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J&K among most corrupt states in India: CMS India Corruption Study 2017

4/10/2018 6:50:43 PM

High time for the people of J&K to wake up and fight the corruption inside them
By Akhter Bhat
Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most corrupt states of India. The Centre for Media Studies (CMS) in its annual corruption study – CMS India Corruption Study 2017- has placed Jammu and Kashmir along with Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh as most corrupt among 20 surveyed states. Google defines corruption as ‘dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery’. But do only people in power make the system corrupt is something we should run our brains over.

According to my understanding the answer is no. I believe corruption is not only due to the people in power but it is an outcome of a symbiotic alliance between those associated with political power in any capacity, government officials who aspire to utilize the political power in order to safeguard their own interests and people who want their personal concerns to be addressed irrespective of the genuineness of their concerns.

Suppose, you are a political leader representing party X, a party in power so you naturally have hundreds of people visiting you every single day. People would approach you with diverse issues ranging from electricity, roads, water, bridges to concerns like unemployment, IAY’s, Transfers , ration cards etc. Now for a politician representing any party here in Kashmir, no is not an acceptable answer even if you know the concern with which a person has approached you is not genuine. You can’t simply say no. And if you say no, you don’t fall in the ambits of the people’s definition of a leader here. So if a person has approached you with the issue of timber even if he already has one sanction in his hand or doesn’t deserve it due to some other reasons and is not ready to leave you even if you try to tell him that his concern is not genuine, you call an SFC official or DFO and ask him to help the person. The concerned DFO or SFC official who can easily say no because there are hundreds others who haven’t even received a single sanction and genuinely deserve it will not usually say no to you just because he knows he might need some political support in future, may be at the time of his transfer or promotion. So he accepts to help the person irrespective of weighing the genuineness of the issue brought to his notice by the politician.

In other cases where anyone approaching the official for timber doesn’t have any political contacts, the concerned official usually doesn’t give any heed to his demand. He makes him run from one desk to another. As soon as the person approaching him understands that his demand is not being considered, he takes the second path and offers the official some money as ‘Chai’ as it is called here. The concerned SFC official now falls to the monetary motivation being offered to him and sanctions timber. And this is where the whole mess starts. This process motivates others in the league and has been responsible for spreading the evil like the fire in the forest. Now in this situation, it becomes difficult to decide who should be blamed for the mess. Should it be the politician who called the SFC official on another person’s request, should it be the SFC official who obeys to the call and sanctions the timber even if the person didn’t deserve it, should it be the person approaching the politician or the SFC official for help becomes a serious question. These situations put politicians in a strange situation where they may not be able to understand what to do. They have people on one side who want their issues to be addressed at any cost and they also have their carrier on the other side as politicians who are not supposed to say no to anyone approaching them.

In my brief experience as a small scale social activist in Kashmir, I have seen hundreds of people approaching a politician with their day to day issues, most of them being their personal issues.  A year or so back, I was sitting with a very prominent politician of Kashmir who was busy attending to people visiting him. To my knowledge this politician, currently a cabinet minister in Mehbooba Mufti-led government, is among the most honest politicians of the state. I was sitting close to him so I could hear people talking to him. All of them had their own personal issues. There was hardly anyone who could talk about any big issue pertaining to the society in general. At one moment, I remember this poor politician getting so annoyed over the situation that he stood up and asked his PRO to tell people waiting outside that he was leaving for an urgent meeting. While there was no one in the room he said to me, “No one cares about society. These people are sick and they have made me sick. Most of them don’t have any genuine issues and they want me to help them. I can’t even say no to them. And they aspire for a corruption free system!”

As of now I have understood the reality and know it’s not only the people in power who are corrupt but the whole society whose collective corrupt mindsets, thoughts and actions have polluted the system. The blame lies on us all and if we wish to see a change we have to change ourselves first as a society so that our reflections could change the system. We are not different from the system. The system is us and we are the system. I can’t even request people to pledge to change themselves in order to change the system. Neither can tell them to work together for a corruption free Jammu and Kashmir, nor can I ask them to kill the corruption inside them before it kills them. All this sounds so senseless.

About Author: Akhter Bhat is pursuing PhD in Journalism fromUniversity of Mumbai.


  • kFoMtw There as certainly a great deal to learn about this subject. I love all the points you have made. Wrote

    kFoMtw There as certainly a great deal to learn about this subject. I love all the points you have made.

  • kFoMtw There as certainly a great deal to learn about this subject. I love all the points you have made. Wrote

    kFoMtw There as certainly a great deal to learn about this subject. I love all the points you have made.

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