What if India had done to Kashmir what China…?

Mukul Kesavan in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“The controversy over Tibet is a controversy about pluralism. The main allegations against China — that it has tried to alter the demographic balance of Tibet by settling Han Chinese there, that it wishes to assimilate the religious and cultural distinctiveness of Tibetan identity into a larger Chinese identity — seek to highlight the Chinese State’s intolerance of difference.

“The main difference between the Indian attitude towards its borderlands and the Chinese State’s attitude towards Tibet is that India has made no attempt to change the demographic composition of its troubled peripheries through forced settlement. The reverse, in fact, is true.

“The argument, long made by sections of the Hindu Right, that the Kashmir problem ought to be solved by changing the demographic facts on the ground, is not a monstrous argument in purely democratic terms. There’s a reasonable justification for it: in a democratic republic, every citizen ought to have the right to buy land and settle in any part of that state.

“To limit that right on account of local sensibilities or grievances is, it can be argued, to pander to parochial prejudice…. The reason the Indian State is willing to weight its laws to accommodate particular sensibilities is because Indian democracy, from its inception, has been leavened by pluralism.

Read the full article: Pluralism and Tibet