The First and the Second World War changed the outlook of the world. Empires ceased to exist. A new concept of nations came into being. Colonies of European countries started to get their independence from foreign rule in quick succession.. Boundaries and territories became essential in deciding where a nation started and ended. Nations have been fighting with each other over boundary lines since history has been recorded however frontiers became exceptionally important with the end of the Second World War and the emergence of the Third world. One place where boundary lines and territory was of great importance was in the Indian subcontinent, which had been under the control of the British Empire from 1858 to 1947. The Indian sub-continent was to be decolonized and partitioned into two countries. A Muslim dominated, Pakistan and a Hindu dominated, India. Surprisingly, it was the first time that nations were being partitioned on the basis of religion. The partition led to many problems between the two countries. One such issue was the conflict over the state of Kashmir. The dispute over Kashmir has dogged relations between India and Pakistan since the states were created by the partition of British India in 1947.
The two countries have fought three wars (in 1947-48, 1965 and 1999). They have also been on the verge of resorting to nuclear weapons over this issue. The fight over Kashmir is an unending conflict. The biggest reason for its insolvability is that leaders of both nations have used religious nationalism to justify the wars and the struggle to incorporate Kashmir while masking the underlying motive of gaining economic and strategic advantages from it. Not both countries only Pakistan The conflict of Kashmir can be traced back to the time of partition and to the events that occurred during the time period when British controlled India was to be divided on religious lines. The state had been under the rule of the Sikh empire and the British had managed to exert their influence on the Singh rulers of the time. The State of Kashmir was important to the British because it worked as buffer zone to prevent invasion into India by Russia, China and Afghanistan. Therefore, as the British desired the Sinkh monarchy rulers were generally puppets of the Britishprecisely following their orders in word and action. A close alliance was formed between the British and the rulers of Kashmir in this way.
However, the partition of the sub-continent brought the in built tensions amongst the Muslims and Hindus over the state of Kashmir to the forefront.. Muslims under the Muslim League and Hindus under the Congress had been constantly endeavoring for more rights and representation from the British throughout the 1880’s and 90’s. The British finally decided to give India its independence, but the Muslims and Hindus felt entitled to separate states based on a religious divide which according to both was too great for both of them to exist harmoniously. Muslims felt entrapped as a minority in a Hindu dominant country. Through the efforts of Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League and Nehru, the leader of the congress, a plan was proposed to separate the two countries. It was the first time in history that such a partition was taking place on the basis of religion. After the failure of the Cabinet Mission Plan for a unified India on 1946, the British government announced its ‘definite intention to take necessary steps to effect the transference of power to responsible Indian hands by a date not later than June 1948.’ Thus, the British sent their last viceroy, Lord Mountbatten to oversee the partition in of the most volatile regions of the world.
The general plan of the partition was that the huge areas of Punjab, Bengal and Assam were to be divided according to the majority of the religion in the area. Therefore, the Muslim majority areas ceded to Pakistan and the Hindu majority areas to India. There were a number of princely states that were given the option to cede to India or Pakistan based on a vote to take into account the wishes of the local population. Kashmir was a Muslim majority state with a Hindu ruler. The ruler Hari Singh was confused as to where he should cede. Meanwhile, Sir Cyrill Radcliffe was sent by the British government to make an exact boundary line to divide the Punjab province now famously referred to as the Radcliffe Award Boundary Commission. According to the commission, the three Muslim majority tehsils of the Gurdaspur district were given to India. This went against the laws, which divided the rest of India. Nonetheless, Hari Singh’s hesitation to cede to either nation was to be the reason for his own tragedy. (Was Kashmir part of one of the tehsils given to India by Radcliffe? If not the last two sentences make, no sense.)
With nation building and the formation of a new states came the concept of ‘nationalism.’ Nationalism involves the concept of an imagined community by a particular community. It includes certain people in this imagined community and excludes others. India was portioned on the basis of religion so they had envisioned what areas came into their respective imagined communities. Unfortunately, they both envisioned Kashmir to be a part of their newly founded nations. As religious nationalism was the basis of the partition of India, it also became a veil to mask the real motives for the fight for Kashmir between the newly independent states of Pakistan and India. Kashmir had a Muslim majority population of 3,101,247 (77.1 %). The first war over Kashmir was fought in 1947 when there was a Poonch uprising in the state against Hari Singh. Pakistan sent in forces to secure the area out of fear that Kashmir would end up going to India. However, against preliminary plans the Pakistani troops ended up trying to invade Srinagar, Kahsmir’s capital.
