Subroto Roy regrets getting the sisters’ names wrong earlier; they were not Kulsooma and Yasmin but Akhtara, 19, and Arifa, 17. Their killings by terrorists in Sopore, and that of young Manzoor Ahmad Magray, 22, by the Army in Handwara within the week, mark a tipping point, for myself at least.
Subroto Roy reflecting on the Lashkar-e-Toiba killing of the teenage Sopore sisters and the Indian Army killing of Manzoor Ahmad Magray in Handwara, all in one week, is reminded only of: *Where be these enemies?… See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,…all are punish’d.*
Subroto Roy says at Seema Mustafa’s Wall “Some of these comments seem to be addressed to me in a somewhat ill-mannered way. I am due to speak in Lahore next month on Kashmir and Pakistan, and have published quite extensively over 20 years perhaps on the subject, apropos the University of Hawaii volume *Foundations of Pakistan’s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s* etc.
I am quite happy to engage in any conversation with any shade of opinion from the leader of the United Jehad Council onwards. But discussion needs to be in English not pidgin English or slang, it needs to be polite and well-mannered, and it needs to be as well thought out and well-informed as possible. I may be addressed as Dr Roy or Mr Roy by people I do not know.
Subroto Roy says to Mr Changal, Apropos your “@mr roy…. i hope u carry a message that KASHMIRIS WIL NEVER LIKE TO B A PART OF INDIA”, I am given to understand that you as an individual have no wish to be an Indian national, which to me is fair enough. A lot of Indian nationals have travelled after all to the USA, Britain etc and there have gone about freely renouncing their Indian nationality and accepting that of another country. May I assume that if you, as an individual, were given such a choice by the Govt of India to formally renounce, on paper, in a private decision with full security and no fear of repercussions, your Indian nationality, you would do so? You may then become stateless in international law, following which the Govt of India could assist you as an individual to accept the nationality of some other country for which you were eligible, e.g. the Islamic Republic of Iran or the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan or the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. If that went through properly, the Govt of India could also give you full “Green Card” or PIO status vis a vis the Indian territory you may wish to live or work etc in.
Ajmal Nazir @ subroto sir…..I personally appreciate the kind of efforts you are putting to highlight the meseries that kashmiris are going through. May God succeed you in your efforts . However there are lot of realities that one need to understand before talking about Kashmir.This issue is not a demographical or political issue. This is an human issue where kashmiris suffer. Before going into any discussion , both Pakistan and India should understand that this problems is taking its toll on common kashmiri who is getting killed everyday. Kashmir is like a beautiful prison where one can survive but cannot live freely. It looks completely normal from outside. But unfortunately you cannot see the fear that is inside the hearts of common people. You cannot see the uncertainty in the minds of those people.I wish you could have feel the fear in the mind of mothers when their kids are outside. I wish you could have feel the fear in the eyes of kids, when they see these indian forces roaming in their fields. There is a check post in every corner of the street, where it is obligatory for us to go through checking. We have to prove our identity in our own homes. It is not happening only on 26th Jan (like it happens in your states ]. It happening everyday, every-hour and every-time.I wish you could feel the fear when we have to go through these checking. Everyday, we have to make sure that we come home before 6:00 pm otherwise you will be picked up and your name will get added into hundrends and thousands of disappeared people. There are so many fake encounters happening in valley that nobody from outside world knows. Try to listen to local news here and there is a separate sections which tells you about the number of people that got killed every 24 hours. In 90’s that list was always above 20 and there was no such news outside kashmir. There is no such family in kashmir that hasn’t suffer I am not talking about mental suffering, I am talking about where somebody got killed.I wish you could have seen the pain of those mothers who lost their innocent sons, I wish you could seen the hopelessness in the minds of those fathers, who lost their only sons. There are so many half widows in kashmir, whose husbands were picked by forces and they never came back. they are still waiting for their husbands to return. In every community , there is an orphanage, where you will find the so many orphan kids. i believe you will find the most numbers orphans in kashmir than in any other state. These suffering are not visible from outside.We need to feel like kashmiris to understand these problems You need to take little pain to find the actual realities in kashmir. Every kashmir including our pandiths brothers suffer. KAshmir issue is not the political issue, neither is it regional issue. This is a human issue . This issue is not related to the geographical demographies, it is related with the people who live there.These boundaries are of no meaning for those mothers and fathers, who suffer everyday. If Indian wants kashmir, you have to win the hearts of kashmiris, Treat us like humans, Give us basic human rights . Release kashmiris from this militarized prison. Let us decide what is good for us.. Give us the freedom to express our problems. Let us bring kashmiris youth in your national media and let them discuss this issue. India is a democratic country so i believe everybody has a right to express their feelings.Highlight our miseries and punish the culprits who have killed innocent kashmiris. How can you justify the killing of those small kids who pelt stones on the streets. Does indian constitution allow killings of kids if they pelt stones. If they damage property, arrest them but how can we kill those small kids.Even some where beaten to death.What about Tufail Matoo who got killed when he was going to tuition classes. He didn;t damage any property. There are so many untold stories in kashmir that nobody knows.
