Skip to main content

Central control 'draconian', offer Article 370 'special status' to villages, towns, districts

By Chandra Vikash* 
Growing up in the industrial town complex of Bokaro Steel City. currently in the state of Jharkhand, hailed by India’s legendary Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as among the “modern temples of India” and amidst school friends and neighbors from diverse parts of India, the feeling of national integration has been strong in my upbringing.
This got further reinforced, when I got into the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, where I studied from 1989 to 1993 where illustrious Google and now Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai was my classmate in the Metallurgical Engineering department. It was here that the words “Dedicated to the Service of the Nation” got strongly etched in my memory which you read in bold letters on the masthead of the Main Building of this sprawling campus in the state of West Bengal, the oldest and the largest among all IITs. Those were the formative years.
All the while till about four months back when the Government of India abrogated Articles 370 and 35A on August 5, 2019, whereby the special status of the state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) was removed. Consequently, the state was bifurcated into two union territories; J&K and Ladakh.
Around this time in the early 1990s when I was still at IIT Kharagpur, I also supported the movement for the state of Jharkhand breaking away from Bihar, which had gained lots of notoriety under the corrupt regime of Lalu Prasad Yadav. Priding over the special educational achievements of the townships of Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Dhanbad and Hazaribagh I even wrote an article in the “The Telegraph: newspaper to this effect. So, I support not just the bifurcation into two UTs as well as the removal of the “special status” only to J&K as has been projected in the national media.
In the spirit of collaborative federalism and the oft-repeated mantra of "unity in diversity" that we all endorse across political ideologies and geographical identities, every village, town city and district in the country, however, is special. More so, when experiments in centralization have failed around the world from the breakup of Soviet Union to the coming collapse of behemoths from China to United States, Brazil, Africa and Europe.
As a climate and ecological activist for past two decades, I also strongly believe in Localised Abundance and Circular Economies as the only way to avert the looming ecological catastrophe and to leave behind a safe, sane and sustainable future for our children and coming generations. It is my earnest enquiry therefore whether can India buck this trend and should it. Here is why in a nutshell.

Local is the future: Globalisation of things is an idea whose time has gone

As a firm believer in the traditional indigenous of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam, which means “world as a family” I am a strong proponent of globalization and a cosmopolitan at the core.
I travel around the country in my quest to learn about Indian culture, civilization and traditions and to share what I learnt from a diverse set of gurus – from Subodh Kumar, IIT Roorkee alumnus with his rich interest in Veda and Gaupalan; Ravindra Sharma “Guruji” of Kala Ashram in Adilabad; KN Govindacharya on Gau, Krishi and Rishi tradition; Ram Bahadur Rai on recent history since independence; Puri seer Swami Nishchalanand Saraswati; Swami Muktanand of Amritam Trust; Swami Shivanand of Matri Sadan in Haridwar among several others.
In the past, I travelled to UK, Japan, Singapore and US which helped me understand global perspectives beyond reading stuff.
My keen interest in understanding diverse cultures, issues and challenges and how our fates in a highly globalised economic system are closely intertwined has been bolstered by internet and for past decade by social media where I have nurtured a diverse set of friends and fellow travelers from around the world.
Yet, wherever I go, one thing that I insist upon is to eat local and in every possible way learn about and adapt to local customs and ways of life even on short trips. And I strongly believe that the global ecologically crises has been single-handedly cursed by our rabid and incessant greed and recklessness to capture markets by moving stuff around from centralized and “cheap” production units to elbow out much superior local produce.
This monstrosity feeds itself as over time, the local eco-systems of production become weaker and inferior teetering towards collapse, which leaves the market wide open to loot and plunder by the monopolistic industrial produce from centralized units. This is then dogmatically defended using rigid and draconian trade and tariff regimes that lock local economies into a subversive rut of disguised but predatory economic imperialism.
With the internet blackout stretching for more than 120 days in J&K, start-ups which began with much fanfare are closing down
The fitting response to resurrect local economies and preserve the diversity of cultures that sustains them, is to provide an Article 370 and 35A like “special status” to every village, town and district in the country and easing the burdening and draconian control of both the central and state governments, especially in the larger states.
This is already reflected in the existing Article 371, which just like the now abrogated Article 370, falls under PART XXI titled 'Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions' of the Indian Constitution. It extends to 11 states -- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Karnataka -- and outlines the special provisions in place for them. Six are from the Northeast where the provisions aim to preserve tribal culture.

