Remaining secular

For all of Kuldip Nayar’s softie-softies with respect to relations with Pakistan – which I’ve condemned in my posts, I’ve got to hand it to him on his stand on secularism. In this
article in Dawn he points out that Pakistan and its agents (Geelani) have lost their credibility in Kashmir. Events have driven the Hurriyat to adopt a more conciliatory attitude which could form the basis for a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue. I’m strongly with him when he writes

Before discussing anything concrete (with the Hurriyat), it would be better if New Delhi and APHC were to agree on some principles which would govern the settlement. And one of them should be not to entertain any arrangement on the basis of religion. The subcontinent has gone through the traumatic experience of partition. It killed 10 lakh people and uprooted 20 lakh of families. India cannot afford to have another situation like that.

A settlement that divides Kashmir along religious lines will be in deep dissonance with India’s founding principles – and an endorsement of the Jinnah’s two nations theory. I’m personally inclined towards formalising the current status quo and converting the Line of Control into an international boundary. Yes, it would probably meen legitimising Pakistan’s illegal occupation of some parts of the old Kashmir state. But any move to change the status quo involves paying a huge price in human terms – the scars of 1947 are only healing now – and no civilised government should ever expect to pay that price in this day and age.