I begin with a disclaimer. I am an admirer of yours. I admire your clarity of thoughts and the ease and eloquence with which you express them.
You had first hit the headlines when you became the first Kashmiri to top the civil services examinations. Of late I have read Opinion pieces written by you and watched you on national Television participating in debates and discussing the situation in Kashmir with the kind of frankness one usually does not associate with those in government service.
“By juxtaposing my photos with the images of a slain militant commander, a section of national media has once again fallen back upon its conventional savagery that cashes on falsehoods, divides people and creates more hatred.”
“At a moment when Kashmir is mourning its dead, the propaganda and provocation being dished out from red and blue newsrooms is breeding more alienation and anger in Kashmir than what Indian state can manage.”
Cannot agree with you more. Your angst here was against the media. You could have well stopped here.
“In fact when I qualified this exam I never thought of spending my whole life scratching the desk and if this nonsense around me continues, I might prefer to resign sooner than later.”
“At a moment when Kashmir is mourning its dead, the propaganda and provocation being dished out from red and blue newsrooms is breeding more alienation and anger in Kashmir than what Indian state can manage”: On 14th February 2011 you quoted, referring to Gandhi, that the success of your actions “will be determined by the impact of that action on the poorest man in the country.” You had gone on to say that India needs Gandhigiri and more Argumentative Indians of the kind Amartya Sen refers to in his book.
You had also said that your selection vindicated your faith in the system which “has evidence of favouritism, but where merit is still respected.” You had also talked about how your selection was a “punch on the nose of those who believe in the stereotype that Kashmir produces only terrorists.”
“And then, when a state kills and maims its own citizens, its self-injury and self-decimation of the worst sort. No Government can distance itself from the pain of its people and all out efforts are being made to contain this crisis and reach out to youth. Let’s pray for those who lost their lives and their eyesight in the ongoing turmoil in Kashmir and stand by one another in this moment of truth.”
I understand it’s not easy to withstand the pressure; from within and without. But lesser men can buckle under such pressure. Not you. I want to remind you about how you replied to an anonymous post in The Kashmir Wala in March 2012.
“I often see US-based or Delhi-based friends romancing the Kashmir narrative in chatrooms but when it comes to doing something about it, they just change the room! I may be wrong but I have the distinction of being with my people, sharing their joys and suffering. My job gives me that privilege. For me its neither about surrender nor compromise. I have always spoken the truth and will continue to do so. Even if it costs me my job. In public life, criticism is like a fertilizer as long as one doesn’t sell out his roots. Don’t go by the hastily made impressions. It will take some more time to understand what do I finally stand for. Till then lets rest our tongues and stop blaming one another. I am not a Chaudhary of India not should you act as a Chaudhary of Kashmir. Let the story unfold. Time will decide, who betrayed and who didn’t.”
We don’t want you as the Choudhary of India but don’t let them become the Choudharies of Kashmir.