More Letters about the Kashmir Conflict - Who is right, India or Pakistan?

I am bombarded with letters about my article about the Kashmir Conflict. Most of these letters come from South or Central India so naturally they are opposed to my views. I admit to a certain natural bias in favor of Pakistan because after all I am married to a woman from a part of Pakistan which India claims as part of Kashmir. (My wife Honzagool is from Chitral which clearly is not part of Kashmir or of India. The Indian claims to the contrary are without basis.)

As to my bias in favor of Pakistan, since my wife was stolen from me by some Raja in Rawalpindi, something which would probably never happen in India, I should be biased against Pakistan.

Also, I feel that it was a mistake for India to be split into two countries: India and Pakistan. They should have remained united. No Pakistani nor any person supporting Pakistan would publicly make such a claim.

My bias in favor of the Pakistani view arises from the fact that everyone agrees that the overwhelming majority of the people now living on the Indian side of Kashmir do not want to be part of India. Some want complete independance. Others want to join Pakistan. Almost nobody wants to stay in India. I have yet to hear anybody dispute that.

Here are some of the many letters I have received on this. There is a guestbook at the bottom where you can express your views:

Ismail Sloan


Date: Wed, 01 Dec 1999 12:24:42 +0900
From: "Tariq Anwar"
Subject: Regret for your false propaganda

Mr. sam

I just happened to visit your website. And I was surprised to see such a renowned person supporting a terrorist state (Pakistan). I don't know which country you belong to.

I would like to bring to your notice that I am a Muslim residing in Srinagar, Indian Kashmir. It is very clear that nobody knows what is happening in Kashmir including you.

There is no human rights violation from the Indian side. It is Pakistan which is involving in terrorsitic attitudes. At least 30,000 people mostly Hindus and Muslims who are supporters of India have been killed by the Pakistanis.

To be frank we are really happy to be with India.

Right from the date of independence Pakistan has been involving in terrorism. And there are larger number of infiltrators from Pakistan side. No one who is an Indian by origin is willing to live with a Pakistani except the infiltrators. And these infiltrators are called as freedom fighters by Pakistan. This is absolutely stupid.

IF THESE PEOPLE ARE CALLED AS FREEDOM FIGHTERS THEN WHY THEY ARE TARGETING INNOCENT CIVILIANS AND KILLING THEM. WHY DON'T STAND IN ELECTION AND COME TO POWER .EVERY 2 TO 3 YEARS FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS ARE BEING CONDUCTED IN INDIA. WHY CAN'T THESE PEOPLE COME TO POWER. THE REASON IS THEY DON'T HAVE MASS SUPPORT. FROM THIS IT IS VERY CLEAR THAT THE KASHMIRIS DON'T WANT TO A PART OF PAKISTAN. WE WANT TO BE WITH INDIA.

AND ONE THING I WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR "MOST OF THE PERSONS LIVING IN KASHMIR ARE THE INFILTRATORS FROM PAKISTAN. HOW CAN WE CALL THEM AS KASHMIRIS THEY ARE PAKISTANI TERRORISTS. IF VOTING IS HELD HERE FEW DAYS BEFORE THE DATE OF PAKISTAN WILL TRY ITS HAND IN CLEARING OUT THE HINDU AND MUSLIM SUPPORTERS OF INDIA.

IF KASHMIR IS THE ONLY PROBLEM THEN WHY IS THAT THERE ARE ISI ACTIVITIES IN OTHER PARTS OF INDIA. THIS SHOWS HOW PAKISTAN IS HOSTILE TOWARDS INDIA. THEY PLANNED TO KILL EVEN KASHMIR CM MR. FAROOQ ABDULLAH. HE IS A DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED CM BY US.

