Monday, November 25, 2013

Of BOPEE, Omar and his Kiyanis

By Naseer A Ganai

National Conference likes to take credit of everything that happens in Jammu and Kashmir. Like Peoples Democratic Party, which sees itself as the party of statesmen and projects every meeting between Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan as fruits of Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s policies of 2003, the NC also has bizarre parameters of taking credit.

Even if Rahul Gandhi’ snubs NC leader in public, that too is construed as positive sign by the party. After all, they would say, it was snub from Rahul Baba. So it was not unusual on the part of the NC to take credit of the recent revelations about MBBS exam scandal.

The BOPEE officials allegedly in league with few brokers are accused of selling exam papers to greedy people ahead of the examination. The NC leadership says they exposed the scandal. The Crime Branch claims they did it. For year on the Crime Branch was sitting on the eggs presuming the case would get solved on its own. The impotent government, which takes credit of exposing the case now, waited for over a year that the Crime Branch would deliver something in the end. It waited for a year for promised delivery never realising that even Viagra doesn’t help the impotent. The Crime Branch delivered after the High Court intervened.  

The crime is so grave that the government should have apologised to people for posting Mushtaq Peer as BOPEE chief. What was the need of getting a professor from the university and posting him as chief of the BOPEE? The government does same thing with the Board of School Education (BOSE). The impersonation case of the Minister for Some Unknown Enterprises, Peerzada Sayeed’s son surfaced during the former BOSE Chairman Bashir Ahmad Sheikh’s tenure, who initially described it as issue of copying. Sheikh was professor in some collage before being posted as the BOSE chief. The government, however, found in him spark of genius like Mushtaq Peer and decided to appoint him as chairman of the BOSE. He left BOSE like Peer after ruining it. This is what professors do when appointed to handle the jobs they have no expertise of and qualification.

When a person retires, he should be graciously asked to retire, sit at home and take care of his grandchildren. If he has talent he would do something great. He would write a book or two. Or open some new enterprise. People do lot many good things after retirement. Here they only seek an extension after extension. They should realise that they are not General Ashfaq Kiyanis that they need extension.  Their retirement would not tilt the geo-strategic balance and cause anxiety around the world. Even Kiyani’s is retiring.

Look at the members of the Public Service Commission (PSC). They are all retired chamchas. In 2010, the PSC was accused of facilitating children and relatives of some of its’ members in the CCS exam by giving them higher marks in the interview.

So there is no place for retired deadwood in the PSC, SSRB, BOSE, BOPEE, RTO and other departments. They ruin even culture, language and heritage of the departments. Utmost care should be taken while posting lower rung officials in PSC, SSRB, BOSE, RTO and BOPEE. Honesty and competence should be benchmark.

Instead of a retired officer, a serving official can do better. He is accountable. And he can say no. What can politician do it to him except sending him to another department? This retired army of officials that Omar Abdullah and his predecessors have given extension after extension is killing talent here.

The government has given extension to RTO as if he was doing some exemplary work and without him all vehicles would have halted. And we all know how system works in the RTO? The government should have posted some young honest official as RTO and it would have felt change on the roads.

There is great talent in Kashmir. There are honest and young official, who have guts to say no to the greedy politicians. There are officials, who are not worried about transfers. There are officials, who want to do something. But young and dynamic chief minister would not find them anywhere because he seems overawed by the retirees. And when scams surfaces, he says I exposed them. So be thankful to me and my Kiyanis. They are not going to retire.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Your Lordships, it s now or never

By Naseer A Ganai

The High Court issued an exemplary order. It sought details of income and assets of all officials of Srinagar Municipal Committee (SMC). The SMC acted like the SMC. It furnished details of assets of sweepers instead. 
The court reprimanded the SMC counsel and sought property details of officials, inspectors, ward officers, khilafwarzi officers etc. Property details of their spouses and children. Their movable and immovable assets.

There is no doubt that the SMC is responsible for the ugly growth of the city. The SMC officials, who allowed this to happen, deserve to be punished like the ugly malls they have allowed to construct in the residential areas.

There might be honest officials in the SMC. There is no dearth of honest people in Kashmir or in the SMC. These honest people could be found on any roadside dhaba sipping tea and discussing 'metaphysics' like whether Obama should intervene in Kashmir or whether Taliban would take Kashmir route after the US exist from Afghanistan. Their “other” colleagues have no such philosophical ambitions. They are straightforward. They mean business. Paisa phenko shopping mall dekho. 