Subroto Roy says to Mr Nazir, Thank you for the lengthy and pertinent statement which clearly reflects your experience as well as your hopes and fears. I have no hesitation in accepting your saying the situation in recent times has become intolerable for ordinary people. I believe it is the outcome of a process which has evolved over decades in which the peoples and Governments of India, the peoples and Governments of Pakistan, and the peoples and Governments of J&K too, have all contributed. It is something for which *everyone* is responsible, no single person or country or community can be said to be exempt (other than perhaps the gentle people of Laddakh). And all the facts of history and the present have to be understood, and yes felt as well — each and every clear fact. I hope to show how this may be done during my Lahore lectures next month. Cordial regards and thanking you once more.
Subroto Roy says to Mr Changal, Thank you for the reply though you may have made a mistake with my identity: I am not Mr Subroto who has been a senior minister in Indonesia, but rather Dr Roy or Mr Roy as you please. No I do not think I am or would want to be blind to any atrocities by armed forces on civilians in any country, my own included. Apropos your statement “we reject the illegal n forceful occupation of kashmir by the cruel hindu india”, I shall be glad to hear the basis of your opinion. Re Hindus and Muslims and my opinion thereof, there is a lot of material to be found at my site and among my Notes. Cordially, SR
Sajad Malik I just wud humbly like to ask you a question sir, Do you deny the disputed nature of kashmir?
Subroto Roy Mr Malik, Thank you for the question. I think it was I who said *twenty years ago*, when I was almost as young as some of you are now “The core of the continuing dispute between Pakistan and India has been Kashmir, where vast resources have been drained from the budgets of both countries by two large armies facing one another for decades over a disputed boundary”. I do not think the Govt of Pakistan had used the word “core” until that time. Please see p 15 of the book
Subroto Roy says to Mr Changal, I cannot know but perhaps you speak from terrible personal experiences as an individual at the hands of governmental machinery; I know what that can be like.
I would agree it is important in this grave and mortal matter to go into the whole history piece by piece, frankly and candidly, with scientific honesty and freedom of inquiry and thought. That is the only real way to aim for complete agreement across the political spectrum in the subcontinent. Such an agreement is possible too, and the only real way forward for all, especially the people of J&K, your generation and the future. I am sure my Lahore lectures will be public immediately after they are delivered next month, which you may find of interest.
Clearly we have a number of factual questions for one another whose answers may emerge in time. Rape is an evil thing, and I find what you mention is discussed here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunan_Poshpora_incident
Thank you for your comment and suggestion. The solution I have proposed since 2005 is far better than the plebiscite idea you mention. But I am afraid you will have to make a study of my publications here at FB or at my site or in my books, or wait until the Lahore lectures. I also wonder if you are aware that Sheikh Abdullah and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad *offered a plebiscite* when it was first mentioned in 1948 during the Pashtun tribal invasion from Pakistan but Pakistan balked.
Subroto Roy says the solution he has proposed since 2005 is far better than the plebiscite idea often mentioned. Many are also unaware that Sheikh Abdullah and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad *offered a plebiscite* when it was first mentioned in 1948 during the Pashtun tribal invasion from Pakistan but Pakistan balked.
Ganai Danish: It was pandit nehru,who in 1952 addressed the public gathering in lal chowk sgr,promised that the people of jk will be given a chance to decide their future whether they want to be part of india or accede with pakistan.It is worth mentioning that it was india itself who took the case of disputed nature of kashmir to UN by passing a resolution in 1948.But 63 years passed, india is yet to fulfull its promise and has mulishly held on to the uncompromising stance that jk is an integral part of india.
