What Plagues Us
We must learn to be less dependant on New Delhi
GUEST COLUMN BY SHIBAN DUDHA
It has rightly been said that “Democracy, good governance and modernity cannot be imported or imposed from outside”. The vacuum of bruised democracy, inefficiencies and hollow claims of the qualitative modernism leave an ideal place for this phrase in our state of Jammu & Kashmir. The state has also been incidentally rated as second most corrupt state in the country. Both during pre and initial decades of post independent India, Kashmir had uniqueness on myriad matters and after the demise of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, sudden unforeseen and unfortunate developments in the sub continent have turned this multi faced uniqueness counterproductive for the subjects of J&K. To gauge the pulse of masses and to sense indications of possible mass movements emanating out of genuine or non genuine aspirations of people need astute leadership qualities which Sheikh Sahib had in abundance. None of his successors especially from his own family could exhibit those qualities in part or in full. This eroded the “Kashmiri Nationalist concept” as a result of which uniqueness of Kashmir and Kashmiris became the first casualty.
It goes without saying that due to reasons best known to the then rulers in New Delhi, many deficiencies which are coming to fore now, remained in the decision making process vis-à-vis Jammu & Kashmir during the period August 1946 to July 1948. Perhaps the then National leadership at New Delhi and Maharaja of Kashmir relied more on natural forces to eventually come to the rescue of their hasty decision on accession. This also corroborates with the fact that Maharaja was accorded consent by Sheikh Sahib, the tallest of tall Kashmiri leader of that time to accede with India and the lackadaisical approach towards Jammu and Kashmir by successive Governments in New Delhi. Half a century plus has passed by and instead of expected natural forces to appear as level players, Kashmir witnessed perpetual voices of freedom and these intense voices of 1990 became a Tsunami waves for Kashmiri Pandits and those tides have yet to recede from their minds. They today live as IDPs’. As a close observer of the events unfolding in Jammu and Kashmir, one occasionally tends to surmise that the tendency of delaying the timely deliverances in J&K is willful as it benefits the vast, well knit and strong vested interest that has webbed the entire Kashmir in it. This vested interest existed even prior to 1947 in Kashmir and in over sixty years it has now assumed the size of a monster. Being a locally well connected leader, Pt. Ram Chand Kak, the Prime Minister of Kashmir during Maharaj’s rule had in his close interactions with people of state rightly gauged the pulse and psyche of people. He had thus concluded that majority Muslim community may not be willing to join Indian union and minority Hindus may not be willing to join Pakistan and based on this finding he advocated the concept of “Independent Kashmir” having friendly and good neighbourly relations with both India and Pakistan. Based on the facts before us in the past 65 years, one can surmise that Pt. R C Kak had also the foresight and astuteness of a true and honest leader. It is different that for his such astuteness, he went through hell after being removed unceremoniously by New Delhi.
The endemic nuances associated with Kashmir are also specific and unique. Peoples’ vows in Chillai Kalan of 1947 and 2011 have no difference. Our Government have had scare resources then as are of now. But it is true for the summer of 1947 and 2010 in Delhi, UP, Maharashtra, Gujrat or Orissa. People in erstwhile backward districts of these and other states of India as on date enjoy better facilities of sanitation, drainage system, un-interrupted power supply, hospitals, drinking water, solid and liquid waste management and above all better and quick redress to their grievances. Who gave them this all? Their successive State Governments with support of Central Government’s financial aid/ assistance/ loan. It is not that such financial assistance has not been earmarked for our State but the irony is that the funds earmarked for our State have most of the times been lapsed. The blame squarely lies with the State Governments those were in power; Hartals and protests make no excuse. Why are there no hartals and protests now or why were there no hartals during Sheikh Sahib’s regime or during Mufti Sayeed’s regime. This is the vision that Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had. He was the least travelled person in comparison to his successors yet he had foresight of a spiritually awakened person. Is it not a fact that after SKIMS we have not built or added even a single indoor bed to any existing hospitals in Kashmir”? Internal hygiene, condition of OTs and other facilities at SMHS hospital are an apology in the name of a hospital. We don’t have a second convention hall equivalent and comparable to SKICC. We have not bothered to attend to roads, public libraries, stadia, recreational centers, stadia for indoor games and parks to quote a few. We don’t have good State owned hotels. Private investors have not been attracted to invest in Kashmir. We have not even encouraged native businessmen to invest in Kashmir. We have thrown town planning laws and rules in Jehlum. Commercial malls and sites are day in and day out mushrooming in residential areas of Srinagar much against the Master Plan layout.
Social, economic and political power has not to remain concentrated to few families of a State, alone. On this account, our State defines a true mother-daughter relationship with India. Any country where devolution of economic and political power has not happened gradually from few families has seen eventual ugly resentment from masses. Complacency associated with diversions towards unproductive and meaningless tasks sets in at top of the governing pyramid and these attributes lend additional impetus to resentments and mass upsurges by a civil society. Leader must know the timing and technique required to be applied for a specific situation. This is a tall demand and it is acquired by a leader with tall sacrifices and vast experiences.
Our local political leadership has to bear in mind that for matters within our control and means, we must assert ourselves irrespective of the consequences. We must learn to be less dependant on New Delhi as Sheikh sahib and lately Mufti sahib would do. Strong self reliant state/s can make a strong India and experience has shown that reverse has never worked. So why try that or allow Union of India to try that. We must identify our strengths, rise above petty political considerations and always be people oriented. That is the way forward. If I am not misunderstood I need to ask to myself -If my own new home gets constructed and well furnished in record eight months time despite hartals and social unrest in valley, why should a displaced boatman run from pillar to post for appreciable time to get his file cleared for a few meters space under VAMBAY scheme or why should an entire displaced community of Kashmir remain homeless for two decades.
(Shiban Dudha is a practicing Chartered Accountant and Political Advisor of PDF. Views expressed by him are entirely his own and not his party’s. He can be reached at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Feb 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Feb 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 Feb 2011 00:00:00 IST
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