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In 26th edition of ‘Mann ki Baat ’ the famous radio interaction program by Prime Minister Narendra Modi broadcasted on Sunday (27/Nov), the Prime Minister have made it clear that Jammu and Kashmir State remains on top of the agenda of his government. When the entire country was expecting him to speak on demonetization, he started his conversation referring  his visit to Ladakh to celebrate  Deepawali with  the Jawans of Army and Indo Tibetan  Border Police at China border.  This was his 1st Mann ki Baat program after announcement of Demonetization on 8th of November.

Despite hue and cry by all opposition parties against the demonetization and bandh call, the Prime Minister candidly initiated his speech firstly mentioning the issues related to the Himalayan state, even after reference of his visit to Ladakh, he continued to appreciate and recite his meeting with the delegation of  Panchayat  members of All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference,  ( AJKPC is a leading organization representing members of the rural local bodies of the state). The delegation led by its president Shafiq Mir had met the Prime Minister at New Delhi including over 2 dozens of other village heads belonging to different Panchayats on 5th of November.

The significance attributed by the Prime Minister about his meeting could be  guessed from the fact that after minutes of  his meeting with this  delegation, from his personal twitter handle @narendramodi (having over 25 million followers), he flashed the group photo of his meeting with these panches and sarpanches followed by 3 more tweets expressing satisfaction and assurance to do everything possible to ensure development state and to meet aspirations of   the youth of the state. These tweets later liked and rewetted by thousand times by  others across the country.

It was not only the tweets that drew the attention of the national media about his meeting with this delegation but in fact an official press note along with photographs  having more than 420 words was also formally issued by Prime Minister Office that is yet available on www.pmindia.gov.in). After the formal meeting for over an hour, the Prime Minister had also hosted a High tea for this  delegation of village heads.

In his address to the nation on the radio program, Mann ki Baat, the P.M appreciated the role of the Panchayat Conference for helping the government to ensure attendance of the students for exams and for their concern about the future of the children and burning of schools in Kashmir valley.   “A few days ago, all Pradhans from the villages of Jammu & Kashmir had come to see me. They were from the Jammu & Kashmir Panchayat Conference. They had come from different villages of the Kashmir valley, there were around 40-50 Pradhans. I got an opportunity to speak to them at length. They had come to discuss a few points on the development of their villages; they had some demands. But when the deliberations began, issues such as conditions in the valley, the law and order situation, the future of children came up in a natural manner.

These village Pradhans spoke about these topics with such affection and openness that everything touched my heart. In the course of the conversation, there was also a mention of schools in Kashmir that had been set afire. And I felt these Pradhans were as saddened as our other countrymen were, at that. They too felt that it was not just schools, it was the future of the children, that had been set ablaze. I had urged them to focus on these children’s future, on their return home. I am feeling happy today that these Pradhans, who had come from the Kashmir valley, kept their word in letter and spirit.

They returned to their villages and made people from far and wide aware on this issue. Recently, just a few days ago, when the Board examinations were held, 95% of the sons and daughters of Kashmir, the young students appeared in the examinations. The sheer volume of students, who appeared in the Board Examinations, is a clear indication that our children from Jammu & Kashmir are committed to attain newer heights of progress, to build a bright future through the medium of education. For their resolute zeal I congratulate these students and I also felicitate their parents, their kith and kin, their teachers and all the Gram Pradhans as well from the depths of my heart”.

Before the conclusion of this meeting of the Panchayat heads with the P.M at New Delhi, neither the J & K government nor even the local BJP leadership knew anything about the meet and it has come as a big surprise for political parties and leaders.  Analysts and experts on Kashmir issue   consider it as a  hint by the Modi government to separatists and as well as the mainstream political parties including NC and PDP that they no more have monopoly to dictate terms to the government of India on Kashmir as the GOI can directly interact with the people of Jammu and Kashmir without any mediocre.

They also hinted that in days to come  the Panchayat Conference Could be seen playing more important role.   It is also been seen as a reaction of the Union government to the Syed Ali Shah Geelani camp’s inflexibility wherein they did not even open the doors for meeting with the parliament members including Sita Ram Yechury, Sharad Yadav and D Raja during their visit to valley in the first week of September this year. After the encounter of Burhan Wani on July 8, the Valley witnessed an unprecedented trail of violence, Bandhs, curfews , loss of lives of  civilians, security force personnel, burning of schools, arrests, injuries and there was lot of pressure on the union government to initiate dialogue with the separatists to calm down the flames of violence though government of India held all party meet at New Delhi headed by P.M and announced several measures. The union home minister RajNath Singh also made several visits to Srinagar and made public announcement to hold dialogue with everyone and invited them to discuss all issues for Confidence Building Measures and bring back the peace and normalcy in the state but here also the Separatists Camp snubbed the initiative of the MHA and did not turn up for any dialogue.