Subroto Roy: Mr Danish, Thank you for the comment. Pandit Nehru’s Lal Chowk speech may have been 1947/48 during the Pashtun invasion. There is a small pic at my site here https://independentindian.com/2009/03/28/india-is-not-a-monarchy-and-urgently-needs-to-universalize-the-french-concept-of-citoyen-some-personal-thoughts/
By 1952, Sheikh Abdullah had pioneered the J&K Constitution
Ganai Danish Respected Dr Roy,1952 or 1948,that isn’t the question.The question is why india uses its military might to crush our movement.By calling itself the world’s largest democrac<z>y,its democracy is buried in kashmir.Our movement is indegenious,peaceful,genuine,and non violent and we will take it to its conclusion
Subroto Roy Mr Danish, Thank you for the comment. The difference between 1948 and 1952 is vital because that is the time Kashmir *made its decision*, and it was a *democratic* decision led by Sheikh-Sahib who had — practically single-handedly — awoken the Muslim masses from their slumber and oppression under the Dogras. Sheikh Abdullah paid the penalty for that most heavily– being jailed by the Dogras numerous times because of it. But even so I think you have raised a critically important question — which is how it is that your generation has become so utterly alienated and disaffected with their political experience of repression, war, terrorism etc that they want to free themselves of it.
Ganai Danish It is very true that late sheikh abdullah traitor fought against dogra rule but he did such a blunder that whatever happened in kashmir since 1989 to 2010,sheikh is responsible for this.He sold kashmir to india and sold the blood of martyrs that were in favour of accession to pakistan.It was the same traitor’s son farooq abdullah who signed noozle to Shaheed Maqbool bhat,the first martyr of kashmir.It was the same farooq abdullah’s leadership in 1989 who killed 1 lac kashmiris and brought POTA,AFSPA,PSA and so on in kashmir.It was the same traitors son omer abdullah who killed 112 innocents in kashmir in just 4 months.So far as the imprisonment is concerned.,It is Syed Ali shah geelani,a vetern leader of kashmir,who spent more than 22 years in jail and is still under house arrest.
Subroto Roy says to Mr Danish, Thanks for this point of view of which I know less than I should. I am glad we have reached a stage so quickly where we may discuss different interpretations of factual events. I reaoet what I have said to Mr Nazir, that I have no hesitation in accepting your saying the situation in recent times has become intolerable for ordinary people. I believe it is the outcome of a process which has evolved over decades in which the peoples and Governments of India, the peoples and Governments of Pakistan, and the peoples and Governments of J&K too, have all contributed. It is something for which *everyone* is responsible, no single person or country or community can be said to be exempt (other than perhaps the gentle people of Laddakh). And all the facts of history and the present have to be understood, and yes felt as well — each and every clear fact. I hope to show how this may be done during my Lahore lectures next month. Cordial regards and thanking you once more.
Sajad Malik @ Mr. Roy, you mean Sheikh Abdullah “offered” Plebiscite? well this is a news to me; as i am wondering on what authority wud they do that? All i have been knowing till now is, Plebiscite was in the offing, had Nehru not insisted that the tribes men from NWFP leave Kashmir and at the same time Jinnah insisting that for the plebiscite to happen, Indian forces need to be out of kashmir first.
Subroto Roy says to Mr Malik, Yes, Sheikh Abdullah and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad *offered* a plebiscite when it was first mentioned and it was the Pakistanis who balked.
Re. “disputed territory” and “core issue”, as I said yesterday, I do not have to *admit* it because I may have been the first to say so *twenty years ago* when I was almost as young as some of you are now “The core of the continuing dispute between Pakistan and India has been Kashmir, where vast resources have been drained from the budgets of both countries by two large armies facing one another for decades over a disputed boundary”. I do not think the Govt of Pakistan had used the word “core” until that time. Please see p 15 of the book
You may perhaps see that it is a leap of logic from saying Pakistan and India have a disputed boundary to saying as you suggest “So what is the problem if a Kashmiri asks Azadi sir?”. 🙂
Subroto Roy says to Mr Malik: Mr Malik, Indeed as I have said Sheikh-Sahib and Bakshi did so; you would have to know how ghastly and vicious the tribal invasion from Pakistan was starting on October 22 1947, and how the Rape of Baramulla had proceeded (with Kashmiri women of all communities, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu, being abducted by lorry en masse to be sold in markets in Peshawar etc), to know that Sheikh Abdullah and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad could confidently predict the outcome at the time of any such plebiscite, which would explain why Liaquat Ali Khan (who had condemned Sheikh as a “Quisling of India”) would have ignored it. I say this having read reports from the original newspapers at the time, and have today asked the editor of that national newspaper to produce a set of reprints of all articles published from, say, the 1946 Cabinet Mission to the Jan-Feb 1949 ceasefire, since all this material is unknown by all the parties, and making it known would contribute to resolving this grave and mortal problem. Do please explain what you mean or Sheikh meant by “Siyasi Awaragardi”; also I would certainly be grateful to learn of your view and that of your friends on the history of J&K between, say, 1952 and the 1965 War.
