justness of the 1971 war was the far trickier proposition. Noam Chomsky, who as one can imagine is no fan of military interventions, has stated in several places that there have only been two humanitarian military interventions in the 20’th century. One when Vietnam invaded Cambodia to put a lid on Pol Pot, and when India invaded East Pakistan to liberate it.

    1. One man’s “liberation” is another man’s “secession”. If India had the right to “liberate” East Pakistan, which was constitutionally Pakistani territory than Pakistan has the right to help “liberate” Kashmiri Muslims from what many see as Indian Occupation. Kashmir is internationally recognized as Disputed Territory, unlike East Pakistan which was unequivocally part of Pakistan.

      It cannot be denied that it was West Pakistan’s treatment of East Pakistan that led to a situation where it was possible for India to break the country. Similarly, India’s policies in Kashmir contribute to the growing alienation which makes it possible for Pakistan to fan the flames. I’m not arguing that it is moral for Pakistan to do this. However, in the real world rival countries are going to exploit any faultlines they can find.

      1. I am actually broadly sympathetic to the Kashmiri cause, to the point that many of my countrymen would tar and feather me if I told them what I believe to be the ideal solution. I also believe that India is much better than this, and the way the Indian state has handled the Kashmir issue been quite unbecoming of the republic it aspires to be.

        However, I will push back on the whataboutism inherent in your comment, which I find to be rather weak tea (and if one goes down that path, the logical progression is, what about Baluchistan?) There is no comparison between Kashmir and East Pakistan. Totally separate issues.

        If someone like Noam Chomsky goes to the trouble of singling 1971 out as one of the few humanitarian military interventions of the recent past, then that should be something to seriously reflect upon (for the record, he is also scathing in his criticism of India’s conduct re: the Kashmir issue).

        You cannot compare a genocide and mass rapes committed by an army nominally against it’s own citizens to a botched handling of an insurgency. I find many of your other comments to be quite reasoned and sensible, but please don’t clown yourself with such a silly comparison.

        1. The point is that the logic of invading another country’s sovereign territory goes both ways and leads to a slippery slope. No one is defending West Pakistan’s policies regarding East Pakistan but Mrs. Gandhi was extremely gleeful about breaking Pakistan. Indians would argue that no matter what their state does in Kashmir, Pakistan has no right to interfere (never mind the fact that Kashmir is Disputed Territory and Pakistan has a claim on it). India has no right to interfere in Balochistan since it is constitutionally a province of Pakistan and has nothing to do with India. If India wants to play the game of breaking the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Pakistan can also continue trying to split India. I don’t know what good that is going to do anyone.

          I have many problems with the use of “genocide” to describe what happened in East Pakistan. The use of the term is politically motivated. For the record, Kashmiris are also supposedly India’s “own citizens”. That doesn’t stop Indian paramilitaries from killing Kashmiri Muslim men in “encounters” and raping Kashmiri Muslim women. “Botched handling of an insurgency” is the understatement of the year. Many Kashmiris see India as Occupying their land. What you call an “insurgency” would be more properly referred to as a freedom struggle.

          W. Pakistan should have addressed the legitimate grievances of E. Pakistan. We may have still had United Pakistan today. Similarly, India needs to address the legitimate grievances of Kashmiri Muslims. But of course, it’s so much easier to just blame Pakistan.

  2. “Indian” does not equal “Hindu”. The notion that it does unites PakNationalists and Hindutvadis. Pakistan has its own culture, which is Indo-Islamic. If we had wanted to embrace “Hindu” culture, we would not have made an independent country. That ship has sailed long ago.

    1. To clarify, do you believe that Hindu = 10 Darshanas of Sanathana Dharma (unless said practitioner does not identify with Sanathana Dharma)?

      You appear not to believe that Hindu is a geographical marker that includes everyone who lives in the region?

      1. When most people use the term “Hindu”, they are referring to people with a particular set of religious beliefs. I’m not interested in internal discussions about who belongs or doesn’t belong in that category.

