The long and short of U.P- THE HINDU- 25-01-2020

Ground realities

A State Bank of India Research report of March 2019 showed that U.P. had not bettered its human development index over the last 27 years. Kerala topped while U.P. came last in both. In both the reports, Uttarakhand, once a part of U.P., ranked high.

Evolution of communalism

A good part of its poor leads a sub-human life as migrant labour in urban India and outside. There isn’t a social evil or fault-line in India, that is not roosting or thriving in it. U.P. is the mothership for the conservative and hard-line versions of both Hinduism and Islam in India. Since modernity and governments crater here, older forms of social anchoring have a solid social hold.

Very often, political power is seized by stoking caste and religious embers. Communalism and casteism are rife for they constitute concrete capital. There is a large amount of scholarship on the evolution of communalism in U.P. and its malleable forms.

Crime data

The “Crime in India Report” for the year 2017 was released by the National Crime Records Bureau last year. U.P. topped the list with 10% of India’s total crime and three lakh registered First Information Reports . It outdid every State on crimes against women, with 56,011 out of 3,59,849 cases all over India. U.P. leads in arms possession and gun licences.

Home Ministry data released in 2016 showed the State authorised gun licences for 12.77 lakh people, followed by Jammu and Kashmir where 3.69 lakh people possessed arms licences. One study published in 2015, said that of nearly three lakh cases registered in the country for illegal possession of arms, U.P. accounted for 1.5 lakh. There is rich work in the social sciences that examines the spurt in ethnic conflict in “traditional” societies. When any change such as “modernity” or “democracy”, is attempted, it usually activates nativist identity politics.

Hindu-Muslim caste conflict pushes U.P’s citizenry into collective religious and caste cul-de-sacs. Pankaj Mishra has argued in his recent books, how modernisation, almost everywhere, is ridden with bloodshed. The purveyors of the Enlightenment, and capitalists and communists alike, avoided confronting this central feature, for it would stymie their vision of human progress. Over the last 30 years or more, Purvanchal , Bundelkhand, Awadh and Paschim Pradesh , have been fighting for resources and separation from U.P. ” He was signalling a clear challenge for India’s federalism.

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