Table of Contents
   Index
   About the Author
   Preface
   Islamabadisation
   The Abdullah Dynasty
   A Journey into History
   Kashmiri Pandits
   The Myth of Negligence
   Mullaism
   Mortgaged Media
   Siege by Scandal
   The 'Inhuman' Rights
   The Valley of Oddity
   This Happened to KPs
   Exaggerated Reporting
   Appendix

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
Loading...
 

CHAPTER 5

Myth of Negligence

Besides the plague of separatism; the J&K State - being multi-ethnic and multi-religious - is afflicted with perennial inter-regional strife and tension between Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir. The ethnic problem, in its multilateral and diverse forms, continues to play the main role in the State which is often exploited by fundamentalists.

J & K, one of the largest states of the Indian Union, covers an area of 2,22,236 sq. km, including 78,114 sq. km under the illegal occupation of Pakistan - 5,130 sq. km illegally handed over by Pakistan to China - and 37,555 sq. km illegally occupied by China.

The area on the Indian side of the cease-fire line (effective from the midnight of December 31, 1948) was 1,38,124 sq. km. It underwent another change due to the realignment of the border and conversion of the cease-fire line into the Line of Control (LOC) or Line of Actual Control (LOAC), following the Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan on July 3, 1972. The net area left with J&K State in India at present is 1,01,387 sq. km.

The State occupies the north-west niche of India, bounded in the south by Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, on the south-west and West by Pakistan, on the north by Chinese Turkistan and Russian Turkistan, and on the east by Tibet. Thus it strategically borders on the territories of at least two powers - China and Pakistan.

The State comprises mostly of mountainous terrain rising in several tiers from the plains in the south to the high-altitude valleys (average altitude - 1,800 metres above the sea level). The mountains go up to more than 5,001) metres. Some of the loftiest inhabited villages and towns of the world are found in the Ladakh region.

Kashmir Valley is a unique oval plain, approximately 134 km in length and 32 lo 40 km in breadth, at an average height of 1,801) metres above the sea level and nestled securely in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas. Nowhere else in the world can one find such an amphitheatre of snow-capped mountains surrounding such a large plain, traversed throughout its length by a navigational river (Jhelum).

The population of the State, according to the 1981 census, is 59,87,389 which includes 31,64,660 males and 28,22,729 females. These figures exclude the areas under the occupation of Pakistan and China. In terms of density of population - 59 persons per sq. km. - it has the lowest, compared to the all-India average. The increase in population during the decade 1971-81 in the State was 28.71 per cent as compared to 29.65 per cent during the preceding decade.

The following table shows the distribution of population in each of the region and according to the faith.

Region 

Hindu 

Muslim 

Sikh 

Buddhist 

Christian 

Other

Jammu 

1802832 

804637 

100164 

1141 

7778 

1561

Kashmir 

124078 

2976932 

33117 

189 

466 

62

Ladakh 

5338 

61882 

334 

68376 

237 

5

State 

1932248 

3843451 

133615 

69706 

8481 

1628

MUSLIM POPULATION:

    1. Percentage of total Muslim population to the total 64.19 population of the State.

    2. Percentage of Muslim population of Kashmir Division 49.72 to the total population of the Slate.

    3. Percentage of Muslim population of Kashmir Division 77.45 to the total Muslim population of the State.

    4. Percentage of Muslim population of Jammu Division 13.43 to the total Muslim population of the State.

    5. Percentage of Muslim population of Jammu Division 29.60 to the total population of Jammu Division.

HINDU POPULATION:
 

    1. Percentage of total Hindu population to the total 32.27 population of the State.

    2. Percentage of Hindu population of Kashmir Division 2.07 to the total Hindu population of the Slate.

    3. Percentage of Hindu population of Kashmir Division 6.42 to the total Hindu population of the State.

    4. Percentage of Hindu population of Jammu Division to 93.30 the total Hindu population of the State.

    5. Percentage of Hindu population of Jammu Division to 66.32 the total population of Jammu Division.
     

The population of Kashmiri Hindus was stated as 1,24,078 as per the 1981 census. Barring a handful, they are Kashmiri Pandits. The 1991 census could not be held in J&K on account of the disturbed conditions. If allowed a growth rate of about 29 per cent (the average of the last two decades) it should have been about 1.76 lakh, while about 2.5 lakh persons have reportedly migrated from the State. Answering this discrepancy, the convenor of the Panun Kashmir said that the registration of migrants was done by Government agencies. He alleged that over the last four decades, the number of Kashmiri Pandits was deliberately shown less in the census figures at the behest of the rulers in the State who belonged to the majority Muslim community.

