Basant Rath jumps the red light of new Kashmir politics

The support and respect Basant Rath seems to have earned in Kashmir among masses, cutting across age, gender and political affiliations, is amazing.

Er Rasheed
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 16 2018 11:51PM | Updated Date: Nov 16 2018 11:51PM
Basant Rath jumps the red light of new Kashmir politicsFile Photo

Thanks to social media for reflecting the feelings of the masses over the transfer of Basant Rath, IG traffic. While everyone is at liberty to have his opinion, we need not forget that transfers and postings are administrative issues, and well within the domain of the Government of the day. However, when the system is rotten and favoritism is the criteria, the easy way to justify every transfer or posting is to start the script of the order with “in the interests of Administration..”

Basant Rath is neither the first nor the last officer whose transfer has been made due to political interference but the special about his transfer is that people are talking about it and citing his tweet war with the newly elected Mayor as the reason.

The support and respect Basant Rath seems to have earned in Kashmir among masses, cutting across age, gender and political affiliations, is amazing.

He tried to be like a people’s man and also did his best to make some genuine efforts to improve the huge mess in the traffic system. No doubt on occasions he crossed his domain but essentially tried to do his duty with honesty and dedication that too without discriminating between common man and those who think they are above law and deserve special treatment and exemptions.

As IG Traffic he could have conveyed his point to Mr. Junaid Matto in a more polite way without making it a battle of egos. The way Municipal elections were conducted and candidates “elected” are a separate debate but, as of now, Mr. Matto is holding a constitutional position. Let us leave it to the conscience of Mr. Matto and his bosses that if they should have taken Basant Rath’s words too personal. Leaving everything aside, everybody would admit that Basant Rath has been the lone beneficiary out of this whole controversy. In the eyes of masses he has become a hero and a martyr without firing a single bullet or losing anything, and has proved his worth beyond being a bureaucrat. In an atmosphere when masses in Kashmir are much scared of men in uniform, love and support for Basant Rath in Kashmir has revealed another side of the story.

It is not less than a slap for those accusing Kashmiris of being communal and narrow minded. By expressing their feelings for Basant Rath Kashmiris have proven that they do judge things on merit, don’t have a communal mindset and do call a spade a spade. By supporting a non-state subject Hindu officer over Muslim Kashmiri Mayor, Kashmiris have proved that they can rise above personal egos, likes and dislikes. By supporting an Indian officer against a Kashmiri Mayor Kashmiris have proved and made it clear that if they are known for throwing stones they equally know how and where to shower the petals.

Let New Delhi introspect and answer if Basant Rath could earn respect in just few months without compromising his principles, why New Delhi has failed in Kashmir for last 70 years and has to hide its failure by calling Kashmiris Pakistani agents and miscreants. Same is the case with Kashmiri politicians of all thoughts.

From late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah to Geelani Sahab they supported everyone who promised them a bright tomorrow. From participating in polls to saying no to elections they owned every prescription but have been getting stabbed and let down by all. One may accuse Kashmiris of showing lack of consistency but we need not to forget that the situation they have been trapped in since 1947, left them with no option but to change and follow the alternate routes and strategies from time to time, as without doing so even their survival would have been doubtful.

Those often talking about Kashmiriyat should understand that Kashmiriyat is not the false presentation, what they have been projecting all these years, but rescuing army men and Amarnath yatris from eventualities, supporting the minorities who didn’t leave Kashmir despite turmoil, giving love and affection to Basant Rath despite being a non-state subject, a police officer and a non-Muslim; and many likewise traditions are the real components of Kashmiriyat. Let our local officers rise to the occasion and change themselves.

They can mend their behaviour, attitude and functioning to regain the trust of their own people and contribute in fulfilling the genuine developmental aspirations of the masses. Let none of us downplay the love and affection Basant Rath managed to get from Kashmiris. From politicians to public servants we all must wake up, introspect and take a pledge that we stand for our people, we are among them and we will live and die for them.

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