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Divided Valley: Maintaining Civility in light of Kashmir Conflict

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Divided Valley: Maintaining Civility in light of Kashmir Conflict

The divided valley.

The divided valley.

Times of India

The divided valley.

Times of India

Times of India

The divided valley.

Uma Bhat, Staff Writer

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This February, many Indians and Pakistanis witnessed a series of events part of a much larger conflict in Kashmir — one that has torn families apart and divided a once peaceful valley, since both countries gained independence in 1947. These events, including a car bombing and the capture of an Indian soldier, have reignited a brutal, polarizing political debate that has plagued the territory for decades. In such a situation, it is imperative that Indians and Pakistanis alike maintain a sense of civility and humanity, whether they reside within the region or not.

Kashmir is an integral territory for both global powers. Home to rolling hills padded with lush tulips and crystal lakes, it is rich in resources, and for militaries, a strategic goldmine. An article published by Mehraj Hajni for IDEALS Illinois states, “…For India, Kashmir is one of its integral parts, and hence this aspect is not open for dispute. For Pakistan, Kashmir represents a problem of partition, which is yet to be resolved.”

Although this issue is diplomatic, the region has been home to sanguinary turmoil since the 1960s; several riots have broken out on the Indian-Pakistani border, birthing aggressive movements on both sides. “Years ago, Pakistan pushed thousands of militants across the border as a proxy army to wreak havoc in the Indian-controlled parts of Kashmir,” an article by Jeffrey Gettleman elucidated. “Now, the resistance inside the Indian areas is overwhelmingly homegrown.” Gettlemen’s article elaborates on the increasingly obvious: yes, while an overwhelming number of militias and terror groups have attempted to ignite brutality in Pakistan, India has countered such atrocities with rising Hindu nationalism, further fueling the fire.

International media, too, has only tackled the Kashmiri conflict at face value. In America, it was only recently that the media began to report on Kashmir, a relatively unknown area to non-Asian countries. “Pakistan’s patronage in the form of cash and guerrilla training may have spurred Kashmiri separatism in the early stages; but today it’s exactly that link that diminishes the legitimacy of Kashmir as an issue in the world’s eyes,” writes Barkha Dutt for the Washington Post. Most articles about Kashmir today consist of raging opinion pieces and prejudiced statements — all of which have contributed to ever-growing radicalized movements in both countries, including the Kashmiri Exodus of 1990.

Through all of this, Kashmiri-Americans, such as myself, remain unable to visit what they should know as the “motherland” but instead call “off-limits”. While older Kashmiris debate the legitimacy of the movements in both countries, the children of Kashmiri expats and natives alike must choose to end the perpetuation of bigotry and hate by putting down the weapon of a soldier — a gun — and sticking to their own weapon — acceptance.

Works Cited

Dutt, Barkha. “Why the World No Longer Cares about Kashmir.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 6 June 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/06/06/why-the-world-no-longer-cares-about-kashmir/?utm_term=.39d5569a5e04.

Gettleman, Jeffrey. “In Kashmir, Blood and Grief in an Intimate War: ‘These Bodies Are Our Assets’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 2 Aug. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/08/01/world/asia/kashmir-war-india-pakistan.html.

Hajni, Mehraj. “The Kashmir Conflict: A Kashmiri Perspective .” Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship. https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/15469/The_Kashmir_Conflict_A_Kashmiri_Perspective.pdf

“Why Kashmir Means so Much to Both India and Pakistan.” CNN, Cable News Network, 28 Feb. 2019, www.cnn.com/2016/09/30/asia/kashmir-explainer/index.html.

About the Writer
Uma Bhat, Staff Writer

A passionate journalist, Uma Bhat, Class of 2021, feels right at home at The GH Falcon. She plans on using her experience from writing for a magazine,...

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