Why I am wrong on Art 370

I am a Kashmiri Pandit and a card-carrying Internally Displaced Person. I believe the recent annulment of Article 370 (and 35A) of the Indian Constitution, which gave special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the Union of India, is a good thing for all Indian citizens including the Kashmiri people.

However, I am also an epistemological fallibilist. I believe humans err not because we are humans but because to err is a physical law governing all knowledge generating systems. In the spirit of error-correction, therefore, I am going to sum up the argument – as fairly as I can – on why my belief in the “goodness” of Article 370 invalidation* is false.

I will attack my own position on 4 different levels. First is to show that it is plainly anti-national, in that it weakens the Indian social contract. Second to marshal ethical arguments around the anti-humanitarian nature of its motivation and execution. Third to highlight the legal loopholes of this decision and finally I will top it with the argument that even if all the previous three arguments were successfully rebutted, the nature of the act is still philosophically unsound.

Anti-national:

India is a Union of disparate cultures and peoples. It has some civilizational unity (though even that is debatable) but no singular understanding of its purpose or teleology, unlike more ideological states such as Pakistan or Israel, or even ethno-linguistic states like France. It is therefore a Union in much the same way as European Union, except a closer/tighter one by design. It then makes sense to think of the relationship between each constituent and the Union in purely contractual terms, where such contracts will have differential levels of sovereignty being traded for other social / economic integration benefits. Parts of the contract may not even be straight-forward rational but a function of the vagaries of history and tradition. But then contracts aren’t meant to be teleological in the first place, but are often compromises to fix immediate problems, which can be amended with approval of both parties later on.

In that respect, the peculiar nature of J&K’s status within India is no different. It is not a travesty or an exception to some god-given promise yet to be fulfilled. It is just another contract that makes up the Indian Union and ties the lot of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh with India. To tinker with it unilaterally is against the very nature of what the Union is meant to be. It is as if the EU Parliament approves the bill (with majority German and French vote) to send troops into the UK and nullify (or forestall) Brexit.

A breach of social contract is a breach of trust and goodwill. It amounts to self-consuming criminal hooliganism for the hyper-Unionists doing it are tearing down articles of their own faith to achieve their ends. So who is to say that the Union model thus hollowed out will be fit to serve any other constituent state? What stops West Bengal or Tamil Nadu being turned into Union Territories with the flick of a pen? Or the whole of India into a one-party state?

Anti-humanitarian:

Kashmir Valley is a veritable prison today. People are not free to congregate to organise protests or use any form of mass-communication to speak their minds. The ill cannot call an ambulance, relatives outside the region can not communicate with those within, kids are not in schools, students are not in colleges, modern life as we know it has come to a standstill.

The security forces roam the streets imposing draconian measures to limit public engagement and interaction, throttle media and obviate protest. All of these at the behest of the Indian Central Government to extend its writ by force on a subjugated people.

I say “subjugated” because there has been a long-standing demand from the Muslims of Kashmir for Independence from largely Hindu India. The demand spawned organisations of peaceful protest like the Hurriyet, but also occasionally spontaneous protests of stone-throwing or militant organisations fighting the Indian state for self-determination. All such protestors, violent or not, are brutally treated by the Indian state using laws like AFSPA. Laws that do not allow recourse to the legal system and give total freedom to the Armed Forces of the state to commit violence with impunity.

Even the ostensibly pro-Union parties and leaders frequently acknowledge how deep the popular support in Kashmir for Azadi (Independence) is. Whether it manifests in the form of merger with their ethno-religious kin across the LOC in Pakistan or an entirely new state, it is immaterial. The point is Kashmiri Muslims do not want to live in India and forcing them with threats or use of violence amounts to curtailment of their human rights.

Illegal:

The surreptitious manner in which the Art 370 and 35A were annulled leaves gaping legal loop holes. Many people have covered these aspects of Indian Constitutional Law, but a good summary can be found here.

it may be immediately objected that C.O. 272 does not amend Article 370: it amends Article 367. The point, however, is that the content of those amendments do amend Article 370, and as the Supreme Court has held on multiple occasions, you cannot do indirectly what you cannot do directly. I would therefore submit that the legality of C.O. 272 – insofar as it amends Article 370 – is questionable, and as that is at the root of everything, it throws into question the entire exercise.

