When everything else failed, the British used opium to subjugate China, which was even then a formidable power in its own right. A similar device used by the Indian government in Kashmir is the lure of a government job.
The state reportedly has the highest number of government employees in ratio to its population. And yet the thirst for a government job remains unslaked as the number of those who remain unemployed increases with every passing day. Lack of any worthwhile avenues which could provide a viable alternative to government jobs makes the average Kashmiri dependent on the state as a provider of some means of subsistence.
There is also the fact that a government job provides a sense of security and that too with the least degree of responsibility or accountability. You just have to get into the system and it carries you along without any further efforts by you.
A government job is thus not only a need but an addiction for the masses, not quite unlike opium. Then again the effect that a government job produces is not unlike opium either. Lack of initiative and growth that is a characteristic of a government job induces a state of lethargy which ultimately renders a person incapacitated. It also creates a stuporous bliss, a comfort zone which an individual is loath to leave.
This in turn means that an individual is totally dependent on the state and the relationship between the state and the average citizen is not unlike that of a landowner and a serf. The relationship is a result of a deliberate strategy – that of keeping the region as well as the local population dependent on the state.
The process of verification that is set into motion once an individual gets appointed for some government job is quite an elaborate and even intimidating process. If you have ever run foul with the law it can mar your job prospects and ‘anti state’ activities naturally top the list of crimes that can keep that coveted government job out of your reach. Thus the verification process serves as an effective deterrent for any kind of ‘anti state’ activity. And when you consider the fact that not only your own ‘involvement’ in any kind of ‘anti-state’ activity but also of those related to you in some way can present a stumbling block in your aspirations for a slice of the state bounty the number of those required to be on their best behavior increases many fold.
Then again once you are into a government job you automatically become a stake holder in the state machinery and this too precludes any sort of ‘misdemeanor’ on your part especially governed as you are by service rules and conduct. Thus effectively you barter away your rights as a citizen for your sustenance because you cannot raise your voice against the state any more. A government job is thus not only the ultimate sop but also acts as the most effective neutralizer. In fact as an extension this device has actually been used to neutralize even those who demonstrated open hostility towards the state. Former militants or those who had any sort of truck with militancy were drafted into the police force which proved to be a two pronged strategy. Not only were these individuals neutralized but once they became a part of the state machinery they were used to quell those who continued to be against the state. In recent times the strategy was used to neutralize and convert stone pelters as well.
It cannot be denied that unemployment is a burning issue but it is equally true that this issue has always been used to obfuscate the larger Kashmir issue. In fact it won’t be farfetched to say that the issue of unemployment is itself an offshoot of the unresolved Kashmir issue. on the other hand the very insurgency in Kashmir has been sought to be presented as being mainly a result of unemployment among the youth. Ditto for the uprisings in recent years. So much so that there have been attempts to explain the poll boycott in the latest parliamentary election as well as the debacle that the ruling coalition faced in terms of issues related to employment. The new recruitment policy had been formulated as a strategy to spread this sop as much as possible even if it meant spreading it pretty thin. The ‘corrective’ measures instituted are just a measure of desperation and frustration in the coalition parties otherwise lesser wages and more beneficiaries was a well thought out strategy. The more people hooked through government jobs, more of them made subservient to the monthly ‘fix’ the better it is in terms of ‘national interest’. In fact the Indian state might as well safely divert funds even from its defense budget for providing these jobs because monthly wages are a time tested form of ammunition for which not only keeps people at bay but turns them into collaborators.