During the month of August a delegation of opposition political parties from the state headed by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also met the Prime Minister to  discuss the situation in Valley and after his meeting even Omar thanked Modi for the patient hearing to them and promised to work together with the GOI to  find solution of problems in the state but on ground neither Omar nor his National Conference made any attempt to reach the people or suggested anything doable to prevent the cycle of violence and trouble in valley. NC added fuel to fire, to score political gains, Omar vehemently opposed the sanction for establishment of IIM at Jammu and tried to divide the state on regional lines. In fact the National Conference leaders as routine adopted double standards, Senior Abdullah i.e. Farooq Abdullah who have headed the state as Chief minister for quite a long after his father Sheikh Abdullah also issued controversial statements.

On their arrival at Jammu after meeting with Prime Minister, while addressing the media persons, Shafiq Mir, Chairman AJKPC along with president Anil Sharma had castigated the opposition political parties and ridiculed ‘Autonomy’ and ’Self Rule’ as any formula. In the official press statement, the AJKPC leadership have stated “Those Kashmir Centric political parties who have soft corners for Pakistan are not friends of the people of Jammu and Kashmir; the National Conference whose leaders are today asking to include Pakistan in resolving so called pending Kashmir dispute should remember the 1931 agitation. In 1931, there was no Pakistan, so how today they have changed their stance, this shift from democracy to pro-Pakistani politics is illogical and just to hoodwink the people”. The deliberate selection of harsh vocabulary by the Panchayat Leaders even against the mainstream political parties reveal enough that somewhere they have strong patronage. 

They alleged that those parties who were shying and denying the implementation of 73rd and 74th amendment  of Indian Constitution  here in the state under the garb of autonomy and self rule were hypocrite and those who cry for autonomy and Self Rule were in fact fooling the innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir State.  ‘Either you were with India or Against it, you (political parties) cannot play the double game’ they had further alleged in the media briefing.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public appreciation of the Panchayat Leaders of the State cannot be a mere co-incidence but might be a well planned strategy which may unfold in coming days. It may be rise of a political dawn in Jammu and Kashmir, it is pertinent to mention here that the Shafiq Mir, Chairman of the Panchayat Panel was handpicked by Sonia Gandhi in Oct-2013 as an entrant in Congress party and he is presently official spokesperson  for the JKPCC. Whereas Anil Sharma, the AJKPC president joined the Bhartiya Janta Party before state assembly elections in presence of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Jammu. It is pertinent to mention here that it was only after a months long agitation and 3-4 days full fledged hunger protest by the leaders of this Panchayt body that the then State government led by Omar Abdullah announced monthly honorarium of Rs. 2000/month for Sarpanch and 1000/Month for a  Panch, it was first time in the history since establishment of Panchayti Raj  institutions in the state that the government gave monetary honourarium to elected Panches and Sarpanches.

 

Days after AJKPC members  meeting with the  P.M, the   Jammu and Kashmir government have also hinted to conduct Panchayat elections in the state soon and then after  governor NN Vohra also cleared the pending amendment bill with his office which was passed by the State legislature early this year, earlier he had returned the file to the state government seeking clarification on the bill. All these political developments cannot be seen as mere coincident but surely a strong indication by the Union government and it should  not be a surprise if in year 2017 we find this organization of Panches and Sarpanches amplifying its activities on the name of contentious demand of   implementation of 73rd amendment of Indian constitutional in the state of Jammu and Kashmir which is strongly opposed by both National Conference and PDP under the garb of article 370.

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Developments are not necessarily improvements. The human race may have developed a lot from what it was earlier on some other point of time, but it has not progressed so much so it has developed. Though the investment of time, capital and efforts and the consequent returns have seen a tremendous change, yet the desired kind of satisfaction is not anywhere to be seen in the society.

Prior to this moment or period of time there would have been dearth of efforts to meet out the requirement of an average standard of living, today there is dearth of requirements to accommodate all the efforts of all the people. The continually generated efforts must need a proper  treatment in earliest to let them not take a toll on the prospects of a balanced living life.

The humanity may claim to have discovered means and ways to ease the life of people by inducting large scale macro machines and very small nano techniques to change the outlook towards different things, but the anxieties of nothing to do has emerged more dangerous than the earlier one. There is hardly any one who fears lack of earnings  or at least not more than those who fear inactive life. Even the poorest of the poor is not eating less than a common meal or wears less than a common wear. Still then, the tiredness of the unending spell of  being workless has undone the taste of all the developments.

The greats from times immemorial had prescribed a simple living, where there is a balance between cause and effect. Where everyone has something to do, besides the all apparent some thing to eat, wear and shelter. The blind chase of maximum returns has left many an activities unnecessary and unaccommodated, challenging the dream of a sustainable development of the mankind. Extra spare hours have given birth to many a harmful activities that has begin to show the monstrous effects on the Innocent face of humanity. Growing radicalism, political power greed and  psychological disorders are all fuelled by the spare hours of mankind. 

To cope the repercussions of unaccommodating spare, we need to pause and ponder over the situations growing out of the so for unattended disproportionately growing leisure. We must find and educate the course of life that succeeds in accomodating physical struggle and effort, to direct the society towards a positive sphere of living. Too much stress on comfort and more importantly immediacy will lead to a different kind of discomfort and inconvenience.