The Indian Parliament has not revoked or abrogated Art 370, but amended Art 367 in such a way that it re-interprets Art 370 nullifying its legal power. In other words, the Indian lawmakers have tried to be too clever by half with their own laws. Not only that, the manner in which the Governor’s office was (mis)used to stamp approval on the bill in lieu of the actual elected Legislative Assembly of J&K state is tantamount to Constitutional fraud. Note that the Governor of a state in India is the President’s representative (not elected by the people of the state) and the President is little more than a titular figure-head who can rubber-stamp nearly anything the PM’s Office asks of him (cf Giani Zail Singh’s rubber-stamping of the Emergency declared by Indira Gandhi in 1975).

Given these ironclad legal arguments, Indian democracy is headed in dangerous and uncharted waters. If it is Kashmir today, it could be West Bengal or Tamil Nadu tomorrow. We may therefore be witnessing the unravelling of the Indian Constitution and the inexorable slide to dictatorship right in front of our eyes, while cheering it all the way.

Bad philosophy:

The above are moral, ethical or legal reasons why the annulment of Art 370 does not stand up to scrutiny. However, there is a deeper philosophical reason why – irrespective of how you rebut them – the argument remains fallacious. That philosophical shortcoming has to do with consequentialism, namely the reasoning that the immediate “good” results (defanging of separatists, direct control of militancy, economic benefits of merger into the Indian Union, reduction of red-tape, foreign policy benefits etc) of Art 370 nullification justifies the manner in which it was nullified. This is the classic consequentialist fallacy because ends (however noble) do not justify the means. Means stand apart and have to be judged on their own merit. And in this case those nefarious means just do not stand up to legal or moral scrutiny. Shame on the Indian Republic!

[*] Article 370 was not abrogated/repealed as most media have reported. It still exists in the Indian Constitution and can even be re-triggered by a future act of the Indian Parliament.

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70 Replies to “Why I am wrong on Art 370”

  1. The title says it all ‘Why I am wrong on Art 370 ‘ in the present tense. If you have truly turned your coat on the matter , you would have said ‘why I was wrong’

    These arguments don’t put it in a constitutional/political context . Union of India cannot be compared to EU in a constitutional or jurisdictional sense.

    ‘what stops West Bengal or Tamil Nadu being turned into Union Territories with the flick of a pen? ‘

    J & K &L has a political history which WB or TN does not have. Things don’t happen out of the blue.
    Article 370 is a long simmering problem from the very minute it was conceived .

    Another Kashmiri guy has understood the evolution of the issue very well

    https://www.facebook.com/muralikirishna.shari.7/videos/517493645722286/?t=9

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  2. Devoid of kinetic options ( till now ), Pakistan is feeling what it feels to be an indian after something wrong has been done to them 😂😂😂

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    1. /after something wrong has been done to them/
      Nothing wrong has been done to Pakistan unless one is a psychopathic paranoid who imagines a deadly enemy everywhere at all times.

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  3. \demand from the Muslims of Kashmir for Independence from largely Hindu India\
    In principle I don’t have objection to Kashmir valley demanding Independence from India . i don’t think any unwilling people should be kept in the Indian Union by force of arms.
    However , the demand is motivated by Islamic fundamentalism , suitably aided by Pakistan’s ISI , and the long term aim of Pakistan’s ISI is to territorial ambitions on India because that is the only way the narrative of Pakistan can be maintained and the Pakistani elite can maintain itself. That is why they are prepared to shed any tons of crocodile tears for Kashmiris and send in terrorists into the valley by acquiescent troublemakers there. Pakistani sympathy for ‘Kashmiris’is laughable when they have dealt with Bengalis, Sindhis, baluchis , Afghanistan in most abominable fashion . In this month alone 1500 people have been killed in Afghanistan thanks in large measure to the Pakistani support for Taliban ; has any of the Pakistani commentators cared to comment on the complicity of their government in the carnage . That is why Pakistani protestations about Kashmir don’t have credibility .

    If there had been a secular Kashmiri nationalism with no truck with Pakistan , I would consider that with sympathy. As of now Kashmiri Muslim case for independence is spoilt milk , in large measure due to Pakistan’s sponsorship and stewardship of it. How Kashmir Independence demand , however small it’s strength , is dealt with cannot be divorced from larger international scenario, and larger international threats and opportunities for India

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    1. “Pakistani sympathy for ‘Kashmiris’is laughable when they have dealt with Bengalis, Sindhis, baluchis , Afghanistan in most abominable fashion .” Worth stealing!!
      Every state in india pretty much kept its culture, language intact till today(it’s arguable but let’s not diverge). I don’t see why kashmiris will not be able to do so. Their unwillingness rises from the fact that they follow a non dharmic religion and this observation should be taken seriously as it might pose an existential threat to india in case if some regions become semitized.

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  4. “Article 370 was not abrogated/repealed as most media have reported. It still exists in the Indian Constitution and can even be re-triggered by a future act of the Indian Parliament.”

