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An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Matrimonial

 
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India and Kashmiri Muslims

by P.N. Magazine

Most of the Kashmiri politicians express their dissatisfaction over Kashmir's accession to India, saying J&K State has fallen in a debt trap with its accession to India, which is not based on facts but misleading, based on ungratefulness, fanaticism and prejudice. Repayment of loan is a universal fact. All countries of the world, small or big, take loans from various International Agencies but never complain of having fallen in a debt trap.

Government of India has always been too liberal towards J&K State, right from 1947, in granting financial assistance and other aids which has almost been 90% by way of grants and only 10% as loan, while it is quite the reverse in the case of all other States of the country. For instance, in 1993-94, the Central financial assistance to the J&K State was 2291 per capita while in cases of U.P. it was 331, Rajasthan 304, T.N. 231, Bihar 192, respectively, and so on.

If, however, some people or the younger generation of the Muslims of the valley have any genuine grievance or a complaint, they do not have it against the government of India but against their own leaders and politicians who have misruled the State all these long years. All along, it has been the policy of the Kashmiri politicians to exploit India to the best of their ability and extract more and more concessions from the Centre. There has been a total lack of administrative skill and control from the Centre over the State which had no accountability and hence the present chaos and crisis. The continued appeasement policy towards the State from the G.O.I. has brought about the present chaotic situation in the J&K State which the Centre still does not realise.

If one goes by the facts and realises the real problem of Kashmir, one can unhesitatingly come to the correct conclusion that the people of Kashmir have tremendously progressed, gained and benefitted, and become quite well off after 1947 with the State's accession to India. Muslims are a very prosperous community in the State. Their economic progress has been beyond expectations when compared to the people of other states who live below the poverty mark like Bihar, U.P., West Bengal, T.N. etc., Most of the people of these States are seen working far away from their homes and families, whereas negligible number of Kashmiris move out every year and are seen at Jammu or in some cities of Punjab for three months of winter, simply to escape from severe cold of Kashmir. All others, who move out, are traders and businessmen who do their business during winter months in the planes every year and earn huge profits.

It is a fact that Kashmir lacks in heavy and large scale industries in the valley, fault of which lies mainly on the State Administration which has been unmindful and negligent towards this important issue. They have never been serious to undertake any planning for it though there was no paucity of funds as the State had enough money at its disposal from the Centre.

Another reason due to which establishing of large scale industries could not be possible in the State was lack of adequate transport system, non-availability of electric power and also paucity of raw materials required for the same. Some small scale industries no doubt were started by some capitalists, who had to wind up the same due to political interference, high rate of corruption at the State level, abnormal administrative delays and the labour problems. As such, to say that the State has been neglected by the Centre is fantastic, exaggerated and unjust. It clearly depicts ungratefulness and ingratitude on the part of the local politicians. It would not be out of place to mention here that industrial estates have been developed and constructed in the State where hundreds of people have started small scale industries and are doing brisk business there. They have most of the facilities available from the State.

From the very beginning G.O.I.'s attention has gone towards improving the transport system which has tremendously improved. The only link road (B.C. Road) connecting the valley with Jammu and other parts of the country is being maintained by Border Roads Organisation at a very high cost and kept open round the year, on a war footing. This road has been much improved and widened and travel on this road made safer and easy.

G.O.I. is trying to solve the transport difficulties by connecting the valley by train service, for which huge amounts are earmarked. The train service will soon be extended to Udhampur. Earlier, Jammu was connected by rail with the rest of the country. From Udhampur, the train service is proposed to be taken upto Srinagar and then to Baramulla by stages, at a very high cost, for which the survey has been completed.

To solve the power problem. which is an important factor for starting any industry anywhere in the world, the Centre is already making efforts to tap the huge hydro-electric potential of the State through Salal, Uri and Dulhasti Projects at a very heavy investment. There are some minor power projects also in progress and under consideration which will make the State not only self-sufficient in respect of electric power but the State would also be in a comfortable position to sell surplus power to other states as well and earn huge revenue out of it.

Besides, it is a known fact that there was only one power house in Kashmir, known as Mohra Power House, which supplied electricity to the entire valley before 1947. This too is now fully modernised. Against that, we now have Gandarbal and Gantamulla Hydel Power Houses as well in Kashmir region. In Jammu region, there are Reasi and Udhampur Hydel Power Houses. There is also Chein dam in Jammu region (a joint venture of J&K and the Panjab Governments) which also generates power. In addition, there is an adventurous Satakna Power Project, at the highest altitude of the world in Leh Region. Who has financed all these projects is a question which is for the separatists to answer.