To do away with the chaos and frustration, waiting to dance in naked, we must have to reconsider the policies on collective level, besides our principles at individual level. Development should be sustainable, and fluctuational strides, a common feature of our society, therefore, cant be taken for granted any long. Left undone, we may amply refer to developments as otherwise.

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The state of educational catering, particularly up to the highschool level has been there in public debate, for a long time,  not for any achievements or sky reaching performances, but just for all the dismal reasons and under performed services, as always. Though on the front of producing any enlightened class of people, who are merited to be considered ethically educated, we all, with the prevalent systems of education, have  miserably failed to produce any  effect of that kind, yet the Govt educational institutions have even failed in producing  the mere pass outs of a comparable quality and quantity as well. This is some thing  written on the wall in bold that may not be avoided to meet the eyes for long, albeit the blind eye of a slumbered conscience.

To fix the responsibility for such an irresponsible state of affairs in education to any single factor, would be a sheer injustice to the cause of honesty, as we all have failed collectively, though some of us may have not the courage to accept this bitter truth in earliest, only to make the process of reformation a distant dream. The dispensation in office really did some doings to show its keenness in bringing reformation to the education system, but that only fetched tears to many, rather than any reformation to the system, and presumably a curse to some others as well.

The steps taken by the people at the helm of affairs, were hatched so hurriedly that none of the hatchling could save its skin from the cold wind of the petty interests, to grow and reach maturity, resulting in aggregation of demotivated people and surroundings. Clubbing of the schools which had been thought to give sufficient teaching resources to the thinly staffed schools, gave only multiple headmasters and multiple  clerks to maintain records separately, too many form teachers to take roll call of a fistful of students and too many cooks to stew the broth. The lack of proper follow up  made this probably a good and needed step to be, an episode of the famous flop show comedy of the  bygone days.

Other steps that followed the clubbing initiative like,free tuition, super fifty, evening classes, VEC melas, etc which were expected to uplift the  ailing education system of the state, proved to be not any path breaking initiatives as well. Seemingly the main issues were not felt and cognized as they were. There were no crises like that of under qualified teachers as the govt put forward by suggesting screening test of some of its ground level workers, only to put them in a pool of chaos, frustration and discouragement. The real issues were the lost credibility, reputation deficit , outdated syllabi, inefficient methodologies and above all wrong handling rather mismanagement of the resources.

The people had geneuinely every right to doubt the credibility of the govt schools on the face of existing circumstances. The way govt officials particularly of the education dept, have ensured a hundred percent exclusion of their own wards to the government schools, speaks volumes about the credibility and reputation of these schools. Encouragements for the staffers and officials of the dept, admitting their kids  in govt schools, are to be put in place, by introducing motivations in terms of posting , timetable, and what so ever way it is within the limits of a win win bartering.  Admissions of kids of the teachers in govt schools is the unsubstituted step needed to be taken even at a dearer cost, for giving a flip to the reputation of govt schools, as  people hardly hear sermons and speeches cried out by anyone, anywhere. They follow the actions and inspirations undertaken in  silence.

Sincere efforts never fail even against the toughest challenges. Why don't then, we accept the constraints as they are, to do away with them or at least to keep them checked to the maximum possible extant.  Female folk particularly the married ones, do have some issues that demand an immediate redressal, so as to let them not suffer, besides inflict inconveniences to their work and work places. The  women question has proportionated beyond the endurance of the dept and requires to be answered efficiently, along taking them on board.  Their distinctions are to be tapped, rather than their limitations are to be harnessed.

On top of  the requirements clubbing and rationalization needs to be reinterpreted to prevent it to succumb the misinterpretations of the Mrs' All Knowing lower rung talkative chairs of the dept. The move has been put to as many interpretations as the number of schools colocated. Let the schools clubbed be declared merged with out any difference between them as clubbed to and clubbed with, to create a sense of equal responsibility.

The rampant corruption and highhandedness on the part of babus and the speckies have inspired the ground workers to follow the trend of being more submissive to the dictates ,than honest to their work. Classroom has become the last activity to be conducted in a school, while the remittances, withdrawals purchases meetings and what not has taken the front seat.

The combative mode and faceless activism besides the vulnerability of being taken for a ride by any one has put a big big question on the character of the whole system. The way education dept succumbed to the dictates of police, by endorsing the night watching dictates as state policy has taken most of the community by gloom and anxiety. The 'pass on' from the muscle to the nerve  approache to win favours, adopted by the officials has hammered the motivation and compassion  of grassroot to the pulp.

The failure of any one component of the society, the helmsmen, lacking compassion, the teachers, poor in ethics, the society with its institutions polity, media and pulpet, serving commercialism, is the failure of education and none of us should therefore shrug off shoulders to work for a system  of a sound education.

Washing linen in public by the helmsmen and the subordinates is not going to help anyone but discredit the both as the holes on any of sides of the boat will sink the whole boat. Realising this fact of interdependence for survival, let the holes on either side are to be plugged before the whole boat of govt run schools becomes a past history and the the future reader sends his choicest curses to such a mean and cruel lot of people, called themselves, upholders of education.

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