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Kashmir Is Too Small For Azadi

[हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए यहाँ क्लिक करें]
Headline on CNN about Leh floods: Death toll from Kashmir flooding rises to 112
Correction: Leh is not in Kashmir. There was no flooding in Kashmir.
A Vaishno Devi Pilgrim: I just returned from Kashmir. Things are peaceful there.
Correction: Jammu is not in Kashmir. There is no jehad in Jammu.
A University of Texas Website Article: refers to the 1999 war in Kargil, Kashmir
Correction: Kargil is not in Kashmir. It is in Ladakh province.
One of the frequent gripes that Kashmiris have about people from mainland India is that they don’t understand Kashmir and Kashmiris. That is true to a large extent. One of the myths that needs to be broken is that “Kashmir is J&K”, because it is actually only a small part of it – 6.98% to be exact. Even the saying that “From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, India is one” is not correctly worded because Kashmir is not the Northernmost part of India; Ladakh is. And if you believe in the official Indian map, then Gilgit and Aksai Chin are the Northernmost parts, none of these being part of Kashmir. Kashmir is well South of the Northern tip of India, so it is geographically a natural part of India. Even Azad Kashmir or PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) is not Kashmir. In this blog post I will explain why this discussion is important, considering the existing imbroglio going on in the Kashmir valley.

It has served some of the players in the game well to confuse the issue of Kashmir’s location and boundaries as much as possible. Most people, when asked about where Kashmir is on a map, will point to the “head” shape on the top of an Indian map and say “here it is!” (see the black arrow in the map below). They could not be farther from the truth. Look at the following map and see for yourself where Kashmir actually is.

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Arguing About Kashmir

Even though Kashmir is lost to our community (the Kashmiri Hindu community), it is impossible for people of our generation not to get riled up when the issue of Kashmir comes up. A detailed post on Kashmir has been on my mind for a long time, but numerous resolutions for this blog’s upkeep have resulted in a naught (edit: it’s there now!). That has not kept me from waxing eloquent on the comment sections of other blogs, particularly if the bloggers or other commenters have perspectives contrary to my point of view. This post is an attempt to document some of the comments I made on those blogs.

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Faisal Shahzad – Another Pakistan Connection

Whenever a new terrorist plot unravels in the US in these times, it does not take too much to bet that it will have a Pakistani connection. In India, the phrase “Pakistani connection” has had to be so much overused, that it has become almost a joke and acquired the same meaning as “crying wolf”. Even when the same thing is repeating itself in the US, most Americans and definitely all Pakistanis refuse to see the Indians’ pain.
faisal shahzad, huma miyanWith Faisal Shahzad dominating the airwaves and the internet, and even his wife Huma Mian hitting the peak of Google search trends today, it must feel hot to be in a Pakistani’s shoes in the US. The fact that this was a well-educated person, came from an educated, established family, and does not fit the profile of a Muslim fanatic with a long beard, does not makes it any easier for anyone. Unfortunately there is not enough condemnation of the acts of people like Shahzad among Pakistanis on the web. They are busier complaining about the difficulties they are going to face on planes. Here’s a sampling of the buzz going around on Twitter yesterday:

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Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on Taliban

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's latest documentary on Pakistan - click to watch on PBSJust watched the PBS documentary “Pakistan: Children of the Taliban“. The situation in the region is really really scary. While I follow a lot of the news from the region these days, this perspective from Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy was somewhat of an eye-opener. While the players were no less important, the star of the show was definitely the presenter — Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the 30-year old Pakistan born journalist who seems to have risked a lot to cover stories from world’s major trouble spots. It is a shame that today is the first day I heard about this amazing journalist. The following from an article on Stanford University’s Alumni website gives an idea of who Sharmeen is: