This an irony with which Jammu has been living for long; the improved situation and connect with the Valley is crucial for stability and predictability of Jammu and Kashmir . Nothing has changed in this notion , both within the country and beyond its borders , even after its status was reduced to that of a Union Territory. The cuts in its geography and demography have not changed the perceptions.
And there is absolutely no doubt that Kashmir, because of its history of troubles , has remained a place where, it is felt, that turbulence should be calmed . Various methods have been used to achieve this goal. It also is true that neither the policy makers, and the people at the helm of affairs are satisfied with the results achieved so far , nor the people for whom the measures were meant. Something is missing. This is for the people at the helm of affairs to debate and discuss as to what is missing, and why. There are two points , which the policy makers should reflect upon. It is not a good idea to take Kashmir in isolation to the other regions . Since the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir, by virtue of which now J&K and Ladakh are two separate union territories now, dealing with situation and aspirations in a selective manner has had pitfalls. The second point flows out of the first. When the regions are dealt with in different compartments, the holistic approach becomes a casualty. The stability of Jammu is as much critical and crucial as that of the Valley. Some may argue that the terminology of Jammu and Kashmir is used and not that of one particular region alone.
Yes, some colloquial difference has been made, but the brainwaves behind the expressions cannot hide the real thing on their minds. They talk of J&K, but when they refer to the contents that is not the net composition of the two regions. It is focused more on issues concerning the region , where they think that the national and international attention is. This is a self-harming exercise. Internationally, the impression is given that there are troubles and these are being taken care of. This validates the international perception . Internally, it inflicts a sense of neglect on the other region , where people think that they were never part of the troubles and they kept the pillars of peace and harmony intact , yet they are not being spoken of. They feel hurt . It would be prudent for the policy makers to revisit their idea of stability in Jammu and Kashmir . The approach should be holistic . Troubles need to be doused, but the peace-loving region and people should not be made to feel that they don’t matter. They need recognition of their contribution in having saved the situation in the critical times . It is not a boast but a statement of facts that Jammu region, since the times of 1947 troubles, following Pakistan’s invasion of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, has been accommodating the migrants/ refugees. Had Jammu not done what it did, could there have been stability or semblance of normalcy? Perhaps not. What can be worked out is, how to invest more in ideas for Jammu and the idea of Jammu in the context of J&K, and the Indian nation as a while . This is not a big task. It just requires a firm and fair understanding of Jammu , what it’s people have gone through, how can that be mitigated, and what future prospects are there for the new generation . It requires an all-encompassing approach.
(The author is EVS Lecturer at Govt Higher Secondary School Kheelani Doda. The views, opinions, facts, assumptions, presumptions and conclusions expressed in this article are author’s own and aren’t necessarily in accord with the views of “Kashmir Horizon”.)