From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : Issues around JK; Federalism in India
The articles talk about various myths that have been building around the issues of Jammu and Kashmir. Not only does these myths affect the political outlook towards the state but is also responsible for people’s perspective on this whole story. Go on and read to understand further..
Kashmir has been a favourite site of our national mythmaking; myths that have over the years assumed larger-than-life manifestations in our collective psyche.
- Article 370 is considered as the root cause of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
- But there is a little material basis to it — neither Article 370 can be considered as responsible for terrorism in the Valley nor has its removal ensured a reduction in terrorism.
- Article 370 is also held responsible for ruining J&K, stalling its development, preventing proper health care and blocking industries. Once again, these arguments also lack merit and evidence.
- J&K, as a matter of fact, has been doing much better than most other Indian States and one of the reasons for this was the land reforms carried out in the State in the early 1950s which was possible precisely because of the presence of Article 370.
- Also, private investors do not set up shop in Kashmir due to militancy which is a product of an existing conflict; not because of Articles 370 or 35A.
- If J&K is doing better than the other Indian States, it is because of the massive amounts of funds provided by New Delhi.
- The real argument here is not whether Kashmir received funding from New Delhi but massive funding as it is often made out to be.
- Funds from the center can be divided as:
- Funds to take care of J&K government’s revenue deficit: J&K, for historical reasons, has had a bloated bureaucracy in comparison to other States and their salaries and pensions have been financed by the central government. But these funds do little for the State’s economy or the general population.
- Then there are routine transfers of funds from the Centre to J&K just as transfers take place from New Delhi to other States.
- Finally, J&K also received funds due to its special category State status which again is a case with several other Indian States.
- Put differently, J&K’s better performance in comparison to most other Indian States is at least partly because of Article 370, and its well-being is not necessarily a result of New Delhi’s economic packages.
- Development can defeat militancy and insurgency.
- The reality is that development may not lead to the pacification of the conflict in Kashmir.
- The Kashmir conflict is a function of complex historical grievances, politico-ethnic demands, increasing religious radicalisation, and Pakistan’s unrelenting interference in the Kashmir Valley.
- It would be simplistic to imagine that such a multi-layered and complex conflict can be resolved by development alone.
The deep impact of mythmaking
- Changed the way how common people understand and treat Kashmir and Kashmiris.
- Ideas like “Kashmir needs to be reunited with the rest of India” have become a powerful claim made by such representations and political articulations.
- Yet another popular perception about ‘Kashmiris as troublemakers and sympathisers of terror’ has led to a noticeable increase in the mistreatment of Kashmiri Muslims in the rest of the country.
The way forward here is not in celebrating the scrapping of Article 370. It lies in critically examining various outcomes of this process. It is essential that New Delhi work the local people and leaders to reduce the trust and legitimacy deficit that we see today.