The census revealed a phenomenal progress in literacy in the State. As against 18.3 per cent literacy in 1971, the 1981 census showed that a growth rate of 150 percent was achieved during the decade as the literacy percentage went up to 26.67 - the highest for any State in India, barring Kerala.

The Jammu region often complains of discrimination, particularly the denial of an adequate participatory role in the political arena at the hands of Kashmiri politicians. In an article in the Daily Excelsior in August 1990, Hari Om puts forth the following table showing the dominance of Kashmiri Muslims in the State polity and administration.

S. NO. 

INDICATOR 

KASHMIR 

JAMMU 

OTHERS

1. 

Chief Ministers 

0

2. 

President of Political Party:

 

National Conference 

All 

None 

None

 

Cong/Cong-I 

All 

None 

None

 

Janata Dal 

All but one 

One 

None

3. 

Secretaries / Comm. 

15 

0

4. 

Employees in Secretariat 

90%

10%

5. 

Employees in Kashmir Division 

98% 

2% 

0

6. 

Employees in Jammu Division 

40% 

60% 

0

Thus there has been an undue political weightage in favour of Kashmir since 1951 itself. It resulted in an overwhelming recruitment in Government jobs from the Kashmir region of the State.

The total length of roads in J&K is 10,266 km compared to 4,798 km in 1966. Of this 2,458 km are unsurfaced. Besides, two major national highways run through the State. Similarly, Rs.123 lakh were advanced against deposit of 1,098 lakh in the State by the scheduled commercial banks in 1961, while in the financial year 1984-85, advances to the tune of Rs.33,282 lakh were made against deposit of Rs.64,306 lakh. The State registered an all-round development in every sphere of activity till 1989, when terrorism, secessionism and Muslim fundamentalism began rocking its foundation.

As things stand today, the tourist traffic is down to a trickle. Cottage and handicraft industries limp along only because the Centre regularly comes to the rescue of artisans and craftsmen by organising sales of their products at various centres in the country. The organised industry functions under a tight security. Business is struggling but somehow coping with terrorism. The flag of finance is still fluttering over the Valley though it has also been caught in the whirlpool of terrorism.

On the other hand, while the rulers of Pakistan keep shouting 'azadi, azadi' for the Valley, they have denied even basic rights to the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and have callously neglected their developmental needs. The 2.5 million people in PoK have resented many a time in the past 42 years of the Pak occupation, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. Their per capita income remains at Rs.1,802 compared to Rs. 2,700 in the J&K State in the Indian Union. The J&K People's National Party of PoK lamented: "Our country is under subjugation at present. Our dear people are getting poorer day by day. Unemployment has assumed serious proportions. Corruption is rampant. Our country is full of hatred and fanaticism. There is no happiness among our people. Our people have been overwhelmed by hunger, poverty and distress. Young men in general, and educated youth in particular, are migrating to other countries in search of employment.

"It is the rulers of Azad Kashmir (PoK), the Muslirn Conference, the unpatriotic politicians, the rulers of Pakistan and the civil and military bureaucracy who do not want the establishment of industry in Azad Kashmir. They do not want the Kashmiris to get jobs in their own country, because if they got, they would put an end to the exploiting rule of these classes.

"The entire Azad Kashmir is full of contractors, most of them belong to the ruling Muslim Conrerence. It would not be wrong to say that the Muslim Conference is the party of contractors. All its members have been allotted different types of contracts. Some have been given contracts for roads, some for buildings, some for defence and some for the enforcement of the Islamic system.

"The Muslim Conference is the first unpatriotic political party which has connived with the contractors in the embezzlement of millions of rupees in the name of development. The Muslim Conference is the representative of a decayed fascist and exploiting class.

"Our womenfolk are passing through great hardships. Except women of well-to-do families, 65 per cent of the women in Azad Kashmir are living in hell. All the Government servants of Azad Kashmir are treated by Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan, the President of our country, as his personal servants. They are forced to sign statements that 'Kashmir would become Pakistan' and that 'Kashmir is an integral part of Pakistan'. Those who refuse to sign such statements are removed from their jobs and cannot get jobs in future.

Professor Abdul Razzak Khan Khaleeq, a prominent intellectual of Azad Kashmir was removed last year from service because he opposed the merger of Kashmir with Pakistan and taught his students of the 'Zionist designs' of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Instead of fundamentalism, he used to spread enlightenment in the educational institutions. He used to talk of independence instead of subjugation and expose the intrigues of the civilian and military bureaucracy."

