Daring Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, has killed a sacred cow, called Article 370 of the Constitution, enshrining the autonomy of Kashmir. The consequences could be dire, including the fourth India-Pakistan war, but not necessarily so. It could also be a successful scheme. Apparently, Narendra Modi had been encouraged by his success in recent elections, by his decent relations with the three powerful men of our age, Trump, Putin and Netanyahu; and by the rearmament and modernisation of India’s armed forces. So he decided to go for the root of the age-long Kashmir problem, instead of treating its symptoms, and terminate the special status altogether, giving the people of Kashmir the same rights as all Indian citizens have, not more, neither less.
Kashmir, a chain of pleasant green mountain valleys, was the most cherished patrimony of the Great Mughals, who embellished it with palaces and gardens. Here the Muslims and Hindus have lived together in peace and harmony. A blessed country, if there ever was one, Kashmir could flourish if this peaceful coexistence had survived. Alas, it did not. Frequent riots, separatism and imported Islamic extremism have made life difficult for everybody.
The Hindus were forced to leave Kashmir; many Muslims had left too, rather than having to serve the firebrand insurgents. Their empty, ruined or burned down houses still stick out in Srinagar and elsewhere, though many of the properties were sold for a song during the insurgency.
Ceaseless meddling of Pakistan and political Islamists who refused to accept the results of the Partition is the main reason why Kashmir is in trouble. The majority of Kashmiris are Muslims and were Muslims in 1947, but they did not want to join the newly formed Pakistan. The Islamist textbooks claim that the Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir decided to accede to India against the wishes of the population; however this is propaganda, not a fact. The people of Kashmir were not very fervent Muslims; the idea of living separately in a purely Muslim state did not appeal to them. Ethnically and linguistically they are related to local Hindus, they share the same family names and the ancestry. They wanted to be independent, but facing Pakistani invasion, they preferred to join pluralist India.
There is a big difference between the Muslims who are native converts,