    I will be ready with my popcorn, the day when the Parliament re enacts 370 again. It will take a leader with even bigger balls than the one who removed it.

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    1. My impression of A Shah was that of a rabid bigot , with no particular evidence. Actually his performance in the Lok sabha in the last few days is masterful. He has planned and executed his bit well.

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      1. LOL, yeah the constant under evaluation of the right wing’s ability which has been mainstreamed by the upper -left liberal class (even we fall for it) has helped them in a way. They think and sell to the intentional media that the right is mirred in historical battles, Vedic science , flying vimanas and Goumutra while the right has moved on to real world topics like demography, political power and finance. And now they are rudely shocked by their sudden ability in legislation.

        Watching the last few days on debate, Shah looks like he has come over prepared for the whole thing, where he himself is a bit surprised how easy it was to remove the whole thing. Must be thinking why we didnt do it all these years 😀😀😀

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        1. Congress looked pathetic and lost in the debates. It was GoI position all these years that Kashmir was bilateral between India and Pakistan. Congress, in its anti BJP obsession called it International issue.
          It is no more bilateral issue. The farce of entertaining Pakistan claims has been put to the dustbin.

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          1. “Congress looked pathetic and lost in the debates.”

            This is what happens when you force a bengali to speak in Hindi 😛

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  5. One way Modi can allay fears of future such attempts of turning other states into UTs is by closing the legal loopholes that he exploited this time. These can’t be applied retrospectively.
    It would also underscore the exceptional nature of this case that needed to be dealt with for the longer term good of the republic.

    Regarding consequentialism –
    This is something I am struggling with as well. I have very little sympathy with the Kashmir cause and I think a bunch of Sunni supremacists in a 10sq. km area are holding the rest of the state and the country hostage (ironic and deliberate choice of words).
    However, I cannot, in good conscience, think that locking a state up is the way to go about bringing in legislation.

    Means and ends.

    Kind of reminds me of the Ashwatthama episode in Mahabharata. Not technically wrong but in violation of one’s dharma. But then you have to exercise judgement on when to suspend adherence to your dharma.

    So a moral dilemma. Would love to hear more arguments for and against this point.

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  6. “What stops West Bengal or Tamil Nadu being turned into Union Territories with the flick of a pen? Or the whole of India into a one-party state?”

    Why mention WB or TN in particular?

    There are other states like Nagaland which ban outsiders from settling there thanks to article 371. Such idiocies should indeed be reversed and every citizen should be allowed to settle anywhere in the country.

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  7. Hindu supremacists use the invoke citizenship when it suits them. They are silent when the ban on cow slaughter harms Muslim and dalit citizens.

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  8. “you cannot do indirectly what you cannot do directly“
    I am afraid whole legal section is extreme stretch . 370 was made “permanent” indirectly exactly in similar manner even though Constitution founders explicitly called it temporary provision so whole argument is legally not sound and wouldn’t stand in court.
    Plus, state->UT is separate issue and is perfectly legal and requires majority in LS & RS to recommend it. If majority supports, even Gujarat can be turned UT but good luck mustering majority support. Don’t forget that Jk reorganization was supported by 2/3 majority in both houses.

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    1. I think on 370 legality, temporariness is not a issue, since reservation was also supposed to be temporary and it didn’t turned out to be the case. Frankly there is enough to and for arguments for it, but i lean more and the abrogation side, considering the BJP seems to cover all angles, while even the best lawyers in the opposing side (both parliamentarians or outside) cannot seem to pin down the BJP legally and most arguments have been on federal structure and all. One write up i was reading which made the most convincing case against the Govt itself in its conclusion said he isnt sure if the supreme court will strike it down. If they themselves are not sure, the BJP appears to be on a strong wicket

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      On state to UT and all, we have seen in AP-Telangana case , more or less the central Govt can do whatever it wants , notwithstanding the state legislature.

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  9. Very well argued and convincing post — but I lean that way anyway. This outcome is bad for everyone except the Pakistani military regime.

    Would love to read your take on why this will have good results (in the real world, as it was done and by whom) for India, the BJP, Kashmiris or your community. Could you argue it as well as you did this position?

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  10. There are only two real solutions for Kashmir as far as India is concerned.

    1. Order 10,000 trucks. Load all Kashmiris into these trucks, (breath easy, I am not going to suggest anything too sinister), move them out of Kashmir valley and disperse them all over India. Give them free houses and jobs, but forbid them from ever setting foot in Kashmir again.

    2. Take the same trucks as in solution 1 (the good thing is that same trucks will do), load all army and security forces personnel in them, and drive out of Kashmir quietly. Don’t look back and don’t ever remember Kashmir.

