By Sahil Mahajan
There is a perennial tendency among the leaders of Jammu to play a victim card for the region without understanding implications of what they say or do. For decades , we have been hearing that the people of Jammu have not been treated well and they deserve better recognition and opportunities to show their talent and capabilities. True as it may be ,the question is what have the leaders done all these years.
As such there is no need to name the leaders or those who claimed to be working for Jammu or Dogras , but what they did when they were in high positions , they did next to nothing to ameliorate the plight of the people of the region. One of them , who has held several top-raking positions within Jammu and Kashmir and at the national level ,in 1979 prided on the fact that he was behind the students’ agitation in Jammu in 1979 , with a bizarre logic that he had provided money to the jobless youth. And what were the youth supposed to do – fill the streets, raise full-throated slogans and throw stones . This is the thinking of the leaders . the agitation ended with the appointment of Justice A K Sikri Commission , but nothing came out of as the commission did not address the concerns of Jammu. However, the beneficiaries were the leaders, some of whom got jobs for their sons/ daughters, others were satisfied with residential plots in posh areas of Jammu city . That’s the kind of leadership that Jammu has had , and today, too, the situation has not changed.
It is time for all those who claim to be working for the region and its causes, to sincerely identify the issues and concerns of the region in a holistic manner in which each area and demography should be taken into account . There should be a complete inventory of the issues of the past , present and future in such a fashion that nothing goes amiss . It should be a dynamic document that should anticipate the future challenges and ways to overcome the same in the spirit of securing future of generations .
Second, the narrative should not be an attempt to compare the region with the Kashmir Valley . At this stage persisting with the anti-Kashmir narrative would prove counterproductive. . Now that pain has started visiting Jammu and biting it hard. There has been no such change, it is being realized now, that what Jammu thought would benefit it , has hurt it. And all those leaders who are propagating that Dogras have rediscovered their identity are having no connect with the people , and they are the ones who played time and again, games to garner benefits at the cost of the people of Jammu and sowed seeds of divisions among people on the religious, ethnic and linguistic lines. They never had a vision , and they will never have.
So, the third point gains immense importance that Jammu should look at its young people who have the leadership potential , and also understand complexities of the situation . They are the sons of the soil who have seen the outside world and have innovative ideas to transform things in the region , both at the local level , and also at national level , and can propel Jammu in the international spotlight . It is time to move on. There is a need for generational shift in politics and leadership.