CIRCULATED ENGLISH MONTHLY OF J&K
A News Magazine of Kashmiri Pandit Community
|| Home | September 1st-30th, 1999 ||
September 1st-30th, 1999
ENSURE FAIR POLL
TO OUR READERSOn 14th September, 1999, Kashmir Sentinel completed five years of its existence. It has contributed a bit to the debate on national security in general and Kashmir in particular. This fortnightly has also been trying to change the national mindset on the genocide of Pandits. Much still remains to be done.
Kashmir Sentinel was conceived as a reponse to the ongoing threats to the country’s unity. We believe India is fighting its second battle for freedom. The opportunist political class of the country has made national security concerns hostage to the vote bank politics and petty political expediencies. Lobbying by the vested interest rather than the evolved national interest determines the security concerns.
Kashmir Sentinel has a historical role to play in shaping a new renaissance to rekindle the spirit of India. Only a reawakened India will be sensitive to the threats to its unity and be compassionate to the frontline victims of pan-Islamist terrorism.
We solicit the cooperation of our readers for helping us in this endeavour. Creating adequate resource backup for the sustenance of this fortnightly is the challenge for all of us. We solicit the cooperation of our readers in this endeavour in the form of generous donations. Immediate target is creating of a corpus amount sufficient enough to ensure the uninterrupted publication of Kashmir Senintel.
Elections Fail To Enthuse Kashmiris
Special CorrespondentElection process in the Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency completed on September 5 with just 11 percent people coming out to exercise their right to franchise. The opposition candidates belonging to the newly formed People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Congress levelled serious charges of rigging by the ruling Natioal Conference. In Ladakh polling was over 70 percent. Udhampur and Jammu Parliamentary constituencies registered 35 percent and 45 percent polling respectively. However, in the Muslim-dominated assembly segments polling was very low. Baramulla goes to the polls on September 17, while the election process in the keenly contested Anantnag constituency was countermanded due to the killing of the BJP candidate by the terrorists.
Kashmiris boycottThe people in Srinagar-Budgam showed their disenchantment with the ruling National Conference by refusing to participate in the polling process. Barring Chrar Sharief 55%, Kangan 31% and Budgam 22.5% the voting elsewhere was negligible. The highest voting in the capital city was recorded in the Amirakadal constituency at 9.5%. Figures for other constituencies are Habbakadal 0.5%, Hazratbal 5.5%, Zadibal 3%, Idgah 2%, Khanyar 3%, Batmaloo 3%, Khan Sahib 8.5%, Beerwah 7.13%. In Ganderbal, chief minister constituency voting was less than 5%, while in Sonawar where most of the VIPs, legislators, ministers reside, polling was just 3%.
Out of a total of 980 booths, in 182 booths nobody came to vote and empty boxes were sealed. In another 180 booths there were less than ten votes polled. NC leadership was visibly annoyed because in many areas even the local bureaucrats and the NC cadres did not come out to vote. Except for Chrar Sharief and Kangan the National Conference MLAs did not build a campaign for participation in elections. In fact in these two constituencies there were good pre-election rallies by the ruling party. In Budgam, a Shia dominated town, people came out to vote in good numbers.
In 1996 elections the polling percentage in Srinagar was 41%, while in 1998 it came down to 30%, showing dwindling people’s interest in elections. Observers attribute, it to either disenchantment with NC or the militant threat. In 1996 terrorist scare was relatively more. This time at least in Srinagar the scare was less.
Militant threats:In Ganderbal, Khan Sahib, Zalopur, Shah Mohalla, people did not even turn up for NC election meetings. There were no anti-election posters in urban areas but in the rural areas threat of harassment and fear was quite palpable on the day of election, the separatists took out tokenist demonstrations in Maisuma and Jama Masjid. Earlier, the government had seized copies of ‘Afaq’, ‘Nidai Mashriq’, ‘Srinagar News’, ‘Uqab’ and ‘The Mirror of Kashmir’, for carrying the Hizbul Mujahideen warning on poll participation.
Malpractices:The opposition candidates levelled serious charges of rigging by NC MLAs and other leaders.Mufti Mohammed Syed, PDP leader alleged that NC legislators indulged in bogus voting through Anganwadi workers and ‘burqa’ clad women in many booths. He also accused an ex-MLC of NC of manipulating the postal ballots of displaced Kashmiris. There were also allegations of NC indulging in bogus voting through “mobile voter teams”. At Kandoora (Beerwah), PSO of NC leader opened fire in which five villagers were injured. There were few complaints this time of voters being coerced to vote by security forces or nail parades in the evening.
Post-Poll Protests:Reacting to the alleged rigging, the PDP candidate Miss Mehbooba Mufti said that the ruling National Conference had given a free hand to enforce poll boycott, intimidate voters, cast bogus votes and attack the agents and leaders of PDP. She also blamed surrendered militants and members of Special Task Force for helping NC in rigging the election. Senior PDP leader, Mufti Mohd Syed said he apprehended repetition of malpractices by NC in other two constituencies as well. He added that PDP has lost faith in Election Commission. Mufti Syed charged the Election Commission observers with connivance in rigging by failing to take notice of the irregularities during polling.
Mr Muzaffar Hussain Beg, another PDP leader blamed the Home Ministry, State bureucracy and security forces for subversion of electoral process. Mr Beg said that the campaign for boycott imposed through militants and clandestinely backed by ruling NC and other agencies for their own narrow interests was a direct challenge to the democratic process. He claimed that due to failure of NC at political, economic and administrative levels people were looking for an alternative “out of desperation, if not out of hope”. Mr Saifuddin Soz, disgruntled NC MP said that Election Commission was not interested in fair polls in the state and has been indifferent towards the irregularities committed by NC government during elections.
Pre-election CampaignIn the run up to elections NC and PDP traded acrimonious allegations against each other. NC leaders accused Mufti Syed of sending Mr Jagmohan as Governor to J&K and blamed Mufti for initiating ‘bullet for bullet policy’ in Kashmir. Dr Farooq Abdullah accused Miss Mehbooba Mufti, PDP candidate from Srinagar of ignoring the interests of Kashmiri Muslims. He alleged that she had opposed MLA quota of fifty jobs and the share of Valley Muslim students in MBBS selections. PDP accused NC of misgovernance and retarding the economic development. Mufti Mohd Syed told an election gathering that as Home Minister he was instrumental in the recruitment of one thousand Kashmiri Muslims against Pandit vacancies in Kashmir.
Both PDP and NC appealed to the voters by raking up emotive sentiments of Muslim subnationalism. PDP called for unconditional dialogue with militants and raked up the issue of so-called excesses by security forces. PDP described the issue of autonomy raised by NC as politically motivated.
Dr Farooq Abdullah in an election speech called for reopening of Rawalpindi Road. He claimed Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee was the lone leader in India, who could solve Kashmir problem. Dr Farooq also said Kashmir problem will be solved soon. He justified alliance with BJP at Centre saying it was necessary for securing liberal financial assistance from Centre. National Conference in its manifesto, while demanding autonomy claimed that J&K had acceeded for only three subjects-Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communications. Mr Sheikh Nazir Ahmed, General Secretary of NC said Mufti Syed’s autonomy stance was mere political gimmicry. He described Mufti a political opportunist.
Mr Saifuddin Soz, who is contesting from Baramulla as an independent and Mr Abdul Gani Vakil, Congress leader demanded a CBI probe into alleged bungling of funds by the State government. They accused ruling NC of misusing funds received from the Centre. Mr Soz also demanded unconditional talks with Hurriyat and claimed that NC’s autonomy plank was his.
Jammu Province:In the Jammu and Udhampur parliamentary constituency there were no complaints of rigging. However, in the Muslim-dominated constituencies voting percentage was quite low. In Kishtwar it was 24%, while figures for other constituencies are Inderwal 23%, Doda 35 percent, Bhaderwah 26%, Ramban 35%, Gulab Garh 33%, Darhal 40%, Rajouri 37%, Surankot 21%, Mendhar 26%, Poonch-Haveli 35% END
MAJOR SUSHIL AIMA
‘HAIL, YE INDOMITABLE HEROES, HAIL !’
By Shyam Kaul (Safapuri)In mid-eighties, when young Sushil Aima, a 12th class student, sought admission to the National Defence Academy, he did not inform his parents or any other member of the family. He feared that with the exclusive artistic background of the Aima family, nobody would approve of it.
But after he was selected in 1985, Sushil reluctantly went to his father and gave him the news, fearing that the answer would be a firm ‘No’. But that did not happen. His father, Makhanlal Aima, an insurance officer, did not get angry, but he did appear visibly surprised.
‘Papa’, Sushil told him, “joining the army has been my dream and today my dream has come true. I assure you I will not disappoint you. I will make a good soldier”.
Major Sushil came from a gifted family of Srinagar. His uncle, late Mohanlal Aima, was among the moving spirits of the post-1947 revival of Kashmiri music. He lifted the Kashmiri “chhakri” from its plebeian moorings and gave it popularity and respectability among the high-born Kashmiris. Through the medium of newly established radio station in Srinagar, he was instrumental in bringing out the “sufiana” music from the “diwankhanas” of the elite and taking it to the homes of common people.
Omkar Aima, another uncle of Sushil, was a stage personality before he moved on to Bombay films, starting with the lead role in first-ever Kashmiri feature film, ‘Mainzraat’.
Satish Kaul, a cousin of Sushil, carved a place for himself, both in Hindi and Punjabi films. Another cousin, Alok Aima,has made a name in Hindi and English theatre in Dubai.
Sushil was commissioned in the army in 1988, as the years rolled by, he grew into a fine soldier, and, when the moment of ultimate challenge came, he touched the pinnacle of valour, which any soldier anywhere in the world would be proud of. In his brief career he earned the praise of his superiors for his bravery, initiative and leadership qualities, especially, during his stint in Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir, one of the worst militancy-affected areas.
In 1997, Sushil was given the rank of a Major. In 1999, when he was 32, with a promising future ahead of him, he was martyred in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir, defending his motherland. He fought valiantly till his last breath against the Pakistani intruders, and joined the select ranks of the martyrs of the great Indian army. In his death, in the prime of his youth, Major Aima covered himself with glory, and brought honour to his family, his people and his country. For a country, no glory can be greater and nobler than that brought by its soldier sons who lay down their lives while defending the honour of their motherland. Sushil Aima immortalised himself as one such soldier son of India.
The first day of August ’99 was hot and humid. Makhanlal Aima and his family were home at Palam Vihar (Haryana), trying to ward off the oppression of the sultry weather. But they were also eagerly awaiting the arrival of Sushil, who was to join the family to celebrate his fifth wedding anniversary, the next day, August 2.
But Major Sushil did not arrive. He never did. Instead came a stupefying shock, a message from the army, that he was no more. He had been killed in an encounter with Pakistan-backed mercenary terrorists in Poonch, where he was posted, on the eve of his wedding anniversary.
Late at night, when Major Sushil was resting after having made preparations for his departure for Delhi next morning, news was brought to him that a large group of foreign mercenaries had assembled on a nearby hill. It was learnt that the group had plans to attack a village in the vicinity, largely inhabited by members of one particular community.
A hurried conference was held. It was decided to go into action, surround the terrorists, and then launch a full-blooded attack, to be led by Maj Sushil. The young officer and his jawans soon made contact with the enemy and a fierce encounter followed. It lasted for seven hours, and ended up with a hand-to-hand fight, with heavy losses among the intruders. Two terrorists fell to the bullets of Major Shushil, but in the later stage of the encounter, he was fatally wounded when a bullet hit him in his left temple. Holding the revolver in his left hand, he also shot dead the third terrorist who had fired the fatal shot at him. Then he provided cover to a colleague, who had been grievously injured in a grenade blast, and helped him crawl to safety. It was then that Major Sushil’s end came.
When the body of the deceased hero was brought to his home at Palam Vihar, hundreds of people had gathered there to be with the bereaved family in its hour of grief. They stood there, men and women, in silent sorrow. Not many had seen or known the young army officer, but here was India, paying its homage, to a martyred son of India.
Makhanlal Aima, holding in his arms his nine-month old grandson, Sidharth, was a picture of restraint and dignity. His friends, crowded round him with words of sympathy and consolation. In a choked voice he told them, “it is an irreparable loss to all of us, and a perpetual agony for the two small kids and their young mother. But I also think of scores of other parents and relatives, who, like us, have been receiving the dead bodies of their soldier sons from the battlefront. I don’t consider it as mere death. It is martyrdom. A moment of pride and honour for all of us.”
Later when Major Sushil’s body was taken for its last rites, Palam Vihar was transofmred into a sea of people. Thousands of them lined the road, among them school children too, whose schools had been closed for the day. Businessmen closed their establishments and shops to join the funeral procession. From ministers of Haryana, led by Revenue Minister, Kailash Sharma, to the local sarpanch, Ranjit Singh, there was hardly a civil or army dignitary, who was not there to bid farewell to Major Sushil Aima. His officers and colleagues in the army were there in full strength.
It was a spontaneous gush of sorrow. It overwhelmed the Aima family. Omkar Aima could contain himself no more. With tears trickling down his cheeks he thought of the dark days, a decade ago, when the eruption of terrorism in Kashmir, had driven out the entire Pandit community from the Valley. At that time no fleeing Pandit knew where he would find safe refuge. Everyone of them wondered whether he would be owned anywhere and whether he would belong anywhere.
Walking alongside the cortege of his nephew, Omkar felt Major Aima was the son of India and the exiled Pandit community belonged to the whole of India, and every nook and corner of the country was its home.
Held by his grandfather in his arms, little Sidharth was made to light the pyre of his father, who had been described as the “bravest of brave” by a senior officer of his, Maj Gen A Mukherji. Who knows what dreams Major Aima had dreamed for his little son and four-year daughter, Ridhi. But one can be sure that he died with the confidence that a grateful nation, he left behind, would give them a happy childhood and a secure future.
A few days later a special function was held at Rohtak where Haryana Chief Minister, OP Chautala, handed over a cheque of Rs 10 lakhs to Archana Aima, widow of Maj Sushil. The hearts of Omkar and Makhanlal Aima, who were present, brimmed with gratitude for the people of Haryana, Maj Sushil’s adopted state. But a gnawing feeling rankled deep down in their hearts. Sushil was born and brought up in Kashmir, and he was martyred on the soil of Kashmir. And yet, the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, did not have a word of sympathy or condolence to convey to the bereaved Aima family.
Sushil has gone to eternal sleep, as did many brave soldier sons of this country during the summer of 1999, after shedding the last drop of their blood for the honour and integrity of their motherland.
On Fame’s eternal camping ground
DISSECTING THE PROXY WARIn sixties and seventies Mainstream, Economic and Political Weekly and Seminar were influential left-wing journals and commanded academic prestige. With profound crisis overtaking Marxism, questioning its legitimacy both as a political system as well as a social theory, very few left journals have survived in the true sense. Seminar, has been different. It continues to modulate the national debate on crucial issues.
