Post-Eid crackdown

My last week column was followed by a shock. I was making a case for a longer Eid celebration, it got even shorter. Our administration couldn’t see people celebrate for more than a day. Just the first day after Eid, schools were raided. Yes raided is the only way to describe the act. The officers of the education department – like a typical anti-terror squad barged into empty schools to see as to whether the staff is present or not. Suspension orders were issued against some teachers found guilty of celebrating Eid even on the second day.

What is wrong with us. What is wrong with our system. We have a haunting fear that someone somewhere is celebrating. By doing this what are we trying to prove. This that we mean business, that the rest doesn’t count, that we have no regard, no care for the social sensibilities which make us human.

In the name of discipline we have lost honour, confidence and identity. We act like pawns, like jokers, like hooligans – a three-in-one package that makes us ridiculously special in our own right. In the other part of the state religious festivals are being officially declared as holidays and celebrations continue for days. How will the Director School Education (Kashmir Division) explain this shameful act in view of his own counterpart issuing a five-day official order as `Pooja Holiday’ in Jammu. If this is sense of duty what is that? If that is respect for sensitivity, what is this? Are we selectively secular? Our tragedy is unparalleled. We have turned administration into an institution of sadism. More we trouble our people, greater the joy we feel.

We are not against imposing discipline, but is this the way to do it? Ensure attendance and accountability in all offices. Take employees to task, make them work, but let them breathe. Life is not all administration. Our bureaucrats need – I repeat – life therapy. They need a course in common sense – which they have divorced after marrying the chair they are in. They are like lifeless, feelingless, pieces of flesh and blood unfamiliar with human conditions.

There are hollows in our life which power alone cannot fill. It’s filled with logic, with understanding, with empathy. Drill some sense into your heads. Festivals are the signature tune of our life. They inform our existence. I celebrate, therefore I am. Festivals are not an excuse to evade duty, but an excuse to flee from the dullness of life. Our education tells us so, our values tell us so. By choking people from enjoying the time that belongs to them, we are actually showing our incompetence. Competent administrators have a different way to show their performance. They leave an impression deeper and more lasting. After mid-day meals we are floating a concept of mid-day raids. It speaks of a shallow – and a violent – mindset typical of slaves like us.

The act is condemnable and has been condemned. DSEK must apologize for what they have done. For spoiling others’ celebrations and theirs too. They must learn to behave like humans first, officers then.