Resources as threat
The talk around water resources is already present in the air. Just few days back Chief Minister of the state approved the gas pipeline project and now the news is that coal reserves will be employed into bolstering the economy of the state. The way all these things are going around and any coherent policy, taking into account the sensibilities and the interests of the people, is completely absent, there is a good likelihood that our resources might develop an active interface with over all conflict politics. This can land the state in a perpetual trouble. It can give birth to new divisions along economic and regional lines. If that happens, the political questions that are being asked now will undergo a qualitative shift erasing some very essential things from the domain of public politics. The purity of many questions will give way to impure and amorphous interest based questions. This would be a devastating thing to happen. The exploiters will churn out a whole range of divisive politics. Not just politics we will be made to fight along societal and economic fault lines.
The talk of economic empowerment preceding some kind of a political autonomy to the people of this state has been brought into all kinds of political talk that is present in Kashmir. Though for varied and some times contradictory purposes, the concern for the resources of this state is gaining ground at the popular level. Those who are not part of electoral politics and have a fundamental difference with the political status of J&K have lately risen to the importance of securing the resources of the sate from getting harnessed in ways that benefit others and not the people of this state. Though a coherent way of articulating it and fitting it into the overall structure of their politics is yet to emerge, but the concern is on their radar.
Similarly the resource talk is emanating from the political parties participating in elections and having actually reconciled with the political status of the state. Some years back a prominent politician of the state talked about allowing Kashmir to explore its resources in a free atmosphere. To him Kashmir needed an indigenous economic policy that could be pursued without any blocks coming in the way. Instead of “packages and doles” Kashmir should be allowed and “assisted” in realizing its immense economic potential.
This is a valid and genuine feeling because we have been excessively fed on the politics-of-packages. Politicians from Delhi have been addressing public rallies in the state underlining, with a specific political purpose, how they ‘look after’ Kashmir; as if there is a generous ruler on the one side and a non performing multitude on the other hand. This, almost every one here feels, must change, if Kashmir has to stand on its own. We need to establish our right over our resources and pursue an aggressive politics to get a right on them. But there is a question that is increasingly becoming visible. The complexity and the threatening nature of the problem are to be openly discussed so that our resources don’t turn out to be the source of perpetual conflict. In the African and Central Asian states the conflicts that started as popular struggles for national emancipation went through a qualitative shift when resources fell in the hands of different outside players and an evil web of ugly interests was formed around them.
Viewing the question of resources from this perspective it is important to invest thinking into this question and disallow the evil from creeping in. It demands a very serious response; one that is rooted in knowledge of present day conflicts and the larger framework of economic ethics.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 12 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 12 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 13 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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