Sajad Malik: Mr Roy, I have been lately reading a piece done by Haroon Rashid. He pens down all that Kashmiri’s suffered at the hands of tribesmen..looting and arson, even killing of a lady running a convent. He outrightly rejects rape, (anyway thats altogether a diffrent debate). Sheikh Abdullah, wen released from the prison (Imprisoned by Nehru,for taking the plebscite front) scorned his ownself for taking up Plebscite front and termed it as “Siyasi-Awaragardi” (Political Intrigue). For your further enlightment here Mr. Roy;- 1951: Indian holds elections and tries to impose its democratic institution in Kashmir. It is opposed by the United Nations. They pass a resolution to declare elections void and stress on plebiscite. India ignores the opposition blatantly. Sheikh Abdullah wins unopposed and rumors of election rigging plague Kashmiri politics. 1952: Sheikh Abdullah signs the Delhi Agreement on July, 1952. It chalks out state-centre sharing of power and gives abidance to Kashmir to have its own flag. Sheikh Abdullah creates Kashmir centric land reforms which create resentment among the people of Jammu and Ladakh. Delhi Agreement provides the first genuine erosion in international resolution of Kashmir. Nehru’s Speech: ”On August1952, Jawahar Lal Nehru gives a negating speech contradicting the settlement provided in the Delhi Agreement: “Ultimately – I say this with all deference to this Parliament – the decision will be made in the hearts and minds of the men and women of Kashmir; neither in this Parliament, nor in the United Nations nor by anybody else” 1953-1954: Sheikh Abdullah takes U turns and procrastinates in conforming the accession of Kashmir to India. Sheikh Abdullah is jailed. In August, Bakhshi Ghulam Muhammad is installed in place of Sheikh Abdullah. He officially ratifies Kashmir’s accession with India. On April, 1954, India & Pakistan both agree in appointment of a Plebiscite Administrator. 1956-1957: On 30th October, 1956, J&K Constituent Assembly adopts a fresh constitution, and dissolves the Constituent Assembly, which further defines the relationship of Kashmir with the Indian Dominion. UN strongly condemns the developments and passes a resolution stating such attempts will not result in any final resolution. On 26th January, 1957, the new constitution is made enforceable. Kashmir is now a Republican-Democratic state under Indian Union. 1964: Sheikh Abdullah is released from jail. Jawahar Lal Nehru sends Sheikh Abdullah with a delegation to Pakistan in an effort to find a resolution discourse for Kashmir. In the meantime, masses in Kashmir protest against the implementation of Article 356 & 357, which allows Indian central authority over constituting legislative powers in Kashmir. The special status of Kashmir continues to get eroded. 1965-1971: The nomenclature is changed from ‘Sadr-e-Riyasat’ to Governor and from Prime Minister to Chief Minister. The Governor is now no longer elected locally, and is installed as per the orders of the President of India. This amendment lightens off Kashmir from its special titles. Free & fair elections in the guise of democracy are championed as just causes, and Indian mainstream parties are allowed to contest in the elections. However, these elections aren’t well received by the public. In many cases, international watchdogs accuse India of rigging elections. In 1967, Jammu Autonomy Forum is constituted with the aim of institutionalizing regional autonomy. Excerpts, “chronology of Kashmir conflict” by Naveed Qazi”
Subroto Roy says to Mr Sajad Malik: thank you for this brief chronology which I shall certainly study more carefully. Am I to understand that you and perhaps others with you deny the Rape of Baramullah? Perhaps you mean that the thousands, but thousands, of Kashmiri women of all three communities who were abducted against their will by the tribesmen in lorries and later sold in Peshawar and other markets were not raped but taken in matrimony at their new destinations?
