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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Crossing the Lines: Kashmir, Pakistan, India


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Zia Mian and Pervez Hoodbhoy explore the disputed territory of Kashmir. A full-length version is available on the Princeton YouTube channel. Read Story


Video Closed Captions

(music, crowds)

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
A new generation of Pakistanis and Indians is stepping forward to claim Kashmir. Driven by nationalistic and religious fervor,

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
they, like their parents and grandparents before them, think that their side can win in this ever more bloody and violent contest.

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
Trapped in the middle are the diverse peoples of Jammu and Kashmir. They have their own histories and their own dreams.

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
Each side points to the violence and injustice of the other. Each side feels only the suffering and the sorrow and pain of their own.

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
Now in seeking to understand a conflict which is as bloody as this, one that has consumed nearly 100,000 lives

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
and caused incalculable human suffering, is it at all possible for one to be nonpartisan, objective and fair?

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
Can one set aside the preconceptions and prejudices that one is inevitably born into?

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
Now I don’t know whether this question can be answered in the affirmative or not. It is admittedly a very theoretical one.

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
But surely it is of the greatest importance to let facts speak for themselves

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
as we begin our journey towards the heart of one of the world’s most intractable conflicts.

(explosion)

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
The shockwaves from India’s nuclear weapons tests on the 11th of May 1998 spread from the Rajasthan desert across the subcontinent.

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
A deadly new age for the subcontinent had dawned. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India’s prime minister and leader of its Hindu nationalist party,

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
had ordered the nuclear explosions as soon as he took power. Pakistan tested its nuclear weapons just 17 days later,

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
in the mountains of Baluchistan. The blast shook them so hard they turned white.

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
The country’s leaders had prepared and hoped for this moment for almost 25 years. With the ultimate weapon at hand,

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
they believed they had finally found the means to confront India.

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
The bomb brought nuclear nationalism and the ballistic missile. Armed with a nuclear weapon, the missiles could fly across the border

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
and destroy a city in less than five minutes. They could not be stopped. From now on, land and people in India and Pakistan were condemned

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
to live in the shadow of the bomb, just moments away from catastrophe. The missiles became the new symbols of military power.

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
Pakistan built missile monuments across the country in public places. From Karachi to Kashmir, they held out the promise of war

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
and the illusion of victory.

(music)

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
History has given us a difficult problem that is not of anyone’s choosing.

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
We cannot afford to remain prisoners of the past and to repeat costly mistakes.

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
Does the answer to Kashmir lie in yet a new map and a new border? Or does it lie in how we choose to live together?

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
The young and the innocent shall face the consequences of our generation’s decisions.

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
Time alone shall tell whether we had the wisdom, the compassion and the courage

Pervez Hoodbhoy:
to cherish our differences and to dream new dreams.

(music)

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