        “Hindu” as a geographical marker does not really apply in the modern world. The term “Indian” would probably be better to express that concept, though even that can cause confusion since it is not clear whether we are speaking about citizens of the modern nation-state or people belonging to the Indian subcontinent more broadly.

        I don’t think the millions of Indian Muslims would say that they are part of “Hindu” culture. They are certainly part of “Indian” culture. Where the difference between these two concepts lies is a matter of debate.

      1. Pakistan was created because the leadership of the Muslims of British India felt that Muslim rights would not be protected in a Hindu-majority society. They also wanted a place where Muslims would be free to live according to our own culture.

        The Republic of India chose to be a secular state. Therefore “Indian” does not equal “Hindu”. There are millions of Muslims remaining in India. I don’t believe most of them would identify themselves as part of “Hindu culture”. They are certainly Indian citizens and part of their country’s culture.

        The equation of religion with nation-states is far too simplistic. There are Hindus in Pakistan and they are loyal citizens of their country. Similarly, Indian Muslims are not proto-Pakistanis.

        1. “The Republic of India chose to be a secular state. Therefore “Indian” does not equal “Hindu”.”

          Precisely. That India would be a secular state was known before, and the main argument against, Partition. If India could be one with a significant majority of Muslims leaving amidst unprecedented violence- and all its socio-political implications for Indian electoral politics- it could have been a more perfect secular democracy without the creation of Pakistan…and the various “unfinished agendas of Partition” actively encouraged by it.

          “The equation of religion with nation-states is far too simplistic. ”

          Agreed. And this was the argument against TNT. Then and now.

          1. The Indian Constitution was not written at the time of Pakistan’s creation. Congress was not able to address the legitimate grievances of British India’s Muslims. Quaid-e-Azam had accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan which would have avoided Partition. Nehru stated that CMP would be up for re-negotiation which was the last straw for the Muslim League.

            Given the ascent of the Hindu Right, thank god that Pakistan exists for Muslims.

          2. @Kabir:

            Congress was not able to address the legitimate grievances of British India’s Muslims.

            What are you talking about? The only substantive demand the Muslim League had before the Pakistan Resolution was separate electorates, something that was and still is anathema in a country that wishes to be democratic and liberal. Congress itself had a significant Muslim membership.

            The “legitimate grievances” you are talking about were simply feudal privileges that the vestiges of the former Muslim aristocracy wanted to retain, and which they knew they would never get from a representative government.

          3. British India’s Muslims were afraid that they would be treated as second-class citizens in a Hindu majority India, that they would simply go from British Raj to Hindu Raj. Hence the argument for weighted representation and separate electorates. Congress (basically a Hindu party) failed to assuage these concerns. Hence, Qauid-e-Azam, who used to be “the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity” began arguing for a separate homeland for Muslims. Nehru’s reneging on the CMP was the last straw.

            You have a typically Indian nationalist view where Partition was all the Muslim League’s fault. The reality is that Congress also failed to compromise, depite the fact that there were many chances for them to do so over twenty years.

          4. @Kabir:

            Again, you’ve failed to articulate any precise concerns (grounded in fact) other than the inchoate fear that Muslim Leaguers (mostly descendants of the former feudal elite) had of becoming second-class citizens. Demands for separate electorates followed from that fear, and were undemocratic and unacceptable. (Show me another country that had such arrangements and continued to exist in one piece.)

            Referring to the Congress as a “Hindu Party” was pure ML propaganda with no basis in fact and history. Your parroting it does your argument no credit, especially as you keep referring to the post-1947 Congress as the champions of Muslims and religious plurality in India (this was arguably when the Congress would have been more “Hindu” than it was before.)

          5. We’ll have to agree to disagree. You seem to have typical Indian Nationalist views that everything was the fault of the Muslim League (the legitimate representative of British India’s Muslims). Congress also failed to compromise, which led to Partition.

            Post 1947, there is no doubt that Congress and Nehruvian secularism is far preferable to the Hindu Right. The vision of India as a state of all its citizens is far better than ideas of a Hindu Rashtra. When it comes to Congress vs. BJP, I will always be pro Congress. But that doesn’t mean that the pre-1947 Congress is not responsible for Partition by failing to compromise with the Muslim League.

