I have spent the better part of today exploring the situation in the Kashmiri region. This is an extraordinarily complex issue that goes back to the mid-sixteenth century when the region lost its sovereignty. For the past four hundred years, they have struggled to maintain an identity that is uniquely their own, while they have been passed, traded, and conquered by nation after nation.
The region lies at the top of India between Pakistan and China. All three countries claim that (at least parts of) the land should rightfully be theirs while Kashmir would prefer to be restored to their own soveriegnity. Yet, the situation goes much deeper than just border disputes. Many will remember from several years ago that this area was the catalyst for what was nearly a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan.
There is also a religious element to the struggle. Sufi Islam and Hinduism both lay claim to the area, and are struggling to live peaceably. In addition to the struggles between these two religious groups, there is also widespread persecution of Christians in this region. This persecution especially occurs when a member of the family converts to Christianity. While the area is not closed (at least the Indian occupied area), creative means of sharing the Gospel must be found and used.
Compounding the issue is the struggles within Kashmir between rebel militants and sovereign governments. In both the Indian-Occupied and Pakistani-Occupied regions, we find these struggles. Each sovereign government is attempting to keep the area in line, while also keeping peace with the other soveriegn government.
All of this has led to Kashmir being an area sitting in a delicate balance. On one side sits the risk of war between Kashmiri religious elements, militants and sovereign governments, or India and Pakistan. On the other side the hope for a lasting peace that seems to imply Kasmiri sovereignty.
The bigger thing that this study has done is really generated within me a keen interest in the region and it’s future. While, I don’t know what that means for the long-haul with our ministry, I do know there is much for which we can all pray.
On a related note, the YWAM base which we have applied to works in this area, and there is potential that our outreach time could be in this region. You can view a short video about some of the work YWAM is doing in among the Kashmiri by clicking this link.
So, here are some prayer points for the Kashmir:
- Pray that the Kashmiri people would not be caught in the midst of a turf war between two powerful nuclear countries
- Pray that oppression on the Kashmiri by the sovereign nations will come to an end
- Pray that if (when?) the Kashmiri regain their independence they will select wise leadership
- Pray that if (when?) the Kashmiri regain their independence a reasonable and intelligent division of regions will occur that will help to resolve (at least part of) the religious conflicts
- Pray that creative means of sharing the Gospel will be found and used
- Pray for the Christians in the region that they may stand firm in their faith