A long way to go......
THE PROBLEM IS NOT ROOTED IN POLITICS, BUT IN ATTITUDE, WRITES DR SHOUKAT KHAN
Nearly two and half decades ago while traveling back home from a remote village dispensary in a dilapidated bus I leafed through the torn pages of a left over newspaper. What I read made me almost to scream in joy. My friend had made it to IAS. For the next half an hour of my bus journey I kept thinking about my friend and wondering why making it to IAS was such a big thing? It has been almost 27 years since then and I still have no answer. Anyways ! A few months later I meet my friend. Carefully wording my question not to hurt him or belittle his achievement i dared to ask, “Why did you forgo a lucrative position in a reputable multinational company in Bombay and opt for civil services”. My friend put down the cup of tea on the table, thought for a moment and then looking straight at me replied, “Being in civil services will give me an opportunity to help people and the society at large”. I thought it was quite an intellectual answer and cursed myself for being so stupid to have asked such a question. Unlike the present times the corporate world in those days had little presence in the social sector.
The economy was tightly regulated by the state and the license Raj was at its peak. There was no internet and no mobiles. The world had not condensed into the present day the global village. The only way to be acknowledged successful was grabbing the nostalgic relic of the British Raj called civil services. On 6th of May, I was excited beyond imagination when the IAS topper from Kashmir was being interviewed. My joy was more than it was 27 years back. This local lad was neither my friend nor a relation. I was happy that he did it but a little sceptical about some of the stuff he was saying for I had on a number of occasions heard the similar sentiments echoed by most toppers. Media mantra of playing to the gallery. 27 years (since my friend made it to IAS) have changed Kashmir beyond comprehension. Nowadays being a Kashmiri youth is a tough identity to handle. A stone in hand, a slogan on lips and a deep sense of frustration in the heart. A stereotype you encounter on any day in the shabby lanes and by lanes of Srinagar. Most of them born long after the seeds of descent were sown way back. Just talk to them and they are so poorly informed about the history and politics of Kashmir. More often than not what they talk is a second or third hand propaganda passed on generation after generation without an attempt at meaningful introspection. They land up getting hurt and killed by bullets of men in Khakis who themselves are badly briefed about this mess in Kashmir. When the stones get silent the half million employees of the state get tough demanding exorbitant wages for work they hardly do. In the past six decades the greatest achievement of this half million employees is putting the state on an enviable second slot among the list of most corrupt states of the country. All this mess in Kashmir has been lead by successive dynasties of blue blooded pedigree politicians divided along lines of separatism, autonomy and the self rule. Interestingly all together on a platform singing “Yeh Dil mange more”. The dirt is getting painted again to receive the great caravan comprising mostly of the under and bad performers called durbar move. Teachers on strike, Medics on strike, Sanitation workers on strike...Why doesn’t some one put a cap on further employment and simply outsource these crucial jobs. Let people sweat to make a decent living than blackmail a bankrupt government. Wait a minute they want the retirement age at 60 to enable them to be greeted at their doors by 30 year’s old unemployed kids. Kashmir a heaven on earth cannot grow enough rice and vegetable to feed itself for a few days. The hollowness of our hypocrisy got exposed during the now famous ragda blockade. Being a Kashmiri is a difficult identity to handle for reasons remote from politics.
All our problems do not necessarily have a political background as some people want us to believe. It’s a problem deep rooted in our attitude. Big mansions narrow roads, big cars no parkings, limited electricity supply limitless theft, meagre means lavish weddings, big talkers small workers, more ill gotten wealth greater the social status. Enough is enough we need to get our act together lest the future generations curse us for leading them to a catastrophe. Naya Kashmir! A vision totally blinded amidst the environment of emotionalism and exploitation. New labels, new stereotypes, all shaped by events in which we have a guilt to share.
The social spectrum that has emerged has stone pelters on one end and the IAS toppers at the other end. A strange nation of extremes! Will this spectrum change or narrow down is an open question to speculate. Six young people from the state have given us the desperately needed reprieve and reason to smile after decades of despair and depression. They have broken myths and given compelling reasons to take a relook into the painful perception of a Kashmiri stereotype. Extreme caution needs to be exercised in treating these six young men. Let they not be idolized to the point of veneration lest they lose their balance and their sense of direction. They have found their road and the journey is yet to begin. Cracking IAS will perhaps be easier to them than cracking pressures, pulls, temptations, prejudices, corruption and conceit. We all will pray for them. Has our society on 6 th of May been blessed with a genie who will work to grant us some wishes or is it that with time they too will mingle in the muddy mainstream of the system and flow into the oblivions of history. It is still a long way.!
(Feedback at drshkhan199yahoo.co.in)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 12 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 12 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 13 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
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