Friday June 21, 2024

Indian poverty and genocide in Kashmir

By Zafar Alam Sarwar
September 14, 2019

Western countries say India is a secular state where democracy prevails, but ground realities today belie the claim. Democracy, as American president Abraham Lincoln interpreted, stands for government of the people, by the people and for the people---it means an administrative set-up determined to provide economic justice to and work for the common man’s welfare.

That is what one ought to bear in mind while assessing socio-economic progress of a country. So, let us see from this angle things happening in various parts of India, Jammu and Kashmir and rest of the region.

Poverty has been spreading fast in India over the years, driving hundreds of thousands below the poverty line and to starvation. Any keen-sighted visitor with human heart and mind will return home disappointed and depressed with prayer for the Indian farmers compelled to sell their wives and daughters under financial burden.

What CNN-IBN reports said sometime ago is true even today. Reportedly, the situation has not changed for the better; it’s horrific in the Uttar Pradesh where peasants of Bandelkhand felt their survival was at stake. Pressed hard by drought, they blamed their shocking social condition and economic misery on the inefficiency of the government to rescue their families. The woman trade was carried on ‘legally’ under cover of a stamp paper. Reduced to penury, the farmers had no alternative but offer female members of their families for sale to settle account with the money lenders. What a democratic exploitation!

Reportedly, Bandelkhand farmers are among those millions of people in India who hardly get one square meal a day. They sell their women to money lenders to hide debts in the garb of marriage for amount ranging between Rs4,000 and Rs12,000. Low literacy rate leads women to compromise because of unread papers, which makes them even more susceptible to exploitation. Once the ‘new husband’ has had enough of the purchased woman she is sold to another. Most of them end up in the vicious circle of prostitution. This is Indian democracy wherein a money lender buys the right to own a woman and sell her further.

What is happening to women in Indian Held Kashmir is more ferocious. There has not been decline in cases of kidnappings, tortures and gang-rapes. There are about nine million troops to frighten the Kashmiris who want to protest and assert their right to self-determination. Two questions arise in relation to warming situation in Kashmir: first, why don’t the world’s law-abiding governments and human rights organisations demand a satisfactory answer from India for what has been termed the state terrorism; and, second, why India has constantly bought arms and ammunition from the US, Israel and other countries and engaging herself in development of new weaponry?

What’s this arms build-up for? Was it meant to create fear among the freedom seeking Kashmiris and the Indian poor masses groaning under pressure of money lenders? Yet another question: Are the ever-increasing orders worth billions of dollars in direction of targeting China, or any other country in the region, according to her neo-colonial doctrine? Whatever the doctrine and horrible socio-economic problems multiplying in the wake of population explosion, the notable point is that India has not budged from her awful policy of becoming a regional super power at any cost. The fact of matter in case of India is that while millions remain deprived of basic necessities of life their political leadership has developed lust for power and hegemony in the region: That’s why focus on acquisition of war equipment and lethal weapons and flexing muscles as military power. What does unprecedented troop deployment along international border mean in the backdrop of provocative military exercises? Analysts catch the point when they look seriously at clashes along borders with China and Pakistan, which many say speak of Indian arrogance and expose her disrespect to spirit of peaceful co-existence.

Most relevant in this context is the India-China stand-off in Ladakh Sector. India constructed fortifications at Chumar soon after China’s withdrawal from Depsang. This act of India made the atmosphere unpleasant. What was the result? India itself was embarrassed, realised the Chinese stance was principled, and sought the flag meeting. It had to accept the Chinese demand for dismantling of fortifications. The constructions of new bunkers, in fact, amounted to violation of a border arrangement between the two countries, under which no permanent structure could come up along the LOC. Reportedly, China had to force India to dismantle the new fortifications and discontinue the round-the-clock patrolling it used to undertake at Chumar in Laddakh Sector. Such measures formed part of the deal to end the stand-off.

What did India gain from such arrogance? People said “nothing” but their annoyance. Troops too were said to have grumbled against their commanders for ‘unwise acts.’ By the way, Indian arrogance and adventurism, bullying the neighbours and inherent desire for dominance in the region have always boomeranged. The stand-off stemmed from India’s own aggressive posture, eventually establishing the fact that India understands the language of force. Isn’t it a psychological case: taking neighbours as weak states and exploiting their gentleness to achieve its ends? Many pro-India analysts say its leadership seems shorn of foresightedness: it failed to convince public by trumpeting that the stand-off with China ended unconditionally whereas the Chinese troops withdrew only after India accepted their demands. The Indian troops resultantly got demoralised. —