Event ReportsPublished on May 20, 2019
Legalities made Kashmir dispute more complex, says Justice Mookherjee
The legalities involved in the Kashmir dispute have made things more complex, both at the national and international level, said Justice Chittatosh Mookherjee, former Chief Justice of the Calcutta and Bombay High Courts. Releasing the book “Kashmir as I see it: From within and afar” by Ashok Dhar, Distinguished Fellow, ORF Kolkata, on 14 May 2019, Justice Mookherjee said that Kashmir is a question of human problems and their lives. Therefore it is of utmost importance to address these issues with sensitivity and compassion. He said the book, through which the author has tried to engineer a solution regarding the Kashmir conundrum, will definitely contribute in advancing the solution for the convoluted and multidimensional problems of Kashmir. The beauty of the approach lies in that the author has written this based on the remembrance of his homeland, which is Kashmir, Justice Mookherjee said. Dhar said that since independence, stories of Kashmiris’ trauma and betrayal have been told innumerable times, with several events retraced. However, without examining what ‘Kashmiriyat’ is, the arrival of a proper solution to any Kashmir-related dispute would remain a distant dream. He said the book is addressed to the younger generation of Kashmiris, who are unaware of the true meaning of ‘Kashmiriyat’ of the 1950s and 1960s. Non-dualism has united Kashmiris following Shaivism and Sufism and they believe divinity exists in one and all. Along an honest conscientious intention of making the youth aware, a bottom up and time bound approach came to be suggested through various theoretical planning tools, including the game theory, bringing resolutions which would in turn instill hope in the yearning voices, longing to be home again. Dr. Manoj Joshi, Distinguished Fellow, ORF, said that the book is an unusual attempt by an engineer and it is evidence of the author’s passion which has been the central driving force behind this venture. The book also illustrates the cultural milieu of Kashmir. The problem in Kashmir today is about the lack of perception on the part of the Indian state about ‘Kashmiriyat’ as emphasized by the author. Saira Halim, educationist, author and activist, identified the idea of Kashmir as an embodiment of ‘Hiraeth’. She stressed that one needs to understand what propels a 16-year-old to pick up a gun and not a pen. To win over the state, one has to not just win the land but also the hearts of the people – bringing the Kashmiri Pandits back and also creating a harmonious environment in the valley. The stakeholders need to be engaged and a political resolution has to emerge. The issue is quite complex and it is a fact that nobody likes conflict and turmoil. Therefore, people to people contact needs to be encouraged and Kahimiriyat has to be practiced to realize the hopes of a peaceful valley. Renowned author and poet Kadambari Kaul provided the audience with a comprehensive gist of the book. He said unlike other books, this one talks about a syncretic culture. Religious harmony and interchange of religious philosophy and ideas have always prevailed in Kashmir. There have been major instances of upheaval and violence in the valley but kashmiriyat had always prevailed. Reflecting upon his read, Prof. Hari Vasudevan, President, Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata and formerly Professor, Department of History, Calcutta University, said that the convenience of the book lies in its accessibility. Moreover, there is an essence of personal note and feeling present throughout. The event was organised by ORF Kolkata in association with Rupa Publications, the publisher of the book, at the ICCR.
The report has been compiled by Sohini Nayak, Research Assistant, ORF Kolkata
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