The “other-ones” usually take a lead. But it is first time, thanks to the High Court, that “the others” might be facing ire of their spouses and children. But then, they say, every “other” has his day.  

There is not a single area in the city, which is residential. Every residential area has malls. Every mall has shops.  There is an argument. That if these malls would be touched, it would bring chaos and confusion in the society.  Will it? Is government afraid about law and order situation? It is joke.

Let us play devil’s advocate and argue that if these malls would be ‘assaulted’ it will bring chaos in the society? But then every chaos brings an order. There is dire need of an order in the society. A common man constructs a house after years of struggle and then neo-rich comes and constructs a huge mall just in front of his house leaving him seething and frustrated with anger. The common man and his children land in a clinic of psychiatrist while as wards of neo-rich enjoy beech dances in England and Bali.

There is dire need to end this belly-dance of neo-rich, who have legalised everything for themselves.  Sooner the better. Otherwise tomorrow they would become the United States and it would be difficult to take on them.

There is need for positive intervention. The chaos should not be allowed to go on. It has to be stopped. What has been done has to be undone. The responsibility should be fixed, officials should be identified and punished and people be rid of this chaos, once and forever.

The government must be ordered to earmark some land in the city outskirts for the malls just like you have in other cities. Why you want to choke people of residential areas.

Raj Bagh was once beautiful area to reside. Today its’ residents might be fleeing seeking asylum somewhere. It has become Somalia of Kashmir. There is no order. There is nothing. There are malls, hotels, guest houses, restaurants and more malls.

Barzulla was once a residential area. Now it has malls and more malls. At the pace with which these malls are coming up, soon their owners will post guards outside them, who would force people to enter these malls and ask them to buy something from their shops. Forcible purchase would soon be added into economic lexicon.

Look at the old city. It has become cesspool. If not intervened now the old city would soon turn into Dharavi of Kashmir.

There is not a single building, constructed in past many years, which is an architectural marvel. These building look like stray dogs. They just bark on the city and its’ citizens. The malls and other commercial buildings also reflect aesthetics of the city and its’ people. If we claim we have 5000 year old history. That too a written history. Then the architect of our buildings should reflect that we have an aesthetic sense. But they reflect we have none. They have no connection with our past. On this aspect alone they deserve a harshest punishment. They deserve to be slapped along with those who permitted their construction.

 Some malls even don't have parking lots and others don’t have even washing rooms. Such are the people, who own some of these malls. They don't keep washing rooms in their malls. Even their owners deserve mental restructuring.

Those, who propagate the theory that illegal malls bring prosperity and employment, tell half truth. The illegal malls only bring prosperity to mall owners. The malls have brought prosperity among the employees of the SMS, who have permitted them. They have enriched those who have sold these shops. There is no trickle down effect. Malls don’t bring economic prosperity.  They only uplift already rich class. Middle class have no money to enter malls to buy branded clothes. They throng Sunday market on Sunday to find out whether they could purchase something there too or not.

No one is against rich. They have every right to be rich and very right to enjoy riches. But being rich doesn't mean you become “mall rich” and construct a mall wherever you wish. No illegal mall is above law.   

We live in seismic zone-five. And if earthquake measuring seven magnitude someday hit the city, these buildings would be our graves. We will be buried under them and “the other” SMC officials would charge money from the children of the dead for providing death certificates of the deceased.

Time has come when “the other” in the SMC should be made to understand that it is not wrong to discuss metaphysics and it is not wrong to be an honest.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Muzaffer Parray aur peechay say

By Naseer A Ganai

Several Congress leaders were addressing few hundred congress workers at Congress headquarters at M.A Road in Srinagar today. Since they were waiting for the Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, they thought it better to engage workers-both men and women- by sermonising them.

The congress vice-president Muzaffer Parray was conducting the proceedings. Once in his address, he said, the speakers should not criticise openly each other. In private after permission they can, he said. 

Then came some Abid Hussain. He praised Sham Lal and described him the best Minister available among Congress lot. His speech evoked angry shouts. Mostly pro-Taj Mohideen slogans. Taj Mohidden also gave long speech. He asked workers that they would now get Rs 3 kg rice and they should get ration cards to avail the benefit.

