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Solving The Kashmir Issue

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A compendium of insightful essays on Kashmir, A Tangled Web: Jammu & Kashmir (HarperCollins India) features India's best minds. It offers a kaleidoscopic view of the Kashmir issue in demographic, geographic, economic, political and cultural terms. In the first essay, Pratap Bhanu Mehta identifies Kashmir as a syndrome caught in a triple trap. One, it was the only region that was offered radical choices such as plebiscite and special governance structures. Two, these choices remained illusory as their mere mention would take the possibility away. Three, the elusive middle ground of carving out a story for itself within India often turned out to be a poisoned chalice.

Philip Oldenburg says the shifting grounds of explanation of the constant state of antagonism (between India and Pakistan) needs to be explained. While Jawaharlal Nehru said in 1956 that "the Kashmir problem is a result of other conflicts between India and Pakistan", New Delhi's outlook had broadened with the passage of time, from the main problem to possible solutions encompassing trade and cooperation.

Ashutosh Varshney says the Kashmir problem is a result of religious nationalism represented by Pakistan, secular nationalism by India, and ethnic nationalism (‘Kashmiriyat'). Nitasha Kaul says India should re-examine the health of its political system and economic development (as practised) in Kashmir. The book delineates a number of bold measures for the permanent cure of the Kashmir syndrome.
 
(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 17-10-2011)