“ There is nothing new in world except the history you do not know.” – Harry Truman

Intellectuals discuss future of peace process


(Mr. Bhat, 24, was born in Srinagar and attended Sri Pratap College in Srinagar. He received his degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Kashmir University in March 2007. He is employed as a journalist by the Greater Kashmir Communications Group headquartered in Srinagar, Kashmir.)

Srinagar, Nov 24: At a “Civil Society Interaction” where most of the speakers said they were not optimistic about the Indo-Pak peace process, the vice chancellor of Jammu University Prof Amitabh Mattoo Saturday said the Kashmiri Civil Society should come forward and play a proactive role in the resolution of Kashmir issue.

Addressing a “Civil Society Interaction” on Peace Process: Agenda for Future organised by Action Committee for Return of Migrants, Mattoo floated an idea, which he termed as ‘grand reconciliation’ for the resolution of Kashmir issue.

The three main ingredients of this grand reconciliation according to Mattoo should consist of the reconciliation between Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims, second the reconciliation between the people of the three regions of the state, and third the final the reconciliation between the both sides of the LoC.

He said Kashmiri Muslims as well as Pandits must introspect, and pose difficult questions to each other.

“We may have hurt each other, but we should be ready to forgive, that only can become the starting point of reconciliation process,” he said, adding that they have to identify the advantages of staying together.

Mattoo said that the Kashmiri Civil society should work for the resolution of Kashmir issue. “We as a civil society should lay the basis for the resolution of the Kashmir issue and stand as an Army for Peace and Justice. We have a chance to make history and change the adversity into opportunity,” he said, adding “The end may be far, but the beginning needs to be made here and now.”

Vice Chancellor, Islamic University Prof. Sadiq Wahid also emphasized upon the role of the civil society in the redressing the problems confronted by the people. Civil society should play a proactive role in mitigating the suffering of the common masses.

Vice Chancellor Kashmir University Prof. Abdul Wahid Qureshi, however said, “We need to look into the historical perspective of the migration of Kashmiri Pandits, which he started way back in 1947.

On the occasion noted Journalist, Ved Bhasin, urged on the democratic and just resolution of Kashmir issue for the lasting peace in the sub-continent.

Many speakers in the audience said return of Pandits was pre-requisite for resolution of Kashmir, but Amitab Mattoo said he “doesn’t buy the suggestion that return of Pandits was a pre-requisite for peace in Kashmir.”

A man in the audience said we have to first identify the forces and factors that led to the exodus of Pandits.

Saturday, November 24, 2007
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Prof Mattoo for reconciliation among all communities

(Excelsior Correspondent)

SRINAGAR, Nov 24:There needs to be ‘grand reconciliation’ between the communities all across the Jammu and Kashmir for ushering new era of bonhomie and peace.

This was stated today by Prof Amitabh Mattoo, Vice Chancellor Jammu University, at a civil society interaction, ‘Peace process: Agenda For Future’ organized by Action Committee for Return of Migrants (ACRM), an apolitical and nongovernmental organization working for the return of Kashmiri Pandits to Valley.

Prof Mattoo while deliberating on his idea of ‘grand reconciliation’ said the reconciliation must be at every level which can be incremental for peace process. “The reconciliation not through ordinances but as readiness to forgive and to accept that we have made mistakes”, he said adding, that real reconciliation at every level can snowball in a grand peace.

About the role of civil society, Prof Mattoo said, when states and governments are unable and unwilling to act, civil society can become a main actor and change maker. “We all the members of civil society, where we are; the members of civil society have a role to play and have a chance to make history, if at all we can act. But civil society does not take an initiative. However, we must not look for quick fixes and magic mantras too.”

Jatender Bakshi, President of ACRM, expressed his anguish over the civil society of the subcontinent. “Civil society has a major role but unfortunately it is not vibrant in India and Pakistan”, he said. Discussing Kashmir issue, he said it must have a permanent solution, temporary solutions will not work.

The Vice Chancellors, Prof Abdul Wahid and Sadiq Wahid of Kashmir University and Islamic University, who were the guest of honour also spoke at the occasion.

The interactive session was attended by a cross section of civil society including Aga Ashraf Ali, Rouf Punjabi, Gul Mohammad Wani, Hameeda Naeem, Farooq Nazki and Many others. Noted historian Fida Mohammad Hassnain conducted the function.