Freezing Political Process Freezes Society, Dr Karan Singh Says

by Tahir Bhat

SRINAGAR: Insisting that he personally was a “participant” and not a mere eyewitness to the drama that took place in Kashmir post-partition till 1975, Dr Karan Singh hoped the Government returns Jammu and Kashmir its status of a full-fledged state. The only Sadr-e-Reyasat of Jammu and Kashmir was speaking at a function at Amar Singh Club on Saturday where he was felicitated for his lifelong achievements.

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha presided over the function, did the honours and asserted that the Lok Sabha’s commitments are supreme.

Dr Singh went nostalgic about how his father, Hari Singh set up the Club in his father’s memory and how it is one of the best Clubs that lacks a match anywhere in India. His weekend visit to the club was after 20 years. He talked about his frequent visits to the Club started in 1950s when he was the Regent of the state.

Dr Singh said that Srinagar Club was complexly for the Britons in Srinagar so his father set up the Amar Singh Club. Coming here, he said, like getting into a time machine. He remembered how the Bridge experts would play the game upstairs.

The heir apparent talked about the politics of different eras by merely mentioning the eras. He moved from the Sheikh era to Bakhshi era, to Sadiq and Qasim era and finally back to the days when Sheikh Abdullah returned to power.

“So I have seen the entire drama before my own eyes. I have been a participant in this drama and not only a witness to all this, but a participant,” Dr Karan Singh said. “The latest event in the drama was the 2019 August when drastic changes took place and we became a Union Territory”.

At this point, Dr Singh addressed Manoj Sinha, who was sitting with him, saying: “I can say as you have been saying that Article 370 is temporary, I have the faith that the UT status of Jammu and Kashmir is also temporary. Very soon we will get back our statehood.” To this, the audience made cheers, perhaps the only time in the event when the audience was audible.

Dr Singh said that he has seen all politics “in this country”. However, he had a word of caution. “It is tremendously important that the political process continues (because) whenever the political processes get frozen, the society also gets frozen,” Dr Singh said, insisting, “We are hopeful the political process will start soon.”

Later speaking on the occasion, Manoj Sinha showered praises on Dr Singh and termed him a huge intellectual whose writings he has been reading in recent days.

Sinha said that a commitment has been made in the Lok Sabha about Jammu and Kashmir getting back its state status and it will be honoured. He talked about the electoral process being initiated after the delimitation process.

“It was dreams of our founding fathers that development should be balanced, deeply rooted in the spiritual and cultural traditions of India. The remarkable, robust and resilient growth of Jammu and Kashmir is the finest example of our collective determination and triumph against various hurdles,” the Lt Governor said.

The Lt Governor said that the development in various sectors demonstrates the firm commitment of the government to achieve speedy and all-round development. It is also the responsibility of civil society, young and thinking minds to ensure peace and help the administration in providing equal opportunities for all.

Sinha said they are constantly striving to revive the vibrant literary-cultural environment, and efforts are being made to ensure the development of robust infrastructure and strengthening of the grass-root democracy.

As part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Government is working on the revival and promotion of Kashmiri, Dogri, and Punjabi literature and culture. Since last year, two Lit Fests have been organised in J&K with an aim is to restore the vibrant literary culture of the UT, he added.

Speaking on the developmental issues, the Lt Governor said, in the last two years, rapid efforts are being made for bridging the infrastructure gap between villages and cities. Opportunities have been provided to harness the potential of women and youth in the UT.

The work on developing Jhelum River Front, the cultural heritage of Srinagar and the historical Tawi River Front of Jammu, has started. The work on conservation of heritage sites is going on in planned manner and restoration of Mughal Garden has also been taken up.

The Lt Governor also mentioned the efforts being made to clean the Dal Lake and other lakes, and water bodies across the UT.

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