Relations between India and Pakistan cannot normalise unless we recognise the core issue. President Musharraf says Kashmir is the core issue. Jaswant Singh says no, Kashmir is the core of Indian nationalism. Both are wrong.
Prime Minister Vajpayee says that India does not believe in the two-nation theory, nor will it allow Pakistan to divide it further. He too is wrong.
India's opposition to the two-nation theory is not proved by the prevention of a second partition. It was disproved by acceptance of the first.
Musharraf says Kashmir is like Palestine. Does he think India is like Israel? He is wrong. Not India but Pakistan is like Israel. Ninety per cent of Muslims who voted for Partition belonged to what is now India. Ninety per cent of those who lived in present Pakistan voted against Partition.
When the time came for government employees to opt for India or Pakistan, my uncle opted for Pakistan. So did Khushwant Singh, Inder Gujral's father, Bhimsen Sachar and countless others.
But to force transfer of populations the British engineered riots. Former Pakistan President Iskandar Mirza's memoirs testify to this. He served as a deputy commissioner under the British.
I was born in Karachi and belonged to Lahore. For no fault our family was uprooted and forced to leave home. Musharraf was born in Delhi and belonged to UP. His family supported creation of a Pakistan. His family went willingly to settle in Lahore. So tell us, General, who is the Israeli—you or I?
Belatedly, Gandhi resolved to undo the effects of Partition. He corresponded with Jinnah. He wanted to spend the rest of his days in Pakistan. He was to travel to Lahore with 50 Punjabi refugee families. A fortnight before his departure, Godse killed him. Gandhi alive would have buried the Congress. Gandhi dead became the Congress flag. Congressmen call him Father of the Nation that he refused to accept.
Gandhi foresaw that the spirit of Partition would forever distort Indian nationalism. He was right. That is why problems like Kashmir and Khalistan erupted.
The core problem therefore is Partition. It is not practicable to undo its form. But we
can undo its substance by creating a community of nations in the subcontinent. The Kashmir
issue will only be resolved in that context. Neither government may agree. But destiny
I dance and sing
Like a puppet on a string,
I fight the other
Though he's my brother!