‘Something like a war’, ‘seminar special’ on Kargil war engages the attention of readers in a serious way. For the last two decades the Indian state has been involved in fighting the proxy war imposed by Pakistan. Today the Indian middle class is more concerned about the strategic aspects of Indian security, internal as well as external. It wants to know how the Indian state is countering this proxy war. What are its limitations and successes? This special issue of Seminar covers this gap to some extent. Disgraced Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat once talked about the advent of a ‘scholar-warrior’ in India. Seminar carries as many as five in-depth analyses from former officers in the Indian Army.
Major Maroof Raza poses the problem, saying that India’s experiences are a part of the growing international phenomenon, where contemporary warfare has begun to lean extensively towards the ‘low-intensity’ variety. Since 1945, the world has seen around 160 conflicts-of which three-fourths have been low in intensity. The message is, Raza adds, the military must ‘adapt’.
Gurmeet Kanwal holds the progressive decline in the defence budget, despite manifold increase in threats, responsible for the failure of the armed forces to keep pace with modernisation. He says it has compromised their security in the type of war they are now being called upon to fight. Kanwal questions the credibility of conducting a dialogue with a duplicitous state, Pakistan. His judgement that Benazir Bhutto reflects the moderate opinion will be contested by many. She is emerging as the new US trouble shooter on Kashmir.
What has gone amiss in the analyses of these experts is that they have not been able to focus core objectives in Pakistan’s Kargil game-plan. Instead collateral effects are described as the basic objectives. Gurmeet Kanwal does hint that Kargil intrusion could have been an attempt to physically occupy a chunk of real estate to use it as a bargaining counter subsequently, particularly in respect of negotiations for a mutual withdrawal from Siachen glacier. How Kargil escalation marks a qualitative change in proxy war, this perspective is also weak.
Major General Afsar Karim specialises on J&K and is former editor of the Indian defence review. He tackles the political perspective on secessionist war in J&K. In his assessment, rampant misgovernance, dishonest politics by National Conference and the rise of fundamentalist Islam are the main causes for Kashmiris drift towards secessionism. He treats the rise of fundamentalism as an isolated category and not in the context of power struggle within the ranks of Kashmiri’ Muslim elite, the rural urban divide and the peculiar mode of economic development. Also the rise of fundamentalist consciousness among Kashmiris cannot be simply attributed to a conspiracy. Upwardly mobile groups among Kashmiris have reacted independently as well as through Pakistan to the fundamentalist movements in the Muslim world.
Likewise, re-establishing the power symmetry within Kashmiri Muslim society also forms a subtle under current in the ongoing secessionist movement.
General Afsar Karim also gets carried away by the socalled Kashmiriat syndrome. This word has never been used by Kashmiris till 1980. With the rise of the secessionist movement, this expression is used more in a political sense. In a cultural sense, Kashmiris have been as secular or as sectarian as any other regional community of India.
Gen Karim says that the term azadi was deliberately left vague to deceive Kashmiri Muslims. Azadi in fact cannotes independence from India and merger with Pakistan.
Karim attributes indiscreet handling of public demonstrations and indiscriminate firing by armed forces for rise of alienation in the initial period. What were soft options left? He himself concedes that ISI agents had infiltrated all the vital organs of the state to paralyse the working of the government. Entire intelligence gathering system had collapsed. Terror and psychology manipulation had turned people indifferent.
It is said that 1995 marked a change in the situation in Kashmir. ‘Alien’ factor started gaining ascendency, while alienation of locals started vis-a-vis secessionist militancy. Karim, while acknowledging this neither quantifies nor qualifies it. How deep was this alienation and on what grounds? If alienation of locals crosses a particular threshold, no secessionist movement can go further on. That, “Kashmiriat was slowly winning and fundamentalists were losing ground,” is too general a statement.
The rise of counter-insurgent groups among Kashmiris was the major factor that led improvement in the situation between 1995 and 1996. Elections became possible and a section of people became vocal against militancy. The successful blows that counter-insurgents delivered to the secessionists made people realise that militants were not the sole power centre. Thus, people, who had joined secessionist movement in euphoria or under coercion distanced from it. There were others who had suffered at the hands of militants in criminal acts of extortion, rape, revenge killings, became more vocal with the ascendancy of counter-insurgent groups. General Karim has totally glossed over this factor and overemphasizes the ‘cultural encroachment’ dimension. Similarly on the role of village Defence Committees, General Karim is not abreast with the ground reality.
A common misconception, that Karim also laps up is that foreign mercenaries induction was the outcome of locals’ alienation. It was, infect, a definite phase in Operation Topac for upgrading the proxy war.
Afsar Karim recommends two major initiatives for curbing the secessionist menace in J&K - promoting regional security agreements against terrorism to isolate Pakistan and retrieving the moral legitimacy of the state government in the eyes of the people. For this he recommends free and fair elections, a corruption free and competent administration and commitment of the government to protect the life and limb of people from terrorist onslaughts.
Manavendra Singh, in ‘“The Soldier’s story” captures the Dilemmas of a army solder in the Coin-OPs (counter-insurgency operations). There is no front, no border, no forward operating base and no identifiable enemy. He identifies the camouflage of the insurgent and breach of faith by the local support structures as the enemies of the soldier involved in Coin-OPs, provoking a sense of frustration. Manavendra Singh remarks, “interweaving of the insurgent with the civil society at all levels results in the development of a terrible feeling of betrayal among the soldiers, ‘a breach of faith’ by the local political leadership or administrative machinery,” About camouflage, he says, “the camouflage in these jungle states is complete, so to say. A complete camouflage, a near perfect subversion/bonhomie, is a cocktail that proves too heady for the soldier to digest. The sense of honour that has been instilled in soldiering prevents him from walking and leaving the mess as it was”. Kargil in this situation comes as a relief-the desire to undertake Pakistan, identifiable instigator for his agony. Direct war also has no disabilities of a Coin-Ops, where a soldier bears “the loneliness, the strain and fatigue that accumulates from a constant 24-hour mental battle with the militants with the frequent taunts from the population whose lives he is supposed to protect. And all this while a polity and an administration does not discharge its duties”.
“In ‘Angels who bring God’s blessings’, Nayana bose says, while quoting a study by an Army psychiatrist that lure of power and quick money than religious zeal was the motivating factor for many Kashmiri militants. Bose attributes growing local alienation to fatigue, huge physical losses and a craving for normalcy. She is also critical of what she calls Dr Farooq Abdullah’s “impulsive style of governance,” and corruption. Bose sounds a pessimistic note saying “A fringe will always keep this cycle going with some help from Angles”.
In ‘moving away from real politik’ , Lt Gen VK Nayar details his experiences in North-East. He discounts negotiations with the insurgents, saying it is unlikely to lead to resolution, “as the people’s problem is deprivation and not insurgency.” Nayar argues that North-East insurgents were never strong on ideology and the insurgency survives there for parochial political, ethnic and material gains. The splintering and mushrooming of insurgent groups is attributed by him to the outcome of ‘fear and favour complex,’ perpetuated in the region. Nayar says over a period of time mutually beneficial patronage relationships have been evolved between North-East politicians and insurgents and the two have developed vested interests to continue the status quo. Nayar blames north-east politicians, and says, “extortion by regional bosses and denial of resources for development constitute the twin banks within which our policy gets articulated. The political leaders and the bureaucrats use their offices to siphon off development funds at the cost of real development.” Nayar proposes paradigms of ideal politic and cooperative approach as a way out.
In an excellent paper on ‘Small Weapons and National Security’, BVP Rao explains how the global proliferation of small arms and light weapons has resulted in serious ethnic, religious and linguistic conflicts. He recommends many measures based on international cooperation. These measures include a) retrieving and destruction of small arms and light weapons, unaccounted in Afghanistan b) curbing illicit arms trade c) data base on weapons licenses d) campaign over arms proliferation and spread of drugs.
‘Takling the Tigers’, by Maj Gen Ashok Mehta is the most thought provoking essay on IPKF mission. Its purpose, successes and failures are analysed so well and reflect on general’s keen insight. In ‘unconventional terror’, Rahul Roy Choudhary talks about the dangers of nuclear weapons reaching the terrorist groups.
This special issue also carries interesting book reviews on ‘Defending India’ (Jaswant Singh), ‘The threat from within (VK Nayar), ‘Low Intensity conflicts’ (Maroof Raza) etc, besides a useful bibliography.
“Something like a war”
A TALE OF MISERY AND PAIN
By Pradeep Kaul (Khodballi)It was a hot afternoon. If I remember correctly about one month must have passed. I saw a bespectacled man in late seventies. His gait caught my fancy as he slowly moved up the road till he walked into a bend. About half an hour later I again saw him. Though my eyes previously had a backside view of him but this time I recognised him as soon as he had come over the bend. With a piece of cloth he wiped his sweat. His gait was more shaky and it seemed as if he was on last reserve of strength. When he drew nearer, I could see the frail contours of his frame. My guess was incorrect to some extent about his age. But guesses are often misleading and sometimes one is startled by the wide margin a guess makes a miss. He was sweating profusely and with equal rapidity he wiped it with his piece of cloth which was tattered suggesting a long, vigorous use. As he passed by my side I was struck by something unusual in him. But I could not muster enough courage to introduce myself. Soon I went along and as I stole glances at him his rickety figure had melted into the maze of roads ahead.
But then strange are the ways of this world. Many incidents in our day to day routine escape our notice. This feeling is more intense when you are living in an alien place where the cultural affinity is at variance and where nature is torrid and tantatizing. The urge to reach out to your motherland, the very thought of it, the life that you passed in her lap, the cool, soothing spring breeze at day break, the boughs in summer, laden with crisp fruit, the waft of autumn breeze bringing with it the aroma of saffron fields, the silently falling snow flakes, the sense of loss of all such beautiful things, obviously is enough to make life unsavoury and our memory hazy. With so many cares to nurse that incident of my tryst with that frail figure escaped my memory. But sometimes strange and amazing things happen, and it happened soon.
I had another tryst with that man about fifteen days later. With same shaky steps he slowly wound his way up the road. This time my resolve was firm. I went ahead and with usual civility introduced myself. At this uninvited intrusion in his reverie for he was oblivious of his immediate environs, he was taken aback. With subdued and mild alarm at the sudden intrusion he retraced a step and looked askance at me. I could read a strange sense of despondency and dejection writ large upon his freckled visage. The deep furrows on his forehead and near his dry mouth first went deeper and then slowly opened up to reveal aging skin that lay in between. By now he was somewhat reconciled to the disturbance that my introduction had caused. Namaskar, he replied to my greeting. How are you? He asked. This way our conversation started. I started walking with him without even noticing till I suddenly found that I had covered a fair distance of about two furlongs. Now I noticed another thing that I did not see earlier. He was carrying an old canvas bag which was dangling from his shoulder, hanging loose as if enjoying its to and fro motion.
Our conversation struck a familiar chord. we found ourselves engaged in an animated conversation. We went inside a wayside tea stall. I ordered tea and soon we were sipping it when he gradually started opening up. I learnt that he was an academician. All his life he had taught in college. Years latter many of those students rallied against his tribe throwing them in a caouldron of heat and dust hundreds of miles away from their cosy homes. The teacher with hard earned money had built a house in Sylvan surroundings on the banks of a mountain torrent against the backdrop of hills clothed in dense pine in Kashmir. A perfect picture post card setting where higher pursuits of life such as writing and contemplation come natural to a sensitive and creative person. There according to him, he had collected a beautiful library having rare books. While narrating this tale his eyes turned moist and his voice broke into a faintly audible murmur. With difficulity he collected himself and continued.
It was from such idyllic environs, he had to flee for life and for honour, like thousands of other men, women, children and infirm. It was amazing that he did not care a fig for all his earthly belongings but his heart wept for the loss of those pricless books which he had collected all his life. The way he had raised his family the same way he had raised his collection of books.
Two years ago his house had been set on fire. But prior to that it was ransacked and his precious books were either plundered or burnt. He had, when we met gone to the police lines to inquire about the whole episode and to know first hand what had really happened to his price less treasure. He lived in a dingy, ramshackle rented room with his wife. His children had flew off to cocoon their own nests far away. Thus he had to pursue the case himself though his circumstances were straitened. During our conversation I ordered tea thrice. He would politely refuse each time. By now I had a feeling that I was becoming a part of his tale so I wanted to know more of it.
There was only one way to keep him glued to his seat and that was to order tea in regular succession. He was emaciated for he had walked a good distance from home to police office.
In his canvas bag he had a bundle of worn out papers. Among them he showed me a photostat copy of the first information report about the fate of his house and of his cherished treasure with characteristic disdain he showed me that photostat copy and said, “look whatever I achieved in my life, whatever I yearned for all my life has now crystallised into this photostat copy. This photostat copy is the only proof of my existence in my dear motherland where I lived. It is the only proof of my academic propensity and pursuit.” With a voice which could hardly speak he took a deep sigh took this copy from my hand and thrust it deep into his bag.
The din in the tea stall had grown louder. The rattle of glasses and the loud music played, made me feel that I was in a strange place. The old man wanted to take my leave. He must have been anxiously waited for at home. I nodded in polite affirmation and we went out of the stall. I took his leave. For sometime my eyes tried to follow him. To them he was not a stranger now. Some time later my gaze returned blank for he had mingled with the surging crowd and gone away.
I remained awstruck by what had happened during last one and a half hour. What the old man had said had shaken me deep from my slumber. That photostat copy occupied my mind. I thought. Who I was? What was I doing in this place? Who brought me here from my paradise, my home? Was I also a photostat copy of my realself the orginal of which lay in my home, my Valley my Kashmir. ‘Yes’, I said to my self, I am also a photostat copy without real colour and life, only in dull black and white. I tried to search for my own self which was lost now for about a decade beyond the peaks of Pir Panchal. I was nothing but a mere frame in which life is only a formality. My thoughts revolved round the conversation I had with Dr Ram Krishen a few minutes earlier and with drooping head I slowly walked away END
NARCO-TRAFFICKING--THE ROLE OF PAKISTAN ARMY
Special CorrespondentIn 1993 the US intelligence agency, CIA released a sensational 93-page secret report on drug-trafficking in Pakistani. Excerpts from this report were serialized in the leading Pakistani daily, The Frontier Post. The report detailed how the families of late General Zia-ul-Haque and Nawaz Sharif are part of the Narcotics empire. It discussed at depth how ISI, Pak government and the Narcotics mafia act in close cohorts. It said that drug corruption had permeated virtually all segments of Pakistan society.
Drug money is not only used for personal aggrandisement but also to finance party elections and fomenting transborder terrorism. According to the ‘The World Geopolitics of Drugs 1997/1998’ annual report, ISI uses drug money to finance the work of about ten fundamentalist organisations operating in Kashmir such as Al Umar, Harkat-ul-Ansar and Jehad-ul-Kashmir, as well as groups in Tajikistan, Chechnya and Xinjiang.