Restore the internet that is like oxygen to the modern economy

With the internet blackout stretching for more than 120 days in J&K, start-ups which began with much fanfare are closing down. In an article today in A "The Hindu" report by Peerzada Ashiq points to how young Kashmiri entrepreneurs are leaving behind their homes and dreams to seek employment elsewhere.
Buoyed by the entrepreneurial instincts of Kashmiri youth, the Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party regime had formulated a J&K Start-up Policy, which was made public in September 2018. It aimed to “facilitate and nurture the growth of at least 500 new start-ups in J&K in the next 10 years.” In just about one year, as the internet shutdown on August 5, the start-ups are in disarray for over 4 months now.
This has dealt a severe blow to women's empowerment in the region, as many women had set up with big dreams as entrepreneurs and as the distress prolongs this is forcing the local entrepreneurs to emigrate and is likely to abet rage and frustration turning to terrorism to settle scores unless quick and pressing action is taken to restore internet and communication services.

Immediate withdrawal of armed forces

Attending a press conference in Delhi on Thursday December 5 by various civil society groups from different states in India who recently undertook a ‘Restoration of Democracy’ march from Jammu to Srinagar, I arrived at a firm conclusion that the people of J&K are highly burdened and their daily lives in a disarray due to the heavy-handed armed forces presence in the region.
The group also released a report titled “Jammu to Srinagar Yatra: A Report on the Absence of Civil Liberties, Economic Distress, and Political Crisis” at this event and shared their experiences and insights. It is evident from the report that with the winter approaching, the continued army presence will debilitate the civil supplies and in tandem with the internet shutdown will jeopardize the seasonal migration between not just J&K regions but also with Ladakh which is now a separate Union Territory.
In turn, unlike the general perception, it is the erstwhile BJP supporting trading community in Jammu which has incurred a huge monetary loss from the economic breakdown as the supplies of high value produce from Kashmir is no longer getting routed through Jammu.
---
*Strategic thinker, ecosystem innovator and innovation coach, has wored in various companies – SAIL, Arvind Mills, TCS, Mastek, Logica, Reva Electric Car Co., Erehwon Innovation Consulting and Vertebrand Brand Consulting. At present, convenor, Global Academy for Indigenous Activism (GAIA)

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

World Bank proved right, Narmada is already a destructive project: Medha Patkar

By Rajiv Shah  Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar has said that the World Bank’s independent review mission, which brought out the Morse Commission report , has been proved right: The Sardar Sarovar dam has not only failed to live up to the loud promises made for irrigating large arid areas of Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat, those who were displaced and resettled in Gujarat are getting increasingly restive as many of them are unable to get the promised water for irrigation and some for drinking water too. While 50,000 families have been resettled in three states and 20,000 have received land rights as land or cash, the authorities have not calculated what should be done with 15,000 families, whose houses are acquired for Sardar Sarovar but following changing backwater levels of the Sardar Sarovar dam, they are denied rehabilitation, Patkar tells Counterview in an interview (part1*): *** Q: What is the latest position in your view as far as the Sardar Sarovar dam is concerned?

Upholding labour rights, Nehruvian scientific temper, Rajni Patel opposed Emergency

By Harsh Thakor*  Rajni Patel, who died 40 years ago, whatever his flaws, had one great quality: his human touch to offer selfless service and ability to galvanise or influence human beings from all walks of life. Few people would ever go out of the way to help someone or serve as selflessly without aim of personal gain. Rajni championed Nehruvian secular ideas and scientific temper. As a master in public relations he revealed utmost humility. As a barrister, he never appeared against the trade unions or workers. A Fabien Socialist he opposed liberal capitalism and radical socialism. Unlike most lawyers, he did not succumb to the lure of amassing wealth. Rajni was born in Sirsa, in Gujarat, on the very day Gandhi set foot on Indian soil, on 9th January, 1915. He gained his baptism through one of Gandhi's speeches calling for the boycott of foreign goods, which was the virtual turning point of his life. Rajni toed Gandhi to organise boycott of foreign goods. Rajni was able to cros

Vadodara violence: Fine Arts Faculty alumni raise fingers at Varsity's political appointee

