The Great Kashmir Wall
By Abdul Majid Zargar
04 December, 2013
India now appears all set to partition Jammu & Kashmir by metes & bounds by erecting a 10-metre high wall – First along its 197 KM stretch of boundary with Pakistan and later along the Line of control in J&K. If the media reports are to be believed, Work has already begun on the proposed partition wall. Land stands identified and revenue papers have been processed for a formal no-objection certificate to be obtained from the state government. The proposed wall will be 135 feet wide which means that it will be higher and wider than both the Berlin Wall and the serpentine barrier that Tel Aviv has constructed to usurp occupied territories in Palestine. It will pass through 118 villages in Jammu sector alone. On the other side (Pakistan side) of the wall, a trench of several feet depth will be excavated-similar to one witnessed along the Outer wall of Red fortin New-Delhi. The State Govt. has adopted a stoic silence on the issue. The proposed wall will be in flagrant violation to UN resolutions on J&K issue.
A clarification at the outset will be in order though. India calls that portion of the Border as “International Border” which demarcates the State of Jammu & Kashmir with Pakistan’s Sialkot sector . It is a misnomer. Given the disputed nature of whole of J&K State, recognized internationally, this portion can never be called International Border but only a working border till the resolution of the dispute.
India, Pakistan & Jammu and Kashmir already stand divided by a barrier which consists of double-row fencing and concertina wire eight to twelve feet (2.4–3.7 m) in height, electrified and connected to a network of motion sensors, thermal imaging devices, lighting systems and alarms. India’s fresh bid to construct a long wall along the divided border is a sign of regressive nostalgia. History is replete with instances where walls have been built to preserve occupied lands but without any success. The Romans built Hadrian’s Wall in England to keep the Picts out and the East Germans built the Berlin wall to prevent its people from meeting people on the other side . The paranoid regime in Israel constructed a number of walls in a span of six decades. And it plans many more protective walls” in future. Similarly there are walls which separate Americans from Mexicans. The success of these walls is for anybody to see. The Berlin wall fell like a pack of cards & occupation of Palestine has not made the citizens of ‘Israel’ any more safer than before.
Good fences or walls have never made good policy, just as they have never made good neighbors. In 221 BC Chinese emperor, Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of a wall to guard China’s territorial gains against the land claims of the Xiongnu people from Mongolia, who claimed the Chinese had stolen their land & sought its return. It started a great bloodbath & left a bitter taste among various tribes of the time. When the Great Wall of China was finally finished in the 16th Century - the construction of which claimed over 3,000 lives - it did little to prevent the Ming Dynasty from keeping out the Manchus, who nonetheless overthrew the government.
By constructing a wall as planned, India will only convert itself into a ghetto-state. At best it could be a strong & armed ghetto but a ghetto nevertheless. It cannot attain peace by erecting barricades, how-so-ever long & strong these may be which can only be achieved by mending fences with its neighbors. And to achieve peace it is imperative that India takes concrete steps with Pakistan to solve Kashmir problem in its historical perspective.
The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. E-mail at email@example.com
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