In PoK, industrial development during the 42 years of Pakistani occupation has been poor. The only industrial units which have come up are a textile spinning mill and a vegetable oil unit at Mirpur, a wool-weaving mill and a match factory at Muzaffarabad and scooter and video-cassette units in the public sector. Industrial estates are reported to have been set up only in three district headquarters.

In contrast, there were 720 registered factories in Jammu & Kashmir in the Indian Union in 1985-86 and about 17,000 registered small scale units. Industrial areas have been set up in all district headquarters and in main towns connected by roads.

In PoK, development of agriculture and industry is poor and the only sectors in which there has been some development are those related to meet the needs of the Pakistani occupation forces and not aimed at improving the living conditions of the people. No wonder, load construction has registered some progress.

Some Indian commentators and politicians have opined that the unemployment is the breeder of terrorism in the Valley. But contrary to the popular impression, the fact is that - as per the information furnished on the floor of the Legislative Assembly during the last session (August 1989) - there were only 69,099 educated unemployed youth in June 1989 on the live registers of the employment exchanges in all the 14 districts of Jammu & Kashmir state. Out of these, 23,191 were in Jammu district alone. It means that 34 per cent of the educated unemployed youth hailed from Jammu district alone.

On the other hand, there were 26,784 educated unemployed youth in six districts of the Kashmir region - Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag, Pulwama, Baramulla and Kupwara. Out of these unemployed youth, only 4,161 were provided with employment during the first quarter of the financial year, ending on March 31, 1990. Among them the share of Jammu district is only 10 per cent.

As per available data, 16,310 vacancies were waiting to be filled in various departments of the State Government by the end of the financial year, ending on March 31, 1989. During the month of March 1989, 15,181 persons were recruited by the State Government in the gazetted, non-gazetted and Class IV cadres.

Another interesting feature of the continuing menace of terrorism is that majority of terrorists under the umbrella of Islamic fundamentalists such as Jamaat-e-Islami have pretensions of Islamic brotherhood irrespective of creed and colour. But they do not lag behind in exploiting the economically and socially backward communities within the fold of Islam. Gujjar and Bakerwal communities in J & K are glaring examples of such discrimination.

Gujjars, mostly herdsmen by occupation, are found in most parts of the State. They are said to have migrated from Rajasthan and embraced Islam. They are tall and well-built, with a prominently Jewish cast of features. Their dialect, Gujjari, is now identified as a form of Rajasthani. They raise sheep and cattle and trek, from the warm regions of Jammu up into the high mountains, where they have their small wooden or mud huts, in search of green pastures.

Gujjar and Bakerwal communities among Muslims constitute about 7.6 per cent population of the State. According to Noor Din Kataria, a prominent leader of the Janata Dal in the State, Gujjars and Bakerwals were being neglected in almost all spheres of life in the State. He alleged that the settlements of these communities were neither provided with basic amenities such as drinking water and power, nor were they given jobs, particularly so in the Police Department.

Another Gujjar leader said that these communities faced discrimination at the hands of successive State Governments in J & K as Kashmiri speaking Muslims - at the helm of affairs - always disliked their brethren in these communities. He said there were more than 15 lakhs Gujjars in J&K. Taking a cue from the census of 1931 which had been done on the basis of castes, he said that at that time the population of Gujjars in this state was four lakh, and going by the national average growth of population, it must have now reached 15 lakh.

There is the Gujjar Development Board in the State for the welfare of the community Commenting on its 'achievement', Kataria said that funds were misused by the ruling politicians managing the board. He alleged that the funds, earmarked for the welfare of Gujjars, never reached them. There is a general feeling among Gujjars that despite the claimed development during the last 40 years, they have remained backward and steeped in abject poverty. They seem to have fallen victim to the political expediency. They have neither received any favours from the National Conference of the Abdullah family nor from Islamic fundamentalists. Not even from Pakistan, as they were instrumental in containing the intrusion of Pakistani forces on a grand scale way back in 1947 and 1965.

Another victim of the cult of violence is the educational system in the State. It has been under great strain for the last three years. Many schools, colleges and some reputed public libraries with a rich collection of books, have been set ablaze and reduced to ashes. While 1,700 Government schools in the Valley did not have their own building and were being run in hired accommodation, 244 school buildings were damaged or gutted in terrorist activities in the Valley. These included 79 primary schools, 81 middle schools, 63 high schools and 21 higher secondary schools.

