Dr. Karan Singh is eminent politician and philosopher of country. He is the son of the last ruling Maharaja of erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, Sir Hari Singh. He was the prince regent of Jammu and Kashmir until 1952. From 1952 to 1965 he was the Sadr-i-Riyasat (President) of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the Republic of India.He is the chairperson trustee of the Dharmarth Trust of Jammu and Kashmir which maintains 175 temples in north India and works in other areas such as historical preservation.
In an exclusive interview with News Kashmir Magazine, he talks to Farzana Mumtaz and Rameez Makhdoomi.
How do you view election of Droupadi Murmu as President of India?
Earlier on huge number of people the schedule caste, Adavasis , Schedule Tribes were kept out of system for more than 60 years. Droupadi Murmu presidency represents great and positive change for India . I am older than this republic and have seen many times, ups and downs and bringing such marginalized communities to center of our polity is treat to soul of India. Droupadi Murmu is powerful symbol of positivity, she lost husband and sons but kept on fighting with great spirt . Her presidency resembles huge positive change and proud moment for us as country .
Few decades back you stated that development is contraception and then after decade or so you said contraception is development, your take on it now ?
Yes, this is an interesting question. I have not given much thought to population issue for sometime, yes recently read that India is going to surpass China in Coming times in terms of population which was worrying, but now contraception use is improving and fertility rate is coming down across communities which is a great sign.
What is your take on less debating in Parliament in India in past few decades ,how much negative it is for democracy?
It is matter of concern for all of us that in past few decades the quality of debating is going down in Parliament and unnecessary ruckus is being created. This hurts the democracy. Once late Arun Jaitley had stated disruption of Parliament is legitimate right of opposition which I don’t agree and believe that often disruptions are harming to democracy. In times of Jawahir Lal Nehru or even Indira Gandhi both Government as well as opposition used to do quality debating, but now it is going haywire. No doubt opposition has right to protest on issues of price rise but creating ruckus in the well of Parliament is not at all acceptable.
How do you see the Journey of India as we are approaching 75th year of Independence?
At the time of Independence we could not even produce needle and now we are global hub of production, and even sending people to space. India as country has made tremendous progress in past 75 years. On the negative side our biggest weakness as nation of India is that we have not been able to abolish the poverty. Still crores of people live under crushing poverty and I hope this reality would change towards betterment in coming times .
Do you think progress has happened in Jammu and Kashmir post article 370 abrogation?
The realities are complex, it is difficult to answer. When I meet some people they say nothing has happened. But, you have to understand from road network to other infrastructure and projects Jammu and Kashmir Government offlate has Kickstarted many important projects. There is no magic wand and things will take time . The biggest development that has happened post abrogation of article 370 is that Jewel of Kashmir beauty the World famous Dal Lake is clean again and regaining its lost glory as since past few decades Dal Lake had got destroyed .
Is the declining nature of opposition worrying sign for India ?
Yes for parliamentary democracy like ours strong opposition is the need of the hour, as democracy can’t remain dynamic without active opposition. The present status of main opposition party Congress is sad , and I am also since long the member of congress party . The present condition of Congress due to different factors is worrying. However, on otherwise from Telengana to Odisha and also in WestBengal the regional opposition parties are doing good .
Your take on South Asian Peace?
The peace in South Asia is quite fragile. Pakistan is facing chaos and instability, Sri Lanka is facing economic disaster and Burma is under military rule .All these are worrying signs for South Asian Peace.
Your message, especially to people of Jammu and Kashmir?
I express my deep wishes to the people of Jammu and Kashmir . I feel I have not able to offer them a satisfying solution to their problem and owe them a spiritual Debt. I urge them to make most out of the developmental efforts done by the Government. We need to regain the lost glory of Jammu as death and destruction has given us nothing.