Hari Singh was afraid and made a deal to cede to India if India helped fight Pakistan. The fact that Pakistan and India fight a war over Kashmir a few months after they came into existence provided they had very limited supplies and could hardly stand up on their own as independent countries speaks volumes of the states religious and hidden economic importance. It is pertinent to look back at what Jinnah said to the Kashmiri leaders during the 1947 partition highlighting the decision of Hari Singh. In his speech, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, first governor general of Pakistan said, “I hope that the Maharaja and the Prime Minister of Kashmir will realize the fast changing circumstances and wisdom demands that the feelings of the Muslims who form eighty percent of the population should not be ignored, much less hurt.’ Therefore, it you observe closely, Jinnah made the issue of Kashmir, an issue to do with Islam and Muslims. The rhetoric he states in his speech is for a plea to protect the wishes of the ‘Muslims’ in Kashmir.
The civilians in the newly founded Pakistan would also think in the same way about the issue of Kashmir as having to do with Islam and their duty to help their Muslim brothers. The tact of religious nationalism is used as a mask. The very first president of Pakistan used this to make a claim over Kashmir. Therefore, the claim for Kashmir to be part of Pakistan as a religious mission was indeed a pertinent ploy to guarantee the support of civilians of the state. The second war was fought over Kashmir in 1965. After the first war, the British had decided on a plebiscite to take place in Kashmir to decide its fate. India and Pakistan had both initially agreed on this but India went back on its word and occupied Kashmiri territory. Therefore, the 1965 war was fought on the same platform. At the time, President Ayub Khan was in power in Pakistan, a military dictator and the first of many that the country would see in its short history. The collection of the speeches of the soldier and statesman, organized by Rais Ahmd Jafri shows how he too follows a similar agenda about religious nationalism during his tenure as leader of Pakistan.
The first is a speech on 25th August 1961 in Karachi at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs. He states “The difference between Pakistan and other Muslim countries is that the upsurge in these other Muslim countries is racial, linguistic, territorial, anti-imperialist, anti-colonial and very little religious.” Therefore, we can see that like Jinnah, Ayub Khan preached about the importance of Islam in Pakistan. He tried to inform Pakistanis about the significance of religion in the formation of their state of Pakistan and their role as falg bearers of Islam in the region. In his first broadcast on 1st November 1963, Ayub Khan made another speech in regards to the situation in Kashmir. He stated, “The government and the people of India know that they have no right to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The world at large knows it. So the proposed integration would only heighten India’s guilt. It would correspondingly heighten our resolve to free our brethren from their bondage. Those who transgress deceive nobody except themselves.” Looking at this excerpt from this speech, we can see how Ayub Khan was preparing the civilians for another war with India.
He claimed Pakistan’s right for Kashmir on the basis of Islam decisively labeling the residents of Kashmir as brothers of the citizens of Pakistan. Kashmir is a Muslim populated area and thus it is Pakistan’s responsibility to free their ‘brethren.’ Ayub Khan is using religion as a rhetorical force here. With Islam as a mechanism, Pakistanis would believe that they it is their responsibility to God to help other Muslim brothers and support the upcoming war and struggle for Kashmir. Therefore, it is vial to see how Pakistani leaders over time have used religion as a basis to motivate Pakistanis to think that the freedom of Kashmir is their responsibility and thae oppressors of their Kashmiri brother’s, enemies of Pakistan and Muslims in general. Similarly, India used nationalistic mechanisms and rhetoric to convince civilians and army officers to fight and support the war, while hiding the real economic intentions in regards to Kashmir.
The ‘1965 War Story- Defense Minister Y.B Chavan’s Diary of India-Pakistan War gives an insight into how the same sense of nationalism had influenced Indians during the crisis. On September 20, 1965 Chavan writes in his diary, “ It was not an accident but was shot fown ??? by Pakistani fighter planes near Bhuj. It was surprising that the plane went off the track nearly by 50 miles between Ahmedabad-Mithapur. I hate these Pakistanis.” Therefore, this quote shows a different perspective. It shows the opinion and the thoughts of someone who was at service to India. Hate is a strong word to use, but yet Chavan casually writes it down in his diary. Therefore, nationalistic forces help create animosity. They declare the other side to be the ‘enemy.’ In this case, Pakistanis are bad and they should be hated. This mentality about Pakistanis being the enemy helped the generals and army officers to wage war against Pakistan. It was a way for them to support and fight the war. It is important to see how leaders of the state had brainwashed army officers into listening to the states orders. Most generals and minister did not even know what they were fighting for or what they hoped to achieve.
