IAS scores over MBBS
AS BUREAUCRACY TRIUMPHS, HAS MEDICAL SCIENCE EXPERIENCED A TRAGEDY, WRITES DR.JAVID IQBAL
I might be a lone voice, but I have sufficient reasons to register my protest at the media hype over Dr.Faesel (I.A.S) divorcing medicine (M.B.B.S) though I too join others in congratulating a fellow professional for his outstanding success. It is not per se, the resounding success of Dr.Faesel, which is the subject of my contention; it is belittling the medical degree that hurts. It has been unfortunately projected, as if Dr.Faesel has got release from a bondage; his medical degree, which he obtained, as per his mother’s desire. His heart though was set on the elite service, and as the opportunity presented itself, he set out to shape the world of his desire. I firmly believe that majority, if not all of those, who qualify as doctors of medicine can pass administrative services examination, as the effort required and application of mind is not even half of what study of medicine entails. No doubt, aptitude too, comes into play; nevertheless it is not like fetching stars from the sky. It can be done, with a bit of application. I do concede however, the feat of Dr.Faesel, obtaining a first class first is difficult, if not impossible to emulate.
Back in sixties and seventies, as our generation landed in career shaping zone, the desired options were to become a doctor or an engineer, the brightest opted for these two fields. The trend had in fact started in fifties. For those who could not make it, the next option was to become a teacher, preferably a college teacher. There were some lucky ones, who landed in civil or police service (I.A.S/I.P.S) due to political connections or being lucky to have a parent in civil services. Another way of breaking into the elite circle constituted a matrimonial alliance, marriage in an elite family. A state parallel (KAS/KPS) was the next choice. To pass a state level test wasn’t beyond anyone with an average intelligence. Eventually many of state cadres were absorbed in central cadre. It is not fair to name names, but the phenomenon is well known. I would leave some like Muhammad Shafi Pundit, who falls in our age group or a later day Iqbal Khanday or Khursheed Ahmad Gania out of it and some others, who toiled and did it on their own, virtually by the sweat of their brow.
As we graduated in medicine or engineering, we had to absorb the shock of addressing the elite of civil service as ‘Sir’ the very persons who had been unable to make it to medicine or engineering. They were by every measure our superiors, lording over us, as like Faesel, we could not visualize early the route to power and perks. The shock had many of us run away to foreign lands to get the respect and position, we felt we deserved as medical graduates. The respect and honour denied to us in our home and hearth. And once we left the subcontinental shores, crossing the seas to get further and further away, the world revealed to us that technocrats are miles ahead of others, in how the society treats them. We have the brightest amongst us serving the Americans, the Britishers, and the Middle Easterners. These are the lands, where doctors are the social icons, put on the highest social pedestal.
On a Kashmiri making it to the very top, as Faesel did and was felicitated by everyone from ‘Mantary to Santary’ I remembered many Kashmiris, who would show their shine and sheen, within months of joining the hospitals abroad. Almost without fail, they would get an edge over sub continentals of other hues. It held true over those on either side of the border. A Kashmiri may not be underestimated; he may surprise you anywhere, anytime. As a Kashmiri leaves the subcontinental shores, he gets transformed into a different man, he is difficult to beat and he does not want be the second best, but the first past the post! I feel tempted to quote a few examples, to drive home what I want to make out.
In early nineties, a ‘Burn Hall’ boy with help provided by some family members settled in England, fled with his matriculation certificate and enrolled in ‘Leeds Grammar School’. His parents, both engineers had earned enough foreign exchange while working in oil rich Middle East to afford an elite English school for their son. That was what the son needed, within two years he did his ‘A’ levels [our higher secondary grade/10+2] beating a decade old English record. The British papers covered the news on their front page, with banner headlines ‘Boy from war torn Kashmir makes it to the very top’! The papers carried his beaming photograph flanked by his delighted uncle and aunt in England.
Dr.Owase Jeelani is now a London based neurosurgeon, making news by trying to work out innovative techniques in his field. Like Faesel, Owase tried his hand in untread avenues. Making use of a UN scholarship, he got M.B.A with flying colours, putting in six months each in New York, Paris and Singapore and attributed it to his quest for getting a feel of commercial aspect of Medicine. In England, on a cool morning, it was a pure delight to see Owase shifting from medicine to micro-economics, as I got to see him after a period of time. He has so far advised a few third world states on how to plan their health services. Never mind in his native Kashmir, it is some bureaucrat doing, what only a technocrat could do! Unlike Faesel, Owase-a proud medico spurned various offers from medical business firms, inspite of huge pay and perks, which the offers carried! There are scores of others, like Fayez Shawl, a renowned cardiac interventionist, Dr.Nisar, a reputed neonatologist, Dr. Yousuf-a nephropathologist; all proud medicos!
Getting to civil services back home, it is well known that basic record of the government is the ‘land record’ and basic service the ‘revenue service’. I happened to be in UAE with a Kashmiri engineer, a municipality chief engineer, holding masters in ‘construction management’ from Leeds University. Having served in Middle East and versed with Arabic, I could make out from his discussion in his office what he was trying to explain to a UAE national. It concerned his request for allotment of land at a particular site, which could not be granted, as the site was needed for a developmental project. The Arab left satisfied and I asked the engineer “how come you handle land”? Pat came the reply “why not, don’t you know it takes engineering sense and architectural aesthetics to put the correct value on land” the reply made sense! Look around Srinagar and see the haphazard manner in which it has been extended. There are scores of constructions on lakes and on wet lands. The lakes are unable to breath, hence getting extinct, the wet lands which would hold, whatever would get drained out of city are now covered The engineer told me, not even a square meter could be allotted, without his seal and signature.
I can understand the craze associated with I.A.S, the elite service. The forerunner of this service was ‘Indian Civil Service’ (ICS) the service created by an imperialistic power to lord over the subcontinental subjugated race. The service should have been given a decent burial after independence. Instead, it was given a new name, the essence remained the same. In its new garb, it could not even be accused of being ‘badeshi’ [foreign plant]. In its ‘swdeshi’ garb, it continued to lord over ‘Aam Aadmi’ the cushion being provided by the politician.
‘Neta-Babu’ nexus became the new power dispensing and for about half a century, it tightened state control over all levers of economy, working out a slow painful growth rate of 2-3 %, which some economists name ‘Hindu rate of growth’ though I wonder, why the name of religion has been dragged into it! It took a technocrat, economy having attained the status of a science, to turn Indian economy around. In my estimate; Dr. Manmohan Singh deserves to be called, one of the greatest Indians of the century. Mahatma Gandhi occupies the top slot, but for him, the economist could go to the very top for hiking 2-3 % to 7-8 %.
Dr.Faesel may take up his elite I.A.S; in spite of my reservations. I wish him well, though I am skeptical whether the change, he envisages to bring about would materialize? He would be well advised to complete his horsemanship and retain his M.B.B.S degree at a safe place, as in lands outside the subcontinent, it retains a great value. Nations across the world have realized that even administrative jobs have developmental orientation. And development involves technical know-how! No disrespect is meant to those in civil services, I have had some friends up there; nice buddies, but the world is changing and new concepts are evolving. What might have been true yesterday might not hold tomorrow!
Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]
(Feedback on:Iqbal_drji6217@yahoo.co.in or email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Sun, 23 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 23 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
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