Thursday, October 13, 2005

Just another day in paradise

BBC NEWS | South Asia | 'Cruel joke' of India's relief effort  

So, I waited for someone to create one of those wonderful emails that does lot of chest thumping,  tells us how wonderful we are – like, the one that came after hurricane Katrina that compared US relief efforts after the hurricane with Indian relief effort after the Mumbai  rains. It never appeared. Wonder if the writer of the original email has gone into hiding.

I thought this would be a great opportunity to show our humanitarian side and also gain some much wanted political mileage out of it. But, it never happened. It is not just the government; even the NGOs did not seem to care. Search the web for Indian websites accepting donations for Kashmir earthquake, there is hardly any.

Hopes that the earthquake would dent the militancy were quashed very early. On the day of the earthquake they killed a few people. And, quickly followed up with more killings.

Most people think that militancy in Kashmir started immediately after Indian independence and the secession of Kashmir to India. They don’t realize that while the seeds of the problem were sown at the time of independence, militancy started only in the 80s after a series of rigged elections, absolutely no efforts at developing the local economy. In the early 90s I had a chance to share a train journey from Madras to Delhi with a Kashmiri couple. We played Antakshari and talked about a number of things. One of the things the man told me stuck with me – “when we have 3 hrs of electricity a day in winter and hardly any jobs it make it a little more easy for people to choose militancy.”

I bet if people had opportunities and were busy making money there would be less chance for militancy.

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