Humbug over Kashmir ‘hurt’
by R Vaidyanathan on 29 Aug 2008 0 Comment

It is fashionable for bleeding heart liberals in India to talk out of turn, using pulled-out-of-thin-air data to justify their ranting. They forget the thin line between being a liberal and a subversive, and often forget the word ‘democracy.’


Lumpen liberals like the one-book wonder known as Arundhati Roy (who proudly proclaimed in America a couple of months ago that she has ceded from India as she is not a democracy) need not bother us here, as we need some brainless wonders for comic relief. But when other bleeding heart liberals like Vir Sanghvi (The Hindustan Times), Swaminathan Aiyar (Economic Times) and Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Indian Express) claim that ‘Kashmir is hurt,’ we need to wonder what exactly is going on. The first two writers have even suggested conducting a plebiscite in Kashmir to redress this “hurt.”


Why are Kashmiris hurt? The first reason given is that polls were mostly rigged in Jammu AND Kashmir (and not just Kashmir), except the last one where a screaming banshee’s scheming father became Chief Minister. This argument is specious as then the first candidate-state to cede from India on such grounds should be Bihar, as polls have been rigged there since time immemorial. Glance at the newspapers of the 1970s and 80s, and you will find in every poll the maximum number of people were killed in that state.


What about Bengal? Jyoti Basu could not have lost Baranagar to a CPI candidate but for rigging by Juba Congress boys. Today, it is an open secret that in every poll the CPM indulges in what has been termed as “scientific rigging” by its opponents – the names of persons unlikely to vote for the ruling party mysteriously vanish from the voters list, or the votes are ‘already cast’ when the voters arrive at the booths. The Scheduled Castes of Western UP can tell many horror stories of Jat rigging, until T.N. Seshan arrived and put the ballot boxes in the SC bastis! The BSP rose to power on the crest of fair polls. Then, the SCs in Tamil Nadu were prevented from voting by the Vanniars and Thevars, but these states were never encouraged to cede from India by bleeding heart liberals.


Though some polls may have been rigged in J&K, our general elections are different from those of Pakistan where generals get always “elected”. Do “hurt” Kashmiri prefer generals getting “elected” or general elections? This is a core issue.


Bleeding heart liberals talk endlessly about Hurt Kashmiris, Kashmiriyat, Hindus being brothers… Yet every chief minister of Kashmir after 1947 has been a Muslim - Sheik Abdullah:  Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad; Shamsuddin; G.M. Sadiq; Sayyid Mir Kasim; Sheikh Abdullah; G.M Shah; Farooq Abdullah; Mufti Muhammad Sayeed; and now Gulam Nabi Azad. This is despite the fact that J&K has a population of nearly 10 million, of which 32% is Hindu (Census 2001). But not a one Hindu CM in this “ultra secular” paradise.


The second grievance is regarding socio-economic conditions, an area not studied by our bleeding heart brethren. By all indicators, J&K stands among top-rung states or in the middle. Some indicators are:


1.      Per capita consumption of electricity at 759KWh (2006-2007) is much higher than UP, MP, Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal and others (Rajya Sabha Question No. 2908, 21-04-08).


2.      Per capita Central assistance at Rs. 2860 (in 2000) much higher than all states, with TN at Rs. 260, UP at Rs. 385, West Bengal at Rs. 426 and all-India figures at Rs. 395 (Rajya Sabha Question No. 1370, 03-08-2000).


3.      State wise per capita allocation of Kerosene (2006-2007) at 7.55 KG is much higher than most states with all-India average at 8.9KG (Rajya Sabha Question No. 158, 01-12-07).


4.      State-wise per capita availability of milk (2005-2006) at 353 gms. per day much higher than most states with all-India average of 241 gms. per day (Rajya Sabha Question No. 1801, 11-08-2006).