    Sorry, Friday night again, so again offering scotch fueled radical solutions. 🙂

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    1. Your solution #1 is ethnic cleansing and is completely unacceptable in the 21st century. Kashmir belongs to the Kashmiri people. Driving them out of their homes is completely immoral.

      It’s interesting that the only possible solutions you see are ethnically cleansing the natives or complete surrender by India. Respecting their rights and providing them autonomy (which Article 370 was supposed to do) while still having the territory be part of India seemed a reasonable compromise no?

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    2. // Order 10,000 trucks. Load all Kashmiris into these trucks //

      Funny you should say that. That is exactly how Kashmiri Pandits left Kashmir. Great fun, I strongly recommend it 🙂

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      1. i understand your pain slapstik. even tho i have sympathy with kashmiri muslims for the past 3 decades of suffocating life, i can’t shake off the feeling that they essentially brought this misery on themselves.

        funny part is that despite all the cries about kashmiri muslims plight, nobody really remembers what exactly was their problem *before* they willing chose this path. they were a prosperous people living in a reasonably autonomous state. after all the googling the best answer i have come up with is that there was this one election, 1987 i believe, that was rigged and they didn’t get a chief minister of their choice. can you believe it! i mean, rigging election is a grand south asian tradition. even right now as we speak, their promised land pakistan is being ruled by a PM who is widely believed to have come to power via rigged and stage managed election. is this all there is to it!

        there is a nice persian fable about such situations. there was a king who once took an excursion into a sea in a boat with his companions . in his entourage there was a courtier who had never been to the open seas, and he started panicking seeing himself surrounded by water. he started complaining loudly about the dangers of such a boat ride and beseeched the king to turn back.

        the king ordered his friends to throw the complaining man into the water. as the man started flailing and drowning, they quickly pulled him back into the boat.

        now the man was very calm and very relieved. he understood clearly how safe the boat was, and what was the alternative to the boat.

        wish kashmiris has read some persian literature. 🙂

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        1. It wasn’t just one election that was rigged. Sheikh Abdullah was jailed as far back as the 1950s. The “Prime Minister” of Kashmir became a “Chief Minister” and the “Sadar-e-riyasat” became a “governor”. Article 370 was sufficiently watered down before the 1980s. If you had been promised autonomy only to see that promise betrayed, wouldn’t you be upset?

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  11. Read somewhere Kashmiri could have dual citizenship. With Indian law coming into force all expat Kashmiris have to renounce one of them. Mostly they would renounce the Indian one, which would make them in ethical/moral terms in the same space (regarding Kashmiri topics) as Indians settled in the west. Then we will have the same dynamic of native Kashmir vs expat Kashmiri, similar to right leaning expats vs secular left liberal native Indians on social media and all.

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  12. Real solution is allowing people to decide with their feet where in a single nation they want to live. Free market and open borders within all of India along with strong law enforcement and military to keep the land safe from terrorists (including Hindu lynch mobs and not just Jihadis) and the Military Junta next door are all part of the best long term solution.

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    1. The conclusion was not very flattering to India. She repeatedly called BJP a “Hindu chauvinist regime”. But of course, you would like her because she clearly hates Pakistan.

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      1. She does not ‘hate’ Pakistan . Her conclusion is reasonable – it is a pity wrong people (i.e. BJP) are doing right things ; while right people (i.e. secularists) are just paralyzed. Apart from few adjectives , which I don’t care, she has presented the facts very well – that is the main thing.

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        1. I’ve heard her speak live. She has a long record of anti-Pakistan animus. But yes, in this case she was quite balanced.

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          1. I would still say it leans heavily on the Indian side than Pakistan/Kashmir. Or perhaps India isn;t as bad as I think it is. 🤔

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  13. Kabir,

    Most of your posts are very reasonable. Here is how I see it.

    Before the Afghan jihad, Pakistan was relatively circumspect about using proxies to do their bidding. The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan convinced the Pakistani Army that the same formula of training fighters from J&K and also adding other jihadi elements from Pakistan and Afghanistan to the mix would (A) convince India to also walk away from J&K, and (B) the movement for “Azadi” in J&K could be replaced with “Kashmir Banega Pakistan”.

    Once nuclear weapons were added to the mix, raising the specter of nuclear conflict became the strategy of the Pakistani Army. They tried to use this in Kargil and failed. However, they have continued to pursue it in low intensity conflict in J&K.