THE REASON FOR LOW POLLING IN KASHMIR WAS THAT THE PAK. MILITANTS THREATENED TO KILL US IF WE WENT FOR POLLING. EVEN THOUGH WE MANAGED VOTE AND MADE MR. FAROOQ AS OUR CM. THIS VERY WELL SHOWS THAT THE SO CALLED FREEDOM FIGHTERS BY PAKISTAN DO NOT HAVE MASS SUPPORT.

HOW CAN WE (KASHMIRIS) EXPECT THAT WE WILL LIVE PEACEFULLY IN PAKISTAN IF KASHMIR BECOMES PART OF PAKISTAN.

AND THE STANDARD OF MUSLIMS IN INDIA ARE VERY GOOD WHEN COMPARED TO PAKISTAN. I COMPLETELY DISAGREE WITH SAM SLOAN. PLEASE DON'T MAKE COMMENTS AGAINST INDIA.

"EVEN ALLAH WILL NOT FORGIVE PAKISTAN"

THEY WANT HINDI MOVIES AND ALL SORTS OF ENTERTAINMENT FROM INDIA BUT THEY ARE VERY HOSTILE TO INDIA.

WE WILL NOT ALLOW PAKISTAN TO OCCUPY KASHMIR.

THE ONLY THING INDIA HAS BEEN MAKING A MISTAKE IS THAT IT IS NOT TAKING STEPS TO IMPRESS PEOPLE BY TALKING TO THEM AND EXPLAINING ABOUT THE NEFARIOUS DESIGNS OF PAKISTAN. MANY KASHMIRIS HERE ARE ILLITERATE. THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT ARE THE EVIL PLANS OF PAKISTAN.

WE WERE ONCE AFRAID OF BJP COMING TO POWER. BUT IT HASN'T GONE AGAINST MUSLIMS EXCEPT IN THE BABRI MASJID CASE.

IF VOTING IS HELD I CAN VERY WELL SUPPORT THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT.

"PAKISTAN SHOULD BE DECLARED A TERRORIST STATE."

PLEASE DO NOT MAKE FALSE PROPAGANDA.

regards,
TARIQ


From: "Rosanne Rampersad"
To:
Subject: Pakistan
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2000 17:18:30 -0500

PAKISTAN IS HINDU TERRITORY, BANGLADESH IS HINDU TERRITORY, KASHMIR IS HINDU TERRITORY, GO BACK TO ARABIA, THAT'S WHERE MUSLIMS BELONG. PAKISTAN INVADED KASHMIR, IGNORING THE KING'S DESIRE TO BE INDEPENDENT, THE KING THEN CEDED KASHMIR TO INDIA. THEREFORE YOU FOOL PAKISTAN INVADED FIRST. KEEP IT UP AND I'M SURE THE HINDUS WILL SEND YOU CONVERTS BACK TO ARABIA. ONLY THE WEAK CONVERTS.


Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 16:25:12 -0500
From: vikas checker
Reply-To: vchecker@csd.uwm.edu
Subject: Ignorance is the knife that kills all

Hi Ismail,

"Pakistan has a much higher standard of living and the people are financially better off there than they are in India."

This is how you end the article you put on the web about the position you hold on the issue of whether Kashmir belongs to Pakistan or to India. Sir this statement which you have put might have been true in prior to Independence. I am talking of this issues as my family is from present day Pakistan. The place which is called as Multan. I was born and brought up in India in Hyderabad. Which is a predominantly Muslim state. I have a lot of Muslim friends who agree with my grandfather about the economic status of Pakistan. Where it was and where it is now. Today it is only a handful of zamindars that are having the power and the money in their hands. I am telling you all this as this is what my grandfather has seen in Pakistan when he visited Pakistan. He says the country has been shattered and is now deprived of basic necessities. He also said that he had made a right choice of coming to India when there was partition even though he had 6 mahals and a leather business. He met his former assistant that had got the business which my grandfather had left when he came to India. Even the assistant was criticizing the conditions of the state after staying there for whole of his life. So please do not make such callous comments about things that you are unaware of. Ignorance is the knife that kills all. May god and shower you with the roses of knowledge.