  3. “I had gone for Chaat & Chat”

    ??? Dont’ give Modi anymore ideas bro

    “I imagine this has to do with Cambridge’s more “radical” politics as opposed to Oxford being more conservative and establishment driven.”

    ??? JNU VS Janieu (Brahminical sacred thread) University

    “1948 Hyderabad, 1963 Goa and of course 1971 East Pak”

    You missed Sikkim (or as Trump would say Skim-milk , like Bhutan as button ), the one which had even less reason to invade.

  4. ‘…The cause for a Just War. India did not sufficient explore diplomatic or international consensus. India as an “aggressive power”; 1948 Hyderabad, 1963 Goa and of course 1971 East Pak’
    The 1948 Hyderabad police action was forced as a result of the oppression and massacres of the Nizam paramilitaries (the Razakkars). I’m not making this up, my great-grandparents and their family was in Hyderabad at the time, they had to flee as refugees along with thousands of others to Vijayawada and then to Madras. Ditto with the 1971 war on a much larger scale, India was inundated with refugees from East Bengal. And Goa – who’s defending Portuguese colonialism?

    1. “And Goa – who’s defending Portuguese colonialism?”

      I mean look at the downside right, we could have had a decent football team at least qualifying for the World Cup.

    2. The aftermath of the Hyderabad police action was arguably many times more brutal than the oppression by the razakars, assuming the Sunderlal report estimates of retributive killings as a lower bound. There is also a good deal of context around the oppression in the Hyderabad state that must be considered, and goes many decades deep and has dimensions not limited to religious affiliation. Mysore and Travancore also held contrarian views to congress party nationalism and there was violence in the former as well, where civil liberties were curtailed while accession was still being debated. The amount of dissent to the consolidation of most of India to a single republic is not part of the history curriculum in schools for obvious reasons, nor is it of great interest to the rest of the world.
      Regarding Goa and the Portuguese , there’s nothing out of the ordinary about people having a preference for the pre-1963 regime. The goans were full citizens of Portugal and had representation long before british indians had those dignities. I’m a status quo-ist in many regards and don’t wish for a fracturing of the republic, but I wouldn’t take the high minded rhetoric of newly independent India at face value and confuse it for a force of liberation.

      1. Do you know anyone who has a preference for Portugal – full citizenship and all ? Was there much resistance to its being added to India ?

      2. ‘The aftermath of the Hyderabad police action was arguably many times more brutal than the oppression by the razakars,…’
        Interesting. Is this to do with the nascent Communist movement, which then became the Naxalite movement in present-day Telangana?

        National borders aren’t going to be re-drawn in today’s day and age, and secession movements are going to be curbed at all costs as the integrity of larger territorial nations or blocs are at stake. There was much global outcry over Russia’s largely peaceful annexation of Crimea, and Spain’s heavy handed put-down of the Catalan movement is being quietly supported by the EU. Secession of a state from the Indian Union will lead to much bloodshed and set the stage for riots the likes of which haven’t been seen since the partition.

        1. Siddharth and Girmit

          Very bizarrely, my family has experience in this also, but from my grandparents side ( i understand skepticism, but please ).

          There was two activities in 1946-1950 which were going on, the telangana rebellion, and the Nizam’s action, both of which were ended by operation polo and the aftermath, which, bizarrely was as brutal towards the communist laborers as towards the Lashkars.

          The telangana rebellion started in 1946, and it was a net outcome of the Andhra jana sangham and Andhra Maha sabha who were trying to eliminate Vetti and forcible harvest and tax collection by Zamindari collector crowds. The communist influence came much later in late 30s-early 40s, and went full force revolt against Zamindars and Nizam’s goons in July 1946. The Majlis Ittehad (Zack, pay attention here) went ape on the AMS and attempted to clear Hindus out of Telangana villages and in Bidar. This was a signal for Communists to take control of AMS and assemble Gram Rajyams in 50 villages which brought more retribution by 1948. By this time, it was full blown war between Lashkar and AMS, and about a million people were homeless. Patel could not be sitting for too long, and contrary to what is generally believed, he went in full force into Hydrabad from Vijawada and cut off the Lashkar head. The dead, as calculated, now included all of the Lashkar, and the villagers who had been killed by Lashkar.