    BJP may have been the party to take the final step and eliminate all special provisions for the residents of J&K, but in India there is a weariness with the continuing state of affairs in J&K. This is not the kind of weariness that leads to India withdrawing its forces from J&K like the Soviets. The weariness here is coming from being convinced that the Pakistani Army is not going to settle for anything less than complete capitulation on the part of India in J&K.

    Therefore, you see India refusing to engage with Pakistan regardless of what Imran Khan may be messaging with “you take one step and we will take two”. India has come to the conclusion that the only thing that the Pakistani Army understands is strength and retaliation. Combine this with attempting to diplomatically isolate Pakistan, and this tells you about India’s current strategy. You may also see India using Pakistan’s own playbook and encourage fissiparous tendencies in Pakistan.

    BTW, despite comments from fringe elements in India, no serious thinkers in the military or political echelons of India pines for “Akhand Bharat”, or recovery of “Azad Kashmir” or Gilgit and Baltistan. Those are closed chapters for the vast majority of Indians.

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    1. This sums things up quite well. I was myself a dove (or whetever is the opposite of ‘hawk’) on matters relating to Pakistan. However the period bracketed by the events in Kargil and Mumbai convinced me that there is no ‘nice’ solution to be had in the short run and India must settle down to long war of attrition and resign herself to hostility until things change significantly in Pakistan. This may or may not take a long time.

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    2. Leave aside Pakistan for a moment. Do you seriously think that what the BJP is doing is going to win the hearts and minds of Kashmiris? Putting an entire people under lockdown (for nine days now) and locking up even the “pro-India” leaders is extremely counterproductive. In the end, Kashmir belongs to the Kashmiri people, not to people from mainland India. Pakistan could theoretically wash its hands of the conflict tomorrow, but do you think Kashmiri Muslims will stop resisting what they see as an Occupation? Turning Kashmir into another Palestine seems extremely stupid to me (but perhaps the Modi regime in all its wisdom knows better).

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      1. \Pakistan could theoretically wash its hands of the conflict tomorrow, but do you think Kashmiri Muslims will stop resisting what they see as an Occupation?\

        Yes.

        They won’t stop resisting occupation OTOH they will stop seeing being part of India as Occupation

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        1. There has been too much bloodshed over the last 30 years for Kashmiri Muslims to not see Delhi as an Occupier. As Shah Faesal said recently, the abolition of 370 has destroyed the “mainstream”. You can either be a stooge or a separatist now. When someone who has been a IAS topper says something like this, you know you have a serious problem.

          When you lose Omar and Mehbooba, you have lost the Kashmiris. If the collaborator class is done with you, you have truly burnt your bridges.

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      2. Kabir, as I have said before, India has made more than its share of mistakes in J&K.

        However, it is not possible to “Leave aside Pakistan for a moment.” The reason is that the Afghan experience emboldened the Pakistani Army to “rinse and repeat” the formula that was successful with the Soviet Union. The insertion of jihadi terrorists set up the vicious cycle of Indian Army intervention that leads only to further alienation of the civilians. So India is going to take a hard line with Pakistan.

        I would also like to understand where was all the vehemence and anguish when Kashmiri Hindus were coerced into abandoning their homes in the Kashmir Valley? Has there been an exodus of Muslims from J&K that is anything similar?

        The comparison with Palestine (West Bank??) is easy to throw around. The reality is very different. Hindus have had to evacuate J&K and NOT occupy it, as has happened in the West Bank. In fact many of the laborers from Bihar and UP who used to work in the agricultural sector in J&K (picking fruits, for example), are also leaving because of security concerns.

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        1. The point is that with or without Pakistan, you will have to deal with kashmiri Muslims. They clearly feel that Delhi is the Occupier. The removal of 370 (whatever was left of it) is only going to strengthen that feeling. Kashmiris have been unhappy with India since 1947, long before the Afghan war. Sheikh Abdullah was jailed in the 1950s.
          The Pandit exodus is a blot on the Kashmiri freedom movement but it doesn’t justify the atrocities committed on Kashmiri Muslims over the past three decades.
          The abrogation of 370 means that non kashmiris can now buy land in Kashmir. There is already talk about Hindus settling in Kashmir in order to make it a Hindu majority region. This is exactly like Zionists moving onto Palestinian land. Kashmir belongs to the kashmiri people, not to settlers from mainland India.

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          1. Happy independence day bro!

            Also we aren;t Zionist nor the Chinese(even though some of our right wing and liberals would like that) , not because we dont want to be like them, but because we are not as competent.

