Monday, September 22, 2008

This Post Approved By The Government Of India

The Indian government doesn't agree with my copy of The Economist, and told me so.

I recently changed my subscription to The Economist from US-based to India-based. Same content, albeit in a different order, but most importantly I get it two-three weeks earlier, since I'm not waiting for it to come through the pouch. Now I get it straight to my door, the same day it's released.
Only today did I notice another change. In an article about the troubled tribal areas on the Pakistani-Afghan border, there was a map of the region. The map was large enough to include a small part of India, including Kashmir. The Kashmir area had dotted lines that denote the part administered by Pakistan, and Jammu & Kashmir, which is recognized as part of India.
Your history on this may be a little bit fuzzy, but here goes -- when the British partitioned India (Hindustan) and Pakistan in 1947, they allowed most of the local leaders, or maharajahs, to decide which country they would join. For the most part, this followed religious beliefs -- majority-Muslim areas became Pakistan, and majority-Hindu areas became India. As with many British colonial initiatives, it didn't go smoothly. The leader of one major area, Kashmir, opted to go with India. India welcomed them, but Pakistan insisted that older UN resolutions dictated a vote was necessary, and didn't recognize India's control. This has resulted in numerous military clashes, minor and major, usually around the "Line of Control" that separates Kashmir, from 1947 to today.
Obviously, India is pretty sensitive about this. So sensitive, that they put a big purple stamp on my magazine over the map, which (barely) reads: "THE EXTERNAL BOUNDARIES OF INDIA AS DEPICTED ARE NEITHER CORRECT NOR AUTHENTIC." It's not professionally printed, it's just an ink stamp. I wonder what The Economist's circulation is in India, and how many people has this as their job???
Apparently I'm not the only one that thinks this is silly.

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