5.      State-wise per capita allocation for Agriculture and Rural development (2002-2003) at Rs. 305 (Rs.245 + Rs.60) much higher than most states including Tamil Nadu at  Rs. 188, Andhra Pradesh at  Rs. 125, Maharashtra at Rs. 202 (leave alone BIMARU states) with all-India average of  Rs. 152 (Lok Sabha Question No. 4659, 23-04-2003).


6.      State-wise per capita expenditure (current and capital) on health in 2001 at Rs. 363 much higher than most states, with Tamil Nadu at Rs. 170, AP at 146, UP at Rs. 83 and WB at Rs. 206 and national average of Rs. 167 (Rajya Sabha Question No. 756, 28-07-2003).


7.      State-wise per-capita Net State Domestic Product and Factor Cost (constant prices) in 2005-2006 at Rs. 8308 for J&K higher than all BIMARU states, and also in the top quarter in India (RBI annual report 2006).


8.      State-wise average monthly per capita consumption expenditure of farmers in India 2003 at Rs. 712 for J&K third highest in India (next to Punjab at Rs. 828 and Haryana at Rs. Rs 741), with national average Rs. 502 (Rajya Sabha Question No. 1759, 08-12-2005).


9.     State-wise percentage of children under 3 years as undernourished on Anthropometric Indices (stunted, wasted or underweight) of nutritional status as per NFHS-III, India 2005-06, for J&K is stunted at 28, wasted at 15 and underweight at 29.4. This is the lowest in India except Mizoram, Goa, Kerala, and Sikkim, and the national average is 38 and 19 and 46.


10.  The number of households living in predominant roof material of concrete/G.I metal, asbestos sheets, at 63% one of the highest in India (Housing profile Table H-3A Appendix Census 2001 - J&K).


11.  Distribution of households in terms of ownership of dwellings at 94% among the highest in India (Table H-5 - J&K - Census 2001).


12. Location and source of drinking water shows 75% households have it within/nearby premises and 53% provided through tap – among highest among States (Table H-8, J&K, Census 2001).


13.  Distribution of households by source of lighting reveals 81% served by electricity (Rural 75% and Urban 98%) and only 15% dependant on kerosene – an electricity usage highest among states (Table H-9, Census 2001).


14.  Firewood used by 56% of households for cooking followed by 22% LPG and 7% for kerosene (Table H-11, Census 2001).


15. Then, 47% households have both electricity and toilets (85% for urban households), much higher than many “developed” states (Table -12A (E) Census of state – 2001).


16.  Among the 1.6 million households in the state 37% avail banking services, 65% have radio or transistor and 41% possess TV (Table H-13, State Census 2001).


Incidentally, other than terrorist outfits, even a so called “moderate” like Saifuddin Soz gave a call to Kashmiris to boycott the Census as it was felt it would harm “Kashmiriyat,” whatever that means.


Hence, any socio-economic indicator one looks at one finds the state among the top quartile or top percentile of States. Within J&K, Jammu rightly feels neglected since it lacks the ability to blackmail the Indian State apparatus.


Another complaint concerns regarding owning land/property in Kashmir in connection with the Amarnath Board getting 40 acres with “usage rights” in the yatra season. Now it is up to the bleeding hearts to justify the (no doubt legal) properties owned in the rest of India by Kashmiri politicians including Omar Abdullah, Mufti Syed, Begum Mehbooba, the Mirwaiz,  Syed Geelani and others, from the moderate terrorists to the extreme terrorists (whatever the difference may be). Strange the investigative media has not explored the real estate situation in Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad.


Mosques in Srinagar have been misused for political instigation. They are no more places of prayer, but the bleeding hearts are silent about this. They must now state explicitly if it is advisable to suggest a plebiscite based on assumptions, not supported by facts. Mindless youth shouting Azadi on Srinagar streets should be made to understand that if they want to leave democratic India for the Islamic Paradise across the Line of Control, the road to Muzzafarabad can be opened for the Islam-enjoined hijrat.


The only referendum India needs is concerning the legitimacy of retaining Article 370 in the Constitution. Kashmir is hurting India; it is time to call the bluff. 


The author is Professor of Finance, Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore; the views expressed are his own 

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