            Of all the people, fellow Pakistani should really get how “competent” we south Asians are in all fields related to Governance. We love our life too much to become settlers in contested zones like Palestine, Xinyang

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          2. Kabir, you say – “Kashmir belongs to the kashmiri people, not to settlers from mainland India.” Does this rule apply just to India? Has Pakistan limited the settlement of “mainland Pakistanis” in Azad Kashmir? The entire complexion of Gilgit and Baltistan was changed during Zia’s time by “importing” Sunni tribals from NWFP.

            Let’s set aside these double standards.

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          3. There is no double standard. My position has consistently been that Kashmir belongs to the kashmiri people, not to Indians or Pakistanis. Pakistanis settling in G-B was wrong but it doesn’t in any way justify mainland Indians settling in occupied Kashmir. In any case, it’s unlikely to make the valley feel less like an Indian colony.

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          4. The point is that with or without Pakistan, you will have to deal with kashmiri Muslims.

            In the absence of Pakistan and the TNT, Kashmiris would probably have acceded to India without much of a fuss. They are entwined in our historical civilization the same way Punjabis and Sindhis are.

            I’m on record describing the Indian govt’s recent action as tyrannical (I’m specifically referring to how Kashmiris are being treated now, and not expressing any affection for Article 370), but I’d like to understand how an independent Kashmir would be viable.

            As a landlocked state, it would be dependent on one or more of its neighbouring countries for literally everything. And given the bad blood with India, I’m guessing that will be Pakistan or China (or both.) The Bhutan solution is exceedingly unlikely.The existing Central Asian states are either heavily dependent on Russia or have been colonized by China. How is it possible for Kashmir’s fate to be any different?

            Do you have any thoughts on this? (I’m not looking for a reflexive “Kashmiris should get what they want, no questions asked” response.)

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          5. Numinous,

            If Nepal can be an independent country despite being landlocked, there is no reason why Kashmir cannot be. In any case, the right to self-determination is a moral principle that outweighs such concerns.

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          6. Kabir,

            I already mentioned Bhutan, so I’m not looking for more examples. But neither Bhutan nor Nepal have bad blood with India the way an independent Kashmir would, so the situations aren’t exactly comparable.

            Both Pakistan and China are officially quasi-enemies of India, and it’s not clear that Pakistani enmity with us will end if we gave up Kashmir, so this is not simply a matter of self-determination but of our national security.

            On self-determination: right is one thing, ability another. You still haven’t offered any thoughts on how Kashmiris will choose to exercise their self-determination, nor if they will be able to (would you be happy with them turning into puppets of an Islamabad-Beijing axis?)

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          7. The right to self determination is not conditional. It is not trumped by your national security. Kashmiris should determine their future for themselves. I’m sure you wouldn’t like it if these colonialist arguments were applied to your people.

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          8. If Kashmir had never been part of India, there would be no question of acquiring it, national security or no national security. but it has been so since independence, and Pakistan and China have been enemies for almost as long.

            By telling someone that they should make decisions that could be suicidal for their country for the sake of a principle, you’ll lose even your most liberal interlocutors. On the other hand, practical arrangements could always be worked out that could give Kashmir the autonomy it wants without unduly compromising India’s security, which is what I was trying to probe you on, but you clearly have no interest in that.

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        2. Kabir, this kind of absolutist view is not persuasive to anyone outside the choir.

          There’s basically two views on Kashmir that have currency in India: conservative (keep 370 and the status quo, maintain local autonomy) and revisionist (annul 370 and revise the status quo, further integrate Kashmir with India). You can argue one of those positions. But outside far Lefty circles, nobody shares the absolutist view of “self-determination now, get out of Kashmir”!

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          1. I’m not an Indian and not bound to make arguments that are acceptable within the nationalist consensus. I side with the kashmiri people who have made it clear for decades that they consider Delhi an Occupier. Kashmir is a disputed territory and the people of that territory were promised the chance to determine their own fate. Whether they choose India, Pakistan or independence is their right. India had plenty to chances to find a solution acceptable to all stakeholders. Instead, it has chosen to take away whatever autonomy was left and put the people under lockdown. This is immoral and I believe counterproductive in the long run.

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          2. “I’m not an Indian…”

            Ok, but you’re talking to Indians here. Don’t expect takers if you are going to push hardline views.

            “India had plenty to chances to find a solution acceptable to all stakeholders.”

            India is the status quo power in this affair, and as proven with its dealings with other separatist movements, is much more accommodating than most great powers (especially our friend to the north.) Unfortunately, the Kashmiri hardliners and their Pakistani friends have run the ship for the past 3 decades, and foreclosed the possibility of Kashmir following Mizoram’s path.

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          3. This could be the most autistic comment I’ve seen here.

            “We are Indians, don’t trouble us with scary ideas”.