          After Operation Polo, the Army went wild in ” During the next three years, “in more than 2000 villages… 300,000 of people were tortured, about 50,000 were arrested and kept in (detention) camps for a few days to a few months. More than 5,000 were imprisoned for years” says Dhanagere. Depending on who you believe, more than 40K people were killed in Telangana and another 10 K died in Bidar.

          The net result, communists win a sweep in the 1952 election; Hyderabad becomes the capital of the subsequent Andra state.

          I might have a few details wrong, but there are conflicting groups and people here, and a straightforward Nehru wrongs Nizam is a kind of weak reading of history.

          1. Telengana communist uprising is a little remembered story of and India around the time independence. They established communes , Mao style. Some communist leaders went to Stalin and asked for armed assistance. Stalin looked at the map and asked them do you have ports , which obviously they did not have and so Stalin dropped the idea of arms assistance to the Uprising.

          2. Kerala had the world’s first elected communist administration in 1957.
            Andhra’s first elected state government (in 1952) was formed by the Indian National Congress.

          3. To Arjun Re: “Andhra’s first elected state government (in 1952) was…”

            File this under the “someone is wrong on the internet” meme.

            Andhra did not exist in 1952 election as a separate state. It was part of the Madras presidency ( ridiculous, I know). The first election resulted in a hung madras assembly, with Madrasis voting for Congress, Telegus voting for Prakasam who wanted a separate state, and people in Telangana and Kerala voting for Communists. Separate Andra people was not allowed to contest as a party and had to run as independents. Congress did not win. Kamaraj, President of the Madras Provincial Congress Committee was of the opinion that the UDF should be allowed to form the Government. However, setting the stage for central manipulation, JN brought back CR to Madras, who purchased a large number of legislators via cash, and cabinet offers. This would set the stage for future manipulations. CR was the chief minister for a total of 18 months, when he continued to alienate the Andhra people by trying to void the formation of Andhra, and implemented a part-time work and parttime school program, which was hard for kids. Andra was formed as a separate state in less than 13 months, and CR was booted out, with Kamaraj becoming the CM in 1954. Pretty soon, CR lost popularity in congress and had to leave. Between 1952 and 1957, four different states were formed, and was more amenable for administration.

            The impact of this was felt in 5-15 years, as congress became associated with part-time school and Hindi implememtation; in Kerala and Telangana, the impact of ignoring the left was felt for many years. Eventually, the congress forts of AP and Telangana drifted over.

            Reading this back, it is acomplete waste of two minutes to type; but as per XKCD, duty calls.

      3. Girmit and Arjun:

        I can answer one half of your question, re: Goa as my spouse is from there, and my FIL and family have spent describing the 1947-1961 in Goa a lot. I am sympathetic to your arguments but Goa, Hyderabad are all different.

        Goa and Portugese have a tortuous history. 26% of the population is roman catholic (74% was Hindus equally divide between Konkani and Marathi speakers) but contrary to expectations, Portugese administration did not employ them in government, or educate them beyond chrisian. Unlike the British, Portugese administration was filled with overseas Portugese, as Portugal at this time is at a state of development of North Africa now. However, the Catholics were well educated and fired by the same passions as Indians, and wanted out of Portugal, which was viewed as a backwater. The second part was education and job opportunities were elevated in Bombay-Poona and in belgaum-Udupi (manipal university). However, it was easier for Konkani speaking people in Karnataka and Marathi speaking people in maharashtra. A large number of goan catholics relocated to Bombay in this period. The antipathy to Portugese administration was common in Goa, and Franscis Mascarenhas forced Goa out of Dadra/nagar-Haveli inspite of Nehru’s lack of participation. The other point was that the Satyagrahis were sent to 14-29 years imprisonment in overseas prisons like Angola and Mozambique.