In May 1994, in an interview to The Washington Post, Nawaz Sharif himself stirred the hornets’ nest by claiming that in early 1991 Pakistan’s army chief, Gen Aslam Beg and head of ISI Gen Asad Durrani wanted his consent for extending direct patronage to narco-trafficking. He said the two generals proposed a detailed blueprint for selling heroin to pay for the country’s military operations. It was three months after Sharif was elected as the Prime Minister. They told him that the armed forces needed more money for covert operations and wanted to raise it through large scale drug deals.
It has been rumoured for years that Pakistan’s military has been involved in the drug trade. Civilian political leaders have quite often accused the military of developing the country’s nuclear technology, arming insurgents in India and other countries without their knowledge or approval and sometimes in direct violation of civilian orders.
In his interview Sharif claimed that the meeting between him and the generals occurred at the prime minister’s official residence in Islamabad after Beg called one morning and wanted to personally brief him on a sensitive matter. Sharif said. “Both Beg and Durrani insisted that Pakistan’s name would not be cited at any place because the whole operation would be carried out by trustworthy third parties. Durrani then went on to list a series of covert military operations in desperate need of money.”
It is said that ISI had been pinched for funds after Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. Foreign governments stopped funneling money and arms through the ISI to Afghan Mujahideen. Without foreign funds, ISI was hardpressed into sustaining its proxy war operations in J&K. Funds thus began to be raised by direct involvement of ISI in narco-trafficking.
CIA’s concern over state patronage of narco-trafficking in Pakistan stems out of a compulsion that over 20 percent of all heroin consumed in US comes from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The equivalent of about 70 tons of pure heroin is produced annually in Pakistan, third of which is smuggled abroad, mostly to the West, according to the State department’s 1994 report on International Drug trafficking. The United Nations says that as much as 80 percent of heroine in Europe comes from Pakistan.
US and other officials have often complained about Pakistan’s weak efforts to curtail the spread of guns, money laundering, official corruption and other elements of the deep-rooted drug culture in Pakistan, which along with Afghanistan and Iran lies along the so-called golden crescent, one of the world’s biggest drug-producing regions.
Khattak, Saifullah, Afridi and Arab Pashtun tribes are the main tribes involved in the production, transformation and trafficking of narcotics. These tribes have their members in the government of Nawaz Sharif, the high federal administration, and the provincial administrations. In the Punjab, a centre for arms and drug trafficking to India, many key administrative posts are obtained only by the recommendation of Nawaz Sharif’s brother-in-law, Zia Bakht Butt, who is on US DEA’s black list. Zia’s brother, Aslam Butt who is a key figure in one of the six Lahore gangs and Haji Iqbal Beg’s smuggling empire, enjoys the reputation of being “king of Hiramandi”. One of Zia’s partners is Dawood Ibrahim, Bombay Mafia don who master-minded 1993 serial bombings in Bombay.
In April 1997 US intelligence agencies uncovered information linking a Pakistan Air Force officer arrested on drug charges in New York to a heroin trafficking ring inside ISI. The officer Farooq Ahmed Khan was suspected of being an officer in ISI. Several of ISI’s officers, working within the Air Force are involved in the drug-running operations. Mr Khan’s attempt at bringing heroin into the United States was the third time Pak Air Force officers smuggled heroin into the US, according to a report. ISI retaliated by arresting US’s Drug Enforcement Administration employee, Ayyaz Baluch, just 3 weeks after Khan’s arrest. The State Department described Baluch’s arrest as a “hostage taking” on the part of ISI and violative of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations. Reacting to the ISI retaliation, Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA operations officer with experience in Pakistan, said, “There have been allegations for a long time that members of ISI have been involved in drug smuggling as a way to find covert operations and doing it off the books” END
INSURGENCY IN J&K A REVIEW OF OUR RESPONSE
By Yoginder KandhariInsurgency in the State of J&K is a decade old now and appears to have firmed in fully for a protracted combat with the security forces. Day by day we are being pushed into Afganistan like crisis with frightening consequences. Why we failed to bring the situation under control? Answer to this question lies in proper analysis of our response, both political and military, to the challenge of militancy.
Counter insurgency operations are fought on two fronts simultaneously, political and military. On political front our response has throughout remained confused. Our political leaders are unable to comprehend the basic causes of the problem thus have failed to evolve a consensus on this strategic issue of national importance. Eversince full scale eruption of militancy successive governments at the Centre appeared bereft of ideas to counter the growing menace, so much so that the problem now appears to have slipped out of our hands. There hardly has ever been any substance in our political response which would merit a review or re-appraisal.
There is no doubt that our security forces have risen to the challenge of insurgency in the state in a wonderful way. Where else in the world does one find foot soldiers covering hundreds of miles day in and day out, just to keep road networks sanatized for safe vehicular movement. Hundreds of soldiers have been lost in last ten years and many times more maimed. Yet the security forces have stuck to their job without a whimper. One justifiably feels proud of having been a member of such an organisation, unmatched the world over.
Indian security forces, especialy the Army, have enough counter insurgency experience. Yet they have not been able to control the situation in J&K for last ten years. Surely we have faltered somewhere in our military response. In retrospect, one finds that a lot of issues were either lost sight of or not addressed at all while formulating military response.
Current Security ScenarioIn present day context, insurgency in the state has graduated from hit and run and stand off strikes to full-fledged pitched batles with the security forces. Of late we have seen insurgents launching daring pre-dawn attacks on security forces camps, which were unheard of till recent past. Recent encounters have revealed mature military planning and execution.
Adding a deadly dimension to the current security scenario is continued smuggling in of latest weaponry. Militants appear to have eased pressure in the Valley with two fold aim in mind. Firstly, their continued presence would not have permitted revival of economic activity there which is essential to retain sympathy of the local public. Secondly they have drawn our security forces to the ground of their own choosing where-in the difficult terrain acts as a force multiplier for them to offset their numerical inferiority. Their planning follows a carefully thought out design and they seem fully set to retain the initiative they have gained thus far. Needless to say that combat in insurgency situations is mostly battle of wits and retention of initiative is half the battle won.
Gap in Strategic VisionA yawning gap in our strategic vision was evident when we failed to appreciate possible options available to Pakistan to keep Kashmir pot boiling. Fomenting insurgency in the Valley always lurked as a distinct possibility especially in the context of a similar attempt made by her in 1965 and in light of more recent experience of Indian response gained by ISI in sponsoring urban insurgency in Punjab. While we were thickly involved in Punjab, ISI dumped arms and ammunition in heaps in the Valley with impunity for their ultimate mission. We failed to pickup the threads and were caught off guard in our own backyard in 1989. Blame for this fiasco should equally be shared by the politicians and security forces strategic planners.
Inadequate Initial ResponseSince our security forces were just not prepared for such an eventuality, our initial response to militancy too was inadequate to the task. True there was an acute lack of will and direction at political level especially so in the initial stages. Our military leaders should have known that the buck ultimately would be passed on to them alone. Such a realisation would have compelled the military planners to evolve an effective counter strategy, best suited to the local pattern and psyche. Instead army think tank was found laid back in their approach to the problem just wishing away the worst. This delay forced the security forces to use age old concept of Cardon and Search Operations (CASO) every where without any results.
Thus our military response was ab initio cast in a predictive and essentially a reactive mould. A chance to gain military and moral ascedency over militancy was lost in the initial stages itself. It was the time when militant rank and file mainly consisted of home grown and ill trained youth who hardly understood naunces of actual combat. What ever might have been the extraneous constraints, evolution of an effective counter strategy always was security forces’ sole domain and none would have dared interfere. Alas, we procastinated and let the golden opportunity slip away.
Failure to Read DesignInsurgency in J&K did not show any innovativeness per se. Its course was as predictable as it could be. As is common the world over, it started with isolated blasts to herald its arrival. This stage was followed by killings of prominent public figures by specially designated militant squads to strike terror. There after we had a longish period of five to six years when militants upgraded their operations to take on security forces, albeit standoff ones, with primary aims to stay in the news. Hazratbal and Chrar Sharief episodes were essentially part of this phase. Simultaneously, militants ensured their writ ran through the entire administrative and social fabric through the frequent calls for strikes and ‘bandhs’. Next logical stage was to shift the battle ground to inhospitable terrain as obtained in Rajouri, Doda and Kupwara. Had we read through their design we would have snatched the initiative by being proactive to keep them on the run. But we waited for things to happen rather than preventing them.
Failure of Intelligence SetupIt is an open secret that huge quantity of arms and ammunition was brought in from across the LoC openly. Similarly truck loads of youth were carried onto the other side from various towns of the Valley in full view of the administration. What were intelligence agencies doing in the Valley? We had a handful of them working there even before militancy erupted. It is just not enough to explain away intelligence failure to elimination of intelligence officials. Such contingencies should have been thought of in advance and alternate channels created to keep information flowing out to avoid intelligence black out, we witnessed in the Valley from 1990-1993. Even when the intelligence agencies regained their poise a bit, hardly any real time/actionable intelligence was forthcoming.
Lack of Tactical PlanningAll tactical plans evolve out of clear understanding of adversary’s intentions. Since we failed to read the design of insurgency our tactical planning suffered as a consequence. Had we initially dominated the difficult terrain, which militants are holding now, we would have denied these safe sanctuaries to them and upset their planning. We, of course, pumped in two more divisions into these difficult areas but only after militants had established bases. We seem to have fallen into their trap by committing a large number of troops as if on militants command.
Lack of Appropriate EquipmentIt is a common sight to find Generals cribing about non-availability of proper equipment to fight insurgency. This cry has been there for long within the security forces but was never heeded to. Even genuine requirements were never projected to the appropriate authorities. We now hear that procurement is underway of ground sensors to check infiltration, of direction finders to hone on to militant command set ups and of state of art weaponery. These items have been in the international market for a long long time. We only woke up too late in the day to their requirement. Most of our counter insurgency operations have been fought with semi-automatic rifles, obsolete radio sets and opaque night vision devices.
Most senior officers wanted their tenures to pass off as quickly as possible leaving the dirty work to troops at execution levels. In 1993-94, troops received some bullet proof jackets but most refused to wear them. These jackets consisted of two crude steel plates, weighing 10 kgs each, put in cloth sacks to be bridled on to the human body. Imagine a soldier making tactical manoeuvers under battle conditions with such ill fitting equipment. These bullet proof jackets were cause more of casualties than of protection.
Setting of Unrealistic Targets:As soon as higher commanders were under pressure to perform they set strange targets for their subordinates. Weekly KRAs were set in terms of number of weapon recoveries. There after, the troops just went after weapons. A militant could move around freely provided he had hidden his weapon discreetly. Recoveries were stage managed in order to please the bosses. One is reminded of an instance when recoveries were stage managed to appease a divisional commander on visit to a brigade headquarter. An operation was planned for the occasion and recoveries made much earlier were announced in stages coinciding with each course being served to the General in the officers’ Mess. Thus there was a general loss of directions in our counter insurgency effort and we lost sight of real objective.
Interference from top: Troops in actual combat were not allowed freedom of execution by the top echelons. In such an exacting environment, it is very difficult to maintain morale of troops at battalion/company levels if orders are not clearcut/self explanatory and tactically feasible. One has to guard against psychological fatigue setting in the troops. Curtailment of leave, mundane routines and over eagerness to show results, are factors contributing to such a malice. Of late, psychological fatigue has started showing in the form of frequent shooting incidents within security forces camps.
Lack of Resources:Any number of mine blasts could have been averted and many more lives saved only if adequate resources in terms of expertise and specialised equipment was released by various headquarters to the troops in ‘action’. A strange bureaucratic attitude had set in and staff at various headquarters were too miser to even release whatever was available with them, leave alone requisition from other sources. Even basic equipment like mine detectors, prodders, radio sets etc were at premium and none bothered to rationalise these even within the same formation. Such callousness was manifest almost everywhere.
Military intelligence fund never percolated down to execution level troops. How could it have? It was a means to procure exquisite wood carvings and ‘Pashmina’ shawls by those who were at the helm.
In apt Media Handling: In all counter insurgency operations consummate handling of media is essential for success. Our senior officers, too keen to show themselves off on TV screens, were found wanting in this skill. During Chrar Sharief operations we saw a General live on the national hook up to declare that his troops were fully poised to catch ‘Major Mast Gul’ alive. To the General’s bad luck Mast Gul did not oblige him. Just by one amaturish comment on electronic media, Mast Gul attained instant ‘hero’ status. Escape of Mast Gul was celebrated through-out the Valley as an outright victory over Indian Army by the militants. Escape of Mast Gul was celebrated through out the Valley as day of victory over Indian Army.
Security forces have to search appropriate answers to the militants’ threats soonest before costs of our involvement in the battle rise further. A stock taking of our responses thus far is necessary to plan appropriate interventions if situation is to be redeemed before it is too late.
Yoginder Kaudhari was commissioned in the Regiment of Artillery in 1976. He served, participated in counter insurgency operations in Assam, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir before seeking premature retirement END
SHRI MAHESHWER NATH DHAR-THE FIRST ROYAL ARTIST OF KASHMIR
By Krishna DharIt was dark-cold January, the sun so pale and silent had set in horizon. The street oil lamps were lit, flakes of snow began falling. It was the first snowfall of the year 1888 AD and the auspicious hour dawned the birth of a babe destined to play a memorable role in the annals of paintings, art, portraits and photography.
The strange coincidence that marvelled the later artist was the fact that “Ben Johnson” the reputed genious and an artist was born the same year in Phillandaphial (USA) christioned. Shree Maheshwer Nath Dhar, the boy-grew up in close association of the miracles of nature. Still in his early teens he started building clay forts, hills, modelling birds, trees, natural scenery and everything that caught his immagination.
At the age of fourteen he left for Gwalior and returned after eight years in 1910 AD. During his short stay there he worked in the State Public Works department as a draftsman. Back in his native town of Srinagar, he gave a display of photography, portraits and many portraits of “Yog Sadhna” and spritual portraits on different mantras of Goddess Uma, Raginia Bhagwati and Shail Putri.
a) The portrait of Uma Bhagwati was placed at Uma Nagari Temple (Utrusoo) district Anantnag.A portrait of Devi was also placed at Devibal temple Anantnag.
Being unknown in the eyesof general people of J&K, nobody was his teacher. As such it was he himself as was quoted by him. The inner spirit that guided him along the parth “The voice came from inside”, he adds. Time passed on and the king of Kashmir Sh Maharaja Partap Singh, at the instance of his courtiers gave him an audience.
Hon’ble Maharaja Partap Singh was immensely pleased to see his paintings, portraits and camera which the young artist had himself shaped in a different way.
Immediately he was appointed (Royal Artist) and adequate arrangements were made within the palace at Jammu to design studio, besides a set of residential rooms. Thus came he to live in the Royal House hold flanked by the nobles, courtiers and lovers of the art. The artist began his work by reshaping age-old paintings in the palace. Much of it had decayed and the paintings on the walls had damaged. His studio overlooked the Tawi River and the fair sights of hills and gardens generated sublime idea as the artist.
The Hon’ble kind would often spend few minutes at his studio, look after his needs and comforts. The kings of Patiala, Palampure, Gwalior Nabha and Indore often used to visit the artists studio while they were here as state guests.
