There can’t be a greater tragedy for Jammu than to have leaders, who thrive and sustain on Dogra sentiment but end up in bruising, abusing and trampling the pride of Duggarland. To exploit this sentiment for the advantage, the land of warriors has become breeding ground for unscrupulous politicians.
On the contrary, the Valley of Kashmir has variant sets of outfits and leaders, who despite having divergence in ideologies demonstrate unique convergence when there is a purpose. The purpose is well defined-milk India and browbeat India as they can. This milching and blackmailing has taken toll of Jammu in terms of reducing its self proclaimed leaders as second fiddlers. This second fiddling culture has ruined Jammu during the past nearly seven decades.
For all its ills, Jammu cannot blame the Kashmir centric masters alone. It is the so-called leadership of this exploited region that has failed to grow. Jammu has not produced leaders but germinated self-seekers, who have put their personal interest above the good of Dogras. This in turn has transformed the Duggarland as a subservient to the Valley rather than being an equal partner in governance and shareholder in resources.
The self-centric second fiddlers of Jammu have muzzled the voice of Dogras all these years. When in power, they become partners to masters across the Banihal Tunnel in usurping their rights and when out they cry hoarse over discrimination, subjugation and deprivation. The duplicity of the second fiddlers has smashed beyond repair the credibility of well meaning chosen few activists of Jammu, who are keeping the torch of Dogra pride aflame.
For some months now, Jammu is witnessing a new wave and rage of renaissance. Every alternate day a new slogan is coined and a new outfit is formed with a pledge to fight for the cause of Jammu. However, this new trend has gained momentum since the fall of Jammu BJP from grace and loss of power by some power-centres within. In literal sense of term, every Tom, Dick and Harry is in the mad race of forming a new outfit and joining its ranks. The businessmen, the social and civil society activists and turn-coat politicians are in the race to score points over one another. Some want to become lawmakers, some are eying on ministries, some have stakes in promoting their ventures. So much so, retired bureaucrats are also jumping into the bandwagon to have their pound of flesh. The loser is poor tax-payer of Jammu, who has been paying for building fortunes of the self-seekers. Interestingly, in recent days, outfits like Ikk Jutt and Dogra Savabhiman Sangathan have come to emergence to push forward the cause of Jammu. These outfits are not like the Kashmir centric parties, which get started on day one to achieve a definite mission and enjoy overt and covert support of separatists, secessionists and so-called mainstreamists. When it comes to highlighting the cause of Kashmir and a particular community, they come under one banner. It is their grit and determination that they have succeeded in achieving what Kashmir needed. Their leaders are flaunting these achievements openly and publicly. They have brought the Kashmir to point of no return. They have hammered national interest and the national symbols. They are spreading their tentacles beyond Banihal. They have almost reached in the backyards of Jammu.
Jammu, on the contrary, has a different priority with its so-called leadership tailoring agendas to satiate their own interests. Of course, they are now coming up with vision documents but this does not absolve them of giving explanation to their targeted population as to what they did while sharing the power, as second-fiddle ministers of Congress, PDP, National Conference or the BJP. Least to speak of pushing forward Jammu interest, they did never ever even made a mention of any of the lofty bullet points that form their vision documents.
The Jammu parties may be different in nomenclature but their underlying agendas are similar. For achieving these, they have worked hard and identified some of the issues that form core of every outfit. While employment and equal share in development and resources remains their main main plank, they are now harping on the issues like equal opportunity of employment, citizenship rights to West Pakistan Refugees, safeguarding interests of border dwellers, delimitation, rotational Chief Minister, separate recruitment agencies for gazetted and non-gazetted posts, protecting interests of trade and commerce, intensifying rail and air connectivity, infrastructural development, political empowerment and restoring back the pristine glory of Dogras.
In the din of loud voices, an ordinary Dogra is finding himself in a state of bewilderment. He is just wondering and asking what the proponents of the Dogra pride and dream merchants did when they were rehabilitating power corridors.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper