The notion of stability and Jammu

Sahil Mahajan

It is 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.