I always enjoy coming back to the Boston area. I spent four happy years here as an undergraduate at a college on the Charles in the late ninety-forties. This is something that Harvard fund-raisers and football team promoters never let me forget.
Coincidentally, it was during those times so long ago that Kashmir first came to the world’s attention. A classmate, one of the few Indian undergraduates then studying in this country, assured me that the problem was the result of Pakistani mischief, that India was completely in the right, and that the United States was at fault in not recognizing these verities. I am sure that if there had been a Pakistani in my class at Cambridge – unfortunately there was not – I would have gotten a very different story. India and Pakistan have embraced sharply conflicting narratives of what happened way back in 1947 and 1948. Their ideas on the role the United States should play have been similarly at odds with one another. As we’ll see, this U.S. role has taken many different forms and shapes over the years, sometimes to the liking of one side or the other, sometimes to the liking of neither, as far as I can recall never to the liking of both.
Read Howard Schaffer’s talk at Boston College on the history of the Kashmir problem and the modest prospects for a U.S. role in the future.