The paintings of Kangra, Gwalior,Noorpurah and many other places of Himachal Pradesh were so dear to the Royal Artist and he would brood for hours on them. The artist was also fond of Rajput paintings. During this period he “drew” hon’ble Maharaja and painted and painted afresh his ancestors, the Dogra Royal family. These paintings are put on display at state Museum in Srinagar.
The Royal patronage was not destined to cover up the entire career of the Artist. Hon’ble King died in 1925 AD and Royal artist had to vacate from the palace. The heir to the throne hon’ble Maharaja Hari Singh had his own ideas, ways and tastes and therefore terminated the services of the Artist and hundreds of others who worked there.
The artist spent later part of his life in his home working constantly at his studio in Banamohalla Srinagar.
In 1935 the then Prime Minister of the state Sir Gopal Swamy Aingar utilized his services to renovate the world fammed monuments “The Martand Ruins”. Incidently his starts twinkled again and shown forth with moral brilliance; as India obtained freedom. The first popular Prime Minister of the state Sher-i-Kashmir Sheikh Mohd Abdullah felt so joyous to partose his art. The lion of Kashmir loved him and respected his contribution. With the passage of time the patronage shifted to Bakshi Gulam Mohd; the 2nd Prime Minister (1953-64). He also respected the Krishna Dhar D/o Mehshewar Nath Dhar artist for his artistic capability.
The artist-my father was also man of sprituality but unknown to the common people. In this connection I hereby quote an example which clarifies the artists advancement in this field. Once his “Guru” who was a saint-scholar of Kashmir at that time, asked the artist to draw an attractive picture of the “Amriteshwera Bhairava”. No clues were given by the Guru. He accepted the order but could not give any shape to it. After few days he approached the master to express his inability. The Guru was annoyed, he just blessed the artist. The same night he was directed by an invisible soul in a dream about the sketch of the drawing. He woke up frightened and drew the sketch hurriedly as directed. The Guru approved it and the painting was there for posterity. This establishes the place of artist in the field of sprituality too.
The artist (my respected father) felt again and often complained of mascular fatigue. His health steadly declined but the communion that held him fast with his studio remained uneffected. The famous artist Mohan Ji is stated to have said “If I ever go into heavens, I will ask about MN Dhar a famous Royal artist”.
On 12th May 1971 great grand artist passed away full of honour and fame, shortly after he finished his prayer with “Pranayama” END
STRAINS OF GOVERNANCE
By Rajesh PilotThe events of the recent past concerning governance in all its facets have been discussed and debated intensely amongst politicians, bureaucrats, academia, technical community and the intelligentsia in general. The media has covered them adequately and responsibly. The Armed Forces too have voiced concerns. Whatever be the reason or whoever be responsible, let us recognise that today, we have a depressed economy, rampant corruption, a sluggish judicial system, unchecked criminal activity, serious internal security upheavals, crumbling education system and an ineffective leadership. Our country today is in a state of turmoil and chaos, more serious than ever before in its 50 years of democratic existence. There should be no shame in recognising and accepting that our aspirations have not been met in all these areas and that the inadequacies in governance appear to be one of the primary reasons for our failures on numerable fronts. Therefore, there is a need to examine this issue in its totality and put the nation back on the rails.
Our democratic infrastructure, as in the west, has been built around an institutional framework, which spans across administration, education, economy, business, industry, infrastructure, military etc. Today, this framework has become so intensely rigid, compartmentalised and insensitive that the very purpose of realising meaningful governance through it appears defeated. Every issue is locally polarised and the synergy expected out of this framework is missing. The result is that the worldwide-accepted Indian talent, extensive natural resource pool and our sizeable infrastructure is in a state of flux. The overlay of governance on this national flux provided by political government, the higher management in the civil or military including technical and social community has acted as a layer of jelly, which inhibits this flux from taking a synergetic and coherent sense of direction. The result is the present state of chaos. Today, the sole aim of the political establishment and its next lower level of management appears to be to grab ownership of this framework. How else one could justify hijacking of the NSC by a section of the bureaucracy, a virtual seizure of professional billets in governance by generalists, and a tug of war between the civil service and the rest?
What emerges is that the civil service, which was created to act as a glue to bind together everyone else, has failed to play its role. Its biggest failure emanates from its inability to coexist with the rest representing specialists in government, industry, civil sector, scientific and technical community and the military. Every section of these specialists in fact have now resigned themselves to this, since the political setup seemingly appears to have become an ally of the civil service and has repeatedly failed to recognise and address this problem. The system, therefore, has entered the state of degeneration.
In a technology and competition driven global environment, we need to recognise the role of specialisation in governance. The induction of specialists in a wider spectrum of governing activities is a worldwide phenomenon and we can see its success in our own private sector. It may be argued the civil service would then need to be encadred as specialists in economics, various disciplines of science, engineering, technology, medicine, education, infrastructure, commerce etc and would have to sustain such vertical line-age as done in the Armed Forces. This is obviously not practical. Therefore, specialists must be drawn from the national mainstream and the civil service needs to learn to co-exist with them. The civil service also needs to be given due doses of specialisation for an effective fusion. The intention is not to underestimate the role of the bureaucracy, marginalise any cadre or scrap one service in preference to the other. The aim is to bring out that somewhere we have failed to recognise role of professionals in this country.
Today, technology guides the destiny of a nation in global, national and local terms. The role of information technology for building modern infrastructure for governance, in every sense of the word, is indeed strategic and cannot be ignored. Therefore, if the information infrastructure in telecommunication, defence, space, trade, industry, transport, education, agriculture, health care and social uplift of the country at all levels is not built to modern standards, the country’s governance will remain a perilous issue. The civil service is a lynchpin in creation, sustenance and utilisation of this infrastructure. The role and involvement of the civil service as well as politicians in this area is wanting and in some cases negative. We must find ways and means of drawing the civil services and the political establishment into building this critical vehicle for governance since they happen to control the administration, finance and other resources.
In the past, office of Cabinet Secretary, Election Commission, CBI, Supreme Court, High Courts and even the office of the President have seen serious aberrations in governance exposing relations between the political establishment, the civil service and the rest. These instances had their roots in inadequacies in handling of extraordinary situations within the civil service and the political establishment. The recent instance involving removal of the Navy Chief is a further historical, political and administrative aberration. Today the military plays an equally significant role for economic and political stability of a nation. In a democratic system, civil authority must prevail on all extraordinary situations with extreme care and caution. The constitution provides certain overwhelming powers to the Cabinet over the Armed Forces to maintain discipline. But by the same argument, it must also be incumbent upon the political establishment to recognise the ground realities and reasons for a particular situation emerging. In this particular case, the political establishment may have sent a message to the military to remain disciplined and in check. But it does not have to be read between the lines to make out that the message and the manner of delivery was wrong. It is conceded and reiterated that individuals can falter, but they can and must be corrected through mature, civilised and dignified processes. The government must commit itself to a genuine introspection and correct the aberrations to restore the dignity of the office of the Navy Chief. Raising debates in public by planting irrelevant and personal issues, the government may manipulate the media for the general public but it can only remove the injury from the minds of the Armed Forces by sending fresh messages of love and care. The Armed Forces are no longer isolated from the media. They are the most educated assemblage of personnel and are extremely skilful in matters of analysis and introspection. To underestimate the impact of this instance would be the biggest political folly; the present government could commit.
We may devise and implement any system of governance. It will not function unless authority, responsibility and accountability are evenly matched. In the present system and the prevailing environment, there are serious lacunae. While the civil service wields most of the authority, others are made accountable. The system of feedback at the political level is sadly missing or ignored. The political leadership has repeatedly failed to assert itself and many a times becomes susceptible to binds created by the civil service. As a result, the whole system appears to be filled with aloofness with little or no concern for governance. It, therefore, emerges that unless all those matter in governance recognise these strains and remove them, this nation will further sink down to mediocrity and fall way apart from its intended goal of becoming a stable global power. The political establishment must take the first step and lead from the front.
(The write is a former Union Minister and a Congress (I) member).
Courtesy: Times Of India END
RISE OF NARCO-TERRORISM
HOW PAKISTAN DESTABILISES CHINESE SINKIANG
Special CorrespondentTHIS summer on the eve of the visit of Mr Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan Prime Minister to China, Chinese authorities executed a ringleader of a Pakistani fundamentalist group in the country’s northwest Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. It was a clear message to Nawaz Sharif that Chinese meant serious business in the strategic Sinkiang region.
The executed ringleader was among 100 infiltrators who had sneaked into the Xinjiang Ugygur region where the dominant Muslim Uighurs want to break away from the Chinese rule. This ringleader also seems to had a role in the bloody yinning riots of February 5, 1997 in which many people died, when Uighurs organised street protests demanding independence and Chinese security forces crushed the riots.
The Chinese action on execution of ringleader followed reports that some 400 hardened fundamentalists had been attempting to cross into Chinese territory from Pakistan. Despite expression of strong concern by China, Pakistan government remained unmoved. By this execution, China has sent a clear message to the Pakistani infiltrators in the region to surrender or to leave the troubled area.
Officially, Chinese press underplayed the execution. The official Chinese daily in its June 28 report said the Pakistani drug trafficker was executed along with five Chinese last week. It wrote that the Pakistani national entered Xinjiang in September 1995. This was the first time that Xinjiang gave death sentence to a foreign drug dealer.
Sinkiang turbulence presents a perfect blend of narco-trafficking and terrorism. The annual report 1997/1998 of ‘The World Geopolitics of Drugs’ says, “Drug money helps support groups such as the National Movement of Uighur Moslems and the Xinjiang Moslem Liberation Front. The ISI also allegedly used ill-gotten funds to support fundamentalist movements..” Uighur gangs are engaged in smuggling of drugs. They use the proceeds to buy deadly arms in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Fomenting Islamist terrorism in Central Asia and Chinese Sinkiang is part of a grand design by Pakistan to extend its sphere of influence. It is the most expedient instrument to ensure Pakistan’s enduring centrality in an evolving regional strategic dynamics in which Pakistan would have otherwise been marginalised if not outrightly ignored. In last March nearly two thousand cadres of the Xinjiang Moslem Liberation Front escaped to Pakistan’s Gilgat region following largescale riots. Pak agencies later moved these refugees to Taliban-run camps in Afghanistan. The notorious Ussama Bin Ladden, regarded as the world’s biggest financer of fundamentalist movements, looked after them there. These cadres have been given terrorist training in these camps at the behest of ISI. In the recent escalation of fratricidal violence in Afghanistan, hundreds of these Chinese Muslim rebels took part in action against the forces of Northern Alliance. These cadres return to Sinkiang via Karakoram highway. As the infiltration increased, the Chinese closed down Karakoram highway.
Chinese have also been holding olive branch to Taliban and ISI to make them desist from fomenting trouble in the Sinkiang region. China is helping Taliban regime in rebuilding the destroyed infrastructure in the country. Though China’s stance on Kargil has been supportive, yet it sent many of its instructors to help the Pakistanis in planning the Kargil intrusion.
Of late there has been escalation in terrorist activity by separatist groups in Sinkiang. Wang Lequan, the regional communist party secretary, recently made a speech in which he claimed that terrorist, or-in the lexicon of Beijing officialdom--”splittist” activity is flourishing as the independence movement seeks help from outside.
Intermittent violent resistance has for long remained a feature of Muslims who make up three-fifths of the Xinjiang population. Chinese troops first rolled into Xinjiang, then known as East Turkestan, shortly after the communist revolution in 1949 to secure its Western frontiers over the quasi-independent buffer states that had existed uneasily for centuries on the edge of the Chinese empire.
Muslim separatists in the region have generated serious concern among Chinese as they seem determined to create another independent Central Asian state in the peninsula. But the Chinese seemed determined to crush the resistance. This region is of crucial importance for them. The province’s significance stems from its shared borders with Kazkhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, as well as India, Russia and Mongolia. Because of Xinjiang’s proximity to the independent Central Asian states, China is a key player in the modern version of the “great Game” in pursuit of the oil wealth in the region. Chinese leadership also considers Xinjiang as a source of challenge to country’s unity.
The Chinese are taking no chances. Last year, during the tour of the region, Chinese President and CPC General Secretary Jiang Zemin urged local officials to maintain social and political stability. Following that, the local government had ordered a high state of alert against separatists and their foreign supporters.
There are also long-term measures taken by the Chinese to counter the separatist challenge. China has poured billions of pounds into the region. It has also settled millions of poor Chinese people from the mainland to strengthen China’s demographic control over the area. China’s efforts towards ethnic dilution of Sinkiang Muslims have been further supplemented by the discovery of vast oil reserves in the Taklamakan desert in 1989. Chinese oil industry officials estimate that the Tarim basin contains more oil than Kuwait. This has led to the massive influx of workers from China proper into the region. Overnight migrant boon towns have sprung up. As a result of this demographic change, the Muslims now make up only 58 percent of the population of the province. In 1949 it was more than 80 percent.
Resentment has swelled among the native Uighurs following this demographic squeeze. They find themselves increasingly marginalised by the investment and population boom in the province. It is infact in the migrant settlement areas, where the separatist activity is most intense. There are frequent outbreaks of violence against the Chinese settlers. In September, 1998, the far western city of Kashgar was placed under curfew and effectively sealed to outside travellers. This followed after eight policemen were found in their barracks with their throats slit. The attack had come few months after more than one lakh Chinese displaced by the three Gorges Dam project in Central China were relocated to farming communes in the area.
Some western agencies are patronising the Sinkiang separatists. The Uighur separatists are operating from Uzbekistan, and Turkey. They get special military training in Afghanistan and Istanbul. Some factions have been able to establish military camps in the mountains of Central Asia from where they are directing activity inside the Chinese border. Uighurs separatists have their own government in exile. While the separatists seize every opportunity to sabotage the Chinese rule, the Chinese authorities are preparing for a long haul END
COMMANDERS MUST LEAD BY EXAMPLE
NOT BY HOMILIES
By Kanwar SandhuThe Chief Election Commissioner’s caution against politicisation of the armed forces is timely. The apolitical character of our forces is one of the defining components of our democratic polity. Moreover, armies that involve themselves in the business of ruling are soon crippled with internal rivalries and the deterioration that follows from cronyism and sycophancy.
After Kargil, political parties have been attempting to appropriate’ the services for electoral advantage. The Army top brass is justly alarmed by this trend and has responded with an explicit rebuff:” Leave the services alone”. But were the political parties ever given the impression that their attentions were unwelcome?
When a war (or war-like situation) breaks out, a certain amount of proximity between the senior officer-cadre of the services and the government is inevitable but, just as it is unwise to let a chasm develop between the avowed policy objectives and military capability, it is dangerous to let the relationship deepen into anon-professional association between political leaders and the services’ top brass. In 1962 Lt General BM Kaul was too amenable to the then political bosses. It was one of the factors which led to the 1962 debacle.
