The INHERITANCE LOST
What has happened to the Legacy of Sheikh Muhammed Abdullah
NATIONAL CONFERENCE BY PROFESSOR RATTAN LAL HANGLOO
In late October 1952 (Sher-i-Kashmir) Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the founder father of National Conference, was on his annual tour of the valley to update himself about the people’s conditions; when he reached Baramulla he was given a very royal reception but before he could address the meeting he received a note from the audience that the party workers have not issued receipts for small amount funds collected for the same reception. Sheikh Abdullah not only refused to take even water, stating that it would amount to “drinking peoples blood” but also investigated the matter there itself. He demanded the receipt book from the dais to personally check the names of donors and suspended the president of the local committee on the spot. He felt that it would endanger the very ideals for which the National Conference and its leader stood. He was always sensitive to the people’s problems even when the issue of Kashmir’s accession to India was overwhelmed by many internal and external uncertainties he often stated “these tensions are making impossible for me to raise economic standards of masses or to give people an honest and efficient administration”
Today the government headed by National Conference occasionally appears in the corridors of secretariat or ritually on state ceremonies and the leadership regards this state of affairs as normal. Look at the nature of corruption, slackness, nepotism and the increasingly diminishing dignity of our institutions in the state. Be it Education, health or public welfare, transport or any other department they all shamelessly figure frequently at the center of the story in print and electronic media for their toxic impurities. There is an invisible thread like spiders web that needs cleaning.
In fact when Mr.Ommar Abdullah became the chief minister I was among those few enthusiastic Sher-i-Kashmir worshipers and adherents of social creed of Kashmirees in the street. With all hope and faith in the ideals of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah I stated in this news papers column that Kashmirees could realize their dreams under the leadership of Omar Abdullah, little realizing that the functioning of state would be reduced to amusements of opponents of the regime in daily news papers.
When ruling elements are busy competing in vain with each other in enlisting their un-achieved objectives before the tutored rallies in Jammu region, millions of Kashmiri villagers from the mountainous Matigavran to Gurez are silently suffering and braving the disastrous impact of winter without even the barest minimum required to sustained human life. Electricity for couple of hours would be a luxury that they cannot imagine in many of these remote areas but the supply of necessaries such as medicines, food items and even fuel is not easily accessible. This has been a routine affair because of the nature of governance and the total negligence by authorities. It is this apathy of the government that has mounted unprecedented degrees of decline in this phase of National Conference, Congress rule. Kashmiri villagers are not suffering because they know that suffering is not suffering unless they endure it but they do it because they have increasingly realized the potential non existence of the state. The government is not only insensitive to their conditions but also incapable of planning in advance.
What has happened to Omar Abdullah’s inherited ability to rule? The States fiscal system needs thorough reorganization, the importance of other sources of revenue has to be identified, the mechanization of agriculture, horticulture and pastoral economy has to be revisited, urban planning needs a fresh perspective, infrastructure, public health policy have to subjected to thorough transformation, education has to liberated from the domestic intermediaries and the visible limitations imposed by political modernization, state led industrialization and craft economy has to be networked through multiple scale models, Tourism has to capture contemporary sense while preserving the sentiment for regional heritage, Transport has to be conferred route ranking and consolidated to bring remotest parts into organic union. And for carrying out all these measures in Kashmir there is no dearth of competent and honest people. The regions’ ruling elements do not realize that effective governance does not require a high degree of centralized authority and the fracture facilitated by immense corruption militates against administrative efficiency and economic development.
It has to be noted that this public suffering does not go without consequences in the long run. History teaches us that its accumulation represents a worse threat to intervals of political stability and social security in Kashmir. Obviously people should not be blamed for the fate of the politics it is the political players themselves whose short sighted policies subjected the region to systematic brutalization of serious neglect. The ruling party should have seen the present as an opportunity to extend the peace further to reinforce the confidence among the people. Because in the best traditions of Kashmir’s politics let us not forget that it is these suffering millions who played a key role in defending the Kashmir by turning back to moves of parliamentary democracy.
It is not less known fact that not only Kashmiri Pandit but equally Kashmiri Muslims have started living and liking rest of India and the world without repudiating their regional cultural moorings and political loyalties. Even though it is a proud transformation but they are also tending to believe that power, property and privilege is not the inevitable social obligation that should always rest with ruling elite only. With them only a new political doctrine is gradually emerging that competent educated leaders have to be elected by popular acclaim and the edifice of inherited privilege shall have to be demolished by democratic means. The ultimate result would not only be the beginning of disappearance of National Conference (painful for us) but also inexorable revival of voices of descent.
Author is Heading Chair of Indian Studies, Tbilisi State University Georgia.
He is Originally from Hangalgund, Kashmir.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Feb 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Feb 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 22 Feb 2012 00:00:00 IST
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