Kashmir Politics as Filthy as Dal Lake: WikiLeaks
Srinagar: As the WikiLeaks exposé has already rattled the political leadership here, further disclosures are more shocking with Kashmir politics being described as ‘filthy as Dal lake.’ In a cable titled “Kashmiri politics as filthy as Dal lake”, US diplomats said corruption in the Valley cuts across party lines. “Most Kashmiris take it as an article of faith that politically-connected Kashmiris take money from both India and Pakistan,” says the cable. “Nor is the administration exempt from corruption. Rumour has it that some security force officers bribe their way into Kashmir assignments that give access to lucrative civil affairs and logistics contracts”.
Needed: An Anna Hazare of sorts
Irfan Naveed (Kashmir Images)
The politics of the politics is all that counts in Kashmir while as politics of economy has, seemingly, taken a back seat allowing free hand to a corrupt lot who sneak in and torment the poor and the middle-class people. Corruption, therefore, is a monster at the door and the need is to defeat it for a better tomorrow. Irfan Naveed writes…
Anna Hazare has emerged as the voice of the middle and the lower middle class in India and his campaign against corruption has seen tremendous support among the masses. Hazare, as such, has no towering charisma or political background which could have been a reason for his success as a campaigner. Instead it is the relevance of the issue - ‘CORRUPTION’ that made Anna famous. Whether he succeeds, and to what level, in a system which is partially run by corruption, it remains to be seen but one is tempted to think whether we too need an Anna Hazare of sorts.
The rampant corruption and soaring inflation has made the life of a common middle class Kashmiri person miserable. The conditions here for a common man are absolutely similar, in many ways, to any ordinary common person in any state of India or Pakistan. Here also, people demand bribe for almost everything. Be it the matter of seeking certificate, Ration Card, Pension documents, retirement papers or even a death certificate people will have to pay bribe. No job, particularly in a government office, is done without bribe while as the corrupt employees do not hesitate to be arrogant at the same time. They, thus, declare that Corruption has acquired a legal status, though informally.
The common middle-class people, without any influence, are badly trapped and caged into these practices of corruption while the rich have both influence and money to get their job done. In such a scenario people without the power of influence and money have to wait for months together for their works and, many a times, return frustrated.
There is also no such easy mechanism available to them to register their complaint against the defaulter officer (s). They, therefore, often end up dejected and lose hope in the system. The irony is that the Anti-Corruption wings of the government too have corrupt officials to taunt the poor and their complaints against the rich government officials.
People are compelled to bribe the concerned official, the only way to get something done. Average Kashmiri consumer is ill- treated everywhere, may he be in secretariat lawns or in any other government office, he has to first pay the concerned officer under the table, than only he can get his work done. The same malpractices are followed in almost all the state offices.
Influence, either political, bureaucratic or financial, help the rich to make quick deals and get their work done in every office while as the poor who lack the same have to struggle and loose all such battles. Besides this, the status of an individual or his/her family also matters when it comes to dealing with such a public work. Hard cash, by and large, is at the top when it comes to getting things done and unfortunately the thickest class of people, here, doesn’t have that and their works, therefore, remain unattended.
An ordinary gentleman is left with fewer options at hand and in such a scenario he loses hope and faith in such an administration and governance. He vows for a change but every time he faces similar situations, the same setup where influence, status and money matters above all other things. Finally he chooses to either be able to do what others are doing or becomes merely a common spectator of these ugly events.
Ultimately neither poor man’s patience, nor his individual unrest are going to help him in such a situation and it seems that the magnitude of this evil practice demands a revolution and Anna Hazare has created a sort of a revolution in India. He has awakened the common man to stand for himself and fight corruption. People discuss the Jan Lokpal Bill and hope for a change.
In fact the poor Kashmiries are already trapped in worst ever political and administrative crises. Besides this rampant corruption, unaccountability and frequent price hikes have worsened his life with more challenges for survival at every juncture visible while as chances for success entirely bleak.
There is a common saying that whenever a misery strikes, it first knocks at the door of the poor. It is true in almost every situation and poor people have to suffer all sorts of ills. Corruption, as such, may appear to be a short-cut for those who are financially well off, but for those who struggle to earn their living it is a malignant disease that needs to be cured before it infects the whole body.
Now that we know that our state ranks among the top corrupt states, we must initiate and trigger a movement and search for people who would be ready to fight corruption. Someone who can keep fast for making his voice heard, someone like Anna Hazare of sorts.