Sajad Malik: Mr Roy, I am not denying anything. All I am saying is that Haroon Rashid (BBC) is rejecting it and that I maintain, its a separate debate. The thing which we are discussing here is that India has no legitimate authority over Kashmir. It’s military might, deciept, savagery has not been able to turn a leaf in Kashmir, despite tens of thousands been killed, despite all the laws it sought from the “once wicked” Britian. I am not a political analyst nor a strategist but with full conviction Mr. Roy, m telling you Kashmir can never be India. Smell our land it smells saffron, m not sure what it smells in India. Comment not intended to hurt your or any Indian’s emotions Mr. Roy. If it inadvertently does, I apologise.
Subroto Roy: Mr Malik, Thank you; no not at all, there is *absolutely* no need for you to apologise in this discussion for anything. Clearly there are many factual disagreements here, as to what happened precisely, who said and did what precisely, and so on, and an exchange of views and references is always constructive. From what you say, you may find of interest these two articles of mine from 2006; the former is “History of J&K” and the latter contains a Brief History of Gilgit too:
You may also like to see my FB Note giving Sheikh Abdullah in his own words for you and others to judge, here
and also Sheikh-Sahib, and Dr Zakir Hussain and Maulana Azad and others here:
Your statement “Kashmir can never be India” is perhaps intended to be controversial as it appears to beg the question, though of course you may agree *some* Kashmiris are Indians and wish to be Indians, and I may agree *some* Kashmiris are not Indians and do not wish to be Indians and also *some* Kashmiris are Indians and do not wish to be Indians; there may also be *some* Kashmiris who are not Indians but who wish to be Indians. Cordially.
Mr Malik, you are quoting from perhaps Dr Zakir Hussain or Sheikh Abdullah, not from my words. Secondly, are you saying Pakistan did not invade J&K in 1947? Britain did? I would agree there was a British-induced coup d’etat in Gilgit, but I trust you do not deny the whole history of the (then new) Pakistan’s military and political forces causing the vicious and ghastly Pashtun invasion along the Nowshera Road commencing October 22 1947. Modern Pakistan’s most eminent historians may agree with me I am afraid as to what happened as a matter of fact! You and I may not be able to progress much with conversation at this rate if our factual histories are so far apart as at present.. 🙂 But rest assured, all may become clear after my Lahore lectures next month, or at least all of my analysis and assessment of what happened and prescription of what may be best done now for everyone. I shall try to comment further on your statement later in the day.
Sajad Malik Sir, I am not saying Britian carried out the invasion *laughs*. All, m saying is, General Gracey was heading the Pak army at the time of invasion and there has been no evidence so far, to establish a link b/n Pak army and the tribes men. I can furnish to you the reference of what I assert. shall inshallah pray for your lahore lecture, and hope our thinking and understanding converge as per the aspirations of me, the prime stake holder..and a kashmiri. (smiles)
Subroto Roy Mr Malik, I am grateful for the clarification 🙂 — though as I have said, there *was* a British-induced coup in Gilgit, and you may also find my article “Pakistan’s Allies” of interest about the US and UK seeing themselves in battle against the old USSR etc.
Suppose I said to you and your friends that in fact Sheikh-Sahib (and his mentor at the time Jawaharlal Nehru) were influenced by socialism and, at one remove perhaps by Soviet communism — and *that* is why they were against the Dogra regime? While the Hurriyat’s predecessor, Muslim Conference, were *opposed* to Sheikh Abdullah, and because the Dogras were also opposed to Sheikh-Sahib, the Muslim Conference’s Hamidullah Khan as of May 22-24 1947 said they wanted to not only preserve the Dogra regime but make him an international sovereign so he could be called “Your Majesty” instead of merely “Your Highness”? :)! And in that they were, oddly enough, joined by many in the Hindu and Sikh minorities who saw the Dogras as protecting them from Sheikh Sahib’s secular majoritarianism, as well as by perhaps British Conservatives like Churchill as well as Mr Jinnah…. History yields some unusual and paradoxical things…. 🙂 Re your offer to furnish a reference that “there has been no evidence so far, to establish a link b/n Pak army and the tribesmen” I would be most grateful for this. The classic work on it has been by the late General Akbar Khan of the Pakistan Army who was an author of the invasion, http://openlibrary.org/books/OL15997912M/Raiders_in_Kashmir.
I have yet to own a copy of this book though am aware of its contents. I am most grateful for your good wishes for Lahore! I certainly need them, and I assure you, if you send me an email at my site, I shall send you a copy of what I say there as soon as possible after it is said. And indeed, I *completely* agree with you that the ordinary people of J&K of all communities have suffered most from this terrible and awful state of affairs, and their material and moral wellbeing needs most important and urgent relief. Cordially.