            Kashmiris have no interest in being like Mizoram. They want independence. They view Indians as Indians once viewed the British (and currently view the Mughals). Foreign invaders and occupiers.

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          4. They can want what they want. If they didn’t get it when India was militarily weak, near-bankrupt, and diplomatically isolated, what on Earth makes them think they have a shot now?

            Life is about making peace with the situation you have, not wishing for pipe dreams.

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          5. The Musharraf-Manmohan plan was perhaps the best chance for a solution that would have been acceptable to all stakeholders. Neither India nor Pakistan would have lost any territory while Kashmiris would have had freedom of movement across the LOC. However, India refuses to even discuss the issue with Pakistan and instead takes unilateral steps which make Kashmiris feel even more like a colony. In whose world does that seem like a rational step towards conflict resolution?
            I’m not concerned about “takers”. BP discussions are not going to resolve the dispute. I will continue to argue what I think is the only moral position, in favor of the kashmiri people’s human right to self determination. If Indian nationalists don’t like it, too bad for them.

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  14. Imran Khan Independance day speech might as well be written by arundhati roy (or as Pakistani would say Arun-Dhoti Rai) attacking RSS( Nazis), Modi (Hitler, Imran compared himself to Churchill) as well as giving lessons on minority rights of muslims , dalits, sikhs and Christians (which, as we all know, Pakistan has stellar record of)

    Closer home i felt it was written by Indithings or Kabir 😛

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    1. Much as I dislike Modi even I think comparing him to Hitler is over the top. There are no concentration camps for Indian Muslims. However, it is a fact that RSS ideology was inspired by European fascism.

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      1. There are concentration camps in Assam for Muslims deemed “Illegal”. Not sure if they are being filled yet, as the process of stripping Muslims of their citizenship in Assam is still ongoing, but they are there, and the BJP has been explicit about their purpose.

        Its not a stretch at all to equate the Hindu-Right to Nazis. Not in terms of what they’ve done (not much yet), but their ideology. Nazis were Nazis before they committed genocide.

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        1. I’m not going to defend the Hindu Right (I would be the last person to do so) but there is no systematic plan to wipe out India’s Muslims. Nor do I think the BJP is interested in this. Having them be second-class citizens is good enough.

          I don’t think the Nazi comparison is useful. Imran Khan calling Modi Hitler and himself Churchill seems to be advocating for war.

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        2. Detention center != “Concentration Camp”

          The most recent article I read on the NRC said:

          https://www.livemint.com/politics/news/supreme-court-refuses-centre-s-plea-for-re-verification-of-nrc-process-1565697990002.html

          “With the NRC list set to be released at the end of the month, the Centre has started the exercise of ensuring that detention centres for illegal immigrants provide all basic amenities, including electricity, drinking water, hygiene, accommodation with beds, sufficient toilets with running water, and communication and kitchen facilities.”

          Sure sounds like Dachau to me…

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        3. Its not a stretch at all to equate the Hindu-Right to Nazis. Not in terms of what they’ve done (not much yet), but their ideology.

          what do you think the nazi ideology is?

          i ask, because one of the problems and ‘features’ of fascism is that’s not really ideological, it’s emotional.

          also, the influences/connections btwn fascism and hindu nationalism are well known. just like btwn fascism are arab nationalism are well known. but i think it’s a bit eurocentric to reduce hindu or arab nationalism as noneuropean instantiations of european ideologies. there were clearly ‘native’ roots for these ideologies that went back to at least the 19th-century.

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          1. Nazi ideology in the wiki is
            “Nazism is a form of fascism and showed that ideology’s disdain for liberal democracy and the parliamentary system, but also incorporated fervent antisemitism, anti-communism, scientific racism, and eugenics into its creed”

            None of this applies to Hindutva or BJP. BJP revels in parliamentary democracy , it is pro-Israel, not really anti-communist (street fights between the two have been rare except in Kerala). It does not draw it’s theories from any genetics or ‘scientific’ sounding theories ; it respects Hindu tradition. While it’s edges are loose mouthed and occasionally violent , it is not part of their program.

            OTOH, the definition of Nazism applies much more to Pakistan ideology. Pakistan itself was conceived due to distrust of parliamentary democracy when it was proposed before 1947. That is the reason for crackdown on Bangladesh and the Pakistani army ruling the country directly or indirectly till today . It’s antisemitism is pathological – otherwise why would they kill Jews during it’s terrorist attack on Mumbai 10 years back. Antisemitism has permeated Pakistan society . The attack on Ahmedis and their legal persecution is another version of antisemitism and ‘othering’ a small group. Anti-Ahmedi laws are parellal to the Nuremberg laws in th 1930s Germany which excluded Jews from all walks of life.

