Let us assume the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir without the political dominion of the families of Sheikh Abdullah, Mufti Mohammad Syed and the policies formulated by Jawaharlal Nehru based on vested interests, the socio-political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir would have been completely different. After independence, most part of the political era in India has been dominated by the Nehru-Gandhi family. The political sphere of Jammu and Kashmir also followed the same pattern and was dominated by two families. The dynastic politics in Jammu and Kashmir had only helped those people to take charge who had strong connections without testing their capability, ability and potential to deal with public affairs which led to the discouragement of youth aspiring to join politics. The dynastic politics had created such a situation for the people in the valley that people were left with fewer options to elect a perfect representative and at the same timeless capable or even incapable leaders were imposed in the state to run state machinery. Dynastic politics was jeopardizing the concept of democratic values as guaranteed by our constitution and it simultaneously aggravates the corruption and fascism in the Indian political system with respect to the Jammu and Kashmir.
The Political power must be forever vigilant and should never subordinate the basic ethics of serving the masses to any other goal. Unfortunately in Jammu and Kashmir, this ethical code has been broken repeatedly for too long. After the partition of 1947, The cabinet Mission plan had provided for two options for then Independent Princely states while determining their future affiliation. The state could either accede to India or Pakistan. After Maharaja Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession with India and Sheikh Abdullah was made the administrator of Jammu and Kashmir, Sheikh Abdullah sought a greater role for himself within the dominion of India. Accordingly, Article 370 was incorporated in the constitution of India, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Hence the democratic politics in Jammu and Kashmir started with the hegemonic party system and the electoral space was dominated by a single party JKNC, led by Sheikh Mohd Abdullah. In 1951, elections for a constituent assembly were held and the majority of opponents of the National Conference were disqualified from contesting the elections on one pretext or the other. Thus Sheikh Abdullah was elected as the head of the state with his council of ministers, so the power of government was vested with them. And it remained vested with National Conference majorly for decades.
The political sphere in Jammu and Kashmir, even decades after the end of Dogra’s princely rule, is still about inherited status. Three generations of the Abdullah family have served as Chief Ministers. In PDP, Muftis hold the sway as both Mufti Syed and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti held the chair of Chief Ministers. But the buck doesn’t stop here. Among the new generations of politicians from the separatist camp, two others who have inherited their political authority are Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Sajad Gani Lone of the Peoples Conference. Separatist turned nationalist politician Sajad Lone is the son of Abdul Gani Lone who was the patron of the Peoples Conference and was assassinated by Pakistani backed terrorists in 2002. So four key political players who hold major sway in one form or another in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir have a dynastic background.
This brutal dynastic power hegemony on one end fanned the rise and growth of separatism which was en-cashed by Pakistan by further aiding terrorism as the common man found his rightful space completely scuttled. It also majorly barred any non-local and corporate industry to buy land or invest in different sectors for equitable economic development. Hence becoming a major impediment to the overall growth and development of the erstwhile state. It largely kept the political and economic activities limited to a few influential families. This further disgruntled the common masses and thus the developmental and political impediment created by the special status over the years resulted in the fuelling of separatism and terrorism in the valley.
On the other end, the secular basis of Kashmiriyat was eroded and destroyed by extremist forces. The foremost example of this was the terrible targeting, coercion and violence against the minority community of Kashmiri Pandits triggering their exodus in the early 1990s. It was a shameful chapter in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. Even now the large majority of Kashmiri Pandits are forced to live as refugees in their own country. The consequences of the exodus were of grim nature not only for Kashmir but also for the rest of India.
This impartiality was finally put to an end by the revocation of Article 370 and 35A on 5th August 2019 by the Indian Parliament. These changes were largely welcomed by the people who saw Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India and felt that the centre finally brought parity in Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the states in India. After the Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, the work culture in the government has changed and the dynamics of development have improved. The central government has strengthened the grassroots of democracy in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Prime Minister has launched a number of schemes for the well-being of people. Around six lac families of Jammu and Kashmir have been covered under Arogya Yojana and those families which were not covered under this yojana, have been covered under the SEHAT health insurance scheme. The most important feature of this scheme is that every citizen of Jammu and Kashmir irrespective of their financial status will be covered under SEHAT Health Insurance Scheme. Under this scheme, the government will bear the expenses of the treatment of citizens for up to 5 lac rupees. With the successful implementation of this scheme now the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir will not be left without medical aid due to financial problems. Apart from this many other schemes have found their way to the common masses.
The tenure of the Modi led BJP government will be remembered as the most decisive period in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit shah have emphasized three things- speedy development of Jammu and Kashmir to ensure that all benefits and schemes reach every ordinary citizen, strengthening of grass-root democracy so that the political hegemony could be broken and a peaceful security scenario is established by adopting zero tolerance towards separatism and terrorism.
After the Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, the work culture in the government has changed and the dynamics of development have improved. The Modi-Shah vision brought an end to dynastic politics in Kashmir by making various amendments and provided a way for the young generation to actively participate in mainstream politics and contribute to the dream of “Naya Kashmir”. The BJP led government contributed to bringing true democracy to the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir where all walks of life will get equal opportunities to demonstrate their potential in making Jammu and Kashmir great and there wouldn’t be a concentration of power and wealth limited to few families.