ALOK PRASANNA writes from Bangalore: Lawyers love being contra. I am a lawyer. Ergo this post is about being contra.
Since the “majority” opinion according to The Times of India, CNN-IBN, and just about any reporter with a microphone to thrust in someone’s faces seems to be that we should not let Kashmir “go”, an irresistible urge demands that I oppose the majority and give good reasons for it (unlike those who base their arguments on “self-determination” and silly liberal bullshit like that).
And since I am in a good mood these days, I will also tell you why whichever option enlightened Kashmiri separatists choose, Pakistan or bust (i.e., “self” rule), we should happily open the door for them, and send them off with a cheery wave and a goodbye kiss.
So, here goes: four reasons why we must let Kashmir go to Pakistan:
1. Pakistan has a favoured way of dealing with troublesome mountainous border provinces with strong self-determination streaks. They let the Americans bomb them. Syed Ali Shah Geelani and his ragtag ilk will soon long for the kid gloves of the Indian military establishment.
2. We already have enough ethnic-cleansing, appeasement-hating, persecution-complex bound “minorities who are actually majorities” (the Sangh Parivar) and maybe Pakistan could use a few (more).
3. Pareto Efficiency. It saves us a lot of money to put one less national language on our currency notes. Of course it won’t cost the Pakistanis any since there is only one national language, and last I heard, Kashmiri it wasn’t.
4. Once it realizes that the “Kashmir problem” is settled, Pakistan will realize that it has no reason to exist. Two birds with one stone.
Of course, there is a strong section of the Kashmiri separatist movement which believes that “independence” is the best course for the Valley.
If the tender ministrations of Pakistani “administration” does not convince them to stay on, and they decide “we don’t need an unresponsive foreign government to make burdensome laws, we can make our own”, well I say we let them.
So, here goes: four reasons why we must let Kashmir claim independence:
5. Military: Their neighbours will be India, Pakistan and China. No country can claim such a host of dangerously unstable, nuclear armed, overambitious, territorially hungry nations. Even NATO membership won’t save you. As Georgia is still finding out.
6. Economy: It saves us the blank cheque that we write them every year, and we can actually have greater control over them since we will be their biggest and only trading partner (no routes in from China, and Pakistan doesn’t have an economy). We will control the only safe air routes into Srinagar, and the only all weather road and train link into Kashmir. Man, we can make them dance like a monkey on a stick. Maybe they’ll even provide as much entertainment as the erstwhile “Royal” Nepal.
7. Politics: Watch as Geelani and his ilk find that fasts, bandhs, marches, strikes, threats to sign up with militants is not exactly a popular way to run a Government. It’ll be great fun on a slow news day.
8. They get to keep Arundhati Roy.
There, that’s 8 good reasons to let Kashmir go.
In a year or two, watch this space for “8 reasons why we should let Kashmir back in”.
Map: courtesy University of Texas at Austin