Prof Hari OmPolitical class, think-tanks, trouble-shooters, commentators, reporters, people in general, nay almost all, including enemy nations and international bodies, consistently describe the disturbing happenings in the Valley as the direct fallout of what they call ‘Kashmir problem’. They are wrong. Theirs is a highly flawed/motivated narrative.The truth is there is no Kashmir problem; there is problem in Kashmir. And the causes of the problem are deeper. One of the most notable causes is the urge in Kashmir for separation from India and desire for Pakistan/Syria/Saudi Arabia-type regime. To be more exact, they hate and despise democracy and love and hail theocracy. They vouch for a system similar to the one prevalent in medieval India — system known the world over as an era of bloodshed, murder, conversion, migration and dethronement of liberal and all-accommodating indigenous regimes. This is a reality.Kashmir has been witnessing the dance of death and destruction and process of elimination, conversion and migration since 1339. The only period that witnessed relative peace in Kashmir was between 1819 and 1947, when the Sikhs and the Dogras ruled Kashmir. It’s a different story that no ‘secular’ historian, politician and commentator talk about it. But it’s not altogether unexpected. This is one sad part of the story.The other is the oft-repeated claims in certain quarters in Kashmir and outside that poverty, unemployment, under-development and denial of political say to Kashmiri Muslims in governance of the state are responsible for the rise of violent secessionist movement in the Valley. It’s a distortion of facts; it’s an ugly attempt on the part of vested interests to suppress the truth and mislead the nation and international community.Kashmir has been one of the most prosperous and highly developed regions in the country. Not one Kashmiri till date has died of hunger or cold. Per capita meat consumption in Kashmir is highest in the world. Per capita expenditure on woolen clothing in Kashmir is highest in the country. Not one Kashmiri is without a house. In fact, many Kashmiris have houses in Kashmir and outside as well. It’s well known that Kashmiris in thousands go out of Kashmir for months during winter to avoid the cold conditions. Most of them come to Jammu during and live either in their own second houses or in official and semi-official buildings. In addition, many have set up colonies in Jammu exclusively for themselves and these colonies are worth living.As for trade, transport, tourism, hotel industry and cottage industry, almost 100% Kashmiris run and control them. As for big and small government contracts in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, the powers-that-be in the erstwhile J&K State and UT of J&K have been preferring Kashmiris over the interested parties in Jammu and Ladakh since decades now. And, it’s not a secret.In terms of road connectivity, power generation, educational and healthcare facilities, universities, professional and technical institutions, jobs in government and semi-government establishments, horticulture and sericulture, financial institutions and seats in medical and engineering colleges and agriculture universities, Kashmir is far superior to Jammu province and many other parts of the country. They are so privileged that Kashmiri youth hold more than 3.8 lakh jobs out of a total of nearly 4.5 lakh government jobs while youths of Jammu province have to remain content with only 70,000 such jobs. It could happen because Kashmiri ruling class controlled and guided all the recruitment agencies.What about political say of Kashmiri leaders? They led the state between 1948 and 2018. They dominated the state legislature in collaboration with New Delhi in 1951 manipulated more than 50% seats in the assembly, which discussed and decided questions of supreme importance to the happiness and well-being of the people. They dominated, and continue to dominate, Civil Secretariat, seat of government. Over 80% employees in Civil Secretariat were, and are, from Kashmir. And who headed the crucial, sensitive and nation-building Finance, Planning, Home, Revenue, Agriculture, Forest, Law, Education and General Administration Departments and office of Advocate General? Everyone know that all were from Kashmir and from one particular community controlling these Departments. The fact is that all political, administrative and financial institutions and recruitment agencies were the sole preserve of Kashmiri ruling elite.A few words on the funds being pumped into Kashmir by the over-general New Delhi would also be in order. Believe it or not, but it’s a fact that J&K received 10% of all ‘Central grants given to states over the 2000-2016 period’. It happened despite the fact that J&K constituted a paltry 1 % of India’s population. What about UP, which housed the country’s 13% population? It received only ‘8.2% of the Central grants in 2000-2016’. In other words, J&K, which housed 12.55 million people as per the 2011 census, got ‘Rs 91,300 per person over the last sixteen years while UP only received Rs 4,300 per person over the same period’. Not just this. J&K also received “disproportionate amount of Central assistance”. According to analysis by The Hindu of Central and State finances, ‘J&K received 1.14 lakh crore in grants over the sixteen years (2000-2016), which is more than a quarter of the Central funds disbursed to the 11 special category state in that period’.All this should clear all the cobwebs of confusion and establish that the causes responsible for the rise of politics of separatism, based on religious fanaticism, are deeper. Will the people start saying problem in Kashmir? They should.
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