A silent crusader for public welfare

Not often we talk about people who invest their lives to make this society a better place to live. Few top bureaucratic or politicians may have this luxury but nothing is said about millions of others who with their honestly and dedication happen to be a sigh of relief for common people in what otherwise is deemed as a corrupt system of governance.

Let us change it today, with an outline of someone we as fellow employees describe as a great teacher and an extraordinary administrative officer. Syed Mahraj ud Din Geelani won’t be pleased with this kind of appreciation but it isn’t for the sake of appeasement at a time when few days before we held the farewell function to say goodbye to his services at Zonal Education Office, Langate.

38 years of public service is a common thing here, almost everyone in public sector has this thing to claim the credit. Syed Mahraj is no exception but what makes him distinct is the public reorganisation of his work. Ask anyone associated with the field here; they will set him as an example. A go to man especially for the plain folks.

Syed Mahraj has been a teacher to almost everybody here. All those in the locality who happen to be the intellectuals, professors, medical doctors and bureaucrats, at some point of time happened to be his students. Imagine the level of respect the person has earned. Everyone around appreciates his efforts. They talk how good the teacher he has been. Not to sound casteist, it is like that traditional role the Syed’s have played in the society.

Why mention this? The reason is Syed Mehraj’s father happened to be a prolific Quranic educator. His father, people say was the source of enlightenment in Qaziabad area. Most probably, we see his father’s reflections in him. This perhaps also tells us how good a son he has been.

Syed Mehraj was born on 19th May 1959 in a far-flung village of Kunnel Qaziabad. In 1975, he went to Degree College Sopore for pursuing secondary school education. Six year later he was appointed as a teacher by the state department of education. It must have been a challenging task to carry on with the education after being appointed. However, despite in the absence of the basic facilities he managed to do his Masters and later on also completed his B.Ed.

For 26 long years Syed Mehraj continued the job in an atmosphere of political uncertainty that hit the valley during those times. He remained focused and prioritised the education for youth while serving at remote locations across district Kupwara. He also served as a trade union leader of teacher fraternity in northern district.

Years later Syed Mehraj was handed over with administrative duty by the department and he proved equal to the task. 12 years of administrative responsibility isn’t a cake walk for someone who has been into classroom environment for decades. His personality however made things look easy. This helped him in mobilising public opinion. Community mobilisation wasn’t a difficult ask for him. With all these advantages he proved the gem for facilitating the ground for proper implementation of various programs with regard to quality education.

What adds to his personality is the element of honesty and dedication. He remained an exemplary employee of the department over the years. Someone you can’t bribe. Someone who can’t be charged for any unethical, corrupt or impropriety while holding an official position that is often with a temptation window at its back.

Syed Mehraj has been a inspiration for all of us at office. Someone we are proud of, as a noble man with a dignified character. His presence in the office set tune for an environment that prioritised public good and utility based spending of public money. You don’t see many of us in the public sector holding on to this ethical position these days. It is an unfortunate thing to be public about but a reality and can’t be denied.

So then, saying a goodbye wasn’t a pleasant thing at all. We as a public office will miss this presence but it is good to see a respectable end to the career that brings so much to the society. Imagine, a senior fellow moving out with a word to his mates, “Do not go greedy into this public service. Serve; serve against the temptations on offer. Though, wise men at their end know all the good. Do not go evil into the public life. ”