By Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh
Kashmir is an integral part of India. India is a union of states and at present, there are 29 states in India, after Telangana came into existence as a state in 2014. We come directly to the resignation tendered by the youth icon of Kashmir, the IAS topper of 2010 batch, Dr. Shah Faesal.
Joining politics is a separate matter. Every citizen has right to take part in the democratic system in a manner provided under the law. But leaving a service like IAS to serve political ambitions playing communal cards cannot be appreciated at all. An officer can simply apply for voluntary retirement or may tender his resignation gracefully and thereafter can join politics of choice with full dignity and elegance. As an officer also, our foremost duty and responsibility is to strengthen the democratic ethos of our nation. Giving notice of resignation and going in open on the social media like Facebook and Twitter, blaming the system and drawing communal line itself shows an immature stand.
The IAS-IPS is not merely a job. This service provides enough opportunity to serve the people, to lead the society, to protect and preserve the diversity and to promote unity and integrity. When you opt and join this premier service, you first perform and prove yourself and then you can enter into political field which is open for every citizen.
If there were discrimination or intolerance against any particular community, Mr. Faesal would not have been selected into IAS, let alone being the topper. India is the only country where people of all faith enjoy all benefits and constitutional guaranties without any discrimination.
I never missed any opportunity to visit Kashmir valley whenever deputed for any particular task or duty. I had been to Kupwara in 2014 nearly for a month during the last Assembly Elections in the capacity of election observer deputed by the Election Commission of India. I visited almost every nook and corner in this terror-affected district. I also went to Lolab Valley from where Mr. Faesal belongs. One day, I was advised by the innocent villagers to leave the area before 5 in the evening, a beautiful valley having full potential to surpass what Switzerland is famous for. It signifies the quantum of terror problem in the valley as well as people’s concern for the safety of an officer coming there on duty. At that time, he was posted in the neighboring district Bandipora. I heard many good things about him and even wanted to visit his district to see what changes an IAS topper has brought in the district where he was posted as District Development Commissioner (District Magistrate). I, however, could not make it as we are not allowed to leave the district without permission of the Election Commission of India.
As an officer, he could, at least, take part in the overall development process of the state and connect himself with the genuine issues of the people in general. The main problem, as told by the people, is the in-genuine prevalence of corruption, corrupt practices in almost every sphere of public service and misappropriation of central development funds. People in general openly disclosed that there are wide gaps between have’s and have-not’s. At one hand, people in general are struggling for the sake of a piece of feran and kangri. On the other hand, there are people who enjoy bungalows in the village, in Srinagar, in Jammu, in Delhi and some people in London also, courtesy development fund meant for common citizens.
A marginalized second-class citizen cannot top the prestigious IAS examination conducted by UPSC. A second-class citizen cannot get Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship at Harvard Kennedy School to pursue higher studies in America on full salary.
A person, who miserably failed to deliver in the public service, cannot succeed in the politics, the way he jumped into. People are wise enough to understand and distinguish between personal political ambitions and service motive.
On the same Facebook platform, Mir Ashraf Mir reacts, “There is a paradox in the statement. How could you encourage others to go for civil services when you left the same.??? Anyways bold decision but … Kindly…… Don’t go in the wrong hands……. Take your own route instead.”
Similarly, SandhyaMahajan says, “You are free to fulfill your long cherished political aspirations. But kindly don’t use communal card for that.”
Sheikh Rashid says “Surprised….! How can one change the current situation as a politician? When one failed to change it as a bureaucrat. You know the gravitational pull remains the same.”
His worry about Kashmiri identity shows his own identity crisis despite being in the coveted service of the Indian Nation. Whatever is he today, only because of this prestigious IAS-tag. In fact, India is a country of unity in diversity. Every member of IAS-IPS is supposed to respect and preserve this diversity derived from our great traditions. And then only, we can think about ensuring unity and integrity of the nation.
The way he played a ‘communal card’ in his posts released on social media, is not a healthy sign and is not expected from a person who got all equal opportunities in this system and topped the civil services examination. His intention of playing a ‘communal card’ is nothing but a deliberate attempt to gain cheap publicity and goodwill. The support one gets on the social media cannot always be converted into popular votes.
Another picture of this aspect is equally relevant in this context. I got an opportunity to visit ‘Triboni’ village in Tangdhar area near the LOC. This is the only village in Kupwara district where Sikhs are in majority. I spotted that area seeing the holy Nishan Sahib from very far. The occasion was martyrdom ceremony of Guru TeghBahadurji. They happily received me as it was a pleasant surprise for them also. They are living in that remote area on the LOC like true warriors. However, very hesitantly they shared their agony that this village will become like other villages in the coming years as the new generation is not inclined to settle in the village. The young generation prefers to settle in Jammu or Delhi because of prevailing communal tide and ongoing attitude of marginalization in every sphere of life.
The main issue in Kashmir valley is to tackle trans-border terrorism and to provide basic amenities to the citizens to bring them in the mainstream. If we reasonably utilize the development funds imparted by the central government, we will have beautiful destinations in our country better than what we see in Switzerland. “agarfirdaus bar-rū-e-zamīñast, hamīñast o hamīñast o hamīñast”.
If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here.
(Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh is a Punjab cadre IPS officer. The views expressed are his personal.)