I wrote & publicized a document “An Economic Solution to Kashmir” in Washington back in 1993, which referred for the first time to ideas of a condominium, an Andorra solution etc….This seemed at the time a logical result of the UH Manoa Pakistan project. But in retrospect it has seemed naive and uninformed. I’m afraid I think Mr Kasuri has been overoptimistic about the robustness of the near-agreement he suggests was reached some years ago. .
I have had slight experience with the so-called multilateral financial institutions — attending a conference and helping to produce a book on Asia & Latin America with the ADB back in Hawaii in the 1980s, and being a consultant for some months at the World Bank and the IMF in Washington DC in the 1990s. The institutions seemed to me gluttonous and incompetent though I did meet a dozen good economic bureaucrats and two or three who were excellent in Washington. The “Asian Development Bank” (under Japan’s sway as the Word Bank is under American sway and the IMF under European sway) was reputedly worst of the three, though the Big Daddy of wasteful intellectually corrupt international bureaucracies must be the UN itself, especially certain notorious UN-affiliates around the world.
Now there are newspapers reports the ADB has apparently voted, under Communist Chinese pressure, to prevent itself from
This should be enough for any self-respecting Government of India to want to give notice to the ADB’s President that the Republic of India is moving out of its membership. Ongoing projects and any in the pipeline need not be affected as we would meet our debt obligations. There is no reason after all why a treaty-defined entity may not conclude deals with non-members or former members and vice versa.
But New Delhi’s bureaucrats may not find the guts to think on these lines as they would have to overcome their personal interests involved in taking up the highly lucrative non-jobs that these places offer. They will need some political kicking from the top. Thus in 1990-91 I had said to Rajiv Gandhi that “on foreign policy we should ‘go bilateral’ with good strong ties with individual countries, and drop all the multilateral hogwash”… “We do not ask for or accept public foreign aid from foreign Governments or international organizations at “concessional” terms. Requiring annual foreign aid is an indication of economic maladjustment, having to do with the structure of imports and exports and the international price of the Indian rupee. Receiving the so-called aid of others, e.g. the so-called Aid-India Consortium or the soft-loans of the World Bank, diminishes us drastically in the eyes of the donors, who naturally push their own agendas and gain leverage in the country in various ways in return. Self-reliance from so-called foreign aid would require making certain economic adjustments in commercial and exchange-rate policies, as well as austerity in foreign-exchange spending by the Government….”
Today, nineteen years later, I would say the problem has to do less with the structure of India’s balance of payments than with trying to normalise away from the rotten state of our government accounts and public finances. I have thus said “getting on properly with the mundane business of ordinary government and commerce… may call for a gradual withdrawal of India from all or most of the fancy, corrupt international bureaucracies in New York, Washington, Geneva etc, focussing calmly but determinedly instead on improved administration and governance at home.” We need those talented and well-experienced Indian staff-members in these international bureaucracies to return to work to improve our own civil services and public finances of the Union and our more than two dozen States.
As for India developing a Plan B (or a Plan A) in dealing with Communist China, my ten articles republished here yesterday provide an outline of both.
“AT a business meet on 12 January 2005, Dr Manmohan Singh showered fulsome praise on Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee as “dynamic”, “the Nation’s Best Chief Minister”, whose “wit and wisdom”, “qualities of head and heart”, “courage of conviction and passionate commitment to the cause of the working people of India” he admired, saying “with Buddhadeb Babu at the helm of affairs it appears Bengal is once again forging ahead… If today there is a meeting of minds between Delhi and Kolkata, it is because the ideas that I and Buddhadebji represent have captured the minds of the people of India. This is the idea of growth with equity and social justice, the idea that economic liberalization and modernization have to be mindful of the needs of the poor and the marginalized.” With such support of a Congress Prime Minister (as well as proximity to Pranab Mukherjee), Mr Bhattacharjee could hardly have feared the local Congress and Trinamul would pose any threat in the 2006 Assembly Elections despite having more potential voters between them than the CPI-M. Dr Singh returned to the “needs of the poor and the marginalized” at another business meet on 8 January 2007 promising to “unveil a new Rehabilitation Policy in three months to increase the pace of industrialisation” which would be “more progressive, humane and conducive to the long-term welfare of all stakeholders”, while his businessman host pointedly stated about Singur “land for industry must be made available to move the Indian manufacturing sector ahead”. The “meeting of minds between Delhi and Kolkata” seems to be that agriculture allegedly has become a relatively backward slow-growing sector deserving to yield in the purported larger national interest to industry and services: what the PM means by “long-term welfare of all stakeholders” is the same as the new CPI-M party-line that the sons of farmers should not remain farmers (but become automobile technicians or IT workers or restaurant waiters instead). It is a political viewpoint coinciding with interests of organised capital and industrial labour in India today, as represented by business lobbies like CII, FICCI and Assocham on one hand, and unions like CITU and INTUC on the other. Business Standard succinctly (and ominously) advocated this point of view in its lead editorial of 9 January as follows: “it has to be recognised that the world over capitalism has progressed only with the landed becoming landless and getting absorbed in the industrial/service sector labour force ~ indeed it is obvious that if people don’t get off the land, their incomes will rise only slowly”. “
I went on to say
“Land is the first and ultimate means of production, and the attack of the powerful on land-holdings or land-rights of the unorganised or powerless has been a worldwide phenomenon ~ across both capitalism and communism.”