They were simply following orders with hate for the Pakistanis due to the differences that the state had created for them. (This bolded part is very vague and not clear at all. Diaries are suppose to be casual, its his personal diary not a novel. In a state of war the other side is suppose to be the enemy. Maybe you should highlight how the indian government tried to increase nationalism maybe by using religion or the atrocities of the Muslims or some other reason to motivate its forces.) The diary of an Indian war captive in Pakistan shows another similar example of this nationalism effect on the Indians. LT Col SS Chowdhary writes in his personal narrative called, ‘Prisoner of War,” about his experiences as a captive on enemy soil in the 1965 war. This source is important because it shows the views about Pakistan from an Indian colonel. Unlike the former presidents of Pakistan, Ayub Khan and Muhammad Jinnah, the colonel is not promoting the nationalism that leads to hatred and animosity but he is actually on the side that is getting influenced. He talks about the hatred felt during sport matches between India and Pakistan.
He says, “They would lose to any country but India. So much is their hatred for India.” Therefore, we can see the extent to which people on both sides hate each other. The whole concept of a ‘them’ and and ‘us’ is created by nationalism and is the creation of leaders of state to justify war. He goes on to talk about his experience in the reflection state when he says, “A Muslim is generally considered to be cruel and unkind.” Therefore, his experience as a prisoner of war changes his perspective about Muslims. It is important to realize that Hindus and Muslims grow up considering the other to be cruel, unkind and generally ‘bad.’ It is the leaders of the state that carry out this propaganda to meet their own aims and steer the sentiment of the general public in their way. (you should elaborate in this paragraph what created that hate of them and us between the two states, that’s hat you thesis is about.) Going through examples of both countries, it is visible that religion was the basis of the partition of the subcontinent.
However, religious nationalism was used by the states to brainwash the public into hating their respective neighbor. Both India and Pakistan have used religious differences to create hostility within their populations towards the other. This is the clever tactic that was used and is still being used by both countries in order to hide the real reason for fighting over Kashmir. The real purpose is that India and Pakistan both seek to gain economically and strategically from taking over Kashmir. This can easily be seen from the fact that Pakistan lost East Pakistan (Bangladesh). Bangladesh got its independence from Pakistan in 1971. Bangladesh is a Muslim populated area and was a part of Pakistan. The injustices Pakistan inflicted on Bangladesh furthers the case that Pakistan does not care about Muslim brothers. Like other countries, it only seeks to gain economic and strategic advances. Similarly, India also seeks to gain immensely from taking over Kashmir and creates a façade about her sovereign and nationalistic right to take over it. After this part the essay is good!
Kashmir is much more than disputed territory. It is a haven for untapped natural resources and land. Geographically, it can be divided into the two states of Jammu and Kashmir encompassing 84,471 square miles. It is the largest state in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. An article about the economic background of Kashmir by S.M Hudda shows us the economic potential of Kashmir and the benefits that both countries could gain if they took over it. Unlike other areas of the world, Kashmir is untapped. It has immense natural resources that have not been exploited. Even the mineral resources of the country are largely unexplored except in Riazi and Jammu. Therefore, both Pakistan and India are developing countries and can use Kashmir to tap these mineral and natural resources. The article further states that Kashmir has an abundance of water resources. Hydel power could be generated using these water resources. India and Pakistan have extreme power shortages throughout the country and are in need for more power resources. This could solve their problem of power shortages.
Therefore, this article provides evidence as to how Kashmir is a haven of untapped natural resources and one of the major reasons that both states are fighting over it. Kashmir also has a unique strategic location. This strategic location could help both countries militarily and economically. Kashmir borders Russia, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Thus Kashmir works as a valuable window on these other regional powers. If Pakistan gets Kashmir, it can gain a military advantage over India. It will have a direct route to India and can attack it easily in the advent of war. India would have a similar advantage. The country, which gets a hold of Kashmir, can protect its borders this way. Thus, the national security of Kashmir is vital for the security of both India and Pakistan. Kashmir also maintains a key position as a trading route. It provides a pass to trade with Central Asia. India and Pakistan could gain economically from the exports and imports from this trading route. Secondly, another strategic advantage that India and Pakistan both seek to gain is in regards to the water resources.