But Nisar Ahmad, who was introduced as general secretary youth wing of State congress, gave an interesting speech. He went upto the dias and commenced his address. Congress is future and more and more youth should join the Congress. Congress is a great…and soon he cut short his short speech saying he has to conclude as “Parray sahab mujay peechay say kuch kar rahain hai,” he said. Parray, who was few inches behind him, had singled him to cut short his speech.

Red faced Parray could not tolerate this accusation that he was doing “kuch kuch” in public. So he explained in serious and grave mood, “We Kashmiris often don’t know how to translate Kashmiri into Urdu. That is why peechay say things happen.” And this evoked laughter from all sides. By now everyone understood peechay say. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Away from Zuckerberg’s people

By Naseer A Ganai

Many a times I thought I should leave the Facebook. I was sick of it. A friend once wrote that everyone on the facebook is happy, smiling and coming or going to Honolulu. But I tell you all is not well there.

Some are even getting crushed under their own weight, some JD is looking for AB and some AA is dying for CD. Some are feeling possessed, some upload saddest of sad songs. Some write to demolish friends and colleagues. Some start discussing Kashmir and end up discussing Kashmiris and then Peers and fakirs. Some are only interested in shes, hers and theirs. All women are girls there. And all girls are young.

Some shout, “rain!.” Some cry “snow!.” For some "It is sunny outside." For some, “life is miserable” and they put this “miserable life” as their status message. Some wives are so fond of their husbands that they write: “Without you Janu, I would have damn ended up somewhere else. Thanks for rescuing me.” There is shock and awe in these status messages.

It is mad world out there. So the other day I decided to give up this brave new mad world. I gave up citizenship of Mark Elliot Zuckerberg’s empire.

I went off from the FB after deactivating it temporarily. And I felt liberated. I am no longer in AB, CD and JD world. That time I wanted to address people and wanted tell them what liberation means. But there was no one available. Perhaps JD was chatting with AB and the CD with BC. All were on-line.

I started looking at books which I had bought but never read. I thought I will devour them. Read them. Reread them. Memorize them. It was different feeling.

I took a book, Love Virtually and read its' few pages. Soon I was restless. I tossed it to one side as the book tells about online world and online love. The book made me think about online world again. What JD might have written to CD and what BC might have written to DD. I wanted to know. And there was no way to know it.

I was thinking whether these people would have been feeling my absence. It is 12 hours and I am off from the Facebook. And no one showed up to ask me where are you? Damn. There was not even a condolence message over my temporary on-line demise. The world is indifferent. But  I never thought it can be so callously indifferent.

I finally decided to log in again. And when I logged in, I found no change in the on-line world. It was smiling, joking and discussing. JD had uploaded his pictures with smile on his lips, laptop in his lap and his legs under blanket. He had captioned it as “warm!”. CD had uploaded his bedroom pictures. ‘Me in my favourite bedroom.” Another was sad and had posted: “three more died in an accident.” This status was getting lot of likes.

 Another person, let us call him CC, was worried about gay rights in Syria. Another had posted Nietzsche’s quote about unhappy marriage and another one had posted about Omar Abdullah and his occupation in coming week. A journalist friend had uploaded his story. Uploading one's own story on the Facebook means aa bail mujhe maar. Anyway some people  are fond of bails.

A friend had uploaded smiling pictures of a group of women in Royal Spring Golf Course. They were jumping. Affectingly looking at each other. But I should tell you that no one among these youngsters was less than 45 years. Jumping and smiling often gives good notion about your age. I thought I would send friend request to all these jumping youngsters but then resisted the great temptation. Who is sending friend request to whom, tops gossip charts here. And it becomes a top rumour in the online world.

All this made me realise that no one cares about whether I am on the Facebook or not. So in order to make my presence felt, I, as usual, uploaded some articles from some heavy weights without reading them. I also went on at like spree and started liking every picture that was uploaded by people across the globe. Like politics is big politics in the online world. Some people even ask: why you did not like my picture? And some even ask: why didn't you comment on my picture, post, please comment in the evening. So keep on liking. 

I was waiting that someone would tell me-where were you for past 12 hours. But no one asked. This Zuckerberg world is callous than America. May America drone it to death! But till it does so, I am on Facebook. And I like it!