Kashmir and TibetA PRAGMATIC, PEOPLE ORIENTED,
A strategy paper
proposing autonomy to Kashmir and Tibet,
under the joint suzerainty of neighbouring nations
The problems in
South Asia started with the rejection of Gandhi. Gandhi was
totally opposed to partition on the ground that the Hindu and
Muslim communities are deeply interwoven in the social fabric of
the sub-continent. Today, India has more Muslims than there are
in Pakistan. Further, the oppression of the Muslims of Sindh,
Baluchistan and North East Pakistan, and the breaking away of
East Pakistan to form Bangladesh, clearly show the internal
contradictions of partition on grounds of religion.
Gandhi wanted a true democracy in which power flows upward from
the people. Ignoring Gandhi, a centralised polity, based on
exploitative colonial Institutions, was installed. The
desire to centralise power led to the partition of India.
Kashmir became a victim of indecisiveness of, and mishandling
by, the Indian leadership.
1 Facts about the Discord
In keeping with
the terms of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, the ruler of the
princely state of Jammu & Kashmir ceded it to India.
Pakistan tried to illegally occupy Kashmir by infiltrating
irregular armed raiders. Indian forces pushed them out from the
Srinagar valley. The Indian leadership unilaterally ordered
cease-fire, and offered plebiscite, provided Pakistan vacated
the portion left in its illegal occupation. Pakistan never
did so. According to India, the plebiscite has become
China came under communist rule in 1949. Thereafter, it started
infiltrating Tibet, then an independent nation of people of
ethnic origin different from that of the Chinese, and having
cultural links with India. China fully occupied it by 1959.
Indian leadership refrained from interfering, and to appease
socialist China, recognised its sovereignty over Tibet. Tibetan
leaders and over one lakh people took refuge in India. They feel
let down by India.
In 1962, China attacked India and grabbed substantial part of
its territory bordering Tibet. Pakistan, in lieu of support,
handed over portions of Kashmir in its illegal occupation, to
China. The issues of
Kashmir and Tibet are thus intertwined and need to be resolved
Controlled by the
military and the clergy, Pakistan is a democracy only in name.
Dominated by the feudal interests of Punjab, it abused East
Pakistan, now Bangladesh, and is still abusing its own Muslims
of Sind, Baluchistan and the Northwest region. Some Muslim sects
of Pakistan such as Shias and Ahmedias, and Muslims who migrated
from India, called Muhajirs, are being badly treated. Before
Pakistan stakes claim over Kashmir on grounds of religion, it
should learn to take care of its own Muslims.
With a single-party rule,
rightist economic model and a powerful war machine, China has
now acquired characteristics of fascism. It is also the biggest
violator of human rights. The US government has been asking
China to democratise. There
is a big peopleís movement in USA on autonomy for Tibet. The
civil society in India however appears insensitive to the
subjugation of the people of Tibet and China.
2 Resolution of the Discord
India to honour plebiscite in Kashmir as offered by it in 1948.
Plebiscite is not acceptable to India since Pakistan never
vacated the territory in its illegal occupation. Recognising the
line of control as the international border is sometimes
suggested. Any solution that divides Kashmir is anti-people,
unstable. It destroys the integrity and culture of the people of
The present stalemate cannot be allowed to linger unresolved.
Pakistan will continue indulging in terrorism in Kashmir in
which innocent families get uprooted, killed or maimed.
The ego of India and Pakistan cannot be allowed to decide the
fate of the innocent Kashmiri families targeted by terrorists,
and languishing in refugee camps in India. A stable solution
must be evolved at all cost.
Autonomy under Joint Suzerainty
There can be no
lasting peace so long as Kashmir is divided between India and
Pakistan. The ideal solution is that the entire Kashmir should
be with secular India. Had the Indian leadership not withheld
its forces, it could have achieved this in 1948. Today, India is
unable to regain its territory under Pakistanís illegal
occupation because of international commitments. A legitimate
solution, sympathetic to the people, for uniting the two
Kashmirs needs to be evolved.
A pragmatic solution is that autonomy may be offered, to (1)
Unified Kashmir under the joint suzerainty of India and
Pakistan, provided its minority communities vote in its
favour; and, (2) Tibet under the joint suzerainty of India
and China. Ladakh and Jammu, that are predominantly non-Muslim,
can through referendum choose to remain in India. The civil
society of India, Pakistan and China should take the initiative
for creating pressure on their respective governments for
accepting such a solution. India,
Pakistan and China need to treat Kashmir and Tibet, not as real
estate, but as people.
Kashmir will then have
autonomy over social and economic issues. It shall however not
be allowed to maintain any military. India and Pakistan will
post military attaches in Kashmir to oversee that neither of
them violate the integrity of Kashmir. A similar arrangement can
be created for Tibet.
India and Pakistan are abusing their own people under faulty
constitutions. Neither has the moral authority to stake claim
over Kashmir, unless they can assure the people true democratic
If Kashmir is granted autonomy, its people should approve its
constitution through an institutional mechanism for referendums,
ratified by both India and Pakistan. The global community should
pressurise China also to democratise through a similar