Religious identity has been at play in Kashmir for 100 years

Ramesh Tamiri

Check the memo dated 14 April 1932. It glaringly shows Kashmir was an issue much before partition of India in 1947.

Ramesh Tamiri, an authority on Kashmir history and affairs, writes incisively on “The Kashmir Conundrum: The Quest for Peace in a Troubled Land” by Gen N.C. Vij  and counters his assertion that Kashmir was never an issue and that India moved on from Partition, but Pakistan couldn’t.

Common misconception based on superficial understanding of Kashmiri society and History is that ethnicity rather than religion is dominant factor in Kashmiri identity.

This view was neither true before 1990 nor is it true after 1990.

Language is not the only bond that creates strong ethnic bonding that overrides religious and other identities.

It is common view of history and psychological view of identity perception that make ethnic identities stronger.

Throughout medieval period Pandits and Muslims have shared different view of history.

Pandits have a different cuisine and many food habits different from Muslims.

Even in language there are words pronounced differently by two communities.

Political assertion of Muslim identity before 1980 and cross-border terrorism subsequently have further weakened ethnic component of regional identity.

Hugging, as Gen NC Vij claims, does not mean ethnic identity is at play.

There are old associations as neighbours, colleagues or friends — LIHAZDARI, which though affected by on going polarisation, are occasionally seen.

Ethnic identity is a myth. It has been religious identity that has been at play since 1924 onwards.

Complete understanding of ethnoreligious factors in Kashmir is important to find solutions that address communal and fundamentalist- Wahabi component.

Also, the problem in Kashmir is not ALIENATION. It is SUBVERSION.

So long as SUBVERSION narrative remains dominant ALIENATION will continue.

It is SUBVERSION narrative that causes ALIENATION.

Gen.Vij in his book fails to understand how SUBVERSION narrative creates hierarchies of ALIENATION.

Unless SUBVERSION narrative and processes are demolished there will be no end to terrorism.

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