What if?

What IF India really decides To “Quit Kashmir”

Publish Date: Dec 11 2010 12:00PM

Don’t be surprised. It can happen one day. It has happened in the past when Great Britain decided to set India free. So why cannot it happen now. India won freedom from British Raj not only because Gandhi and his other non violent leadership had launched a freedom struggle which Britain could no longer withstand but because they had their own compulsions to set it free.
After the end of world war second, British wanted to rebuild their own shattered economy and could no longer afford to keep India or other colonies with it. In nutshell they were constrained to do so for economic considerations. Western countries are not used to wasting money for the sake of just fun or false prestige but they will spend their hard earned money only when they are sure that the returns will be good and not otherwise. Once second world war came to an end British realised that it was no more viable for them to hold on to an empire which had borders spread all over the world so they decided to set free one by one, some of its unproductive colonies and countries including India.
As a result thereof although Great Britain is having less area than the state of Jammu and Kashmir it is not only one of the wealthiest countries in the world but is a leading military and economic power too, producing from potatoes to rockets, everything one can think of.
For same economic reasons if one day India decides to take Kashmir out its throat. It should not be a matter of surprise to any of us.  For this we need to take a serious note of Arundhati Roy’s earlier statement wherein she had said that it is not Kashmir which needs freedom from India but it is India which needs freedom from Kashmir. The context in which she made this statement was that a large section of Indians do think and feel that way.
J&K budget is rising, year after year, and every state government has to struggle hard to get the desired allocations from the Union Planning Commission for the reason of gross financial mismanagement prevalent in the state. For instance in power sector alone loss every year is more than 1700 corers.
In 1st five year plan (1951 to 1956) of J & K total plan was Rs. 127 corers while as of now last year’s budget alone has crossed over to Rs. 25000 corers. Out of which 90% is free grant and 10% is loan. North Eastern states even though riddled by same kind of insurgency but even put together they do not get the same kind of funding and other states have also begun to cry against this liberal and out of the way financial assistance being granted to the state of J&K.
For instance a state like Bihar which has 10 times more population than J&K has only 2.50 Lac employees while as J&K is having a work force of more than 5.50 Lac employees, enjoying far better pays and perks than their other counter parts elsewhere.
However, most of this liberal financial assistance, J&K receives from the centre, gets eaten away in salaries and security related expenditures and hardly any money gets spent on development works or building up of any income yielding infrastructure. How long India, therefore, will be able to sustain this kind of expenditure when they do not get much in return thereof by way of revenue collection, remains to be seen. But once this tie is broken and India decides to stop this policy of appeasement of Kashmiris.
Are we ready to sustain a population of over 10 million people on our own, obviously not? Is US, China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or any other country for that matter ready to bear our burden? Definitely not, as all the countries in the world have their own problems and priorities.
As a way out to defuse tension in this region of high intensity if one day Pakistan is allowed to keep Baltistan and Gilgat with it and India allowed to retain Ladak and Jammu with it and rest of the Muslim dominated areas on either side of line of control are granted a freedom of some kind.
How shall we sustain ourselves in that eventuality needs to be thought and debated before? We keep talking about our robust fruit industry, high potential to generate hydro electric power and tourism but is that enough to sustain our economy and who on earth are going to invest their money on these projects.
 In order to become a self reliant nation we shall have to learn to make sacrifices of every nature. Once Sheikh Abdullah had tried to do that but he failed. People said no to the potatoes he had asked them to eat to maintain their dignity and overcome the shortage of food grains in the state. People instead ran after the bread and butter, Bakshi offered them after removing Sheikh from power. Sheikh Abdullah had to spend more than 22 years of his life in detention/wilderness. In his absence state came to be ruled by different leaders from within the sate so eventually he too had to give in and join the fray.
We need to ask ourselves honestly and clearly one question. Are we ready to give up the comforts and luxuries we have become used to over the years. Are we ready to offer a unified leadership and lawful governance to the people of the state?  If answer is in affirmative that day will not be far away when we shall be free to choose our own destiny and live a dignified life.

Feedback at  j.h.reshi@gmail.com)

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