It is interesting and amusing to see today’s newspapers report that the person who appointed Dr Manmohan Singh to be India’s PM, namely Sonia Gandhi, has taken a 180-degree turn on this subject while sitting beside Mamata Banerjee yesterday.
She apparently said: “I am happy so be sharing the dais with Mamata Banerjee once again….in Nandigram and Singur the State Government had unleashed dictatorship in the garb of democracy… . In the name of development (the CPI(M)) created terror in Nandigram and Singur. In the name of development, they snatched the land from the poor people there.”
Now what is the poor old CPI(M) to think after all this! Politics can be so entertaining. 😀
In international law, the attacks on Mumbai would probably reveal Pakistan to have been the aggressor state, India the victim of aggression. It is standard law that a “master” is responsible for the misdeeds of his “servant”. E.g., “Where the relation of master and servant clearly exists, the employer is responsible for injury occasioned by the negligent conduct of the servant in carrying out his orders. And this rule is so extensive as to make the master liable for the careless, reckless and wanton conduct of his servant, provided it be within the scope of his employment”. President Zardari and Prime Minister Gillani may declare truthfully they had no prior knowledge of the attacks on Mumbai, that these were not in any way authorized by them or their Government. But it seems likely on the basis of current evidence that the young terrorists who attacked Mumbai were still in a “master-servant” relationship with elements of the Pakistani state and had been financed, trained, motivated and supplied by resources arising, directly or indirectly, from the Pakistani exchequer. Public moneys in Pakistan came to be used or misused to pay for aggression against India — in a quite similar pattern to the October 1947 attack on Kashmir, Ayub Khan’s 1965 “Operation Grand Slam”, and Pervez Musharraf’s 1999 attack on Kargil.
And to think that these youth who were made into becoming terroristic mass murderers were toddlers when the USSR withdrew from Afghanistan, in primary school when the 1993 WTC bombing happened and adolescents at the time of the 9/11 attacks.
This map accompanied my article Lessons from the 1962 War published in The Sunday Statesman of January 13 2008:
First published in The Sunday Statesman February 25 2007, Editorial Page Special Article, www.thestatesman.net
There is urgent need for calm, sober thought, not self-delusion. Foreign trade, world politics are not what State Governments are constitutionally permitted to do.
By SUBROTO ROY
Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is fond of saying his hoped for industrialization plans will lead to jobs for “thousands” of unemployed young men and women emerging from West Bengal’s many schools, colleges and universities.
Now ever since JM Keynes’s time, economists have understood the phenomenon of unemployment quite well. Some unemployment is voluntary: where someone declines to accept a job at the prevailing wage or chooses leisure instead, e.g. withdraws from the labour-force in order to go to college or care for children or family or be involved in search for a better job. Some unemployment is seasonal, as in agriculture ~ where there often is “overfull” employment at harvest-time. Some unemployment may be frictional or structural, depending on dynamic unpredictable industrial or technological changes. In none of these cases is any large role defined for government investment using public resources, though there can be smaller roles like providing job-information, advice and training.
Keynes himself was concerned with systematic “involuntary” unemployment, where masses of people are willing but unable to find work at the going wage because there has been a general collapse of the market economy, as arguably happened in the 1930s in the Western countries. There has been no such situation in independent India.
