Kash­mir: Our lead­ers failed to ad­dress re­gional as­pi­ra­tions hon­estly

Views from Srinagar

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR -

BPROF. M. Y. GANAI EING a hum­ble stu­dent of po­lit­i­cal his­tory, I be­lieve the fed­eral sys­tem of In­dia de­mands that the leader of a re­gional party should be very bril­liant, witty and wise as he has to main­tain a bal­ance in the re­la­tion­ship of the re­gion and the union. Within the broader frame­work of loy­alty he has to ad­dress the re­gional as­pi­ra­tions as well. In case of present and the re­cent past Chandra Babu Naidu, Mamta Ban­erji and K. Chandra Shaker Rao have with stood such lit­mus test. In case of Jammu and Kash­mir we wit­ness a uni­lat­eral process in this re­gard.

The his­tory of com­pro­mise on the re­gional as­pi­ra­tions of Kash­mir dates back to 1953 when the pop­u­lar govern­ment of Shaikh Ab­dul­lah was dis­missed. The ero­sion of re­gional au­ton­omy be­gan with this event and reached to its cli­max dur­ing the times of Mr. Sadiq and Mr. Qasim. The Union Govern­ment used these leasers like the East In­dia Com­pany had used Ben­gal nawabs against the au­ton­omy of Ben­gal.

Indira- Ab­dul­lah Ac­cord of 1974 was the last big com­pro­mise on the as­pi­ra­tions of the peo­ple of Kash­mir. This Ac­cord amounted to the to­tal sur­ren­der of Shaikh Ab­dul­lah. It at­tested to all the con­sti­tu­tional ero­sions that had taken place dur­ing the pup­pet Gov­ern­ments of Bak­shi, Sadiq and Qasim ( 1953- 1975). Above all, the big­gest dis­ser­vice that the one­time pop­u­lar leader of Kash­mir did to his in­no­cent peo­ple was that he did not make the pro­vi­sions of this Ac­cord clear to them. In­stead, he con­tin­ued with the tra­di­tional rhetoric pro­ject­ing Jammu and Kash­mir as a to­tally dis­tinct and dif­fer­ent State that could do or undo its re­la­tion­ship with the union which speak­ing prac­ti­cally was not a re­al­ity. He did not re­veal that such sta­tus was also en­joyed by some states of North­East as well and it was ba­si­cally the legacy of Pan­dit Nehru’s po­lit­i­cal thought who be­lieved that with the pas­sage of time such states would merge to the na­tional main­stream.

Af­ter the demise of Shaikh Ab­dul­lah in 1982 his son Fa­rooq Ab­dul­lah - a doc­tor by pro­fes­sion- took over as the Chief Min­is­ter of the State. With­out learn­ing any lessons from the deal­ing be­tween his father and New Delhi since 1947, he un­nec­es­sar­ily adopted a pol­icy of con­fronta­tion against the union and as such was shown exit in 1986. It hum­bled Fa­rooq once for all and later on he opted for to­tal obe­di­ence to the com­mands of the union even at the cost of re­gional as­pi­ra­tions. He shifted from one ex­treme to an­other ex­treme and as such failed to main­tain a bal­ance in State- Cen­tre re­la­tions. In his lust for power he also joined the com­mu­nal forces at the Cen­tre and as such com­pro­mised on the sec­u­lar legacies of N. C. Af­ter Fa­rooq Ab­dul­lah peo­ple of the val­ley pitched their hope on Umar Ab­dul­lah who ap­par­ently looks as an up­right per­son. But, the lobby of tra­di­tional politi­cians around him did not al­low him to do any com­mend­able work. The in­fa­mous scan­dals like that of Cricket Board and BOPEE sur­faced dur­ing his Chief- min­is­ter­ship and dur­ing his ten­ure most of the hon­orary po­si­tions were put to sale. His ten­ure rep­re­sented the worst ex­am­ple of gov­er­nance deficit.

Peo­ples’ Demo­cratic Party ( PDP) a re­cent born or­ga­ni­za­tion is noth­ing but the prod­uct of the mis­gov­er­nance of Na­tional Con­fer­ence. In 1996 Fa­rooq Ab­dul­lah agreed to con­test elec­tions and made a big com­pro­mise only for the sake of power. At this time Chan­der Babu Naidu suc­ceeded to get an eco­nomic pack­age from New Delhi whereas Fa­rooq Ab­dul­lah jumped to chair with­out ask­ing for any such pack­age in order to re­build the in­fra­struc­ture lost dur­ing the tur­moil. Both Fa­rooq and Umar also failed mis­er­ably in mak­ing the anti- in­sur­gency agen­cies ac­count­able. All this fa­cil­i­tated the birth and rise of what we call PDP. Dur­ing the times of Mufti Muham­mad Say­eed this or­ga­ni­za­tion did some com­mend­able work es­pe­cially in end­ing the at­mos­phere of fear- psy­chosis cre­ated by the an­ti­in­sur­gency agen­cies. This way to some ex­tent it suc­ceeded in pro­vid­ing to what it calls heal­ing touch to the com­mon man.

But, the 2014 elec­tions in which PDP emerged as the largest party in State leg­is­la­ture re­vealed a dif­fer­ent story. The new born en­tity which is dom­i­nated by a par­tic­u­lar sec­tion of the Mus­lim so­ci­ety of the val­ley and is satir­i­cally called as peer de­vel­op­ment party in the coun­try­side stands ex­posed. It man­aged to emerge sec­ond time on the ba­sis of an ex­clu­sively re­gional agenda like: 1. Re­turn­ing power projects from NHPC.

2. Ad­dress­ing the Kash­mir im­broglio through tri­par­tite di­a­logue. 3. Achieve­ment of so called Self- Rule.

4. Above all, safe­guard­ing the sec­u­lar ethos of the State against com­mu­nal forces. Speak­ing prac­ti­cally it has taken a U- turn against its agenda. Like Na­tional Con­fer­ence, for its lust for power, it also com­pro­mised on re­gional as­pi­ra­tions. Again a shift from one ex­treme to an­other ex­treme. Thus, the pol­i­tics of the new en­tity proved to be all about power hunger and its re­gional agenda noth­ing but a smoke screen.

Both the re­gional par­ties have failed to main­tain a bal­ance be­tween the re­gional and na­tional as­pi­ra­tions. Both of them use the mantras of Au­ton­omy and Self- Rule in order to be­fool the com­mon man. Prac­ti­cally their lead­ers have not come out of the tra­di­tional no­tion that for en­joy­ing power it is only the good will of the New Delhi which mat­ters and the com­mon man has lit­tle or no role and he can be sim­ply fed on the lies. Their lead­er­ship com­pete each other in prov­ing it- self loyal than the king and oblig­ing the union at the cost of the re­gional in­ter­ests. The land row of 2008, killings of 2010 and the present plans of Sanik Colony, ex­clu­sive Pan­dit town­ships, miss- use of State sub­ject pro­vi­sion are noth­ing but the off shoots of the loyal than the king pol­icy. Since 1953 our lead­ers proved to be im­pa­tient power mon­gers who failed to strike a bal­ance be­tween the Cen­tre- State re­la­tions. No one could ad­dress the re­gional as­pi­ra­tions hon­estly.

— Courtesy: GK

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