        The Goan satyagraha movement was in full swing in 1947-1961 but JN did not offer much hope because Portugal joined NATO in 1954, and there was fear that Salazar will appeal to NATO. The second was ill-advised Panchsheel which made interference inn Goa impossible. When the Portugese shut the borders in 1955, it stranded a large number of college students in Karnataka and Bombay (remember, portugese education in college was reserved for Portugese means few colleges). That was the end of any interest of Goans to be part of Portugal territory. The closing of the borders jacked up rice and wheat prices, and since Portugal was not willing to spend anything, the game was over. Both, Hindus and Roman Catholics pleaded to central government for help, and it took nearly 5 years for help to come.

        To Arjun; Portugal did not offer any citizenship to anyone who was Indian or had a postal address in Goa, but only to portugese government staff who were temporarily posted overseas. Some exceptions were made to wives and children of Portugese citizens and overseas prisoners. I do no estimate more than 2000-5000 Indians went to Portugal or assumed Portugese citizenship, but almost all of them were the above categories.

        More Goan Indians went to assume Portugese citizenship after enetring EU, for reasons too complicated to describe here.

      4. About Goa , it looks like Krishna Menon sent the army into Goa when Jawaharlal Nehru was abroad and without his approval.

        China played Macao and HongKong in a more sophisticated way.

        1. Girmit, around 1947 Portugal was ruled by a brutal dictatorship. Why you think any Indians would want to be second class ‘citizens’ of a third rate European dictatorship is beyond me.

          1. Thats an interesting question to ask many of the people who feel that way I suppose. In 1947, Portugal was under the dictatorship of Salazar of course. He had enacted laws that curtailed the freedoms of overseas citizens of Portugal. Those were repealed in 1950. What standard of brutality we ought to compare that regime to is another conversation, and the rest of the world can be the judge of the dignity of “third rate” portugal vs heartland India.
            I’m not an expert on Portuguese India, but it was a 450 year affair, and it had its high points and low. Goans enjoyed privileges that subjects of British India categorically did not. They fought elections, sat in the assembly of the republic in Lisbon, and had a cultural renaissance (as embodied by men like Francisco Luis Gomes ) that was impressively large in magnitude considering how tiny its population was relative to Bengal and other cultural hotbeds. To say their educational infrastructure was lacking is to perhaps not take account of their tiny scale, 500,000 people. It was still the most developed patch of the konkan coast south of Bombay up til Mangalore.

  5. Love the ignorance of Kabir. He says India shouldn’t have ‘interfered’ in east pakistan and Mrs. Gandhi was gleeful about breaking pakistan. Well, it was not India which started a genocide in Bangladesh. India interfered only when millions of refugees from east pakistan started flocking to india creating huge burden for indian economy, what was india to do then? Let’s not forget India pleaded to the international community again and again to do something about the matter but to no avail. Meanwhile, in pakistan people were marching on streets and ‘crush india’ posters were in vogue and it was pakistan which preemptively did an airstrike on indian air bases effectively opening the western theatre of war. What did you expect india to do after that? Turn the other cheek?
    P.S: His aversion to the term ‘hindu culture’ is also quite telling.

    1. You missed the point entirely. If India “liberated” Bangladesh, Pakistan can also “liberate” India Occupied Kashmir. Two can play at this game.

      Hindu culture and Indian culture are two different things and they shouldn’t be conflated. I personally don’t care if some other Muslims identify with “Hindu” culture. I would say that I am part of Indian culture but definitely not Hindu culture.

      1. Idiotic false equivalence. Come back again when you have like a million refugees from Kashmir fleeing to Pakistan.

      2. India is not gratuitously committing massacres (amounting to genocide) in Kashmir. The “oppression” that is happening in the Valley is a reaction to the secessionism and militancy rather than the other way round. And, as I have said many-a-time, self-determination is overrated, especially for tiny unviable polities that are seized by fanatical impulses. Kashmiris should, for the time being, make their peace with being in India and make use of all the advantages that come with that status.

        An analogy between Kashmir and East Pakistan would be appropriate if the Indian Army was picking out Muslims to kill and rape in the Valley on a daily basis, with the Pandits actively abetting them. In reality, something like the opposite happened with the Pandits, as you very well know. So, no moral equivalence. And the legalities you talk about stopped being relevant half a century ago.