And it is important to remember our labour markets are mostly unrestricted by State boundaries: unlike totalitarian China, we do not have internal passports in the country, and Indians are mostly free to work anywhere they wish to. Talk from CPI-M, Congress, BJP or other politicians of alleged Keynesian “multiplier” effects arising from government expenditure is mostly talk. And as for Sonia Gandhi’s “National Rural Employment Guarantee”, to the extent it was argued for at all by Amartya Sen’s disciples like Jean Drèze, the argument was not on Keynesian grounds but of a purportedly more equitable distribution of government expenditure.
What then is the Bhattacharjee Government supposed to be doing?
Chandrababu Naidu started a trend among Chief Ministers flying off to exotic foreign vistas, addressing international conferences and signing memoranda with foreign businessmen. But world politics, international relations and foreign trade are not what Indian State Governments are permitted by our Constitution to be engaged in doing. Nelson Mandela is a great man of history but Jyoti Basu’s Government had no constitutional right or business to gift him five million American dollars of West Bengal public money after he was released from jail in South Africa in 1990 by De Klerk.
Our Constitution is crystal clear that the legitimate agenda of India’s State Governments is something very mundane and wholly unglamorous: State Governments are supposed to be managing Courts of Law; the Police, Civil Order, Prisons; Water, Sanitation, Health; State Debt Service; Intra-State Infrastructure & Communications; Local Government; Liquor & Other Public Sector Industry; Trade, Local Banking & Finance; Land, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry; Libraries, Museums, Monuments; State Civil Service & Administration. In addition, “concurrent” with the Union Government are Criminal, Civil & Family Law, Contracts & Torts; Forests & Environmental Protection; Unemployment & Refugee Relief; Electricity; Education. It is relative to that explicit agenda that State Government performances around the country must be evaluated.
The finances of the West Bengal Government and those of every other State of the Union appear in a condition of Byzantine confusion. Even so, it is not impossible for any citizen to understand them with a little serious effort. The State receives tax revenues, income from State operations (like bus fares, lottery tickets etc), and grants transferred from the Union. Of the State’s total revenues, more than 80% arise from taxation. Of those taxes, about 30% is collected by the Union on behalf of the State in accordance with the Finance Commission’s formulae; 70% is collected by the State itself, and about 60% of whhat the State collects is Sales Tax. On the expenditure side, more than 60% goes in repaying the State’s debts as well as interest owed on that debt. The remainder gets distributed as summarily shown in the table. (What would be revealed at a higher level of detail is that e.g. Rs. 2.63 Bn is spent in collecting Rs. 9.93 Bn of land revenue!) The wide difference between the State’s income from all sources and its expenditures implies the State must then issue new public debt. That typically has been a larger and larger sum every year, greater than the amount of maturing debt being amortised or extinguished. The potentially grave consequence of this will be obvious to any householder, and makes it imperative that calm, sober thought and objective analysis occur about the State’s financial condition and budget constraint. There is no room for self-delusion, especially on the part of the Bhattacharjee Government. We are still paying interest on the money we borrowed to make Nelson Mandela a gift seventeen years ago.
Govt. of W. Bengal’s Finances 2003-2004
Rs Billion (Hundred Crore)
government & local government 8.68 1.68%
judiciary 1.27 0.25%
police (including home guard etc.) 13.47 2.61%
prisons 0.62 0.12%
bureaucracy 5.69 1.10%
collecting land revenue & taxes 4.32 0.84%
government employee pensions 26.11 5.05%
schools, colleges, universities, institutes 45.06 8.72%
health, nutrition & family welfare 14.70 2.84%
water supply & sanitation 3.53 0.68%
roads, bridges, transport, etc. 8.29 1.60%
electricity (mostly loans to power sector) 31.18 6.03%
irrigation, flood control, environment, ecology 10.78 2.09%
agricultural subsidies, rural development, etc. 7.97 1.54%
industrial subsidies 2.56 0.50%
capital city development 7.29 1.41%
social security, SC, ST, OBC, labour welfare 9.87 1.91%
tourism 0.09 0.02%
arts, archaeology, libraries, museums 0.16 0.03%
miscellaneous 0.52 0.10%
debt amortization & debt servicing 314.77 60.89%
total expenditure 516.92
tax revenue 141.10
operational income 6.06
grants from Union 18.93
loans recovered 0.91
total income 167.00
GOVT. BORROWING REQUIREMENT
minus total income ) 349.93
new public debt issued 339.48
use of Trust Funds etc 10.45
From the author’s research and based on latest available data published by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India