Politics defines everything, especially in a conflict zone: Shah Faesal

‘Bureaucrats doing phenomenal job, but ecosystem leaves them wriggling’
Politics defines everything, especially in a conflict zone: Shah Faesal

Bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal on Thursday said politics defines everything, especially in a conflict zone like Kashmir.

He also said that his decision to join politics wasstrengthened after he found officials taking dictations from ministers.

Faesal made these comments while participating in a paneldiscussion on a book, 'Not Just a Civil Servant', by policy maker Anil Swarupat Kashmir University's Gandhi Bhawan.

"My understanding is that they (bureaucrats) are strugglingwith the system. My decision of joining politics… I have seen Vice-Chancellorskneeling down before ministers and taking dictations from them," said Faesal.

Faesal said he encountered constraints while working as abureaucrat because bureaucracy works within a defined "ecosystem".

"My very less experience in civil services tells me that…ithas been an amazing, fascinating journey to serve at the very important departmentsthat are critical for our growth. So, IAS has been an absolute privilege… Butthen at the same time it is also about ecosystem. We always find it very easyto blame bureaucrats, civil servants for non performance."

"But then bureaucracy always works within an ecosystem.  My experience tells me this, more so when Ijoined the education department. I had very critical learning there," saidFaesal.

To elaborate on his point, Faesal said: "You have the state.The state wants to keep the schools open because open schools give a sense ofnormalcy to rulers.  And then you havethe non state. The only consideration of the non state is that the schoolsshould stay shut because it refutes or denies the sense of normalcy, which thestate tries to have… And then you say that education activity is something thatcan be completely decentralized from politics of the place," said Faesal.

He added,  "Politicsis something that defines and dictates the outcomes, scopes of the decisions.Politics dictates everything, more so in a place like ours which is a conflictzone."

Faesal who has floated his own Jammu and Kashmir PeoplesMovement Party said bureaucrats are doing a "phenomenal job", but then it isultimately the "ecosystem" which leaves them "wriggling".   

He said the same "ecosystem" ultimately made him joinpolitics even though he had planned a career in academics after the HarvardUniversity scholarship.

"This time we have Governor's rule in the state. Governor'srule is effectively rule by the bureaucrats. There is no political system. Thistime we should expect the best governance in the state. …development activityshould be there. Roads should be built. But why is that in spite of having abureaucracy in the state, this time we see some sort of absence of governance.Why, because this is in the ecosystem," said Faesal.

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