Fin Min castigates news channels for cherry-picking prejudicial issues on Kashmir to garner TRPs
PUNE: J&K’s Minister of Finance, Haseeb Drabu, has castigated Indian thinkers and policy makers for their apathy towards the issues that face the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Drabu said the intellectual disengagement, more than political alienation, was the reason for problems confronting people in Kashmir.
Drabu said India has moved from “coercive to cooperative federalism” and later into “competitive federalism” and, it is possible to find a resolution to problem of Jammu and Kashmir through a model of “empowered federalism”.
“The way forward in addressing political alienation in Kashmir is not possible by having an enclave of federalism in a unitary structure. We have to change that approach,” he said.
The apathy of Indian thinkers and policymakers in understanding the trials and tribulations is one of the reasons for the pestering problems confronting people in J&K, he said in his keynote lecture on ‘Growth Prospects for Jammu & Kashmir’ at the 6th foundation day of Pune International Centre (PIC) here Sunday evening.
“More than political alienation in Kashmir, it is the disengagement of Indian civil society that needs to be addressed which is a corollary of Indian intellectual’s apathy towards J&K. But it gives us immense satisfaction that these past few years have heightened awareness on J&K across the country,” he said.
Drabu said the Indian thinkers and policymakers never engage in Kashmir and they are, therefore, unable to understand and often misinterpret the real problems confronting the people.
Regretting the role of TV news channels for negatively portraying the situation in Kashmir, Drabu said that “random slogan” of secession lights up television screens across the country.
“Kashmir has been left far too much to be looked through security prism only. There is no independent thinking on why people in Kashmir are reacting the way they are. JK had the finest, most radical and comprehensive land reforms done by a non-communist regime anywhere in the world, yet there’s no book on land reforms in JK by an Indian scholar while there are hundreds of books on land reforms in Kerala, Bengal, etc,” Drabu said.
“Why hasn’t any Indian scholar written on political and social implications of these land reforms? The finest work on Kashmiri carpet and Kashmiri Shawl is done by an American and a Swiss respectively. There is a unique way in how social structure is organised in Kashmir but the Indian intellectual has stayed away from it,” he said.
The Finance Minister said one of the biggest failures of the past governments in Delhi has been to not link changes in J&K to evolutions taking place in “India’s federal structure” and other larger trends.
“India as a nation, and not merely as a state, has to intervene, react and resolve. Civil society is more powerful and has a more important role in this regard. It can make great changes. It has to relook some of things we have been thinking on J&K in the framework of empowered federalism,” he said.
Drabu said Kashmir issue has now become a social issue and in addressing it, the Indian civil society has much larger role than the Government of India. “The way the political problem has seeped into J&K’s social fabric and how it is changing everything in it, Indian civil society needs to take cognisance of it and play a bigger role in recreating the bits of cultural, social and historical uniqueness of J&K, which are being lost almost on a daily basis,” he said.
“The loss of our heritage, a unique blend of Sufi-Reshi tradition, is a big loss to the cultural heritage of India, if not the subcontinent and the world,” he added.
Drabu said the biggest failure in addressing the issue has been to see it in isolation of the larger trends and changes that have taken place in India’s democracy, political structure, federalism and ideological paradigms.
“Kashmir is seen as a dissenting idea of autonomous or empowered federal unit within the nation state of India, but its preservation is important to retain democracy and diversity in India. No change has impacted the framework within which the Indian intellectual understands J&K,” he said.