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India reconciles with Kashmir’s factuality

Kashmir’s ruling National Conference Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has shown disgust (June2, 2013) at the behaviour of Indian film industry, when offering them hospitality, security, facility and goodwill for using world famous scenic beauty of Kashmir for shooting commercial feature films, yet producers of the films intriguingly promote some unknown Indian strips of hill resorts like Manali to attract tourism stealing business from Kashmir. Other areas like Simla, Dalhousie and other newly found and developed areas up and down the country required to be put on the tourist map of the world to the detriment of Kashmir. On his private visit to Kashmir, erstwhile film actor Sanjay Khan opined that "Kashmir was the best place for shooting films". Kashmir tourist industry, unfortunately, is put on the altar to suffice the need of those ´other areas´. A callous attitude sent shockwaves throughout Kashmir and frustration amongst the populace took the toll which is on the increase.

Looking back at the events unfolded, similar episodes of stark reality freshens up the memories about diversion of tourist traffic, especially international, to central and south India spreading the word at airports and the sole entry point allowed into Kashmir that the place was out of bounds, unsecure and dangerous. Moreover the handicraft industry of Kashmir has always been the focus and in a careful discreet manner its shawl, woodcarving, papier-mâché, carpets and other cottage industries products received a setback as the mushroomed manufacture of simulation products elsewhere in India were given a booster providing financial and skilled technical help even hiring the trained skills of Kashmir’s expert artisans to lure them with higher wages.

The horticulture industry, mainly Kashmir apples, targeted to offer for sale as produce of Himachal and rest of the areas producing the same natural product; though nowhere near the juicy taste and the look of apples from Kashmir. The powdered cheeks of bimbos of Indian film industry are generally quoted in songs and dialogues, as being comparable to Kashmir apples.

Kashmir before Indian occupation was an established self-sufficient country able to provide sustenance to at least half of India is now totally dependent on Indian imports and that is why at times of the political need, Kashmir’s only option to connect to the outside world through Indian Territory is strangled or bottlenecked to teach Kashmir a lesson.

The powerful ruling elite of India, as a policy matter, do not treat Kashmir with respect and dignity and derive pleasure in denigration and subtle defamation of people at large to brand them as "untouchables". Be it radio, TV commercials or full-length feature films from ´Bollywood´; Kashmiris are made to look like a bunch of beggars, immoral and terrorists. Though Kashmir full of natural resources, fertile land and versatile human talent have a history of tolerance and harmony. The army occupation has made it the largest dump of military hardware and even a breeding ground for environmental disaster.

The conglomeration of Kashmir’s popular political leadership hailed the recently passed resolution in European and Norwegian parliaments for their endeavours on stressing the need to solve Kashmir’s long standing problem. The leaders appealed to the international community to come forward and help resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations. However, it was pointed out that the Indian government was badly exposed by calling Sarbjit Singh (Indian spy killed in a violent brawl recently in Pakistani prison) as India’s national hero and killing Kashmiris in fake encounters labelling them as terrorists.

Hindustan Times reports (May 26, 2013) that Kashmir’s tourist "spillover" brings cheers for state tourist industry and surely Himachal Pradesh is bound to gain from this spillover to offer tranquil to get respite from sweltering heat of the plains. It is also reported that hotels in Himachal Pradesh have been fully booked for the season considered as second preference after Kashmir as "ripped by militancy in the past, tranquillity in Kashmir has been a big draw with tourists". The report, however, misses to mention Indian army’s brutal indiscriminate rapes, disappearances and killings running in tens of thousands and destruction of property on a large scale.

Generally people of Kashmir believe that good Samaritans and intellectuals of India and Pakistan with good intent support a solution to Kashmir’s political problem as thousands have perished in the last sixty five years yearning for their cherished and longed political rights. Addressing the members of the Pakistan Visionary Forum on the topic of Future of Indo-Pak relations in a private club, Dr V.P Vaidik the chairman of Council for Indian Foreign Policy was optimistic stating that “the Kashmir issue can be resolved through dialogue among all stakeholders, Pakistan, India and people of Pakistani and Indian occupied Kashmir. "I appeal to Pakistan and India to take practical measures by withdrawing troops from Kashmir as a first step to initiate peaceful dialogues," he said. Prof Dr Mugheesudin, in his speech, said that until India stopped claiming Kashmir as its integral part, the issue could not be resolved.

Pankaj Mishra, a renowned Indian scholar, who wrote, "Once known for its extraordinary beauty, the valley of Kashmir now hosts the biggest, bloodiest and also the most obscure military occupation in the world. The hundreds of thousands of demonstrators that fill the streets of Kashmir's cities today are overwhelmingly young, many in their teens, and armed with nothing more lethal than stones. Yet the Indian state seems determined to strangle their voices as it did of the old one; the BBC and CNN don't endlessly loop clips of little children being shot in the head by Indian soldiers.”"(Daily Guardian: August 14 2010)


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