Khuda hafiz.
Vikas Checker.
A well wisher.


Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 02:16:36 -0500
From: vikas checker
To: Sam Sloan
Subject: Re: Ignorance is the knife that kills all

Hi Sam,
which year was that??
Vikas

Sam Sloan wrote:

> I have traveled extensively in both Pakistan and India unlike you and I
> have seen with my own eyes that the standard of living in Pakistan is much
> higher than in India.
>
> I am a native born American and have no reason to favor one country over
> the other.
>
> Both countries are among the poorest in Asia, however.
>
> ISMAIL SLOAN
>


From: "6711" <6711@heathland.hounslow.sch.uk>
To:
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 11:09:50 -0000

I would like to say that your view of the India and Pakistan situation is quite biased as there is no view from a Hindu person as you are a Muslim. also the last ruling king of Kashmir before partition wanted Kashmir to go to India as it is rightfully theirs. also I do agree that Pakistan does have a better quality of life, this is because 10 million Muslims still live in India and as soon as BJP become in overall majority government the sooner they will go back to their country. also there maybe not a lot of Hindus living in Kashmir as the they feel scared and terriorised by terrorists who are backed by Pakistan and Afghanistan. however this problem will only be resolved with war and India will win again for the third time. now the BJP has come in power of the land which will be taken from you and now will be ours and not be given back like congress did in the last two wars.

JAI HIND.

email me back:
delta3883@hotmail.com


Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 15:07:59 -0500
From: Kamran Sadiq Khawaja
Organization: Isfahan Oriental Rugs

Ask any Kashmiri, and you will be told, that Pundith Nehru was indeed originally Kashmiri, as his surname indicates. 'Nehru', is not a name as such, but it follows the Kashmiri tradition, of using nicknames based on ones employment. Someone in Nehru's family used to work on the river, hence Nehru.

Secondly, Kashmiri is described as the 'most important' of the Dardic languages, I suggest you do some reading on the subject (perhaps Greirson). It would be interesting if you compare some of the phonemes and even words of Kashmiri, with the other Dardic languages...the result may surprise you.

With regards to the 'blood', the Kashmiri race is essentially Aryan/Turcic, but linguists and those who study migratory patterns (among others) have found that there is some of the Greaco-Roman 'blood' claimed by the people of North Pakistan to be found among the people of Kashmir Proper (Valley). There are many stories surrounding the origins of the Kashmiris, ranging from them being descendants of Jesus' initial followers, to them being the closest remains to the original Aryan people. Speaking objectively, the odds are that the Kashmiris are a mix of the indigenous people (?), along with the Aryans, and later Turcic peoples from Central Asia. Again, studying the Kashmiri language, culture, etc. provide us with this response.

I hope this has clarified some issues.

Take care.

KSK.


Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 22:51:12 -0500
From: "Robert B. O'Quinn"
Subject: The Kashmir Issue

Dear Friend,

The very fact that you are a Muslim compromises your integrity to decide on an issue like this. According to you Pakistan has a stronger case since it has 90% Muslim population. But you seem to forget something, it was the Pathans who were rioting in Kashmir, it was the Muslims who were rioting in Kashmir, and that is the sole reason why the Maharaja of Kashmir joined India. To protect and preserve his people, 'Kashmiris', not Hindu's or Muslims. India was asked to intervene in the matter.

See the whole problem starts with Jinnah. He was the only one who wanted a separate state for Muslims after Muslim league failed to get any support from Congress. Hindu's and Muslim's were living together for such a long time, that the very reason for creating Pakistan(that they cannot exist coherently) is completely baseless. Gandhi offered Muslim league to become the ruling party in India, but Jinnah was so frustrated by not being supported by the Congress, that he wanted a separate state. Do not blame the British, as this problem root's from Jinnah rather than the British. They did not have designs for India, if Jinnah had not decided to create a separate state for Muslims.

