The joke called the “Darbar Move”, the biannual practice that entailed that the JK Govt functions in the two capitals, Srinagar and Jammu during summer and winter seasons, respectively, has formally come to an end. This practice that involved the shifting of the Secretariant between Srinagar and Jammu had been in operation since the Dogra monarch Maharaja Gulab Singh had started it 148 years ago in 1872 in order to escape the discomfort of the harshness of winter in Kashmir.
Though indeed it would cost the exchequer more than a whopping Rs. two billion every single year, the only redeeming feature of it was that it had helped strengthen the bonding between the people of Jammu and Srinagar, apart from the financial windfall that would ensue for the Jammu region when the valleyites would flock to Jammu lock, stock and barrel as it were, with a view to escape the harsh winter back home. Let me hasten to add that as opposed to this, Srinagar would not witness such an economic spectacle as not many from the Jammu region would choose to descend into the Kashmir valley during the summer season when the secretariant would function from the summer capital.
However, now that the central govt. has decided, in its ‘wisdom’, that the Darbar Move shall cease to be operational from now on, the fact remains that, for once, the Kashmir valley stands not much to lose as a result of this move whereas the economic activity of the Jammu region which would get a flip during the winter season shall badly suffer for want of cash flow that would accompany the massive presence of Kashmiris there during the better part of the winter season. Let me confess that I don’t wish to pretend shedding a tear or two for the economic slowdown of the Jammu region that would necessarly result from this development. And that’s precisely because it’s the people of the Jammu region who had all along supported similar such moves by the GOI which were seen to be anti-Kashmir. Which is why they had gone overboard in blindly supporting the current ruling dispensation at the Centre during its long regime of disempowerment and deracination of Kashmir, its people and its culture of which the abrogation of article 370/35A, the withdrawal of statehood, the planned delimitation or the complete destruction of the Kashmir economy are but small manifestations. Whether one likes it or not, the people of Jammu are getting a taste of their own medicine.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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