        1. You can continue to minimize the atrocities committed by Indian paramilitaries if you like and paint them as “reaction” (as if that makes them any more acceptable). That’s a typical Indian nationalist move as is painting all Kashmiris as “fanatical”.

          If you are genuinely interested in finding out why Kashmiri Muslims are so alienated from India, you could read Basharat Peer’s “Curfewed Night”, a first-hand account of growing up in the Valley during the 90s. You may also want to make yourself familiar with incidents like Gawkadal and Kunan Poshpora.

          Unfortunately for you, Kashmiris are not going to wind up their freedom struggle simply because you (presumably a non-Kashmiri Indian) think that self-determination is “overrated”. The freedom struggle will only end when there is a negotiated solution to the conflict that reflects Kashmiri aspirations.

          Kashmir remains a Disputed Territory, whether that is convenient for you or not. That is why there is a “Line of Control” there and not an International Border.

          I don’t buy for a moment that Mrs. Gandhi chose to “liberate” Bangladesh purely for humanitarian reasons. India was more than happy to break Pakistan. If that was acceptable to you, than you have no basis to argue against Pakistan’s strategy of breaking India. There’s nothing moral or immoral about it, it’s simply how countries that see each other as enemies behave. The best way to thwart Pakistan’s strategy is to address the legitimate grievances of the Kashmiri people, just as Pakistan should have addressed the legitimate grievances of East Pakistanis.

        2. @Kabir:

          I’m sure it was no fun growing up as a Kashmiri Muslim in the ’90s, but by that time the secessionist movement was in full-swing, the Pandits had been kicked out, and Islamic jihadism had spread wide and deep (this was after the Afghan “troubles” in the ’80s, following which veterans of those battles made their way east.) All the incidents you refer to also happened in the ’90s.

          What I keep trying to tell you is that the Indian state and military was in full reaction mode at that time because Kashmiri and Pakistani behavior BEFORE that time had left them with little choice. Beyond making that argument, I don’t know how fruitful it is to debate this with you. I see no merit in Kashmiri desire for independence prior to, say, the mid-80s, while you clearly do. That’s of course going to bias us either for or against Kashmiri militancy of the late ’80s, which then led to the Indian reaction in the ’90s.

          As for Bangladesh, I’m not arguing that Indira Gandhi had pristine motives. I’m sure she was happy with Pakistan’s dismemberment (she was active in politics at her father’s side during Partition, after all.) But so what? There were strong imperatives for the Indian state to do what it did (like the massive refugee problem, and the potential for Hindu backlash against Muslims in India) independent of any private motivations politicians may have had. Pakistan has never had any such imperatives when it comes to Kashmir, other than trying to follow the TNT to its culmination.

          1. Kashmiris have been wanting independence from India since way before the 1980s. You continue to underplay this fact. The autonomy promised by Article 370 was substantially whittled away way before then. Your statement “it was no fun growing up as a Kashmiri Muslim” is callous. “No fun” is a massive understatement. These are a people who are being brutalized by India which is denying them their freedom, which is a human right. Indians are interested in the land of Kashmir but don’t give a damn about the Kashmiri people.

            Pakistan is a party to the dispute and many Pakistanis are ethnically Kashmiri Muslim. We are well within our rights to provide moral and diplomatic support to our brothers and sisters in the India Occupied territory. What is not right is the use of proxy war.

            In the end, this conflict will have to have a negotiated solution. The status quo of crushing Kashmiri Muslim aspirations through force is not sustainable forever.

            Also, if you think it is acceptable to invade your enemy’s soverign territory, you should be prepared for your enemy to do the same thing to you.

    1. My understanding is that “Vande Mataram” is a hymn to the mother goddess and thus goes against the monotheistic nature of Islam. It also comes from an anti-Muslim novel.

      If Majlis is a group that includes both Indians and Pakistanis, then its logo probably shouldn’t refer to an Indian nationalist slogan which Pakistanis shouldn’t be expected to be comfortable with. Many Indians wouldn’t like it if the logo included “Pakistan Zindabad!” or something like that.

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