Anyway, history is history, but now the way Pakistan is trying to get Kashmir is completely outrageous. Taking help of paid terrorists, providing guns to Afghanis to kill Kashmiris. Even if you are right(which I highly doubt) that Kashmiris are fighting for their independence, then where are they getting their guns from? Where are they getting their bombs from? So my friend the country that is ready to slaughter millions of people for a peace of land is nothing but a coward one.

You cannot expect India or any other country in the world to give a part of its land just because you think you have the right to own it. Kashmir belongs to India, because it came to India. The troublemaker was Jinnah, not any Indians or for that matter any British.

I hope you get the point.

Gagan Chhatwal

gchhatwa@valdosta.edu


Date: 3 Mar 2000 15:09:45 -0000
From: "girish khare"
Subject: On Kashmir dispute

Dear Mr. Ismail Sloan,
This is in reference to your request for views on Kashmir issue. I do sincerely believe that Pakistan has no claim, whatever on Kashmir. I am stating this not because I am an Indian but any impartial and independent analysis of the issue would lead to the same conclusion.

Please consider the following points----

1) I would like to defer with some of the statements made by you in your article--"KASHMIR CONFLICT-WHO IS RIGHT, INDIA OR PAKISTAN ?" Contrary to what you say, Maharajah of Kashmir----Hari Singh was very much a heredity ruler. He belonged to the Dogra dynasty and a posterity of Gulab Singh, who ruled Kashmir around 1830 A.D.

You have also mentioned that "agitators" were not Pathans from Peshawar but were the Kashmiri people, who didn't want to be a part of India. This statement is totally false and it's just an another example of Pakistani propaganda machinery. The fact is that so called 'agitators' included only some Pathans of Peshawar. The bulk of them were the regular army personnel from Pakistani Army. According to the resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council, the cease-fire was reached between India and Pakistan in Kashmir on January 1,1949. If Pakistan had no part whatever to play in Kashmir, the UN Security Council would have never mentioned a word about Pakistan.

2) The Indian Independence Act, adopted by the British Parliament on July 18, 1947, mentioned that the Indian Princes were free to join either India or Pakistan or to remain independent. The Maharajah of Kashmir decided to keep his state independent.

It should be noted that first Prime Minister of India, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru himself tried to persuade the Maharajah to merge his state with Pakistan, given the Muslim majority of the state. However, the Maharajah was adamant.

In September 1947, the newly born state of Pakistan signed a Standstill agreement with the princely state of Kashmir and agreed to honor the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Kashmir. However, in an act of blatant violation of the Standstill agreement, Pakistan launched an attack on Kashmir on October 24, 1947. As the state of Kashmir was not strong enough to protect itself from an outrageous onslaught on it by Pakistan, the ruler of Kashmir was left with no option but to ask India to help. However, the Government of India was not prepared to extend any help to Kashmir until its ruler signed a treaty of accession to India. This was but natural. On signing the treaty of accession, Kashmir legally became the part of India and attack on Kashmir amounted to an attack on India. The violence continued for about 14 months and according to the resolution of UN Security Council, the cease-fire was reached between the two sides with effect from January 1, 1949. The part of Kashmir, under the occupation of Pakistan became the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir(POK).

On a number of occasions, the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru made it clear that accession of Kashmir was just a temporary arrangement and the Government of India was ready to hold Plebiscite in the state in order to ascertain the views of the people of Kashmir vis--vis accession to either India or Pakistan or to remain independent, as it was successfully done in Junagadh and Hyderabad. UN security council, in a resolution, called upon both India and Pakistan to vacate the parts of Kashmir under their occupation and to hand over the state to UN observers for a time period, which would be sufficient to create a conducive atmosphere for holding a plebiscite. The Government Of India expressed its willingness to comply with the resolution. However Government of Pakistan not only refused to vacate the part of Kashmir under its occupation but demanded that Plebiscite be held only in Indian Kashmir. Persistent opposition of Pakistan to comply with the UN Security Council resolution blocked any breakthrough on the muddle.

