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.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rising Corruption

Shafi laments about weak institutions in the valley unable to cope up with rising corruption

An Accepted Norm

M. Shafi Ayaz

Corruption - the most dishonest practice in the society, every body talks about but still without any effective check it gets encouraged day by day. The misuse of the public office for private gains is more spread in some countries than others but is in practice at all places. Of course the main reason for corruption is desire for pecuniary gains motivated with the materialistic world but it has much more relationship with the character of the society. There are different theories associated with the extent of corruption with particular cultural and historical traditions, political institutions, government policies, levels of economic development. Etc.

A cross national survey conducted for ascertaining the main causes of corruption found that the corruption is high in less developed countries /under developed and low in developed counties. Moreover, the study also revealed that countries with federal structure are more corrupt.

Whatever the causes for the corruption are but that the motivations that produce and sustain corruption are of course complex. Unhealthy and un-realistic competition, greedy ambition and cosmetic development have attributed a lot to the encouragement of corruption. Right from a peon of an office to high level bureaucrat or from an ordinary political worker to the minister there is hardly any exception. It may be an office of Central Government, State Government or any other organization all are suffering from this menace. Corruption can be monetary, moral as well as social. By doing any undue favor by virtue of which one gets any kind of undue advantage is corruption whether it involves money or not. It is an admitted fact that corruption is consequence of discretionary powers. These powers are lawful and cannot be questioned or challenged so it is very easy for a person, who is vested with these powers, to use them as per his wish and whim. Although ethics speak of the judicious use of delegated powers but when we see in practice ethics prevails hardly any where. Delayed practices and long procedures adopted in administration for taking decisions are encouraging this menace.

The time factor is having a direct relation with the corruption. We see in our society everybody wants to become more and richer that too overnight. Dreaming to become rich is not bad but to think or to dream to become rich overnight is unrealistic. To achieve this dreamed goal the people adopt all lawful and unlawful means to accumulate wealth. They find the corruption one of the easiest methods to accumulate the wealth. They do not want to wait to become rich as they find it too lengthy for achieving their goal. They want to compete with others in their society in so called status. Likewise people want to get their any desired work completed as early as possible and to get their work done in shortest span of time corruption paves the way.

Now the nomenclature of the corruption has changed and it is being given different name at different times for facilitating purposes. Gift, Commission, Fudge, God will etc. are its different forms. People demand, accept and pay the corruption under these forms without any hesitation publicly. Everybody is aware about it and accepts it in a normal form. In present day society it seems not only difficult but rather impossible to get rid of this evil. The society and the system have now accepted it. All the big transactions and their decisions are being taken under the influence of corruption. Rules are relaxed even modified in the name of negotiated deals without any transparency.

When we talk of our own state of Jammu & Kashmir we are no more lagging behind. Transparency International-a Berlin based international corruption watchdog non-governmental organization committed to curbing corruption in various countries rated our state of Jammu & Kashmir second most corrupt state in India. In our state the corruption is so deep rooted that it is a difficult task to tackle it. It is not so easy to declare a war against corruption in the state and root out it as those who are expected to fight against this menace are themselves involved in the corruption. As the state has been witnessing worst type of turmoil during the last two decades the various agencies who are supposed to irradiate and check the corruption could not show any substantial result. The main stress of the Government was on tackling and curbing the turmoil in the state. The unattended issue of corruption could not get much attention and it gained momentum and time to trap the whole society. It is a natural phenomenon that if any bad thing is not stopped and curbed by any agency it is treated as confirmed or accepted. The same happened with the corruption menace in the state.

Although Government tried, of late to empower State Vigilance Organization to tackle this menace- Does it work? We hear off and on those such and such officials have been booked under anti-corruption act or such a person has been caught red handed while taking a bribe of Rs.500.00 etc. etc. Is it enough? We are booking a person under the law for accepting or demanding a bribe of Rs.500.00, it is good, but what about those who are demanding and accepting lacks of rupees as bribe. I am not justifying a bribe involving small amount. It is a matter of principle. Have you ever heard that a Government official has been caught red handed while accepting bribe of lack or so? We are catching small fish while as bigger ones are set free to enjoy. For last so many years we come across news that Government has decided to terminate the most corrupt officials who have occupied key positions in the state and a list of these high officials have been framed. Has it even been implemented? How many bureaucrats have been terminated from the services till date?

There is a nexus. Everybody knows that it is difficult to break the nexus while public servants are willing to pay for lucrative positions and postings. This collusive corruption is difficult to detect but is the most damaging. This is the reason why we see or Vigilance Organization as teeth less body. Their actions are pre-directed and their approach is pro-active only where they are asked to show it.

Corruptions need to be cleaned from top downwards. Let our political leaders, high officials of the state come forward and try to save the state from the most shameful number TWO status in the corruption. It is a fact that in our society honesty is laughed at and for corruption there is no moral barrier at any level. An honest officer is looked down upon as incapable person who is not suiting to the present environment. And if anybody dears to speak against corruption he is punished. Either he is falsely involved in any case on fabricated charges or is sidelined in his department or organization. A label of non performing officer or under shadow officer is pasted on his face. The corruption seems now inevitable in our state. It has become institutionalized .The days are no more when we used to say perform or perish, now the days are –pay or perish.

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