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, August 18, 2009

Corruption Without Limits

Farooq speaks about good citizenship and personal responsibility in a valley suffering from severe moral deficiency

Corruption is not confined to employees only

Dr. Farooq Peer

This is in response to Faheem Aslam’s article titled “First Deserve, Then Desire” wherein the noted journalist asks the government employees to introspect before demanding the higher perks. In the article, Aslam writes that the Transparency International (TI), a Berlin based international corruption watchdog , rated J&K State as the second most corrupt state after Bihar. [It did on the basis of the report card of the employees of this State who have been involved in embezzlements of the public money, favouritism, nepotism while disposing of their official duties.] Similarly, the author refers to the CAG report tabled in the previous Assembly session, indicting some government offices for failing to perform their duty well.

Faheem Aslam is right in stating some hard realities about the performance of the employees and their involvement in cases of corruption. However I believe that it is not only the employees but the whole society in Kashmir, which has been gripped by the disease of corruption. The problem is not confined to one sector in Kashmir but has spread everywhere and has awfully become a dominant aspect of our social, political, and economic life. We forget that we need to asses our deeds at our personal level before blaming others for aggressing us culturally and emotionally. The corruption is found everywhere in Kashmir, in education, administration and the trade and commerce sectors.

Usually corruption is linked with the government employees and offices but it is linked to every field of life. Bribe is not the only form of corruption. If an employee goes to his office late deliberately, it is corruption. If a teacher goes to school or college regularly but does not teach his students the way he should, it is corruption. If an officer does not take bribe but delays the disposal of files and shows favourtism to please somebody, it is corruption. If a driver does not follow the traffic rules and regularly goes for over loading and the traffic police ignores this, it is corruption.

Today in Kashmir, there is no department which is not affected by corruption. The more one studies the conditions of life around; more instances of corruption are witnessed. There are examples of people who are honest and firm on their principles but unfortunately there are less people in Kashmir to appreciate them. We watch politicians destroying the sanctity of the House where they are supposed to represent the problems of people but it is ugly that they squabble and engage themselves in mudslinging. Isn’t this corruption? Whenever, a commodity is in great demand and its supply is short, prices increase disproportionately. During winters, whenever the road to Jammu gets blocked, market witnesses worst kind of loot. In contrast, Ladakh remains cut off for six months but the traders there don’t loot their own people. But here traders create artificial scarcity of commodities, thereby increase the prices. And the people during winter become helpless in the hands of these traders. People in Kashmir are also involved in black money and corrupt practices particularly in Government services and it invariably heard that people involved in these practices would be punished but it has been seen so far that only small fish are caught and the big ones are left and at times gifted with prize postings and extensions in their services.

Faheem Aslam is right that buildings, roads, schools and other construction works are carried out with substandard material. Definitely academic standards are on a decline in Kashmir due to the lukewarm attitude of Government and teachers towards the institutions of learning and perhaps our State will be among the first where the infrastructure and physical facilities are still causality in today’s knowledge-oriented society. Yes, this is the society where doctors examine their patients very seriously and attentively only at their private clinics. They have time, kindness, sympathy towards patients at their private clinics but not in hospitals. We can see hundreds of doctors examining patients at their private clinics during official hours also while the poor patients suffer in the hospitals.

Modern man has developed the notion that only money can make him happy. If material advancements alone could bring joy, America would have been the happiest country in the world. But everybody knows that Americans are not happy in spite of the oceans of wealth and they are in search of spiritual peace and fulfillment. It is true that we cannot live without bread but it is regrettable that we have learnt to live for bread alone in today’s society which is induced by materialistic values. This tendency has brought moral decadence and mental corruption in the life of Kashmiris and consequently, we have lost love for others and have no sympathy with relatives, neighbors and fellow countrymen.

If we wish to live like pure human beings, we will have to rebuild in ourselves the moral sense and outlook which would be the specialty of our culture. The problem of moral degeneration and corruption is obnoxious and abhorrent and warrants immediate and thorough remedies, but all efforts will be useless until and unless Kashmiris as a whole become conscious of their responsibilities and duties and do not dupe their own people.

(Greater Kashmir)

No comments: