While the call for military retaliation is no doubt justified, it is in my view a proximate, albeit much needed, response

The "very long-run" solution to Kashmir, to my mind, lies in engineering gradual demographic change and cultural transformation
I can see "realists" scoffing -

"Hey...how do you change the demography of a region that is 96% muslim?"

Sure. This is not easy. And one doesn't advocate violence

This may be the work of several decades if not a century or two

But baby steps need to be taken
Kashmir is not such a fine place to live in, if you are not a Muslim.

But you will always find people to move in at the right price

Safety is cited as a concern, Sure. But India did not encourage demographic change even back when security was NOT as big a concern as it is today
Let's take a long view to get a sense of how the religious demography of the state of J&K has changed since 1900

Please note that this includes Jammu and Ladakh which are majority non-muslim and have been so for ages
So what you notice here is that the share of Hindus and other Indian religions in 2011 is barely higher than what it was in 1951, EVEN if you include Jammu and Ladakh

So even between 1951 and 1991 - a period of relative peace - the share of Hindus barely increased by 2-3%
Now how do things look if we split the numbers into the three regions - Jammu, Kashmir valley and Ladakh?

Let's look at Jammu first - the region that is traditionally the most "Hindu" of the three.

We have numbers since 1961, as there was no census in 1951 in the state
Now notice that even in Jammu, the land of Vaishno Devi, the share of Hindus and other Indian religions stands at 66%, hardly a major increase from 62% in 1961

So clearly you have not succeeded in encouraging Hindus from elsewhere to settle even in Jammu - not even in 60s-80s
In fact, you see that the share of Hindus/Sikhs/Buddhists has reduced from 70% in 1981 to 66% in 2011
Now let's move to the Kashmir valley - the most problematic AND the most populous of the three regions

Here again, notice that the share of Hindus was close to 6% in the 60s. It stands at 3% today, with most of the decline happening in the 90s when the Pundits fled the valley
But again here's the thing, where our failure lies

We are not talking about POK here...This is Indian Kashmir

And we have not managed to increase the share of H even during the 60s-70s-80s long before militancy became a very serious issue
Now let's move to Ladakh - the third region, which is by far the largest in area.

Here again the share of Hindus / buddhists has slightly declined since 1961.

Forget increasing the share...we haven't managed to even maintain the share we had at the time of independence.
When it comes to Kashmir valley, where Hindu share is around 3%, down from close to 6% at the 50 years ago, what's more worrying is the character of the Hindu population.

Here's some insight - of the 1,.7lacs Hindus in the valley, over 90% are working males.
So clearly though the numbers suggest "some" Hindu presence, a deeper look tells you that there are NO hindu families to speak of in Kashmir valley...

The H population is mostly comprising of working men. Who hardly constitute a settled population.
The age distribution of the HIndus who live in the valley and constitute the 3% - is very telling.-

88% of the HIndus in Kashmir valley are between 20-49 years, and almost entirely male

So the valley, in effect, has no Hindu families really
The point I am making here is

The Indian State knew very well that J&K, with its religious demography being what it is, will be a weak-link and a thorn in our flesh, back in 1947, when it acceded to India
But what did we do to mitigate this problem?


If anything we have taken a few steps back. And that's a shame

Let's not blame "militancy" entirely for this. We failed to take this very seriously even in the 50s-60s-70s, when militancy and security were lesser problems
I don't believe we can change the equations overnight. That would involve violence. And I don't favor it.

But as I said in an earlier tweet, you gotta make a start.

And this will be a long process. It may even take a century or two.
The Liberal view will be -

"Hey...why do you bother so much about religious demography? Can't Kashmir be an integral part of India while remaining entirely Muslim?"

Maybe in your rose tinted lenses. But I am.a realist. And to my mind it is unlikely
One way to engineer change is to remind ourselves on what Kashmir means to Indian civilization

The valley was one of the greatest Hindu centers for many centuries.

Home to Kashmir Shaivism
Home to the great Abhinavagupta
Home to the great Martanda temple in Anantnag
We should remind ourselves of all this, so that we care more for the place.

A good start would be to revive and reconstruct the Martanda temple in Anantnag

Constructed in 750 CE, but which has lain in ruins since late 14th century when "Sikandar the Iconoclast" destroyed it
Here's how Martanda Sun temple looks today. And here's also the reconstruction of how it looked back in the 9th century by a 19th century artist.
Here's what the 19th century archeologist General Cunningham had to say about the long ruined Martanda temple -
So yes...reviving the temple can be a start. It can lead to greater tourism, and a heightened Hindu interest in the region

It can be hard to pull off given its sensitive location (Anant Nag). But worth giving it a shot
This is not the only great Sun temple of 1st millennium mind you.

There was another great Sun temple in Mulasthana (Multan, Pakistan). Which again was destroyed in the 10th century

We can't do much about that. Let's at least try to salvage the one in Anant nag.
As I said, none of this is easy. And this is a long battle.

We need a 50 to a 100 year plan to engineer cultural change in the valley.

Let's not be deterred by setbacks caused by violence in the short term
The numbers for this thread are sourced from this fine, extremely well written, paper on Kashmir demography

The extract on Martanda temple and the illustration are picked from this source -

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