March 2016 News

Unfortunate How Kashmir's Pulwama District Is Known Only For Militancy

23 March 2016
Waheed Ur Rehman

Srinagar: It is ironic that one of the most prosperous districts, both in terms of intellectual capital and industrial output, remains in headlines for all the wrong reasons. Pulwama has become a synonym for violence for newspapers and, it won't be wrong to say, in the eyes of the State too. One can't deny district Pulwama is now chiefly known for a local militant commander Burhan Wani, who has gained the popularity by through tactical operations on social networking sites. This is, despite the fact, it hardly produced any separatist leader or any known militant commander in early '90s. It was, and remains, a route for militants in transit, because it borders six most important districts in Kashmir, which are strategically important for State and non-State actors. kashmir-protest-poli_032316020018.jpg Sadly, Pulwama is synonymous to terror today. The district might be engulfed in conflict, but there's so much more to it. District Pulwama came into being in 1979. It currently comprises of eight tehsils, 331 villages and four Assembly constituencies. But the question that needs to be asked is: can Pulwama be really deemed violent? There is no doubt that radical conscious political assimilations have, time and again, resulted in the destruction of the local economy in the last two decades of the ongoing armed conflict, hampering economic development. The most recent one being a shutdown that continued almost for 16 days, resulting not just in economic but academic loss too. But, Pulwama has managed to leave other districts behind in many areas. One has to give credence to the fact that the place doesn't lag behind in any field. The industrial development and output has only increased in recent years. The growth of industries, although, is moving at snail's pace, but it has shown remarkable results. The district has the distinction of having the state's largest cement plant namely J&K Cements Ltd at Khrew, with a capacity of 1,200 tons cement per day. Also, there are three major private entities which run their production plants. Not just this, the milk production in the district has seen a tremendous rise. Islamic University of Science and Technology is arguably the only university without any conflict is based in the district, where thousands of young boys and girls study under the banner of peace and love. A branch of AIIMS would be set up in Pulwama soon, which will give the youth a chance at employment and will the much-needed capital influx to the district's business. It also has a private law school and quality educational institutions to cater the student demands. Besides that, the district is the largest milk-producing hub in state. It continues to lead in milk production in the Valley and as per official records; milk production has increased over the years and reached more than eight lakh litres in 2016. The district produces 50 per cent of the Valley's total milk and tehsil Pulwama alone produces 100 thousand litres of milk daily. On account of its high milk production, the district is called as Kashmir's Dudh Koul or 'the milky stream.' Words fail when one has to describe Kashmir, and Pulwama is only one of many jewels. Pulwama is 'self-sufficient' owing to national fruit mandis. In fact, Pulwama ranks highest in apple and rice production in Jammu and Kashmir. The district is also famous for saffron cultivation, which is mainly grown in the Karewa lands, which are also found in Pampore and Kakapora districts. In the education sector too, the district has the highest literacy rate among women in J&K. It has a degree college with highest admission capacity of students and almost 5,000 young men and women studying presently. Even as the district remains paralysed for most of the academic session, Pulwama produced toppers in Class 10 and 12 exams recently. A Class 9 student, Zubair Ahmad Kumar designed a model for hydroelectricity project to help generate power for Drabgam village in Pulwama. During the demonstration itself, Zubair was able to produce 200 watts of electricity. On the political front, Pulwama has produced many great leaders. It is the only district in J&K, where PDP has performed consistently. Pulwama has always trusted in late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's vision of 'change politics'. It is the only district where Kashmiri Pandits are leading peaceful and secure lives. The district is also home to poets like Mehjoor, Lalded and Habba Khatoon. The Valley echoes the life-stories of these legends even today. The bulbul sings to the flowers: 'A garden is our land!' The hyacinth says to the violet, 'Why are you hiding thus? Come down from the woods to the garden!' A garden is our land!