Pakistanis have been calling the land of Kashmir as their “Jugular Vein” right from 1947. Sometimes they forget it even if it is bleeding and at other times they suddenly wake up to proclaim its existence for their own security. On the other hand, the Indians claim Kashmir to be their “Integral Part”. They have further classified it as the crown of India. The latest in this regard was the declaration of the new Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel that Kashmir is Pakistan’s jugular vein. This was given as a rebuttal to Narendra Modi’s comments about Dawood Ibrahim allegedly hiding in Pakistan. The comments of the General drew a lot of ire from all the Indian leaders who completely united against Pakistan. It has been often observed that the only thing which unites Indians of all hues and shades is the enmity to Pakistan. Similar is the case on the other side. They think enmity to India ensures Pakistan’s survival. In fact, one of the Indian leaders made a counter claim if Pakistanis consider Kashmir as their jugular vein, they should know that Kashmir is India’s heart. He forgot to mention that it is a Muslim heart of a Hindu India! Indians have been proudly boasting Kashmir to be the crown of India! Incidentally, it has so far proved to be a crown of thorns for them!
Both the countries have been virtually at each other’s jugular veins all these years to physically possess Kashmir. India wants to keep Kashmir no matter what the cost to its people. Pakistan wants to snatch Kashmir regardless of consequences. For this they have fought three wars and have turned Kashmir into a battle ground of a perennial proxy war. However, neither has been truly concerned about the plight of poor Kashmiris. Rather Kashmiris have proved to be the proverbial golden goose laying the golden eggs for the both. In the process, it is Kashmiris who have been profusely bleeding all these years. In spite of their jugular vein being in the possession of Indians, the Pakistanis have survived with the American oxygen. The Indians on the other hand hugged the Russian bear for some time but have now gone into the lap of the American corporates. The two opposing blocks made both the countries spend colossal amount of money on armaments. This money could have easily converted both these countries into real welfare states if it had been spent on the teeming millions on the either side. The only beneficiaries have been the rich capitalists and the feudal landlords on the two sides who have fattened out of proportion.
What have Kashmiris got all these years because of being claimed to be the jugular vein or the integral part? Nothing but loads of suffering and oppression. Hundreds of thousands of youth were slaughtered, women raped, villages torched as collateral damage. The worst was the total economic dependence on the dole from Delhi. Though the jugular vein has given unhindered water, the life blood to Pakistanis, yet itself it has suffered tremendously especially because of a power famine in spite of having the resources for thousands of megawatts of hydro-electric power. On the Indian side at one time almost all the railway tracks were lined with the timber from Kashmir forests. Thousands of crores have been pumped by both the sides into Kashmir but through the most corrupt political and administrative systems which not only created a class of reckless and dishonest nouveau richebut destroyed all the basic values of the society. Material greed, dishonesty, corruption both material and moral has plagued almost every sphere of the society. Truth has been banished from Kashmir. Everything can be bought with money. Kashmiris have become an expendable commodity weighed in terms of money only!
The only silver lining is the youth, the new generation born and brought up in turmoil and conflict. They do not carry any baggage of partition or of those early years of betrayal. They see and experience things as these are now at the present moment. Attempts have been made to corrupt this generation too but without any major success. Only the fringe elements connected with the dynastic rule with their cronies may have been swayed but the majority of this new generation follows convictions and means business. This has been starkly demonstrated by the upheavals of 2008 and 2010 and the recent parliament elections. Earlier the boycott of elections was a tame affair involving people sitting in their homes. However, there is a major change now. The boycott has turned into physical resistance. Another change has been a leader decrying the calling of Kashmir as a jugular vein. This is what the new generation needs to understand that Kashmir is neither a jugular vein nor an integral part. It is the land of Kashmiris where they have been living from the earliest times. They need to live with self-respect and dignity and to do that they must ask all their claimants to leave them alone and let them decide and shape their own destiny themselves. That should be the first real and practical step towards total and ultimate emancipation. This is precisely what has been happening during the last few years. In spite of all the misgivings, apprehensions, and despair, one can see the bright and young light at the end of the tunnel.