Recent fears go back to Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat’s statements after the BJP government sacked him as the Navy chief. He had charged Army Chief General VP Malik of presiding over the Veer Savarkar awards function in May 1998. He also said that as the then Southern Army Commander, General Malik had invited Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray to the Army investiture ceremony in January 1996. The Army Chief explained quite appropiately the circumstances in both cases and one thought that would be the end of the matter.
Since then there have been certain cases, which have heightened fears of politicisation of the service. The briefing to the members of a political party by military officials on Kargil is one example. Army officers admit that this was a mistake. Contrast this with the professionalism of a former Army Commander, who had resisted a governor’s wish to be briefed in the Army operations room, although the person occupying the gubernatorial post was a former Army Chief. The Army Commander’s rationale was that if one governor was allowed access to the operations room, it would be impossible to refuse a similar request from any other governor. Civilian access to the “Ops room” is limited to a chosen few like the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister.
Political motives are also being ascribed to the hasty announcement of gallantry awards. Since certain mistakes crept into the list of awardees, credence was added to the fears. In the coming months, the Army needs to dispel these fears by displaying greater transparency.
As every girl knows, preserving “chastity” involves more than simpering “leave me alone” particularly if she has already let herself be led far down the garden path. The Army should know it too. Actions always speak louder than words and one correct example is worth a hundred sermons.
With more and more retired defence officers joining political parties, new areas of concern will develop. How should such officers be treated when they visit Army formations in the course of their political duties? A few years ago, an Army officer was pulled up when he provided mess accommodation to a Congress minister, who was an ex-IAF officer, when he visited Srinagar as a state guest. It is this scrupulous military disposition that has enabled the armed forces to remain apolitical.
A clear-cut hands off attitude on the part of the Army top brass will discourage vested interests from stalking the Army’s apolitical realm. This would automatically prevent a repeat of the spectacle of ‘rakhis’ with lotus motif being thrust upon the Army on ‘Raksha Bandhan’.
A factor which will help reinforce the apolitical forces would be an Act debarring Defence personnel from contesting elections for at least five years after retirement. At present there is no constitutional bar on anyone contesting elections or joining a political party after retirement. But the service chiefs should set a healthy convention in this regard. Men who retire at that rank are supposed to fade away to write their memoires.
Equally odd is the spectacle of people who have retired from constitutional posts such as governor, supreme court and high court judges, chief election commissioner, comptroller and auditor-general contesting elections. They should refrain from doing so for their partisan attitude casts doubts’ on their functioning when they were in service.
It is for such people that the Constitution provides for nomination to the Rajya Sabha of 12 persons by the President from fields like literature, science, art and social service. Various parties could create a healthy precedent by nominating at least one retired defence person of eminence to the Rajya Sabha. He is bound to provide the military view during the debates, particularly on security issues.
Soldierly thinking should be reinforced among the rank and file by the top brass. To do so, the Army should take the help of the country’s top soldier, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, who should be requested to address officers and jawans in all training establishments.
At the height of the Bofors controversy, this writer had a chance meeting with Field Marshal Manekshaw. At that time, General K Sunderji’s famous ‘shoot and scoot’ statement relating to the gun was being discussed. Calling the statement to be of pure military value, the Field Marshal said that while dealing with the politician, the soldier has to be more forthright. He narrated that when he was the Army-Chief, the government was keen to push a weapon system. He stated categorically that the Army did not want it. When the government persisted with it, Sam, in his notings on the file, cautioned against forcing such decisions on the defence services, which could create conditions of the kind which ultimately led to the downfall of the Pashas of Egypt in the last century. He said the file never came back to him and the Army was spared the weapon system. It is this candidness that the defence services need to reflect in their dealings with the political masters.
Some damage had been done during the tenure of Mulayam Singh Yadav as the Defence Minister. He tampered with the Army’s selection system. Though the system is not beyond improvement, such interference would be dangerous. Otherwise, important formation commanders will be appointed on the bidding of politicians as in the weeks preceding the 1962 debacle.
Courtesy: Indian Express END
BACK TOWARDS SQUARE ZERO
Special CorrespondentThe near total boycott in the recently concluded Parliamentary elections in Srinagar constituency has placed the centre and mainstream political establishment in the most embarassing position. Mere 11% polling and the general impression that even this meagre polling turnout was more a result of rigging than actual participation did not help India in democratic retrieval in the insurgency riden state. Instead it gave legitimacy to the secessionist conglomerate Hurriat’s argument that political stakes in Kashmir are larger than the significance of elections.
Such a low turnout in the summer capital of the Jammu and Kashmir state is significant more so because for last few years it was being advocated that influence of militancy in this part of Valley had been brought down to neglegible levels and authority of administration restored. It was also being claimed that the restoration of democratically elected government had crippled the appeal of secessionist politics in this area. Srinagar constituency barring a few areas of down town also represented a stronghold of ruling National Conference. The urban elite which dominates the National Conference power structures mainly belongs to this area. The impact of massive economic and employment packages initiated by the State government, out of which the share of this constituency was significant, was also expected to generate more confidence in this constituency mainly because of better visibility of implementation processes in this area as well as higher awareness among middle class population.
The alleged rigging has been not only intriguing but reflective of the outlook of the Indian establishment. Just before the elections Chief Election Commissioner after the visit to Srinagar had remarked that ensuring of free and fair elections in Kashmir was as important as defending LoC. Another distinguished member of the Election Commission Sh Krishnamurthy went a step ahead while emphasising the importance of elections by describing the poll-boycott calls as a part of the democratic process. However, total indifference of the Election Commission to the claims of rigging has damaged India’s credibility among Kashmiris..
When the former Home Minister of India who is himself contesting elections from Anantnag demands the conduct of elections under the supervision of independent observers, it is reflective of erosion of the credibility of election commission to conduct free and fair election in Kashmir. The human rights and civil right champions who in the past would do a drum beating on the issue of Human Rights violations also chose to remain silent on this blatant undermining of democracy in the Valley. The only saving grace in the entire fiasco has been the role played both by local and national media. They by reporting truthfully have done the nation a great service by keeping a small window of genuine democracy open to the people of Kashmir.
This is not to say that if Indian state had demonstrated commitment in ensuring free-and fair elections then the turnout at polling would have been better. But only that the credibility of Indian State in upholding basic democratic values would have not suffered a setback.
The essence of nation building processes in Jammu and Kashmir by the mainstream political establishment with regard to both secularism and democracy continues to be only symbolic. Voting through postal ballot for displaced Kashmiri Pandits is only a subtler reflection of the same outlook. A person who has been thrown out from the constituency to which he belongs for about a decade now; has no means to judge the issues in his constituency. His right of franchise has been ensured, no matter his right to live in his constituency is yet to be protected.
There are explanations being churned out to explain the boycott in Srinagar e.g. militant threats, Hurriat boycott call and people’s disenchantment with National Conferenc etc etc. Such advocated reasons provide interesting insights. Militancy in Srinagar constituency was claimed to have been brought within manageable limits. semblance of normal life activity was more perceptible in Srinagar than elsewhere of the state. There were no pre-poll terrorist strikes against the constesting candidates in this constituency. Threatening letters and poll boycott posters were conspicuous by their absence in this constituency. Even nobody pulled down the colourful banners of different political parties.On the polling day with the exception of token poll-boycott demonstrations by Yasin Malik in Maisuma and Mirwaiz Omar Farooq in Jama Masjid, there was no perceptible impact of the militant threat. Also if the threat of militancy in Srinagar constituency was all pervasive then why was there such higher turnout in areas like Chrar-Sharief and Kangan where 50% and 31% votes were polled respectively. In 1996 and 1998 despite serious terrorist threats people participated in larger numbers in the polling.
The influence of the boycott call by Hurriat also needs to be placed with realistic emphasis. It was being claimed that Hurriat because of its internal bickerings and sullied image due to corruption charges against its leadership had lost sway over the Kashmiri Muslims. In fact many Hurriat calls to Kashmir people during recent times had been ignored. Its appeal to the State government employees not to participate in poll duty was also largely rejected. About 5000 employees of the State government from Kashmir valley turned up for the poll duty.
People’s disenchantment with the present government is a credible explanation. People did participate in polls in good numbers in places like Chrar-i-Sharief and Kangan. The gross misgovernance during last two years had a potential of creating a general apathy. In 1996 all National political parties including the BJP had helped in giving a total mandate to Farooq Abdullah even at the cost of their own parties. Perhaps with a hope that NC will be able to wean people away from militancy by offering good governance and politicaly fighting separatism. On both these accounts NC has failed.
Assessment of the low polling turnout at Srinagar only reflects the compexity of the situation. If Hurriat has a sway in this constituency then why does it not reflect in terms of their capacity to mobilise people! People in recent times have been ignoring their fatwas. If the boycott basically represented rejection of National Conference then why didn’t people opt for the regional outfit floated by Mufti. In the door to door campaign Mufti’s daughter Mehbooba was able to elicit lot of sympathy, particularly from women folk.
These aspects appear to be paradoxical particularly in view of the reference model of Government of India and mainstream political establishment vis-a-vis tackling the situation in Kashmir. When Government of India embarked upon initiating electoral process in the state after a long stint of Governor’s rule it was being assumed, perhaps simpilistically, that time was ripe to enact Punjab type democratic process in Kashmir. Intelligentsia by and large believed that Farooq can play Beant Singh. Also such an experiment may have favourable fallout vis-a-vis international pressures on our country.
The situation maynot appear to be as paradoxical in case we have a more comprehensive view of the situation. There are glaring indicators, that even if we don’t take Kargil escalation into consideration, that the internal war in Valley had undergone upgradation at all levels. The semblance of normalcy in Srinagar particularly was not the result of dying terrorism but only a reflection of change in strategy and upgradation of terrorist operatives. For last two years we have been witnessing more technical forms of violence than the conventional violence adopted by terrorists. Also the visible command structures of armed secessionism which Hurriat represents do not matter as much as those which have gone underground during last few years.
Subversive processes in the state have undergone not only sophistication but have become far reaching during last few years of elected government. Boycott in the Muslim majority areas of Doda, Poonch, Rajouri districts of Jammu represent an alarming growth of communalisation of polity in the state. Stifling of competitive politics has strengthened the secessionism as normal dissent is driven to separatist channels.
Srinagar polling is a timely reminder that democratic process in a subverted polity can be self-defeating. Kashmir is neither Punjab nor Bihar. Here a very thin line exists between anti-establishment sentiment and anti-India sentiment. The type of democratic process which was envisaged to bring down alienation and harness international support is now becoming an instrument for further alienation and loss of credibility at international level. We are not back to square one but to square zero END
MOTI LAL KEMMU
KEMU: SOUL OF KASHMIR FOLK THEATREMoti Lal Kemmu, noted playwright is a master of his craft. He has done renaissance work in the restoration of Kashmir’s vanishing folk theatre form, Bhand Paather. For nearly three decades he made strong efforts to give it a distinct identity, acceptability and respectability. Kemmu himself wrote in their form and encouraged other Bhands and writers to write in this form. He made strenuous efforts for the preservation of Sufiyana style of singing and playing on Surnai by Bhands. It goes to his credit that he revived the dying martial art of Kashmir known as Dhamali dance and founded Dhamali Dance Centre. He also arranged the presentation of Rof dances and composed Hafiz Nagma after learning the same from Ustad Kamal Bhat. Mr Kemmu has also adopted different styles of singing, narrations into theatre. He has written more than a dozen plays and won many awards. His recent play ‘Bhand Duhayae’ written on the plight of Bhands in the wake of militancy has foccused National and International attention on Kashmir’s Bhand Paather. Shri Siddharth Kak’s documentary film “The Bhands Of Kashmir” was produced under Shri Kemmu’s guidance.
Recently he talked to Kashmir Sentinel about his life and work. Below are the excerpts of the interview.
How did you get interested in theatre and dance?
MLK: As a child I watched the Bhachnagma performances of Pandit Gopi Nath (Gupa Bacha) in Mehndiraat function in my own House. The house had a big hall in the top floor and people in the neighbourhood often made use of it for Mehndiraat purposes. Gopi Nath impressed me by his acting and dancing. He performed Gor, Krishen, Gosain Batni and Moat in one character Paathers. Gupa Bacha is a superb performer, master of expressions, comic as well as tragic. In boyhood days I learnt that all our Gods dance, and desired that dancing should again become essential part of our festivals.
Where did you receive your initial training in Theatre and culture?
MLK: I got my initial training when I was a 6th class student of National High School, Srinagar. My teachers spotted and initiated me into different aspects of theatre. Pandit Jagan Nath Boni (Raina) taught me nautch (dancing on rhythm), Pt Arjun Nath Bhatt and Badri Nath Koul taught me reciting, singing and acting. Pt Badri Nath Kaul was playwright and he wrote Taramati Harish Chandar, and other plays during 1944, 45 and 47 in which I acted and presented dance items as well. By this time I had developed strong dislike for traditional dancing attire. I revolted against it. In the traditional attire males would dance in Choli-Gagra. I preferred Bharatnatyam type of dress and dance.
After joining SP College in 1949 as Arts student, one of my subjects was Sanskrit and had to study Swapan Vasavdutta in the course. For the study of Abhigyan Shakantulam I took up Sanskrit again in BA. Prof Balji Nath Pandita would teach Vasavdutta orally. He remembered all the lines and shalokas and would render them like an actor. In Gandhi Memorial College, from where I passed BA I was editor of the Hindi sectionof college Magazine ‘Sangarmaal’.
Why has Kashmiri Pandit community disowned its rich heritage of Sanskrit?
MLK: I feel really bad. Shocking! All our scriptures and Shastras are written in Sanskrit. The day we cut ourselves from Sanskrit, we cut ourselves from our culture. We have been following a policy of linguistic opportunism by adapting languages to suit our mundane interests. Securing a job has been our criteria for adoption or patronisation of a language. There is no linguistic loyalty. It is a disgusting situation. Now, we do not read and write Kashmiri. So many good manuscripts have remained unpublished because the authors’ descendents had other priorities. This mindest of cultural neutrality can be broken only at individual basis. In my times, we were taught Lal Ded, Nund Rishi, Parmanand, Ramayana etc in our Thokur Kuth (Puja Room).
Did you participate in Culture Activities in SP College?
MLK: Besides attending the meetings of literary club and Hindi Parishad, some of us-Hindi enthusiasts began to assemble a few writers and started Hindi Sahitya Sammelan. Prof Hari Krishen Kaul, Prof Chaman Lal Sapru and Dr SS Toshakhani were the founder members. A Hindi play “Rakhi” and my dance programme in the college was the only theatre activity presented. Prior to my college days I had watched Kashmiri plays, Samaj Ki Bhool, Chitra and Vidhwa and had acted in a play “Shaheed Sherwani” Maqbool Sherwani’s heroic defiance of tribal raiders had stirred Kashmiris. The play was perhaps written by Prem Nath Pardesi and directed by Pt Ved Lal Vakil (Dhar). It was staged at National School. Santosh played Sherwani, while Nissar Aziz did the role of a Kabali. Around this time, I came in contact with Pandit Kashi Nath Bhan. He was a good director, set designer. Watching him directing and painting sets, I learnt about theatre arts.
