“We have worked in Bihar and Uttarakhand, but this is the most corrupt state in the country. Even senior officers take relief blankets, milk and rice for their relatives.” This is what a team of government of India officials told volunteers of a social organisation at the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Bandipora recently during the floods.
The officials summed the situation up succinctly, but what they left out is what matters the most. Corruption was introduced and encouraged by the Indian State in Jammu and Kashmir to strengthen its occupation. The only concern of the government of India and its agencies, including the army, has been to hold Kashmir by whatever means. But the government of India has miserably failed in this. Not only has the anti-India sentiment survived the onslaught of the past seven decades, it has also passed on to the next generation, commonly known as the FM generation, in Kashmir. Now there is nobody left in Kashmir for New Delhi to win over.
Noted poet and social activist Zareef Ahmad Zareef worked for the information department and would very often go to Radio Kashmir to participate in various programmes. Once, when he and his associates went to see the Station Director after a recording during the peak of militancy, he was told on the way that a team had come from New Delhi to probe a scam in which he (the Director) was involved.
When he reached the Director’s chamber, the poet heard the officer shouting at the investigators: “The Indian flag flies high in Kashmir because of me. How dare you come to probe me?” There was a brief lull, and moments later, Zareef saw the mauled team rushing out of the Director’s room. The scam was hushed up in ‘national interest.’ How could New Delhi afford to annoy an officer responsible for upholding the honour of the tricolor?
From the very beginning, the credibility of various institutions was eroded to accommodate tonga wallahs, sur wallahs, ruffians and lumpens. These elements did India a favour by supporting the puppets if foisted on Jammu and Kashmir to uphold its so-called national interest.
Slowly, but surely, corruption was institutionalized. The police created fictitious militant outfits to project a horrible picture of an otherwise `peaceful’ Kashmir. Innocent people were arrested and booked under draconian laws, and New Delhi always showered rewards and awards on the unscrupulous elements who terrorized people in the name of `fighting’ for the Indian cause in Kashmir.
Deputy Commissioners never applied their mind while invoking the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA). One such officer booked Shabir Ahmad Shah for strengthening the Hurriyat Conference. The same Deputy Commissioner slapped another PSA case on Shah for causing dissension in the separatist conglomerate. One fails to understand how and why the officer was so concerned about the unity or the disunity of the amalgam.
Politicians and the bureaucracy have been grooming `political pimps’ to please New Delhi. Anyone who decides to contest panchayat elections becomes a VIP. He gets security, a police vehicle, and accommodation. Besides acting as a pimp for licentious politicians and bureaucrats, he becomes a recruiting agent and dupes gullible people on the pretext of securing them government employment.
Politicians and bureaucrats rarely do the job they are supposed to do. The Jhelum has not been dredged for more than five decades, has become the receptacle of almost all city drains, and is choked by silt. As an elderly city-dweller remarked, the river avenged this apathy early this month by drowning Kashmiris in their own urine. There is no denying the fact that the floods were severe, but had bureaucrats and politicians done their job, the situation today would not have been this bad.
This particular class of people has rendered almost all corporations useless by stuffing them with relatives of super-pimps, mistresses of ministers, legislators and bureaucrats, and political workers. A body that can be run by ten people is burdened by seventy. The results are obvious. These parasites have failed to run pumps sent from outside. At various places, they have not even been able operate electric generators.
Young officers from India who had come here to assess flood losses may suggest New Delhi take over relief distribution and rehabilitation. But this will never happen. The government of India cannot annoy the huge army of pimps, prostitutes and unscrupulous elements it has nurtured here for so long, an army it needs to hold the Indian flag high in Kashmir. Lumpens will continue to rule the roost in Kashmir and, as is customary for this special breed, flourish. Jhelum and other water bodies will be choked further, more shopping complexes and parking lots will come up, even in environmentally fragile areas, and India will continue to lose Kashmir further, if not geographically then certainly emotionally.