Hasmukh Vaghela with PM Counterview Desk  In a statement, alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FoFA), Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, Gujarat, referring to the “violence” by right-wing groups for displaying “objectionable” paintings that “hurt religious sentiments” at the one of India’s top fine arts institute May 5, have taken strong exception to “the assault and rustication” of one of the students, and lack of action taken against those who “violated” the institution and committed the act. Floated as an online petition seeking wider support, the FoFA alumni, in their statement, addressed to the vice chancellor, MSU, said, there should be “thorough” investigation in the whole incident and “immediate action” should be taken against syndicate member Hasmukh Vaghela, MSU, who sparked the assault, and “other co-conspirators” for breaching “university code of conduct and unlawful activities committed in broad daylight”. While the alumni statement doesn't say so, Vaghela

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

UK leader cites Indian farmers' struggle one of top global fights against neoliberal order

Counterview Desk  Jeremy Corbyn, member of the UK Parliament, former leader of the UK Labour Party and founder of the  Peace and Justice Project , in his  inaugural speech to the  Progressive International’s  Summit at the End of the World on May 12, 2022, has said, what is happening across globe suggests that "image of apocalypse -- bombs and raids, oil spills and wildfires, disease and contagion -- is a reality for people across the planet." In an adaptation of his speech, distributed by  Globetrotter , Corbyn, however, said, there are fresh examples action, too -- by Indian farmers forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw three neo-liberal laws;  by workers, communities and activists against the top giant multinational Amazon's "greed and exploitation"; and by Latin American people's struggle to say "no more to the domination by imperialism, the destruction of their communities and the abuse of their environments." Stating that this is n

Why is NIOH-ICMR 'official' making false claims on silicosis?: Health rights NGO

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, Dr Jagdish Parikh, trustee, health rights NGO People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, and Jagdish Patel, director, PTRC, have said that the claim being made for the use of biomarker for detection of silicosis raises concern about scientific tenacity of the diagnosis of the deadly occupational disease. The letter also objects to the reported claim by a top health official that it is possible to detect silicosis at the sub-radiological stage. It asks, “What is this subradiological stage of silicosis? We have not heard any such scientific term being used. Again, the report is using a term which is not found in any scientific literature so far. Is this term acceptable by ICMR? Is ICMR thinking of any explanation?” Text : This is with reference to our letter dated November 28, 2021. In our communication we had raised our concern about the scientific tena

Welfare? Govt of India spends just 19% of manual scavengers' rehabilitation budget

By Bharat Dogra*  While the Dalit community has been always known for higher levels of poverty as well as social discrimination, even within the Dalits there is a sub-section known for even worse levels of poverty as well as social discrimination. This is the section which was traditionally involved in manual scavenging. The shocking injustice they have suffered from over the years has been widely recognized leading to a ban on manual scavenging. At the same time there is urgent need for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging. Hence a self-employment scheme for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging was drawn up. The allocations and the expenditure for this scheme for the last eight years are shown in the Table below: Union Budget for Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of  Manual Scavengers (in Rs crore) By Budget Estimate we mean the original allocation made when the budget is presented. It is clear from this table that the actual expenditure

Custodial death of Muslim youth: Govt of India told to ratify UN convention on torture

Counterview Desk  Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), Hooghly, West Bengal, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has drawn to the custodial death of a Muslim youth following his torture in police custody after registering a "false case" based on manufactured records. Seeking "proper investigation" the whole incident, Roy in his plea insists, the incident legitimizes his organisations' long-standing demand "for immediate ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment." Text : Here I want to draw your kind attention to one incident of custodial torture by the Deganga police personnel and the subsequent custodial death of one Muslim man from the Other Backward Class community in Dum Dum Central Correctional Home. The name o

This Maoist justified US, western Europe's anti-Soviet stance, even Bhindranwale

By Harsh Thakor*  A glaring example of the extent to which those seeking to identify themselves as revolutionaries can go in making odd compromises with those normally considered as “class enemies” in Marxist jargon is late Kondapalli Seetharamiah. Few know that this Maoist organiser two decades ago was so enamoured by the Chinese three worlds theory that he called for a united front with the United States and other western countries against what he considered Soviet social imperialism! This wasn’t the only “compromise” Seetharamiah made during his career as a revolutionary. On Punjab he took a most eclectical stand of supporting Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, thus soft-pedalling the terrorist Khalistani movement. Among his other opportunist alliances, about which few are aware of, include support to the Akalis in Punjab, on one hand, and the NTR Telugu Desam regime in Andhra Pradesh, on the other – all part of his anti-Congress thrust. Also known as KS, this Maoist started his career as