Kashmir and Sons of the Soil..!

Even as I hear jubilation from all corners of India, and men and women clothed in saffron and otherwise, expressing happiness that today, we are one unified country, and that each of us can buy land in the new union territory, can shift in and live like any other local in Kashmir, I see a strange contrast: In other states that belong to the Indian republic I see laws passed that promise seventy five to eighty percent of jobs, not just in the government sector, but now even in the private sector, only to people belonging to that particular state!

As Shakespeare says in Hamlet, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark!’

Something is rotten and is smelling to high heaven!

We took thousands of troops into Kashmir, to ensure it becomes a part of India, whereas the very India we are part of tells us the opposite. “You may live here!” say state laws, but your sons and daughters will not get jobs here. Isn’t that another way of saying you are not welcome?

I’ve mentioned this in a previous column and saying it again, that in the US, you can shift home from New York to California or Florida and you are still as equal a person as your neighbour who’s lived there a hundred years before you!

Today I need a domicile certificate even to drive an autorickshaw and earn my livelihood!

Why isn’t my Indian passport enough?

In other words, I am being told by a particular state government or political party that the state is greater than the nation. If this isn’t sedition, then what is?

The people of Kashmir used sticks and stones to pelt our troops, telling them to go away but the rest of our country use legislation worse than sticks and stones to keep others out.

I have been given to understand that with this move by the government, the demography of Kashmir will change and diversity in language and religion will come about which will change thinking into a broader concept of a more inclusive India.

Beautiful thinking and excellent idea, but we are doing the very opposite elsewhere.

What the centre needs to do is to use the same thought they used in Kashmir, and apply to the rest of the country. Let me stop being identified as a Maharashtrian, a Kannadiga or Malayalee or a Hindu, Muslim or Christian but simply as an Indian.

The Prime Minister has bitten the bullet in making Kashmir belong to every Indian, now let him go the whole mile and make India belong to every Indian. With that will come about a strong, unified country, where we will with strength and conviction shout, Jai Hind! Not Jai Telangana, Jai Andhra, Jai Karnataka, Jai Punjab or Jai whatever, but Jai Hind..!”






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