Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kashmir: economics and stone pelting politics

Kashmir is the latest flavor of the media. Everyone talks of the various political players in that field, India, Pakistan, China,Afghanistan, China, the hindus, muslims, buddhists, terrorists, mujahideens, seperatists, moderates, the Muftis, the Abullahs, the mullahs, the pandits, the Valley, Jammu, Ladakh etc etc etc.
There is total silence over the key issue: not politics, not religion but economics.
Kashmir does not allow non Kashmiris to own property there...a constitutional oxy moron. Just imagine the chaos if the same principle were to be made applicable in all the states of India or if Kashmiris were to be banned from purchase of property in the rest of the country!
Bair haal, the issue of this piece is the economics of Kashmir. Its much vaunted handicrafts and tourist trades have yet to be resurrected after the terrorist/separatist imbroiglios. And agriculture remains nascent.
For the aam aadmi, a good part of his rozi roti comes from providing goods and services to the Armed Forces and allied services which are being targeted as unwanted in the troubled state.
Is it not obvious that this is what is actually making the mare run in Kashmir --- at least until the property owners will shift focus and buckle down to industry to usher in adequate income and job generation to keep the youth out of unnecessary violence.
In a terror, violence infested state? Question of the chicken and egg here, Siree!!
What do the Political analysts have to say about this angle?

In passing, stone throwing is old hat in Ahmedabad. For decades, piles of stones have lived on strategic terraces in the Old City, well worn with use and identifiable by owners and their neighbors who come out to collect their missiles after every riot; often they sling stones to each other shotuing " this one is yours, bhai."
Stone pelting was a form of protest patented even in Palestine, where the young warriors covered their faces to avoid being recognised by the official machinery. This trend has become rampant in the Valley, faces covered to avoid identification.
Are they hiding from the terrorists or the law keeping machinery to avoid being picked up by either side? or to be recognised as Mercengary Soldiers of the Stones, whose stone slinging skills are up for sale to the political player who has organised the mischeif of the day?
How about a campaign to bring Laluji back into the Railways...is keeping a stormy petrel in absentia more important than a maverick ally who brings in trains on time and shows a profit from it too?
After almost two years plus, I travelled in a train again.....it was a terrible experience for one who had gotten used to better. I remembered with more than some affection the young men who used to clean up the compartment, visible and adequate hygiene in the bathrooms and fresh bed clothes.
This time, the Gujarat Mail was dirty, the Deccan Express tremendously and olfractorily unbearable. In its chair car, when the table was taken down for breakfast, the accumalated filth on the back of the chair in front destroyed breakfast appetite.
Whatever happened to the routine baths given to trains at the end of each run. I wondered.
Is defeating the Reds in Kolkatta's Writers' building more important than efficiency in the largest Railway network in the world?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Positive India anyone?

It is indeed sad times for Indian democracy and its Fourth Estate that the electronic media is hardput to find a single positive story to report in its daily 24/7 news reports.
News is full of scoundrels and scalywags, rapes, murders, scandals etc etc. Very often cricket and film stars take precedence over even the Prime Minister, while scandals dogging the stars, cricket and films and netas hog the headlines all day long.
It makes one wonder:
DOES NOTHING POSITIVE HAPPEN IN INDIA ANY MORE? Is no one doing anything to improve anything in this vast country of ours, touted to be the next Super Power in the world? Why is that kept under such close wraps that the media is unable to see it and report about it?
Whatever happened to INDIA SHINING?