Commenting on this state of affairs, Srinagar Times, an Urdu daily newspaper from Srinagar, wrote in its issue of June 11, 1992: "... Presently a militant struggle is going on in Kashmir. It is being said that this struggle has been launched to enable the Kashmiri nation to lead an honourable life. In the meantime, the school buildings are being burnt down. The school buildings became the targets from the very beginning of the current spate of militancy. Neither any body is thinking about this serious problem nor any serious debate is being carried out on this very issue. The burning down of school buildings is a serious problem. The present situation in Kashmir has put a spoke on educational activities. Whatever schools are left, and where teaching has been continued, there, too, students attend their classes with great difficulty. Most of the educational institutions remain closed due to the present turmoil. Examinations are not held on time, and are being repeatedly postponed due to the abnormal conditions and circumstances. The valuable time of the students is being wasted. The poor are the worst affected due to the burning down of educational institutions and the prevailing abnormal conditions. Children from middle and lower classes of society are neither receiving education at homes nor in schools. On the other hand, the capitalist class has made proper arrangements for the education of their children. They have admitted their wards in educational and professional institutions outside Kashmir ...

"This situation will result in a new class struggle in the society. The children from well to-do families will garner high official positions on the strength of their education and wealth and will hold society under their sway. This very class has already acquired big assets worth lakhs due to their social exploitation. The children of poor people will remain no more than coolies. The intermittent incidents of burning the schools evoke nothing but the feelings of sorrow on this state of affairs. The problem remains unsolved. The school buildings continue to burn. The atmosphere in the centres of learning is vitiated ...

"The educational system in Kashmir is in great turmoil. In this turmoil, an attempt is being made to climb on the ladder of success through improper means. There is interference in the university; in the Board of School Education; in the schools; and in the examination centres. The schools continue to be burnt down. In all these incidents, the brunt is being borne by the poor people ...

"... Due to wrong attitudes the educational institutions are being destroyed and the whole nation is being pushed towards ignorance ..."

The mentors of secessionists seem to be aware of the fact that education of girls in the Valley began with Muslims, while of boys with Pandits (Hindus). In the beginning of the current century, the total number of literates in Srinagar city was 8,326, including 50 females. The 1911 census stated that the total number of literate persons was less than 65,000 and their proportion per mile was only 38 in the case of males and one in case of females. According to the 1921 census, there was on an average one literate female to over 15 literate males. The proportion of literate women to the total female population aged 5 and over, was three per thousand. Neither a Hindu nor a Muslim female was familiar with English but a Sikh woman was literate in English.

In the 1931 census there were only 9,078 female literates against 1,14,807 male literates. During the next census in 1941, among the iterates 46.27 per cent were women. But fundamentalists are out to put the clock back as literacy, particularly among women, was a potent impediment in their adaption of obscurantism.

Accepting the reality, Khalida Islam from Hawthorne (U.S.) wrote a letter which was carried by The Statesman in early 1990. She said, 'Kashmiri dissidents do injustice to Srinagar and New Delhi by trying to bolster their arguments with unfounded allegations. It is a travesty of the truth to accuse 'imperialist' India of economically exploiting the State. Kashmir is among the wealthier states of the Union (India). If dissidents want to witness abject poverty, they should go down from their 'paradise on earth' and travel to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. If the dissidents are not happy with the level of capital investment in their State, they must blame themselves.

"Article 370 of the Constitution (of India) precludes ownership of immovable 'property' in Kashmir by Indians from outside the State. As long as the Kashmiris insist on this provision, they will not be able to attract private investment from outside.

"Kashmir dissidents forget that tourism and the federal subsidy for food and education in Kashmir results in a net inflow of wealth into Kashmir from the rest of the nation. Not surprisingly, 16 States of the Union have a per capita income lower than Kashmir's. Kashmiris should count their blessings. The State Government can ensure capital investment with a determined attempt at resource mobilization. Kashmir, after all, is in a far better position to do so than Bihar or Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Unfortunately, the ineptitude of the State Government and the lack of entrepreneurial spirit among Kashmiris come in the way."

These deficiencies provided a fertile breeding ground to the menace of obscurantist forces, who were always present in the Valley but their wings were clipped in the past. This time they had a field day for indulgence in their nefarious designs. Joining issues with Maulana Masoodi - another towering political personality in the Valley - Sheikh Abdullah in a public meeting once outrageously remarked, "Behind every hair in the beard of Maulana Masoodi, hides a Satan."

Crescent over Kashmir

 

JOIN US

Facebook Account Follow us and get Koshur Updates Youtube.com Video clips Image Gallery

 | Home | Copyrights | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement | Credits | Site Map | LinksContact Us |

Any content available on this site should NOT be copied or reproduced

in any form or context without the written permission of KPN.

 
 
Watch
Thumbnail
World Kashmiri Pandit Conference 1993 Panun Kashmir
... Click here for more video clips ...