Development Model for Kashmir

Any body in the world loves Kashmir for one reason or the other. My love for Kashmir is one of love accompanied by all possible robustness features accompanying love. The recent determined and performance-oriented administrative interventions affected by the Modi-government have added wings to my hope.

The region has witnessed a period of what is usually called a fragile state during the last seven decades or so primarily because of the disconnect between the government and the governed in the region. Because of this fragility, the concern with the administration has been one of taking care of the daily quarrels rather than fostering love and love with robustness. The recently unfolding dynamics tell us that it is now possible to think of love with robustness in the region and with the rest of the nation. In my two previous features in this column, I have been talking of the potential for the region to present to the world lessons of transformation from fragility to the one of comprehensive and inclusive development. Further, I have also emphasised the capability of the region to provide this development model founded on morality. Even further, I have emphasised that, whereas the other attempts elsewhere in the world have been by and large efforts in stand-alone countries, the transition lessons to be provided by the Kashmir region is as lessons from a constituent unit of a large nation. This adds to the additional significance for the world to absorb lessons for federalism experiences from the region.

Let me quote John Locke from his Essay Concerning Human Understanding: “Existence and unity are two other ideas that are suggested to the understanding by every object without, and every idea within. When ideas are in our minds, we consider them as being actually there, as well as we consider things to be actually without us; which is, that they exist, or have existence: and whatever we can consider as one thing, whether a real king or idea, suggests to the understanding the idea of unity.

“Power also is another of those simple ideas which we receive from sensation and reflection. For observing in ourselves, that we can at pleasure move several parts of our bodies which were at rest; the effects also, that natural bodies are able to produce in one another, occurring every moment to our senses ; we both these ways get the idea of power.”

 Let me also quote from the Two Treatises of Government by Locke: “this I dare boldly affirm, that the same rule of propriety—viz., that every man should have as much as he could

make use of, would hold still in the world, without straitening anybody, since there is land enough in the world to suffice double the inhabitants……….. The same measures governed the possession of land, too. Whatsoever he tilled and reaped, laid up and made use of before it spoiled, that was his peculiar right; whatsoever he enclosed, and could feed and make use of, the cattle and product was also his. But if either the grass of his enclosure rotted on the ground, or the fruit of his planting perished without gathering and laying up, this part of the earth, notwithstanding his enclosure, was still to be looked on as waste, and might be the possession of any other. [T]hus see how labour could make men distinct titles to several parcels of it for their private uses, wherein there could be no doubt of right, no room for quarrel. ………Nor is it so strange as, perhaps, before consideration, it may appear, that the property of labour should be able to overbalance the community of land, for it is labour indeed that puts the difference of value on everything; and let any one consider what the difference is between an acre of land planted with tobacco or sugar, sown with wheat or barley, and an acre of the same land lying in common without any husbandry upon it, and he will find that the improvement of labour makes the far greater part of the value.”

I have taken the liberty of quoting from John Locke while talking about the Kashmir region intentionally. There is the possibility of seeing my thinking as pure ideological outpourings, which it is not. The first quotation to underline the significance of love and accompany it with robustness. The second one relates particularly to what I had written in my last column for the necessity to evolve and implement a model of comprehensive and inclusive development. Let me immediately emphasise here that any model of development would be sustainable only when the dynamics have the outcome of linking the process with the livelihood of everyone.

Anyone reading my last input in this column would most likely narrow down to the question of what would be the employment generation potentials. In this let us recall as to why the employment generation schemes so far have not been sustainable. First, these have been mostly political interventions with hardly long-term time frames. Second, the convergence between the contextual realities and the employment schemes has been very poor if any. Third, the spill-over effects of the schemes have not been thought over. Fourth, the inter-sectoral connectivity and externalities have not been something being taken into account.

It is in order to avoid these weaknesses and looking at the potential capabilities of the Kashmir Region that I emphasise a comprehensive and inclusive development model for the region. But this is not something which can fall from the sky. There are certain necessities to precede this. First, there is the urgency to fully understand the structure of the Labour Market in the region. Second, there is the necessity to fully understand the human capital capabilities sector wise. Third, an economy-wide understanding of the areas which can be expanded. Fourth, the technological dimensions of all these should be appreciated. Fifth, the gender-dimension of all these should be explored. All these require comprehensive studies by competent experts. It would be economical to spend on these experts to make our love for the Kashmir Region robust.