ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Kashmir: Battle for Hearts and Minds

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Views on Kashmir come in a wide spectrum, each with a narrow local focus. At one end, Bharat Karnad (‘Using LoC to India’s Advantage’, July 10, 1999), for example, outlines an activist policy of “sustained and relatively inconspicuous military actions” to press forward the line of control (LoC), demarcated under the Simla Accord, but often surreptitiously violated by Pakistan to its advantage. At the other end, Gautam Navlakha (‘Kashmir: An Idea which Cannot Be Suppressed’, January 29, 2000), by contrast, dwells on the paucity of democratic and economic processes at home. There are many others that fall in between. Such stereotyping is evidently deceptive.

Seldom does a commentator pay due respect to the full length of the canvas of ground reality. Rarely does he or she contemplate Kashmir in the light of the ongoing worldwide Islamic resurgence as well as the subcontinental upheaval of Hinduism – the two phenomena that have multiple fragments of bewildering complexity. Neither a military campaign of low or high intensity, nor a political-economic initiative of any magnitude could touch the core of the issue, which is social in its site and religious in its pretension. Kashmir has long ceased to be a simple feud of Hindu versus Muslim; it has become an arena of Hindu as well as Islamic implosion.

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