How did you react to tribal raid. Did you have any specific poliical views that time?
MLK: I was just a High School student (middle standard) then and could not react substantially to the raid. For us a daily routine in the evenings was to lit an earthern lamp or a candle on the window and organise marches shouting “Hamlavar Khabardar Ham Kashmir Hai Tayar”. Same theme dominated poetry sessions, Mushairas etc. Genrally speaking Kashmiri reaction was one of the hostility to the raid, at least in Srinagar city. People in general followed Sheikh Abdullah and India-Pakistan issue did not concern them. In subsequent years things changed and people began leaning towards Pakistan. Social relations between two communities that time at common level were extremely cordial. In general there was respect for Kashmiri Pandits. By the time I joined college, communalism had started taking roots. Personally I had no political leanings, though I admired Subash Bose and Bhagat Singh. However, I was not dogmatic about taking up any platform, which promoted my cultural talent. I participated in RSS Sammelans and the left led cultural conference, without owning their political philosophy. In 1951-52 I produced and presented ‘Draupadi Cheer Haran’ at Chattabal Bhairav Premises to awaken Pandit community.
You have been closely associated with cultural conference? Did Marxism inspire you as a cultural activist?
MLK: I came in contact with Cultural Conference during 1950-51. I was introduced as a dancer, and became member of Progressive Theatre Association. Its members were S/S Mohan Lal Aima, Pran Kishore, Pushkar Bhan, Noor Mohd Roshan, Aziz Haroon etc.
Earlier founding of the local chapter of IPTA by K.A. Abbas in 1945 had given good filip to theatre. Prem Nath Pardesi and Thakur Poonchi, who played an important role in radio later were associated with it. My involvement with cultural conference was limited, as a cultural worker only. I had my own views on helping downtrodden people. Many communist cadres were simply hypocrites.
Did you have an opportuity to work with great Kashmiri poet, late Dina Nath Nadim?
MLK: I first saw Nadim in a ‘Kavi Darbar’, in 1948-49 at Sheetalnath stage as Raasakhan-Hindi poet. Some years later I danced on Nadim’s vibrant and forceful poem ‘Wavan Vonanam’ Ghani Namtahali’s Chakari and my dance brought people to party programmes of Cultural Conference (IPTA). Late GM Sadiq was quite impressed by my dance and nicknamed me as ‘Wav’. Our performances, particularly in Budgam tehsl were politically very useful for the organisers. Later Nadim wrote ‘1953’, when everything was scarce and Sheikh Abdullah was called ‘Oalu Bab’ (Patoto Father). Nadim was a real genius. In 1953 I performed a role in Bombur Yamberzal, written by him. It was directed by Mohan Lal Aima and was staged at Nedou’s Hotel and SP College. Veteran folk artiste Zoona Begum was Yambaqrzal. While Mohan Lal Aima was toofan, Pushkar Bhan played as Harud, Dwarika Nath Bakaya acted Bombur. GR Santosh, Girdhari Dass, Omkar Nath and me were flowers and Pran Kishore was Gilitoor. In this Opera, attempt was made to show how Kashmir was being sucked into the influence of American Bloc. The musical had good poetry. ‘Bambro Bambro Shamrang Bambro’ became a hit song and the opera was well received by the people. Nadim’s imagery was great. I once made the great Bharatnatyam danceuse Indrani Rehman to dance on one of the songs of the opera at Tagore Hall in 1964. Retrospectively, I feel Bambur Yambarzal gave us back our Gyavan Paathar (Geet Natya). Nadim had seen opera’White Haired Girl’ in China and was inspired to write a one in his own mother tongue. In 1955 Marshal Bulganin and Khruschev visited Kashmir. They were shown second production of ‘Bombur Yambarzal’.
How did your family and society react to your role as a dancer?
MLK: Though people called us Raas Kath and talked contemptuously about me, the reaction of my family was not hostile. My mother never asked me why I was late. Inspite of odds, scarcity of means, I never failed till I passed my graduation. I had my own way of revolting against the traditional system. I once went to my in-laws houses wearing Afghan type shelwar-kurta and with long hair. They were stunned.
What was the cultural scenario prior to establishment of the Academy?
MLK: Sudhar Samiti Dramatic Vibhang produced “Kashmir Hamara written by Sudhama Ji Koul which ran for about 100 nights and was shown to Army personnel at the fronts as well. Cultural Congress presented ‘Kashmir Yeh Hai’, Chor Bazar, Dollar Saheb, during 50, 51, 52. “Viz Chi Saney” was produced during 1954-55 by Cultural Conference with financial assistance from the State government. A theatre was built by SS Samiti at Chota Bazar and plays in Hindi and Kashmiri based on puranic tales were produced alongwith Aka Nandun, Habba Khatoon, Satyavan Savitras etc. I produced two Dance Dramas, Shiv Tandav and Govri Tandav under the guidance of Master JD Shivpuri at Shivala Theatre. Jashni-Kashmir was celebrated during the full month of September, 1956 and Opera “Heemal Nagirai” was presented at the Nedous Hotel. This was jointly written by DN Nadim and Noor Mohd Roshan. I choreographed its dances and also presented two dance programmes named ‘Rhythm of Dal Lake’ using poems of Nadim, Chaman and Beikas. Bhand Jashan, Bhangra, Kud Dance, Acrobats and other artists presented programmes during the festival in the Valley.
What was the role of the Cultural Academy in promoting Cultural Act vities then?
MLK: Academy was established in 1958 with yearly budget of Rs 0.50 lacs. Till 1963-64 its activities were very limited. Cultural workers had very little involvement with it. But after 1963-64 with the adoption of its constitution its activities expanded.
When did you go to Baroda University? What have been your experiences there?
MLK: In 1956-57 I was working in Evacuees Property Department. I used to participate in amateur theatre and give dance performances. I was approaching GM Sadiq and Bakhshi Ghulam Mohd to sanction loan scholarship in my favour to enable me to learn Classical dancing. I was asked by Bakhshi Saheb to seek admission, which I did at the Baroda University after resigning from Senior Assistants post. I learnt Kathak dancing from Sh Sundar Lal Gangani at the College of Indian Music and Dramatics. The financial position of my family was very bad. Our family had the tradition of paying debts throughout since my childhood-My application was rejected by the State General Department. It wrote on the file-”It has no concern with development. What benefit it would give to the state.” After borrowing some money, I continued my first year till I passed it with distinction. After returning to Srinagar I could not go back and join the secondyear. During my stay at Baroda, I had joined diploma in dramatics and participated in Hindi version of a Gujarati play “Hoholika” by Prof CC Mehta. The play was presented at AIFACS Hall at Delhi in connection with 1957 centenary celebrations. Next day Hindustan Times carried an action photograph of mine on the front page. The same play was presented at the Baroda University lawns for the distinguished members of PEN-Playwrights, Essayists, Novelists attended by Shri JL Nehru, PM and Dr Radhakrishnan, then Vice President of India, as well. Nehruji patted me on shoulder, saying, “very surprising, Kashmiri boy coming to Baroda to learn dance and Drama, very good very good”
After my return from Baroda, I tried to seek a job. I enrolled for MA in Hindi at the University of Kashmir, Magarmal Bagh. I left it halfway and joined PWD on work charge basis., In 1956-57 I had founded Abhinav Bharati and started presenting Upendra Nath Ashk plays. In 1959 I produced Tagore’s Dhak Ghar and in 1960 participated in the first Drama festival of the Academy with Qazi Ji in Bhavai Style and got Best Actors Award for myself and the Best Play Award for the Production.
When did you go to Baroda again?
MLK: In December, 1961, after getting the National Scholarship to study play production under Prof CC Mehta.
Who selected you for the Scholarship?
MLK: I was interviewed by a Galaxy of top theatre experts of the country viz. Mama Varerkar, Adi Rangacharya, NC Jain, Suresh Awasthy, Prof CC Mehta and many others.
When did you start writing plays?
MLK: Shri Adi Marzban, veteran Gujarati-Parsi theatrist of Bombay had come to Baroda to participate in a Seminar on “What is Farce”. As a University student I had to receive him and look after him. Enquiring about me, my background, situation of Theatre in Kashmir etc, he inspired me to write. Soon my guide gave me a book, theatre of the absurd by Martin Eslin to read. I read the book with interest and after its reading the playwright in me took birth. I wrote my first play, “Darpan Aantahpur Ka” in two sittings. After that I wrote ‘Sandhya Beti’. My Guide encouraged me to write. In December 1963 I wrote ‘Nangay’, which was produced by the Drama Department in early March, 1964. Thereafter I returned to Srinagar. In April 1963 my father had expired and I had to seek a job to look after my family. Baroda University authorities were keen to create a job for me but I could not leave Kashmir due to domestic circumstances.
And you joined Cultural Academy?
MLK: Yes, after getting selected in an interview at the Tali Manzil by the Sadri-Riyasat, Chief Minister and the Secretary of the Academy.
When did you write in Kashmiri?
MLK: In April, 1964, I wrote my first play “Trunov” in Kashmiri at Srinagar. It is a semi absurd play, Tshai in 1965-66, and Mangay in 1966. I published my three Hindi plays in 1968 and received Best Book Award for it in 1969. Thereafter I published my first Kashmiri book “Trunove” in 1969 and got an award for it also.
You are regarded as the soul of Kashmir’s folk theatre, called Bhand Paather. What have you done for its restoration?
MLK: Kashmir is predominantly populated by Muslims. Bhands are also Muslims. Yet folk drama has survived amongst them. I had seen Bhand Chok and Wattal Pathar prior to 1947. The former impressed me. I was disappoined with Watal Pathar then, because of its crude vulgarity and obscene language. After joining the Cultural Academy, I motivated Mohd Subhan Bhagat and party to take up Paather seriously and present Bhand plays. I gave them my play Trunove to read.
It was presented at the Exhibition Grounds the same year. I used to visit Akingam very often and trained the actors of the party. I separated Bandil (Vulgarity) from Bhand Paather and laid stress on acting. Subsequently they proved to be very good actors. I spent two years to motivate them, train them and in 1966 they participated in the Academy Drama competition and it was the first rural group to present a play in a modern proscinium theatre. I encouraged Mohd Subhan Bhagat to write plays for his party and produced his plays at Tagore Hall. For 3 consecutive years, Best Play Production Awards, two Acting Awards and Set Awards were received by the party from the Drama Competition of 1967, 68 and 1969. In 1968 a constitution was framed for the party and the theatre was named Kashmir Bhagat Theatre and got registered the same year. From 1971 I worked with other Bhand Parties and thus revived the Bhand Paather. It had lost patronage and much of old rhythm and rhythm by then. I wrote constitutions for many a groups, got them registerred so that they were able to receive petty financial assistance from the Academy, to sustain their activities. From the year 1970 the Kashmir Bhagat Theatre began to receive non-recurring subsidy for its artistes against presenting of 15 play performances during a year. Their performances in the rural areas encouraged other Bhands to present their Paathers as well.
How many plays have you written in Bhand Paather form?
MLK: All my plays are not in Bhand Paather form. I have created a form suitable for my theme. I am a modern playwright. I have evolved a distinct style of my playwrighting. Bhand Paather is always humorous. My earlier plays are humourous but now I have added many more dimensions, much more variation, My plays have contemporary relevance.
Do Bhands present your plays ?
MLK: Yes, My play Heemal Nagirai must have been presented by the Wular Theatre more than 1000 times. So is Nangay, Maznil Niku, Laila Majnoo and Zin-e-Mazoor being staged. Recently there was “Festival of Moti Lal Kemmu’s plays” at Wathora, Bomai and Tangmarg organised by Wullar Theatre. It my interest you to know that from 1980 myself and my son started organising workshops of Folk Theatre at different centres of Wathora, Bomai, Takia Imam Saheb and we had to evolve play-scripts for productions. If Bhand Paathar has to survive it has to face many challenges. It should always be attractive than any other performing art. I introduced musical plays and Daastan plays in Bhand Pathar which are proving very successful.
What has remained your unfinished task in relation to Bhand Pather?
MLK: I tried my best to open a Bhand Training Centre at Wathora or Akingam. But Subhan Bhagat did not show much interest. I am still pursuing the idea with National Bhand Theatre to start such a Centre at Wathora.
Has exile affected your work?
MLK: To some extent. I am not directly in contact with the performers. Yet I am still guiding Bhands from this place. After retirement I wrote plays for theatre; Dhak Yeli Tsalan (Bhand Duhayee), Shah Paathar, Nagar Udase, Shaap, Akanandun and Heemal Nagirai is being re-written and revised. I am engaged in writting a comprehensive book on history and form of Bhand Paather entitled “Bhand Natyam”. I hope to complete it by the end of 2000.
Your “Pashugatha”, is being currently serialised in ‘Koshur Samachar’. What you want to convey through it?
MLK: It is a satirical writing in allegorical form. Through Pashugatha I am trying to portray political vandalism and exploitation of simple folks during the last fifty years experienced by us in the name of “democratic rule” END
KARGIL CRISIS, RESPONSE AND REACTIONS
By Prof. M.L. KoulIndia was locked in a war of full-scale proportions in Kargil and Drass sectors where the same enemy had penetrated to realise its strategic goals for purposes of annexing and grabbing Kashmir. Despite being a failed state, Pakistan has not reconciled to the reality of Kashmir as an integral part of the political and constitutional organisation of India. To alter the existing political status of Kashmir, Pakistan waged three full-blown wars to effect demographical and political changes in the northern borders that have assumed strategic importance in the present geo-political scenario.
The latest incursion deep into the interiors of Kargil can be seen as the apogee of the well delineated plans and strategies covertly devised and launched by Pakistan during the dictatorial days of Zia-ul-Haq. The aggression symbolised the design of investing the phased processes of indoctrination, penetration and large scale sabotage with a new hue and direction to materialise the strategic goals deemed vital to the national interests of Pakistan.
In cahoots with Jehadists of varied hues and Pan-Islamist forces Pakistan has been in hot pursuit of effecting a second partition of India with the perceptible objective of gaining a new depth by the expansion of its power and territorial base into the Hima-layan belts of Jammu and Kashmir. The protracted insurgency in Kashmir launched by the indigenous Jehadi elements with massive material and moral support from global forces of Pan-Islamism is in assiduous search of a solid foot hold to consolidate its strategic gains for further expansion into the valley deemed as vital to the end of the revival caliphate from Kashmir to the shores of the Atlantic ocean. Kargil intrusion was not only on attempt to expand the area of conflict but also provide an impetus to the forces of insurgency chasing the goal of disengag-ing Kashmir from India.
