Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The announcement of government to go for e-governance disappeared like the Right To Information Act in the thin air of heartless administration

An editorial in the Daily Etalaat says it the way it is. Can you handle the truth?

The Kingdom of Babus

As on paper and according to law books many government departments have been created to serve the public and make the life of people easier. But the departments are nothing more than parasites which are feeding on the blood of people. Even if the government takes any action once in a blue moon on some department, the victim of the Muhammad Tagaluki type of decisions has always been the departmental heads or someone disliked by the local MLA or any other politician of influence.

The one important factor that has always been ignored in streamlining the administration has been the growing mafia of clerks who virtually have become the unnoticed bosses of different departmental units. The clerks have developed a mafia where it is not possible even for the minster to do anything leave aside the common man who, if he happens to be in front of clerk, loses all his self-respect when some obscure thing is pointed out with none or little resemblance with the case in hand.

Recently a man from a far-flung area was asked to bring his wedding invitation card as an evidence of his marriage which had been solemnized some 25 years ago. The poor fellow abandoned his idea of getting a Below Poverty Card as he thought the process of getting the Card will end up making him poorer than he already is. The clerks have a typical way of dealing with the things. Even if you are a person of influence he will convince or coerce you into paying the bribe and if you refuse to go by his dictates he has an uncanny ability to create trouble for you.

The clerks can manage the disappearance of files, burn some, or just take away an important document that will delay the process inordinately, troubling the applicant. The applicant’s only mistake is that he has not paid any thing to them, and has gone directly to the department head.

These babus of kingdom always manipulate the king (read officers) using different methods. The king, sensing rightly that he is at their mercy like the last emperors of Mughal Empire, cooperates and goes by the advice (rather dictates) of these babus. The clerks have the ability to disturb the family life of their officers who dare to go by the voice of their conscience by sending a well thought out gift to his wife or something for the kids. In fact this attack at the home front has been used countless number of times with an astonishing success rate.

It can be attributed to their luck that policymakers have never paid attention to part of governance as the clerks manage always behind the screen position where they are hardly noticed. The clerks have managed their stay at a particular place for decades and seen many department heads pass before them. Some clerks are at their places for more than 15 years and this long period of stay at one place is attributed to their experience on that particular chair.

The announcement of government to go for e-governance disappeared like the Right To Information Act in the thin air of heartless administration.

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