The “Truth” has already been banished from Kashmir a long time ago. Next to the whirlpool of falsehood caused by the exiled “Truth”, the other worst aspect of society in all spheres of activity is the lack of “Accountability”. No one is accountable to no one! Each for himself. A virtual free for all. Let us begin with the most nagging problem at present, the electric power. Why are we in a total mess? Simply because there has been no accountability of either the rulers who mortgaged our resources nor of the engineers who not only helped them but also share the blame for the present mess. Right from the day India and Pakistan distributed our resources without even caring a hoot for our needs through the Indus Waters Treaty not a single so called ruler of ours challenged them in real terms. Except for some hollow rhetoric no one has taken any practical steps to mitigate Kashmir’s loss. The engineers too have been sailing along with the corrupt rulers. Had we honest and genuine leaders they would have started an agitation demanding both India and Pakistan to compensate us in the field of power.
Let us turn to our day to day living. The worst mess is in the regulation of traffic. Zero accountability not only to the personnel of the traffic police from the constable to the top but a free for all for everyone on the road. The most annoying are the mini-bus drivers who stop anywhere in the road to pick up or drop passengers. They don’t care as they are paying regular hafta to traffic police which goes from the beat constable to the top. Next come the auto drivers running from left to right all over the place. Most of the drivers whether driving the private cars, motor bikes, mini-buses, buses, trucks or any moveable thing on the road have no idea of the traffic rules. Overtaking, use of side indicators, stopping on traffic lights, slow and fast lanes are Greek to most of the drivers. The worst violators of the rules are the drivers carrying so called VIPs and their escorts. They don’t bother at all and often jump the traffic signals. Ironically, an ambulance carrying a patient gets stuck in traffic while a so called VIP gets smooth passage! Now consider the use of foot paths. Most of these are either taken over by the vendors or occupied by shopkeepers displaying their wares outside their shops.
The healthcare is an apology. The most touted about super-speciality institute has turned into a general hospital. The out-patient department of the institute is like a fish market where people jostle each other to get to doctors for treatment. There is only one maternity and one paediatric hospital in the entire valley having a population of over 7 million. The district and sub-district hospitals are shunned by specialists and consultants as these are not teaching hospitals. In the private sector there is a mushroom growth of so called hospitals. None of these can be called a hospital as these are not equipped with full-fledged life-saving and resuscitation facilities. They have often to refer their cases to government hospital or the institute. These so called hospitals have only scanty resident consultant staff and have to depend on part-time consultants from the government hospitals or from outside the state. Kashmir must be the only place in the world where private consultants have a two to three month wait! Here, people have to wait for surgeries for months to get their turn. A person with multiple problems may have to be referred to three different places for treatment!
In education sector, the worst is supposed to be the BOPEE scandal. Who knows, this may be only the tip of the iceberg? There is a mushroom growth of private schools under all sorts of Christian names. It is very ironic to see all these schools with Christian names coming up in a Muslim majority area. May be a sign of “Kashmiriyat”? While we have all these institutions churning out thousands of boys and girls adding to already severe problem of educated unemployed, no concerted effort is being made to impart vocational training on a large scale with placement avenues. The only avenue for an educated Kashmiri youth is government job even at the lowest level regardless of his qualification. He considers it some sort of social security in the prevalent uncertain atmosphere. On the other hand we have almost a million outsiders working on various vocational and manual jobs. Kashmiris have altogether given up manual labour thanks to progress and modernisation.
The story is same in all other sectors, be it the violations of master plan and building bye laws; the disposal of sewerage and drainage by hotels; conversion of agricultural land for construction of shops and buildings and the destruction of environment by polluting water bodies and the merciless cutting of forests by timber smugglers in connivance with authorities supposed to protect these. No accountability. The courts sometimes pull up the executive but the thoroughly corrupt administration presided over by the corrupt rulers find ways to even to evade these legal directions. One sometimes feels that this total lack of accountability is a divine curse on Kashmir. Only a Noah’s flood may cleanse it!