Reflections from Chenab region

The Gujjar – Bakerwal community of Chenab region is extremely backward, and as compared to Gujjar – Bakerwals, living in Poonch – Rajouri region. However, they form an important component of Jammu and Kashmir heritage. In an editorial, daily Kashmir Uzma writes that inspite of having been included in Scheduled Tribe, they lack basic facilities. There are dismally poor arrangements for education. Once there used to be mobile schools, but now these are not functional. Government needs to attend to their problems.


Lacking the facilities:

“Though in order to remedy the backwardness of Gujar – Bakerwal and some other communities, and to provide them equal opportunity for progress, the government had given them the status of Scheduled Tribes, 30 years ago, yet in some regions they are living a tribal life and lack basic facilities. It is especially so in Chenab region, where they are living a hard-pressed life, where there are neither roads up to their settlements, nor are facilities like drinking water and electricity available. Nor do they have educational and health facilities. In this region, this class has been completely neglected on political and development fronts. Though some selected people, do get personal benefits from government or politicians but overall there is no evidence  of  development. It may be mentioned that in Chenab region the proportion of Gujjar – Bakerwal population is from 10-15 % and contrary to Rajouri – Poonch, the people of the region are extremely backward”.


Educational Facilities:

“Except a few areas, most of the Gujjar-_Bakerwal settlements do not have basic amenities, and the most shocking aspect is that of education. The education department has established schools in these regions, but these lack in teachers. Since these settlements are located in far – off places, no teacher is prepared to serve in these regions. The situation is such that in a school there are hardly one or two teachers for hundred students. This adversely affects the educational results of this community, and every year the results are disappointing. Since during summer, these people have to move to upper regions with cattle, to dholaks ,  there they have no arrangement for educating children. Some years back mobile schools had been opened for these people, but this project also failed and imparting education in upper regions (dholaks) remained a dream. This is not the condition of this community in other regions, where many young people have passed IAS, KAS examinations and shown good performance, which is encouraging.”


A Matter of Concern:

“But the fact that Gujjars – bakerwal community of the region have become victims of backwardness is worrisome. Because of backwardness, their presence in employment is almost nil. Like education, they have been ignored in other aspects also, roads, electricity and even drinking water. The government has been running schemes for such communities. But because of bad planning and mismanagement they have not worked in some area. The urgent need is to provide basic amenities to Gujral Bakerwal community of the region, so that their progress is ensured.


[Courtesy: Urdu daily  Kashmir Uzma, Srinagar, Kashmir, July 09, 2018].

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