The idea of India would be "incomplete" if Jammu and Kashmir is removed from it, former Union minister Salman Khurshid said today, asserting that the country cannot suffer another division after the 1947 partition.
The idea of India would be “incomplete” if Jammu and Kashmir is removed from it, former Union minister Salman Khurshid said today, asserting that the country cannot suffer another division after the 1947 partition. The former foreign minister made the remarks at a panel discussion — Why is Kashmir Burning? — held in the capital, which he said, sought to “objectively discuss” the issues related to the Kashmir conflict and find a way forward.
“India is less about territory and more about an idea. And, that idea essentially includes Jammu and Kashmir. And Jammu and Kashmir minus from India means we will have to redefine India in some form. But the idea of India becomes incomplete if Kashmir is removed from it,” Khurshid said. Former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) A S Dulat concurred with Khurshid, and referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech, where he had said that the Kashmir problem cannot be solved “through bullets or abuses”, but by embracing its people.
“The Union of India is big enough to accommodate a Muslim majority state within it… And, neither a youth pelting stones in the streets in the Valley nor any person raising a flag is a Pakistani. Those who have raised Pakistani flags have only done it out of frustration,” Dulat said. The former special director of the Intelligence Bureau also cautioned against the idea of “Kashmiri sub-nationalism”. “What is the excitement about Kashmiri sub-nationalism or Punjab or Bengal or Kerala sub-nationalism… I cannot agree more with the idea of India,” Dulat said.
During his address, Khurshid, in a veiled attack on the the BJP, also said, “Some people think that the gaps, between what India or Bharatvarsh originally was and what modern India should be, must go.” “It is irrational and somewhat myopic to think, India begins in a certain century and stops in a certain century, and after a while it begins again. And for some people that re-beginning of India is still incomplete because they think something more need to be done,” he said.
Khurshid said India for a long period was part of the Mughal Empire and later under the British Empire, and alleged that “there are some people who believe you need to obliterate those period to recognise what India is today”. Elaborating on his Kahshmir conflict point, the former Union minister said, “Kashmir is about an idea. People think it is about territory, it is not about territory, it is about an idea that traces back to Partition.” “And, whenever I have had the chance to speak to Pakistani interlocutors, I have always said to them, your idea of Pakistan, complete or incomplete, as it may be, is of no concern to us. But our idea of of India will remain incomplete.
“You forced us to review our idea of India. We cannot go through another truncation, another partition, another division… We cannot suffer another redefinition. And, redefinition is much more than losing or winning territory. We lost PoK (Pakisatn-occupied Kashmir) and we lost some part to China, but the core of the idea (of India) remains intact,” he said. India as a country is not a physical entity but an idea which includes multitude of languages and culture that we celebrate as a whole, like a bouquet of colourful flowers, Khurshid said.