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  15. Looks like the point of the post is lost on virtually every commentator… (with maybe 1-2 exceptions)

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    1. Perhaps you should elaborate on why you feel this was a wise decision despite all the (cogent) objections you raised in the bulk of the post?

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      1. I definitely agree. Currently on the internet, you can read all manner of thinkpieces about 1) why the decision was not good, or 2) why it means India will become Nazi Germany 2.0. More immediately valuable than a devil’s advocate piece supporting 370 would be a piece simply arguing why annulling 370 was the way to go.

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  16. @Numinous

    I will write something not in support of my position but attacking the objections against it. I don’t have a lot of time these days but will hopefully get some time soon.

    @VijayVan

    Yes, it is called the migrant’s certificate, which is legal document that gives me IDP status. Many Kashmiri Pandit migrants (if not all) were issued these. They prove our state-subject (which is sort of unnecessary now with 35a gone), act as birth certificates – because many lost a lot of paperwork to arson etc, and entitle the homeless to access some basic housing in the migrant colonies of Jammu, Delhi etc.

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    1. What do u make of folks like nitasha kaul, kak etc those who are pundits and support independence of Kashmir? What percentage in the pundits support this stand if u had to guess ?

      And is it a case of suffering from one”s own Schadenfreude?

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      1. It’s a matter of racism mattering more than religious identity. Many KPs support things like Kashmir’s special status to ensure that the masses of dark and dirty people from the Plains won’t adversely affect pristine heavenly Kashmir.

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        1. the weak shall inherit the earth…
          AASI Rising. Black power!

          Lol S Asians are all same components just different proportions. But yeah phenotypes can vary a lot. And yes genetic clustering out some groups not that far from West Asians, but all groups and I mean ALL are majority ancestry IVC components aka iranic neolithic farmer and AASI.

          I think phenotypic proximity to global power brokers of beauty, Euro Whites, has only added to these effects especially in the context of globalization of media. This of course has layers with caste and domination in last millennia by lighter and more caucasoid peoples from the West. The complex is very complex.v

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  17. I feel like I have a uniquely middling S Asian racial perspective, given my background

    Gujarat is near all of the controversial genotype/phenotype action (cough…Punjab..cough) but still very densely IVC

    Caste is still a thing in Gujarat but Brahmins don’t have the same power. I am of middle caste, vania (bania), origin

    Gujarati culture is socially conservative but promotes material gain over honor and harmony over equity with different ethnoreligious groups like Parsis, Jains, Bohras, Memons, Patels, Rajputs, and Brahmins working in a relatively more egalitarian, mutualistic, and synergistic system than a more strictly hierarchical parasitic, and thus often antagonistic one, granted dalits are still looked down upon and treated like shit like everywhere else

    My background is Dharmic (Jain) yet not explicitly Hindu, granted I identify as agnostic, with non theistic Buddhism closest to my views, out of all mainstream religions. My family supports BJP but doesn’t like RSS trying to do stuff like claim Jains are Hindu.

    I autosomally cluster with S Indian Brahmins, but my YDNA is AASI as HM20.

    I was born and brought up in the USA but in as S Asian as an American place can get, NYC suburbs in NJ.

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    1. “Gujarati culture is socially conservative but promotes material gain over honor and harmony”

      This reminded me of this

      https://lubpak.net/archives/899
      The Gujaratis of Pakistan – By Aakar Patel

      “The Gujarati qualities are pragmatism and industry. Their courage is different from the courage of North India, which is martial.

      The Patels worship Krishna in his Ranchhod form. Ranchhod means ‘he who fled from battle’. It refers to Krishna’s retreat from Mathura under attack from Jarasandh’s general Kalyavan, and then his flight, running away when he was challenged. This act of wisdom saved him and Gujaratis recognise it though it’s not godlike behaviour.

      Pragmatism, getting on with it, is what defines Gujaratis of all religions. It is what their identity is about. This is not to say that they are not susceptible to emotion. Gujarati Muslims helped partition India, but without understanding what they were getting into.”

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    2. “Gujarati culture is socially conservative but promotes material gain over honor and harmony over equity with different ethnoreligious groups like Parsis, Jains, Bohras, Memons, Patels, Rajputs, and Brahmins working in a relatively more egalitarian, mutualistic, and synergistic system than a more strictly hierarchical parasitic, and thus often antagonistic one”

      Not sure this is true of entire Gujarat. Saurashtra has some pretty violent caste conflicts, even between Darbars (Kshatriyas) and Vanias. Not to mention Dalits.

      I’m not a Gujarati but grew up there.

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