Water is a vital resource for any country’s self-reliance. Shockingly, the rivers Sindh, Ravi, Jhelum and Chena that flow through India and Pakistan originate in Kashmir. These rivers are important to support the economy of both Pakistan and India. Both countries are agro-based and dominantly depend on agriculture to support them. Therefore, these rivers prove as a lifeline to both countries. Even so, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the first president of Pakistan has been quoted saying that Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan for this very reason. Both countries also fear that if the other gets hold of Kashmir, then they will cut the water supply to the other. Therefore, it is visible that Kashmir has great strategic and economic value to both Pakistan and India. Despite these advantages, India and Pakistan also exploit Kashmir to their benefit. This also proves the claim that both countries have never been interested in protecting the rights of the people and the only interest has been an economic one.
An article in the Economic and Political Weekly explores the exploitation of Kashmir by India. It states that India seeks to gain greatly from Kashmir. The article states, “Furthermore, though couched in terms of security, this is not a question of security. The real question is that of expansion, security is a way of justifying that expansion in terms that appeal to national sentiments. What is at stake is not a genuine security interest, but the interest of being able to exploit markets and being able to dispose of labor surplus.” Therefore, we can see that India has been exploiting markets in Kashmir for a long time and this is why she wants complete control. Another example of such exploitation is that India shows that it supports and gives aid to Kashmir but actually this leads to more financial burden. The budget deficit of Kashmir was 370 crore rupees and 300 crore were from interest payments from India. Also, India has built a highway linking Jammu and Srinigar.
This highway helps India gain security but it also helps them in ‘taking out Kashmir’s timber and other primary products out.’ Ironically, the money for the highway comes directly from Kashmir’s budget. India is only looking out for its own selfish interest and is completely exploiting its Kashmiri colony. This is why it wants to take complete control of Kashmir. Commercial trade is also another way that India is exploiting Kashmir. India has managed to exert influence and developed free trade with Kashmir. Kashmir has two natural resources: forests and water. There has been extensive deforestation and the wood has been taken out and used for Indian railways. The hydroelectric power plant contracts also go almost entirely to Indian companies. Therefore, India is not capitally investing in Kashmir but is only investing in power generations and transmission so she can better exploit Kashmir’s natural resources. Pakistan has also followed a similar exploitation method in its colony of Kashmir. It proves the argument that religious nationalism is only part of propaganda that state leaders have made and continue to make to solidify their claim over Kashmir.
The people of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan’s colony have sent hundreds of requests to the Pakistani High Commissioner in London to grant them export licenses so they could establish small scale industries in Kashmir. All these requests were not accepted, while Pakistani nationals were given export licenses for machinery. Another example of such exploitation is that there are eight thousand Kashmiri workers living in Britain who send remittances of about a million pounds each month to their families in Kashmir. Ironically, Pakistanis also own most of the banks in Kashmir. Hence, the Pakistani government earns a huge amount of profits through foreign exchange and invests the money into Pakistan. Like India, Pakistan also exploits the forest reserve of Kashmir. The forest contracts are given to Pakistani nationals who offer much less than Kashmiri nationals. Surprisingly, most of the contracts are given to members of the military service.
Pakistan has also prevented the workers to form a union in Kashmir while it has been allowed in Pakistan. Therefore, we can see that Azad Kashmir is a colony like Bangladesh was. Pakistan does not care about her ‘Muslim brethren.’ That is the charade they use in order to get complete control of Kashmir so they can gain full economic advantage through exploitation. However, we have seen how nationalism is a newly invented ideology and how powerful it is. States use it to brainwash the public and members of the civil and military sector to hide real intentions. In the case of Kashmir, the issue has not ended since the partition in 1947. The biggest reason for this unending conflict is that both states have used religious nationalism to show the other as the ‘enemy.’
In the case of Pakistan, both former presidents have used Islam as a rhetorical device to convince civilians. In the case of India, the effect of this religious nationalism can be seen on the military officers who are willing to die for the sake of defeating the enemy. However, it is used to hide the underlying objective of both countries- gain economic and strategic advantages. Therefore, whoever seeks to gain Kashmir gains immensely from exploiting its natural resources, market and suppressed laborers? The issue could have been resolved if religious nationalism was put to the side and an economic deal was made between both India and Pakistan. Nonetheless, it shows how state leaders can use nationalism as a tool to herd people to their cause and exploit them in this way.
Courtney from Study Moose
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