‘Pied Piper’ of Srinagar
What has been a fable cherished by kids about man who saved his
WHEN this 54-year-old recently walked into the office chambers of Divisional Commissioner, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon with a claim that he could make the stray dogs leave this summer Capital, the IAS officer was so amazed that he didn’t mince words to endorse the visitor’s nickname: the Pied Piper.
For over three decades, Khurshid Ahmed Mir, a science graduate in Pest Control Administration from Bijnore University has been into the field of keeping insects, pests and rodents away from his clients.
But concerned towards the growing dog menace in his native Srinagar, Mir claims to have developed the plan to get rid of the stray packs without any killings or harm to them.
Mir, who was born in old City’s Zaina Kadal area, has been a consultant to many organizations with clientele spread across the country and abroad who use his "treatments including use of specially made chemicals:.
At the national level, Mir says, he has provided consultancy to his clients at National Archives Project, New, Delhi, Khuda Baksh Library Patna and the State Bank of India.
“We are a group of scientist who graduated form the Bijnoor University and since then share our expertise with each other in the field,” he adds.
Mir, who partners 4-H Club, an ISO certified company, at the local level, has been providing services to Government Medical College and its associated hospitals including SMHS and Lal Ded to keep them “rat free”.
THE TURNING POINT
Given the lack of awareness of pest-control in his homeland, the consultant says, till a decade ago he would hardly offer any such services in the Valley.
“I used to be busy providing consultancy outside while at home I used to do some other private business,” Mir, the MBA son of a prominent cloth merchant at Maharaja Bazar, Ghulam Rasool, adds.
But around a decade ago, death of an infant at Children’s Hospital who allegedly died of a rat bite made him go serious towards the homeland.
“I still have that newspaper copy with me that how rats had targeted the child’s face. His eye was eaten away… That incident shocked me. It was a turning point as thereafter, I started offering services here to the hospitals etc.”
For a social cause, Mir who presently lives in uptown Sanat Nagar provides free of cost anti-rodent treatment at Masjids and graveyards so that rats and mongoose stay away.
“AlhamduLillah I earn a lot from other resources so I do this work free of cost.” And with a smile, in the same breath, he adds: “Aapnay Liye To Hum Bohat Kuch Karrtay Hein, Kuch Allah Kay Liyai Bhi Karna Chahiyai.”
Mir says people outside Kashmir are more concerned for anti-termite treatment. “It’s a big market because there you have surface termites, which leave apart wood can even attack iron thereby making buildings collapse,” he says.
In Kashmir, Mir says leave apart people, even the government was callous towards the issue of pests and rodents.
“From forest wood, to official documents all is being allowed to decay for their vested interest otherwise what prevents them from going for requisite treatments which could give longevity to such assets?” he argues.
Mir says there were treatments available, which could even improve the productivity of famed saffron and other local produce including apples.
“Saffron is dying because of rats. The biggest threat to our saffron is from these rodents as they eat away the plant roots thereby affecting the crop,” he says.
About the officials, he says, there was a problem with their attitude in tackling problems: The Babu attitude.
“To almost every problem, Babus look ahead for a foreign assistance in solving it. But they ignore the reality that Kashmir is full of talent,” he says.
“When Kashmiri doctors, engineers and scientists settled abroad have achieved high positions in the international arenas, why is the local talent being ignored?” he argues.
THE DOG ISSUE
How did the idea of tackling the dog menace pop up? “It was not any sudden reaction… I had been doing research in the field for around a decade because I knew dog menace would take an ugly shape,” he replies.
How will you tackle it? “Well that’s a trade secret, better call a trick,” the “pied pipper” replies.
About the dog menace, the Divisional Commissioner recently allowed him to test his skills in two municipal wards on trial basis.
Will you really be able to do it? “Trust me in just one month I can make the City dog free… But then we will have to keep a few of them in every ward otherwise it will lead to ecological problems,” Mir replies.
This clean shaved man truly seems to have something to do with his nickname. Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin legend, which has been exciting the kids for centuries, Mir will do the deed to save his fellow beings. But unlike the comic incident of catching rats, he will have to get rid of the dogs.
Incidentally, like the 13th century fairy tale about the German town of Hamelin, the service in this City in the Himalayan region, will come at a cost. But Mir doesn’t disclose it.
“See presently I am not charging them(government) anything. I will ask for money only after they see results,” Mir says.
But what if this pied piper isn’t paid as happened in the fable?
“I will get back all the dogs or even more to from where I will make them flee,” he smiles.
On this he shares an anecdote: “Once an official at hospital tried to delay my payments. I warned him and subsequently made scores of rats come to his office and dance on the table. The very next day my dues were cleared.”
His claims sound amazing. But then those who hear him, can’t escape his charisma. This is what even came true for Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon who is known for his dynamic work style. The IAS official, a veterinarian by qualification, didn’t just hesitate to nickname Mir by what many known to him have been saying: the Pied Piper.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Feb 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Feb 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 Feb 2011 00:00:00 IST
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