The cloak of Jehad has been put upon what is purely a territorial ambition on part of Pakistan. To capture Kargil and Drass for further expansion into the east Pakistan devised a perfidious plan to aggress Kargil under the banner of Jehadists owing allegiance to the fanatic terrorist formations like Lashker-e-Toiba, Harkat-ul-Ansar, Harkat-i-Jehad Islami and Al-Badr who have augmented the flanks of Taliban as well. The Pakistan army in syne with such terrorist formations launched its operation in Kargil to materialise its blue-print of annexing Kashmir. The new breed of militants speak of a holy war to revive the caliphate, a relic of the past, which is the global polity of a global Muslim nation into which Kashmiri Muslims have to merge for the fact that they are Muslims and have to merge with Pakistan.
The Indian Home Minister has aptly described Pakistan as a rogue state as it flouts and has least commitments to bilateral agree-ments and even international codes of behaviour and covenants. The Kargil incursion was launched to violate the Line of Control which was properly delineated and create a dispute about it with a view to re-drawing it accordant with its strategic objectives. The violation of the Line of Control was equally aimed at forcing a solution of the Kashmir tangle through international interven-tion.
Though initially flabbergasted by the blatant incursion into the Indian territory of strategic importance, the Indian government rose to the occasion and launched the ‘Operation Vijay’ to defeat and eject out the enemy from its territory. Despite the terrain being difficult and inhospitable, the Indian army structured a baffling military response and compelled the enemy to withdraw its aggression from the territories occupied clandestinely and in violation of bilateral pacts and agreements. The counter-offensive was so vehement and vigorous that the Pakistani defenc-es shook to the roots and crumbled into a heap of ruins. The Indian armed forces exhibited a unique determination and well co-ordinated planning to register a victory in real operational military terms. Pakistan was not allowed to score a victory in terms of military operations and that is what forced it to withdraw from the occupied territories in all ignominy.
The opposition in Pakistan and reitred army generals have scathed the Nawaz Sharief government for the failures in Kargil oper-taions. Air Marshal Nur Khan characterised the Kargil intrusion as a military disaster which had finally proved that Kashmir tangle had no military solution. He called the operations as covert which could not be lent support by the international community. He held the Prime Minister and the Army Chief respon-sible for the fiasco and debacle. The former Vice Chief of Army Staff called the Kargil operations as a complete fiasco and a failure as it was lacking in the basics of strategic planning and failed to anticipate the reaction of the enemy. The former ISI chief was equally critical of the operations as strategic priori-ties had not been set and political and diplomatic preparations had not been made. Mrs Benazir Bhutto, the leader of opposition and former Prime Minister of Pakistan, has in a recent statement called Nawaz Sharif a security risk and characterised him as the most incompetent Prime Minister in the history of Pakistan. After Kargil intrusions the opposition is in absolute unanimity to dislodge the government in saddle. The fundamentalist groups are equally dead set against the Prime Minister for entering into commitments with Bill Clinton.
How the counter-offensive was organised and launched by the Indian government has turned into a hot subject of debate in the country. It has become a staple of the media and is sure to impact the elections as well. The critices of the government charge it with intelligence failure and slackening of the vigil on the borders. The criticism in not fake nor is it lacking in pitch. The Pakistani intruders must have made thorough prepara-tions to position themselves on the heights and must have been equipped with heavy weapons to defend themselves and their shelt-ers. Regular supplies must have come to them through supply routes. It sounds as sheer negligence on the part of intelligence agencies as not to have kept and maintained a consistent watch on the enemy movements. As per a report in the media about a brigad-ier and a major general, posted in the area being relieved of their charge has made the picture murkier. A mason from Kargil itself is said to have constructed new bunkers for the intruders on the ridges and the materials used in the constructions are said to have been carried to the top heights by men from Kargil itself. What gets established is that there have been enemies within who have been in active liaison with the main enemy. The Indian governments of varied hues have always failed in their intel-ligence to comprehend the nexus between the internal subversives and the external enemy. The same failure was witnessed in 1989 variety of insurgency when the state power was visibly seen colluding with the terrorists churned out from the Quranic schools and madrasas.
Pakistan was upset, way shell-shocked, when it failed to muster diplomatic support for its Kargil misadventure. China, an old ally of Pakistan, back-tracked from supporting the Pakistan position of violating the borders through an armed intrusion. The G-8 countries, despite some ambiguities, made a declaration to the effect of withdrawal of Pak forces from the Indian territory. Germany came out in unequivocal support of India as it had re-ports about the involvement of Afghan and Taliban mercenaries in the Kargil conflict alongwith Pakistan army regulars. Washington could not see any cogency in the escalation of tension along the borders and forced Pakistan Prime Minister to the commitments of the withdrawal of his forces from the occupied territories. It appears that there is a paradigmic shift in the American position because of the tacit support of Pakistan to Osama Bin Laden supporting international terrorism. The Dullesian era of cold war is already over and Pakistan seems to have outlived its utility. The American position could be dictated by the economic interests the Americans have in the country that has taken to the libera-lised economy in a big way.
The fact that India has earned global support on its Kargil position cannot be brushed off so easily. It could be the result of the hectic diplomatic efforts on the part of our foreign minister who has been busy in parleys with a number of countries holding sway over the international affairs. But, there is a danger that the global support might turn interventionists to the disadvantage of the Indian interests of national security and territorial integrity. As Kargil conflict is the direct off shoot of Kashmir insurgency, the policy planners and intellectuals committed to the cause of territorial integrity of the country must prevent any and all moves that loosen the political and constitutional ties of Kashmir with India. The concept of greater autonomy based on population complexion of the regions in the state is as inimical to the national interests as the Krepon report suggestive of a plebiscite in the Valley and softening of borders between Kashmir and Pakistan held part of it.
The Indian government was shocked when it was handed over the mutilated bodies of six Indian soldiers who were captured by Pak soldiers in Kargil tortured and done to death. The Indian politi-cals decried it as flagrant violation of the Haguq convention which delineates the treatment to be meted out to the prisoners of war. The same politicals across the broad political spectrum of the country did not utter a word when Muslim terrorists in-flicted unheard of savageries and atrocities on the hapless Kashmiri Pandits, who have been victims of genocide. Girija Tickoo, a lab assistant, was chopped into two halves by a mechan-ical saw after she was gang raped. Sarvanand Kaul Premi, a noted poet and literateur, was skinned off, nails were driven into his forehead where he put a tilak-mark, hair on his body was pulled out and his eyes were gouged out. Sarla Bhat, a staff nurse working in the Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, was gang-raped, her breasts were chopped off, her private parts were mutiliated, was put to bullets and thrown off on the road-side to the care of volunteers. A thick cloak of concealment was placed on the savageries inflicted on the Kashmiri Pandits. Had it been thoroughly broadcast to the world, the Pak soldiers would not dared flout the humanitarian norms of civilised people.
The Hindus of J&K State have been the main targets of the moves and maneuvers of the forces of militarised Islam. They have been destroyed and divested and are in ruins. Three lakh Kashmiri Pandits have been externed from their homes and hearths and are in exile and Diaspora. The Hindus of Doda, Poonch and Rajouri have been put to orgies of large-scale massacres. The Hindus living along the borders in Jammu are devastated and have been left high and dry, uncared for and beleagured. They perceive government of India as a soft state reluctant to measure their reality vital to the over-all interests of the country END
THE SCHOLAR WARRIOR
ROLE IN FRAMING THE NATIONAL AGENDA
By Vishnu BhagwatTHE nuclear and missile age has forced governments to take greater cognisance of the military professional, both in formulating policy and in providing institutional advice. However, even in the US, it was only when military officers began acquiring academic credentials from non-military institutions that they came to be accepted in government circles. In other words, only when military professionals obtained credentials which civilians considered of significance, and indeed pursued themselves, that military officers finally came to be regarded as equals by the civilian structures of government.
In India, senior military officers will also increasingly be called upon to become active members of the politico-military interface which will undoubtedly be institutionalised as the Indian nation-state matures. The day is not far when the Chiefs will be in attendance during the process of national security strategy and policy formulation at the very apex levels of government, i.e. at Cabinet/NSC meetings. In addition, military officers are likely to be integrated not only with the ministry of defence, but also amalgamated into the staffing of various institutionalised structures and organisations dealing with national concerns, in the realm of intelligence, economic and energy security, strategic transportation, international confidence-building measures and so on.
Issues of the DayIt is the contention of the civilian bureaucrats, that having lived in a cloistered environment, service officers lack broad-based knowledge, are blissfully unaware of the nuances and sensitivities of the ‘issues of the day’. They even hint at the lack of basic intelligence. It is to the discredit of the senior military leadership that it allowed this misrepresentation to go unchallenged--till very recently--by not catalysing the birth of the Scholar Warrior (SW).
On account of the propensity of humans to guard their turf and established privileges, the opposition from the civil service to the birth of the SW is only to be expected. It is not difficult, however, for the Services to contest the status quo should they truly desire to do so. In the specific case of the SW, regrettably, the opposition from within the uniformed fraternity in India is far greater than from without.
The armed forces have had a history of healthy scepticism of the pure scholar, which is natural to men schooled in the harsh practical world of weapons, terrain, logistics, weather and the imponderables of war. However, in the era following World War II, which saw both warfighting and peace-keeping transformed by technology and the dictates of the rapidly shrinking globe, it became apparent to advanced nations that scholarship was imperative for future military leaders.
Only WayQuite clearly, the imperative for the Scholar Warrior was at logger-heads with the instinctive disdain of the military professional for academic credentials. The World War had re-informed the Hollywood image of the hard-swearing, hard-driving, ‘fighting’ military leader of the Paton/Halsey mould, and very few had the time to ruminate on the significant parts played by Generals Marshall, Ismay, Brooke and Giap, and Admirals Gorshkov and Rickover, who were possibly the forebears of the SW.
It was thus evident that the only way to change the mindset regarding scholarship and the need for intellectualisation in the military was to first foist academic credentials on individuals who had already clearly established strong military credentials--i.e. had proven themselves within the purely military system and were already role-models for their juniors. In other words, officers who had performed well in operational and staff billets and commanded field units/formations with distinction, besides having attained academic laurels in military academies and colleges in the course of their standard training. This strategy was indeed successful, and the period 1950-1990 witnessed a large numbers of officers who were ‘high-profile’ in traditional military worth, being groomed as SWs in the military forces of the USSR, UK, US, Japan and Europe.
In the Indian armed forces, intellectual pursuits condemned a man for the very ‘sin’ of being different. It was the physically tough, hard-drinking type, preferably with the gift of the gab and a repository of salty anecdotes, who continues to be exalted even today. A ‘serious’ demeanour, or an inclination for any cerebral activity is still a cardinal drawback in the Indian officer corps. Natural SWs are, therefore, nipped in the bud, and the senior military leadership--except for the exceptionally few and far-sighted--is not inclined to encourage the emergence of SWs by process of education and attainment of non-military credentials.
The revolution in military affairs has literally forced military officers into becoming scholars of high-technology and information technology. The making of the SW must indeed begin with strong technological fundamentals. This is indeed happening slowly but surely, and will ensure that junior officers will be increasingly exposed to scholarship at non-military higher institutes of learning, albeit at those of the technical kind.
Senior military officers, however, cannot afford to be steeped only in technology. The higher direction of war and security policy formulation in the global era, will require a deep understanding of the humanities--history, economics, international relations and political science. It is, therefore, necessary for middle-level officers with potential for higher rank, to be formally schooled in and exposed to these subjects in far greater depth than a few lectures during the Staff Course, the Higher Command Course or at the National Defence College.
Need of the HourOnly SWs with the right credentials will be allowed meaningful access to the national agenda being formulated. In India, it would indeed be tragic if military officers, except at the very highest levels, are excluded from even participating in the making of national security and strategic policies on account of the perception that military intelligence is a contradiction in terms, and that the armed forces will be assuaged by a mere token presence in the integrated and multi-disciplinary bodies which will surely staff the principal councils of the government in the very near future.
Formalising the already present intellectual capability of military officers, by bestowing on them suitable credentials from renowned national and international centres of research and learning, is, therefore, clearly the need of the hour. Hopefully, the sheer momentum of events and the emergence of visionary, military leadership at the highest levels, will ensure the advent of the Indian Scholar Warrior.
The author is a former Chief of Navy Staff. This is excerpted from his address at the Senior Naval Officers Conference last November.
Courtesy: Times Of India END
BJP’S ANANTNAG CANDIDATE KILLED
KS CorrespondentSRINAGAR, Sep 7: After ensuring near total poll boycott in Srinagar city and very low percentage in other areas of Srinagar parliamentary constituency, militants succeeded in puncturing poll process in Anantnag parliamentary constituency by eliminating BJP candidate Hyder Noorani in a landmine explosion. Mr Hyder alongwith another BJP activist and driver were killed when militants detonated a landmine targeting his vehicle at Thajiwara on Bijbehara-Pahalgam road. Election process has been suspended and BJP has been asked for substitute candidate within 7 days by Election Commission.
While BJP state Vice President Ashok Khajuria accused police for their failure to protect the victim, security force officials said that the candidate was well protected and defied the security warning. Security agencies claimed that the political parties were asked to freeze movement in this area as they had launched search operations after a source information about planting of the IED’s on road. While NC candidate for Bijbehara constituency Rafi Ahmad Mir, agreed to shift after dual with a Dy SP, BJP candidates for Anantnag parliamentary constituency and Bijbehara Assembly constituency resisted and carried with the campaign. Militants also made unsuccessful attempts on lives of Mohd Maqbool Dar, Mufti Mohd Sayeed, Mustafa Kamal and many other political leaders END
DR RAJ NATH KAR PASSES AWAY
KS CorrespondentNEW DELHI, Aug 27: Dr Raj Nath Kar, Chairman of Sulzer Flovel Hydro Ltd. Faridabad, breathed his last on 26th August, 1999 after a brief illness. He is survived by his son Maharaj and two daughters Indira Saraf and Kusum Ji.
Born on 1st March 1929, he had his early schooling at CMS Biscoe High School, Srinagar. Later he graduated in Electrical Engineering from Delhi and did his post graduation from the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, in 1951 followed by the doctorate in Engineering from the University of Munich, Germany in 1958. He started work with a brief initial spell in the Power Department of Government of Jammu and Kashmir. This was followed by teaching and research work at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He topped it with high technology experience gained abroad in the field of Hydro Power Engineering with world leaders like Escher Wyss (Germany), Sulzer (Switzerland) and English Electric/Boving (UK). On his return to India, he became founder member, responsible for establishing the Regional College, Srinagar. Later he joined the Heavy Electricals India Ltd (now BHEL) as Chief Engineer, water-power. He was responsible for the development of prestigious and major Hydro Power stations in the country including Dehar, Obra, Chilbro, Hirakud, Ukai etc.
In 1969, Dr Kar left BHEL and founded Flovel India in Faridabad in 1979, with a modest investment, to manufacture Butterfly Valves and mini Hydro Power Turbines. In 1995, Flovel Ltd., formed a joint venture with Sulzer Flovel Hydro Ltd Switzerland, an internationally successful technology corporation, which presently has a turn-over of about Rs 560 million and a staff complement of over 350.