The Government of India waited for 10 long years for Pakistan to implement the resolution. The Assembly of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which was elected by the people of the state through the ballot box, on January 26,1958 adopted a resolution unanimously which made Kashmir legally a part of India. The resolution adopted by the state assembly, which was a democratically elected body and which represented the aspirations of people of the state is equivalent to the verdict of the people on the issue.

After this significant development, the Government of India, quite rightfully denied to hold the plebiscite in the state as the people of the state had made their decision to become a part of India, through the state assembly.

3) Right from the beginning, People of Kashmir have always participated in the electoral process wholeheartedly. The voting percentage in the state has always been at par with the national average. In 1989 elections, the voters' turnout in Srinagar Parliamentary constituency was as low as 6%. However it was not because of voters' apathy but because of cross border terrorism encouraged and instigated by Pakistan, which made the people too scared to vote. Even during the peak of terrorist activities, in 1996 elections, the voters' turnout in the state was around 40%, which is a respectable turnout by all means.

Besides that the elected representatives of Jammu and Kashmir like Dr. Karan Singh, Mr. Saifuddin Soz, Mr. Mufti Mohammad Saeed, Mr. Mohammad Maqbul Dar etc. have held important portfolios in the Union Government of India.

4) By transferring about 5180 Sq. Km. land of POK to China, Pakistan involved China into the dispute. Notably, China had nothing to do with the conflict. Besides that, Pakistan constructed the Karakoram Highway to join POK with China. This amounts to changing the political topography of the region and is, therefore totally oblivious to various resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council from time to time.

On the contrary, India has made the provision for Article 370 in the constitution and prohibited any non Kashmiri from settling down in Kashmir. This act of Indian Government shows its endeavor of not changing the linguistic or ethnic or religional composition of the state.

5) I do agree that Indian subcontinent was partitioned on the basis of religion and the areas which had majority of Muslim population formed Pakistan. But this does not automatically make Kashmir a part of Pakistan. India is a secular country, unlike Pakistan, which is an Islamic country. Therefore, any part, irrespective of its religious composition can very much be the part of India. Therefore your claim that being a Muslim majority state, Kashmir should become a part of Pakistan is lame and not based on facts.

In India, Muslims like Dr. Zakir Hussain, Mr. Fakruddin Ali Ahmed have held the highest office of President of India. Mr. Mohammad Hidaytullah has been the Vice President of India and the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India. Mr. Aziz Mushabeer Ahmadi has been the Chief Justice of Supreme Court and Mr. M. C. Chhagla has been the Justice of the Supreme Court. India has also seen prominent Muslim ministers in the Union Cabinet. To name a few ---- Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Mufti Mohammad Saeed, C. K. Jaffer Sharif etc. Mr. Abdul Rehman Antuley, a Muslim has been the chief minister of the most developed state of India--Maharashtra.

All these examples show that India is a genuinely secular country and there is no reference to the religion of the person while dealing with him/her. We believe that Muslims are as much Indians as much Hindus are. In fact theocratic state is totally oblivious to Indian Culture and India has never seen any form of Government, of which religion formed a base. India has been secular right from prehistoric period and will continue to be so. Therefore your claim on Kashmir on the basis of religion cannot be entertained.

6)In Pakistan, the prices were given some minor positions in the Government, as you claim. However in India, a prince of Gwallior, Mr. Madhavrao Scindia had been a union minister for many years and he is now the deputy leader of the main opposition party in Parliament ----- Congress Party. Mr. Karan Singh, the prince of Kashmir was the union minister.

All these examples show that your claim on Kashmir cannot be accepted.

Thank You and looking forward to your reply.

Yours,
Girish Khare

from gkhare@rediffmail.com


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