It would not be out of place to mention here that the State has been running almost on a deficit since 1947 due to lack of tax collections by the State towards which the Centre has never paid its attention or objected to this lapse. Instead, it went on with its appeasement policy and compensated the deficit which clearly depicts the weakness of the Centre which the politicians took complete advantage of. This appeasing and weak administration has been a very heavy burden on the Central Exchequer and the Indian tax payer. For example, it is observed that against Rs. 77 crores collected as Sales Tax from Jammu during 1995, only Rs. 12 crores have come from Kashmir and that too from the Public Sector Companies. Income Tax collections have almost been nil from the Valley while it has been quite normal in the case of Jammu.

It is not only power and transport to which the Centre has given so much attention. They have done a lot also in the fields of education, including academic, professional and technical education. The State has its own Engineering Colleges, Polytechnics, Medical Colleges, Medical Institutes of Science, Agricultural University, two Universities and so on.

Small scale industries also have not escaped the attention of the Centre. Scores of training centres, both in rural and urban areas, have been started where people, especially the women, are given practical training in carpet making, weaving, handicrafts, poultry, mushroom growing, food processing and jam making, which enables them to be self-sufficient and self-supporting economically.

Like-wise, horticulture, agriculture, animal husbandry, sheep breeding, Mulberry culture etc. have not been lost sight of by the G.O.I. People have greatly progressed in these areas and become wealthy. Sopore town is just an example of this prosperity, a town which has become a place of intrigues, fundamentalism and anti-India tirades. Sopore has proved itself to be very ungrateful to India, which has done so much for its prosperity.

Is it not generous on the part of India to have been so liberal as to distribute almost free rations, as a special case, to the people of J&K state through the Government ration depots, regularly for a number of years, at a nominal rate of 36 p. per kg. while its rate at source was Rs. 4/- per kg. which made the people of the country envious. How unjust is it to forget this generosity of the Centre?

Export of carpets and other Kashmir arts and crafts to the West and other foreign countries has received tremendous impetus and encouragement from the Centre which has brought in substantial foreign exchange. The Valley has comparatively the highest number of automobiles, including two and three wheelers, cars, trucks and buses etc. which regularly ply on the roads, and on the hill tops in large numbers. Who owns all these vehicles? Number of the Haj pilgrims has swelled beyond expectations when compared with the number of pilgrims going for Haj before 1947. Does it show poverty or backwardness?

Right from the start of planned economic development in the country, J&K State has been the greatest beneficiary, even though it has lesser population than that of most other States, and got Central financial assistance, much more than other States. As a result, there has been a massive development saga for the State till the end of 1989, which continues even now though it is badly hit and affected by the militancy sponsored by Pakistan, as a result of which the entire State is in ruins and devastation now. What was done and achieved has been undone by the subversives during the past six years. Who is responsible for this devastation, destruction and alienation?

There is no doubt that before 1947, Muslims of the State were too poor and backward in all respects. People had just one Pheran to cover their bodies and that too up to the knees only both in winter as well as summer. All the members of the family used to sleep in one room under one quilt made of rags. Their Maulvis disallowed them from going to any Government or Private-run school excepting the Madrassas run by the clergies which has been the main cause of their poverty and backwardness. Maharaja Hari Singh tried his best to uplift them by educating them in the government schools called Jabri schools (compulsory schools). Primary education was made free and compulsory. But the Muslims were not permitted by the clergies to benefit from these schools. Now there is a complete change in their position. The Muslims have the highest percentage of educated boys and girls. Who has provided funds for the liberal spread of education which has made them so highly educated now is for the readers to judge.

If there is any community aggrieved, alienated and backward in the State after 1947, it is the Kashmiri Pandits for whom the doors of higher education and employment were restricted, nay almost closed. They were rendered very weak economically with the result that the cream of the community had to gradually move out of Kashmir every year to fend for themselves. As a result, about 50% of this minority community have gone out of their homeland till now since 1947. The remaining 50% are displaced and dispossessed since 1990 and turned out of their ancestral homeland, passing their days in forced exile, as refugees in their own country. Their homes and hearths are reduced to ashes. They lead a nomadic life in their own country and live under unhygienic conditions in tattered tents.

Debt Cancellation Act and Land Act reduced the community to a state of beggary. These vindictive steps were intentionally taken under a well-thought out plan to turn out the Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley.

Kashmiri Muslim boys do not like to go out of Kashmir to seek employment there on the basis of merit and competitive tests. In the State, jobs on merit or the competitive tests are not allowed lest the minority community benefit and thereby grab all these posts.

In order to find out which of the two communities suffer most in the State or are discriminated against, justice demands that a high-powered Judicial Commission be instituted. The Commission should be asked to compare educational, economic and other conditions of the Muslims and Hindus as it obtained in 1947 and 1989.

This will show to what extent the Muslims of the State have benefited by the State's accession to India.

Source: Koshur Samachar

Kashmir History and Politics

 

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World Kashmiri Pandit Conference, 1993
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