Apple and oranges don’t mix. They grow in separate regions and in separate climates. They have separate shapes and separate tastes.
Jammu grows oranges, sweet and juicy. Kashmir grows apples, luscious and crispy. Put them together in a box. And market it as a product of Kashmir. That is simply deceptive labeling. It should be marked as a product of Jammu And Kashmir.
That is the same subtle difference when Kashmir and Jammu are packaged together linguistically, socially, and politically. And the entity is stamped as Kashmir. For example, Jammu does not speak Kashmiri, and Kashmir does not speak Dogri.
But this has been a political packaging done by Kashmiri leaders while ignoring the different reality existing in the Jammu region. The rest of the world, including people in India, believe that Kashmir carries one identity of the same language, same culture, and the same religion.
The simple but mostly ignored reason is that the colloquial Kashmir Problem is not representative of all the diverse regions of the state, as well as those held by Pakistan. The occasional violence erupts only in the valley, not in other parts of the state. We seldom hear about political protests and fury in Jammu or Ladakh regions, or even for that matter in Pakistan-controlled “Azad Kashmir.”
With the recent reorganization of the state where Ladakh is detached and becomes an independent entity, separation of Jammu from Kashmir based on the distinct realities is due as well.
Jammu will love it, and perhaps Kashmir too.
And in the process, the perennial Kashmir Problem can be pruned. After all, timely pruning is important, besides oranges and apples, for the healthy growth of the beautiful regions of both Kashmir and Jammu
BY Promod Puri