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   I have been wondering: if I were given a choice... (December 6, 1990)

I have been wondering: if I were given a choice between being governor of Punjab and governor of Kashmir, which would I choose?

Kashmir, as at the moment, seems to be a tougher problem at solve, so I may choose Punjab. But then in Punjab the problem is of a much longer duration and is no nearer solution, so it is more difficult to solve. So I may choose Kashmir.

About the people in the two states, there is not much difference. I am not quite sure, but neither they are both very nice and innocent and gentle and are being misled by the foreign hand, or they are both mean and secessionist and untrustworthy. So the people would not determine my choice of governorship of Kashmir or Punjab.

Srinagar, of course, would be a much better place to stay in than Chandigarh. But right now Srinagar is not a very healthy place to stay in and even the lion-hearted Jagmohan Malhotra had shifted to Jammu, and not only because it is the winter capital. So I do not think my choice would be determined by whether I want to stay at the Raj Bhavan in Srinagar or Chandigarh…or Jammu.

I may prefer Punjab to Kashmir because it is nearer New Delhi, where the governor has to come four times a week for consultations, and would save travelling time. But if Indian Airlines runs on schedule, and for a governor it should, Kashmir is just a hope away.

One reason why I may not prefer Kashmir is the interference by Mr. George Fernandes. And though his Kashmir portfolio is taken away, I believe he still interferes. But in Punjab Mr. Khushwant keeps interfering, writing about it whenever he does not have any other subject to write about, and telling governors and ministers how asinine their policy towards the Sikhs is.

As for the family, I have not consulted them yet on whether they would prefer staying in Kashmir or Punjab. There is nothing to refer to also, since the wives of previous governors have not said how much they liked or disliked Kashmir and Punjab. About the only wife who said Punjab was all right was Mrs. Ribeiro, wife of the police chief, and she said this in spite of being shot in the leg.

As for danger to life, the danger is about equal: in Punjab, in Kashmir, and in Bombay _ you could fall into a municipal ditch and be run over by a BEST bus.

 
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