Hassan Zainagairee comments on the alarm Census is causing to a common Kashmiri
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Low level of affluence, educational backwardness and religious taboos associated with some measures in curbing population are attributed to higher growth rate in Muslim population as compared to other communities in India. Taunting Muslims for procreating children "five-fold" the one-time brand name of Hindutva ideology, Narendra Modi (CM of Gujrat) remarked: ‘While we believe in Ham doa, hamaray doa; they (Muslims) pride to have Ham pantch, hamaray pachees’. The import of Modi’s remark is not difficult to understand: Muslims’ proclivity for polygamy. Though the truth is that in rarest of rare cases they solemnise a second marriage. Nonetheless, for varied reasons, Muslim population in India registered positive trends. From ten percent in 1951 it increased to 15 per cent of India’s total population today as official statistics reveal. It does not mean Hindu majority is on decline. No, it too has increased manifold.
As far as Kashmiri Muslims are concerned the demographic trends are shockingly disturbing as compared to Indian Muslims, though same factors determining their growth in population apply in both cases. Why should Indian Muslim population show increase, ours reduction? Also why should non-Muslim population of state J&k show an upward trend as compared to ours which is on decline? This has, obviously, created a sense of insecurity in the Muslims of Kashmir. There is a growing fear that an engineered demographic change is being carried out to change the Muslim majority character of the state. The mass-uprising of 2008, the driving force of which was laced with never-dying sentiment of Aazadi, was fueled by this perception. Transfer of forest land to Amarnath Shrine Board provided the outlet to the volcano of suppressed anger. It also depicted sensitivity of Muslims on land.
The demographic trends in the state reflected in the official census data in itself points to demographic engineering with a malicious design. According to 1941 census the total population of J&K was 2946728. Out of this Muslim constituted 78%. Noted commentrator Dr. Sheikh Showhat in his well-researched report on demography concluded after the division of state the ‘percentage of Muslims within Indian administered zone remained 72%’. In the turbulant period of 1951 census was not carried out. However, quite amazingly, the Muslim composition was projected to have reduced to 68.30 per cent in 1961 census out of the reported total population of 3560976. The trend continued and decline of Muslims became manifest in the census operations that followed. In 1971 Muslim populaion was again reported to have declined to 65.85 per cent out of a total population of 4616632. In 1981 census again Muslim population was shown to have downslid to 64.19 per cent when state’s population stood at 5987389. In 1991 census was not held in J&K. However, to calm down public anger the census of 2001 depicted an increase of 2% in Muslim population.
In Jammu the demographic engineering has nearly reached to its fruition. In its October 2000 issue Frontline newsmagazine quoted the stunning census figures that deepened the Muslim fears. These figure show the "growth" and "fall" of two communities. According to these while Hindu population in Doda district has grown by 47.23 per cent between 1971 and 1981, that of Muslims has grown by only 11.97 per cent. In Udhampur, for the same period the growth rate is 45 per cent (for Hindus) as against 6.35 for Muslims. In Rajouri Hindus grew by 47.72 per cent against 33.01 per cent of Muslims. In Kathua Hindu population was reported to have grown by 39.31 per cent while Muslim population had ‘fallen’ by 14.57 per cent. Jammu district too was projected replicating the same trend. Against 36.14 per cent growth rate of Hindus, it is a ‘fall’ of 29.98 per cent for Muslims.
As pointed out by Dr. Sheikh Showkat in his report, that got published in English and local dalies, there is a sinister design aimed at proping up Hindi on the basis of fake data. The census department has to its credit of inflating the number of people having Hindi as mother tongue from 42000 in 1971 to a ‘path-breaking’ figureof 1012808 in 1981. This dacadal 2200 per cent increase of Hindi speaking population should have witnessed shrinking number of people whose mother tongue is Dogri or Kashmiri. But the dacadal growth of Kashmiri and Dogri speakers respectively is 30 per cent and 27 per cent, that is in line with the decadal growth of 29 per cent of population of the state. Two objectives are served by manipulation of these figures. One, to undermine the importance of Urdu and rob it off its official status. Second, it reflects the ingress of over a million of non-state Hindi speaking people in the state’s population. Both have catastrophic fall-out for Muslim majority Kashmir. Add to this clubbing of 360000 Gojri speaking nomads with Hindi speaking people, the stink of communal mentality becomes all nauseating. The final blow to Muslim majority complexion is inflicted in enumerating non-state subjects with state subjects.
The Census department has given directions to its field staff in the state to enumerate non-locals including migrant labourers (Biharees) who are residing in Kashmir for the past six months or who intend to stay in Kashmir for six months. This is not that simple. Their entry into the records who change whole population complexion of the state. It will have dangerous implications for the social, political and economic fabric of the Muslim majority state. Their enlisting in census records would in future make them plead for their domicile rights (state subject) and demand their ‘share’ in the government. Already they are drain on the resources of the state and their huge unchecked incursion is beginning to encroach upon the social and cultural moorings and identity of Kashmiris. Within a decade or two we will be reaping the luxury of our hospitality.
Given the strong urge of Kashmiris for independence and Delhi’s failure to force them into submission, the political house in Delhi and its think tanks have perhaps finally veered round to have the problem ‘solve’ for ever: "If Kashmiris do not want to integrate with us let we Indians come to ‘integrate’ with them. Koee baath nahein. No problem". Barely six months after assuming office in 2009, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat called for abrogation of Article 370 of Indian constitution which bars outsiders from purchasing land in J&K. On January 26, the Sarsangchalak addressing his party workers in Bhubaneshwar was candid in his rabidly communal overtures: ‘If people in J&K hate India we should bring patriotic people from the rest of the country and settle them in the state. This should end Article 370’. Are we gradually heading to this "bonhomie", of having us "embraced" in big lap of Mahan Bharat! Needless to mention in this manipulation of Census, and erosion of autonomy etc Congress role has been instrumental. As everything it did and happened in its rule. For all purposes Congress seems to be executing RSS ideology. The makhota of secularism is just a deception.
The concocted figures of Census serves other nefarious designs of the forces bent to change the population complexion. On this basis a consistent demand is made for delimitation of constituencies to state legislature. This is meant to seek political disempowerment of Kashmiris. Already Jammu Dogras and Ladakh Bodhs are being pampered in government recruitments whereas Muslims are being excluded from services and key decision making structures. The enactment of 8% reserrvation for Scheduled Castes in Muslim majority districts is a fatal blow to Muslim interests. When a known pro-Indian voice and former deputy CM and PDP leader Muzafar Hussein Beigh says he has details with him to show ‘how state government has been overlooking the organised settlement of outsiders in Jammu areas’, Geelani accusing state government for playing with interests of state and facilitating those doped to transform demography assumes more significance.
Tail Piece: – Palestinians did not wake up at the time of Balfore Declaration. They woke up when they were caught unawares. Much late, when nobody listened to their wailing cries. To have their demography changed. To have Zionist Israel carve out its statehood out of their lands they inhabited since centuries. Hunting them out, squeezing them in and besieging them . Cramped in Gaza and Western Bank, it is beyond retrieval. Recall the firy speech of pro-Indian PDP leader Iftikar Ansari in JK assembly on 25 August, 2009 when he predicted ‘Kashmir would become another Palestine’.
(The author can be reached at email@example.com)