The Kashmiri Pandit exodus from their homes had created great pain and sorrow in Dr Kar’s deep humanistic mind. From the early days of setting up the All India Kashmiri Samaj Trust in 1992, Dr Kar offered unstinted assistance in making the Trust an effective instrument of helping the stricken community. As an important member of the Board of Trustees, he enthusiastically agreed with the Trust programme to impart technical training to the displaced educated unemployed youth, to make them competitve in the employment market. He had set up a corpus of Rs 10 lakhs in the name of his late wife Smt Shanta Kar Trust which yields over Rs 1 lakh annually as income, which is being donated to the AIKS Trust for purpose of subsidising the professional training programme. Scores of displaced Kashmiri youth have benefitted from this munificence. Dr Kar also used his influence in securing suitable jobs for needy qualified and able engineers in different industries.
Dr Kar’s sad, unexpected and untimely demise leaves a deep void in the Indian Hydro Power industry which is set of a massive growth in the coming years. More than anything else, for our community a shining star has set and we will long miss him END
KAL PAYS TRIBUTE TO KARGIL MARTYRS
KS CorrespondentLUCKNOW, Aug 15: An executive committee meeting of the Kashmir Association Lucknow a representative body of all the Kashmiri Pandit families living in the city was held under the Presidentship of Dr BN Sharga on 15th August 1999 in Kashmiri Mohalla.
The meeting paid rich tributes to the gallant officers and jawans of the Indian army who laid down their precious lives while fighting the heavily armed Pakistani intruders in the Kargil, Batalik and Drass sub-sectors in the Jammu and Kashmir State to uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our mother land leading the ‘Operation Vijay’ to its logical conclusion.
The meeting expressed its appreciation over the efforts of the Congress President Mrs Sonia Gandhi for sending truck loads of relief materials from Delhi for the refugees of Kargil, but the meeting expressed surprise that why the same gesture was not shown by Mrs Gandhi when about 4 lakh Kashmiri Pandits were forced by the militants backed by Pakistan about 10 years back to leave their homes and hearths in the Kashmir valley. “They are still living in the tents in Jammu and else where in the country with out such attention by her though she claims repeatedly in her meetings to be a bahu of Gandhi Nehru family” the meeting observed.
The meeting through a resolution strongly demanded that in any future talks on the Kashmir imbroglio due weightage should be given by the government to the voice of The Kkashmir Pandits and their representatives should be included in the bilateral talks on any vital discussion concerning with the complex situation of Kashmir before arriving to any concrete solution.
The meeting also decided to hold the elections for the new office bearers of the association in the month of October after the presentation of the duely audited accounts of the association by its treasurer.
Dr BN Sharga president of the association expressed his deep concern over the recent attacks on army camps by heavily armed militants and foreign mercenaries which had added a new dimension to the terrorists’ violence in the Valley. Dr Sharga felt that the government would take a serious view of this new trend and would evolve an effective strategy to deal with this threat boldly and squarely because it could lead to very dangerous consequences in near future if remained unattended.
The meeting observed a two minutes silence to mourn the death of its two members Mr BN Nagu and Mrs Shanta Bahadur and expressed its deep condolences the members of the bereaved families END
POLITICAL PARTIES FLAYED
KS CorrespondentJAMMU: Kashmiri Hindu Fire Sufferers Forum has expressed anguish and resentment over negative and inhuman attitude of all political parties of the country towards displaced community. Not a single party has mentioned a word of sympathy in their election manifestos.
Disclosing this in a workers meeting here today Forum General Secretary Sh PN Tufchi made it clear that these political parties have no interest in the welfare if the community and were exploiting them for their vested interests from time to time. Reality is that these parties are not only apathetic towards them but use them as fodder in their cannons, he lamented.
Regarding State Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah’s recent utterness over return of the beleauged community, Mr Tufchi described it as a “JOKE” by shedding crocodile tears and mere lip services without any concrete package. He asserted that how migrant is expected to return to his home and hearths. Does he want another “Genocide” of the miscroscophic community he said and added if Chief Minister is keen about their return he should resist vehemently process from Muslim fundamentalists and solve the enormous problems on war footings. Besides assuring his heart feelings, he should undertake welfare measures in the initial stage and offer employment and solve numerous problems END
LIBERATE ‘GHULAM KASHMIR’Sir,
At long last Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr Nawaz Sharif after his unscheduled meeting with the American President Mr Bill Clinton has agreed to give the necessary instructions to pull out the Pakistani regulars and Mujahideens, who had earlier crossed the LoC to occupy the strategic heights in the Batalik, Drass and Kargil subsections in the Indian territory in Kashmir from the other side of the border.
The Indian government on its part has enforced an undeclared ‘cease fire’ to facilitate this retreat of armed intruders much against its publicised policy in this respect perhaps to provide a ‘safe passage’ to these mercenaries under some secret understanding reached between the two sides due to American intervention as the America does not want any further escalation of the present conflict.
What would be the long term implications of this action in context with the already complicated Kashmir problem can not be visualised at the moment. Will we again loose whatever we have gained so far in the battle field on the negotiation table, when the talks between India and Pakistan take place in near future to sort out the differences bilaterally under the present political dispensation or we will be in a position to dictate our terms to the opposite party is to be seen. The coming days will certainly throw some light on these important issues.
Our Defence Minister Mr George Fernandes has said the other day in a TV interview that this incursion had taken place in the month of April and it was only detected in the month of May and soon an action was taken by our armed forces to throw these well armed intruders out from our soil. But the reports which are pouring in say an altogether different story.
An area commander of Mujahideens belonging to Lashkar-e-Toiba in an interview from Peshawar disclosed that the plan of this armed intrusion into Indian territory in Kashmir was chalked out about two years back with the main intension to cut the supply line to Indian troops in Siachin and to isolate Ladakh by blocking the main highway from Srinagar to Leh.
Moreover the way about 1000 to 2000 Mujahideens fought with about 4000 Indian troops backed by air force for more than two months clearly indicate a long and meticulous planning on the part of Mujahideens and Pak regulars. The sophisticated equipments and heavy firearms recovered by our soldiers from the bunkers and other hideouts of the enemy confirm the same thing. It has also been accepted by our commanders on the battle front that such a preparation could not be made with in such a short time in such a difficult terrain where the temperature remains much below the freezing point all round the year.
The most surprising thing is that this armed intrusion into our territory was noticed for the first time not be any intelligence agency but by a shephered who went to the forward areas in Kargil to graze his sheep. He subsiquently reported the presence of heavily armed intruders to the army authorities at the base camp. It was only after this incident that the army authorities realised the gravity of the situation and then took about 22 days to launch ‘Operation Vijay’ to free the entire area from these heavily armed intruders.
The former Pakistan Army Chief General (retd.) Mirza Aslam Beg has disclosed that Prime Minister Mr Nawaz Sharif had approved this operation beyond the LoC in Kashmir as early as in Jaunary 1999 after briefings from the army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The Indian Prime Minister Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee was also having a definite information about this intrusion in Kashmir by the infiltrators but he waited for the opportune time to strike in the same way what Russia did long back in 1941 in the second World War to trap the advancing columns of German troops which completely changed the complex of the war leading to the bifurcastion of Germany.
Meanwhile, the political leadership in Pakistan all through, has projected the Mujahideens as the ‘freedom fighters’ to the world. How armed terrorists of Libya, Sudan, Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan and some other Arab countries along with tribal Muslims from Sinkiang and British Muslims can be dubbed as ‘freedom fighters’ of Kashmir is beyond my comprehension. What stakes these well armed terrorist groups of these countries have in Kashmir is also not very clear? These paid armed terrorist outfits are actually fighting a proxy war on behalf of Pakistan in the name of Kashmir is just to befool the world. When actually their intentions are quite different. They are not at all interested in the well being of the people of Kashmir.
The condition of the people, living in Pakistan occupied Kashmir is no secret. They are being treated by the Pakistan authorities worst than slaves. They have no say in the administration of their own region. Most of these people spend their lives in tattered tents under most sub human conditions. They want freedom from illegal occupation of Pakistan and restoration of their legitimate democratic rights. Therefore the concerted efforts should now be made to liberate this part ‘Ghulam Kashmir’ to free the Kashmiri people from the repression and reign of terror of the Pakistan army. So that these unfortunate Kashmiris will also be able to enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy instead of suffering the untold miseries at the hands of their oppressors who are exploiting these Kashmiris for their selfish ends.
--Dr B.N. Sharga
I want to take this opportunity to thank you and through you Panun Kashmir organisation for sending me complementary copies of the fortnightly for the past several years. I would appreciate receiving the same now on regular basis as a full time subscriber.
I wish I could do a little more for the cause of the community and its well being.
Prof (Dr) P.N. Bhat
MYSTERY BEHIND AHAD KAR’S KILLING RESOLVED
KS CorrespondentMyths flourish in war zones, especially when media men abdicate their professional role. In Kashmir mediamen either lap up the official version or endorse the stories dished out by the subversives. In many cases, it seems that a section of mediamen have become party to the war of attrition being fought between the security forces and the subversives. The truth becomes a casualty in these circumstances. Recently, the entire media carried a story that the state Chief Minister survived an assassination attempt in Poonch. Only the next day the police and the army denied the story. In a subversive war, media has a two-fold role. One, to present the truth and secondly, to help the government to apply correctives by presenting the truth.
Why has it taken media four months to present the real story behind the killing of Langate National Conference MLA Abdul Ahad Kar? Was it not public knowledge that Kar’s killing was a vendetta killing? The local people never accepted the then IGP, Kashmir, PS Gill’s version that it was the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen which was the culprit. Things were not dissimilar in Punjab at the height of militancy in late eighties. All vengeance killings and criminal actions were shown as militant acts. Even the national media, which is supposed to be be free from the pulls of parochial and lobbying considerations has yet to come out with comprehensive story on the increasing attacks on NC and other political workers during the last two years.
Recently, investigations carried out by the Handwara police suggest that Kar was killed by a counter-insurgent working for the Army in an act of Vendetta. The police have arrested the alleged accused Abdul Majid Bhat. Late Kar had been on the hit-list of militants in 1990 and had like other political workers shifted to Jammu. In 1991 Kar sought the intervention of Geelani and Ghani Lone and returned to his home place. Geelani had “certified” that Kar had dissociated himself from NC. He maintained a low profile but when 1996 assembly elections were announced, he jumped into the fray. But he was quite careful not to antagonise the militants.
He had gone to Kupwara for a brief visit, when Khan allegedly shot him dead. Kar was on a morning walk near his home and was not accompanied by a single armed personnel out of the dozens assigned to him. Khan had been having a running feud with Kar over incidents relating to murder of the numbardar of Shah Nagri in 1998, abduction of Kar’s niece, willow felling, extortions, besides political rivalry. Khan’s confessional statement before the CJM contends victimisation, saying that Kar was “holding responsible me for every occurance in the area”.
Reported acts of torture, killings and extortion by Khan has incurred the strong displeasure of the slain NC MLA. Khan’s confessions, however, contend that the NC MLA was hounding him for acts which he did not commit, such as the felling of willow trees by the security forces. The NC MLA is also alleged to have turned down Khan’s repeated pleas to get him a government job.
The feud reached a climax, when another counter-insurgent Bashir Ahmad Wani abducted the niece of Kar. With Kar now determined to get Khan arrested, the counter-insurgent escaped from his village and returned ten days before committing the murder END
BSF IGP RECALLED TO HEADQUARTERS
KS CorrespondentFor security forces officials, postings in Kashmir can build or mar their reputations. It is a tricky situation to handle the complexities of Coin-Ops. Orders have since been issued for the recall of BSF’s IGP (Baramulla) A.S. Mangat, to the headquarters.
In the wake of Kargil aggression, on BSF had been put the additional burden of handling the insurgency in place of Army. During this changeover BSF was found unequal to this task and some incidents took place, which put the Central government to embarrasment. In July last, Bandipore episode dented the image of BSF. Officially, BSF claimed that the terrorists had stormed the BSF cantonment and killed DIG, SK Chakravarty, his staff officer and the wife of a sub-inspector. Subsequently, media reported that this incident had nothing to do with militancy.
Last week in Handwara, Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists held three BSF and two Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials as hostage.
This particular incident exposed the gaping holes in security. Despite clear orders only five BSF personnel were guarding the post, while four others had not bothered to report back to the unit. How did the terrorists come to know that BSF unit was relatively unmanned?
There had also been a tussle going on between the Central paramilitary forces and the Army over the vital issue of who will decide the deployment of forces for counter-insurgency operations in J&K in the post Kargil situation. This affected the anti-insurgency operations and there has been serious escalation in militancy-related violence.
Mr AS Mangat had also landed himself in controversy, when in August last he had alleged that middle level leaders of a regional party in the state were actively assisting the militants and providing besides shelter, vehicles for shifting arms consignments. He had also said that some “black sheep” among the local police were not only active informers of the militants but, also “perfect spoilsports” during counter-insurgency operations. The remarks of the IGP were seriously resented by the state Chief Minister END
MR V.N. NARAYANAN CALLS INDIA A SOFT STATESRINAGAR: Mr VN Narayanan, Editor-in-Chief Hindustan Times described India a soft state. He said the first failure of the Indian nation-state came after 1947 when India was handed over to two “trade unions”--the Indian National Conference and the Indian Civil Service (ICS) Mr Narayanan added that the two gave soft solutions of a soft state over the years which were sustained by the political stability. The tremendous amount of internal security is either the manifestation or the consequences of the failures the system committed, he added. Mr Narayana made these observations, while delivering a lecture on “Current security scenario--challenges Before Print India” in Srinagar.
Mr Narayanan blamed ISI for creating tremendous amount of internal security in the country. He emphasised the need for tightening the security apparatus and building a better intelligence network.
Mr Ved Bhasin, former editor Kashmir Times, dissented with Mr Narayanan. He described India as an “imperial police and military state.” Mr Bhasin added that the Indian media was pro-establishment in attitude.
Mr Narayanan opined that ruling National Conference was not serious about autonomy. To a question from audience, Mr Narayanan said he would opt for the truth if he has to choose between national interest and truth but will side with survival if he is supposed to choose between truth and survival.
In his presidential address, AN Dar, former editor Indian Express impressed upon media to give view point of both the govt and the opposition END
MUZAFFAR BEIG MEETS PANDITSJAMMU: The PDP candidate from Baramulla constituency, Mr Muzaffar Beig met a section of displaced Pandits.
He said displaced Kashmiris were living in sub-human conditions. Mr Beig regretted that the State government had not done anything to improve their lot. He added that pending their permanent rehabilitation and return to their hearths and homes in peaceful conditions and with a sense of security, the State government could have provided them adequate relief and mitigate their sufferings through economic funding from the states’ own budget. Mr Beig said that sense of alienation among Kashmiri Pandits too was increasing with their patience naturally getting exhausted. This alienation could lead to serious situation, he added.
Referring to the postal ballots issued to the displaced Kashmiris, Mr Beig said that no proper account was being maintained. He claimed that in several cases the postal ballot have not reached the eligible voters and about 250 of these reached late denying the displaced their right of franchise. Mr Beig also accused NC of manipulating the postal ballots of displaced in its favour.