The Questionable Patriotism of Indian Industry: They Do Not Invest in Jammu and Kashmir

Imagine how a government officer unwilling to serve in Jammu and Kashmir would have found instant comeuppance. But what do you do with an Adani or Ambani and such others who will not be loyal to the “nationalist” need in Jammu and Kashmir?

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As we know, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are very dear to the ruling right-wing.

Which is why, departing from the unsympathetic policies of previous regimes, the Narendra Modi government did that which Kashmiris most desired: it abrogated the discriminatory “special status” that had callously contributed to keeping them away from the mainstream. And following from that measure, it relieved them of the burden of being oppressed by a local assembly inhabited by uncaring local politicians.

It also lightened the onus of running the unwieldy erstwhile state by efficiently chopping it up into manageable units to be better administered by a politically unencumbered head who could be trusted more easily to bring mainstream bounties to the heretofore denied populace.

By removing hurdles to property ownership and inducting top grade officers from the central pool into the state, the Modi government prepared grounds for the cornucopia of central goodies to flow more easily into the state kept backward by local parties.

It unleashed a plethora of concessions for mainstream industrial houses to go shower “development” on the thus far denied people; these included promises of handsome financial packages, remissions in GST rates for investors, and sundry other pecuniary facilitators for them.

Through responsible propagation, thanks to a helpful nationalist media, it demonstrated how all “fact-based” claims by discredited local parties about the high rankings the erstwhile state had enjoyed in various developmental indices had been mere chimeras.

Also read: How Mainstream Parties in Kashmir Have Survived After Special Status Was Removed

And it made known to Kashmir-lovers how institutions and organisations that insisted on the verity of those indices were anti-India instruments propelled by the nefarious design to keep the state in the backwaters.

Based on all those herculean efforts on behalf of the people of the state, the honourable prime minister was enabled to state on the floor of parliament how employment and development of all kinds was ready and waiting to enrich Kashmiris.

But, guess what: scions of Indian industry who were supposed to aid and abet this unleashing of the new era in Jammu and Kashmir have remained cynically laggard in operating the nationalist plan pertaining to the so-enchanting territory.

Think that this uncooperative attitude of private Indian industry should now have come for some pathetic, had it not been tragic as well, special pleading to them by no less than the honourable home minister himself, finding the honourable industries minister (can’t recall if we have one) perhaps not equal to the job – a fact, by the way, that testifies to the creative intra-portfolio dynamic of the Modi cabinet.

Imagine how a government officer unwilling to serve in Jammu and Kashmir would have found instant comeuppance. But what do you do with an Adani or Ambani and such others who will not be loyal to the “nationalist” need in Jammu and Kashmir?

And at a time, after all, when the whole new economic policy of handing over the family silver to them, and how, has just been announced with aplomb.

Imagine that these merchants of profit should show not the least “heart” when it comes to help fructify the Centre’s integrative (sic) project in Jammu and Kashmir.

Would it be open to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to dub them anti-national?

Perish the thought: how may the pot be allowed to call the kettle black?

Then there are the beleaguered parents of misguided youth who likewise do not seem to be empowered or willing enough to rein in their progeny in order to help the ruling dispensation quell militancy, despite being so advised by no less than the most friendly, high-ranking field commanders of the army and the police.

Between the unruly captains of industry and the reluctant youth, thus, the promise made by the prime minister to parliament must seem in danger of becoming just another customary promise.

A habitual circumstance that, nonetheless, carries the potential of much derision from international human rights busybodies etc.

Also read: The Modi Government’s ‘New Era’ for J&K is Nothing to Celebrate

The one thing, however, that remains non-grata is the elephant in the room – namely the just political aspirations and dues of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Nothing that the benevolent Centre does for them seems to persuade these recalcitrants that the demand for political justice is precisely what has so damaged their prospects.

As if constitutional-political aspirations can be given pride of place in a democracy.

Mea culpa.

Badri Raina taught at Delhi University.