Some eight years back Shah Faesal joined elite bureaucracy with a lot of expectation attached to him by common Kashmiri people. On 10th May 2010 in these columns I had written a write up titled "Empowering Kashmiris; IAS Topper-2010". Here I will quote only the last lines of my write up that sum up the message I had then tried to convey Shah Faesal about Kashmir cauldron and his prospective role in resolving it. I wrote, "At the end I wish you [Shah Faesal] luck and pray to Almighty that you get enough courage to serve the people in any capacity you choose and help in bringing the people of this land out of the clutches of exploitation and give them enough strength to stand against the exploiters in the garb of saviours donned in robes of democracy". My voice got lost in many viewpoints. Now after almost eight years he had taken a major decision to call it a day as a bureaucrat that too with a strong and very annoying message to his employers [the union of India].
I am unable to comprehend why it took Shah Faesal almost eight long years to shun the bureaucratic shackles that would never allow him to pursue his ideology: follow his philosophies and plans for the people who have been suffering at the hands of autocrats for centuries and now trapped in the warped democracy! I am unable to find answers why such a brilliant mind could not comprehend the fate of his predecessors right in earnest? Just a glance over recent history he will find enough instances when even the most brilliant minds of his ilk were made to toe the line against their wishes and self-respect.
Anyways, 'Der ayad durust ayad' (better late than never). Now lines are drawn! Shah Faesal is a free bird. Free to decide his way of leading and helping the exploited and neglected people. However, to emancipate and empower people it is not obligatory to join any of the existing political spectra that too in a complicated political space like Kashmir. A young, energetic and knowledgeable man can devise his strategy, his brand of sociopolitical resistance against political wrongdoings, exploitation, corruption and nepotism. Certainly, to carry forward a mission there has to be a platform or forum that can unite the oppressed and assimilate their expectations into a vibrant force to fight the political oppression.
For the last seventy years, Kashmir and its people have experienced a whole lot of diseased politics full of exploitation and oppression—almost a replica of Hari Singh's autocracy garnished with deceptive egalitarianism. The irony of Kashmir is ( rather the whole country) that pre-1947 autocrats and exploiters finding themselves cornered changed their strategy. Thus erstwhile autocrats overnight became saviours of people. In Kashmir Zaildars and other so-called elite who were the worst instruments of exploitation till 1947 became shareholders in power. This scenario kept changing and a new political elite was born who created a menacing nexus to exploit gullible people. With time, this caravan of exploiters swelled monstrously.
Back to my arena. Shah Faesal now as people's man, because he has opted for that by choice has very limited options to go against the wishes of his people. So while deciding his future course of action, he has to look into the genesis of Kashmir politics; find the fault lines and the factors that have made it so fluid. Being young he may not have the feel of what our elders had to go through during these testing decades and may get swayed by the political chancers on the prowl to have him as a poster boy. But I am sure his knowledge and intellect are rightly on his side to guide him; comprehend the situation and decide accordingly. At present Shah Faesal is on a platter [that is what most politicians think], and every political school of thought is attracted to his charisma not necessarily to his ideology and thinking. So he has to make his moves astutely only in the best interests of the ill-fated Kashmiri people. And furthermore, before deciding any of his moves to be in public life [domain], Shah Faesal should keenly study the fate of political stalwarts In Kashmir during the last seven decades.
Many people align the political ambitions (if he has any) of Shah Faesal to a particular political thought and a particular political party. No one should be averse to this idea either floated by the political party or maybe by Shas Faesal himself. But if Shah Faesal joins the same political bandwagon laden with Muftis, Abdullahs, Beighs, Bukharis, Mirs etc. then his timing and reason for quitting becomes irrelevant and is nothing but opportunism at the cost of people's sentiments. Shah Faesal and his quitting have whipped up a passion for fighting against oppression particularly among the young people. And if he chooses to tread on the same beaten tracks of politics and have a company with political entities whose strings remain tied somewhere else, then his resigning and recent dissident statements are nothing but a hype created to carve out a political career for himself the way others did for last seven decades. Fortunately, Shah Faesal has a vast socio-political canvas to paint with his intellect, knowledge and quest to serve the downtrodden, and underprivileged. God forbid if he uses these attributes to paint the ideas of political artists who for years now painted only deceit and bloodbath then I wish this young man nothing but a better fate than what Sheikh Abdullah, Bakshi Gulam Mohammad, and others met. The rest is history!