Leaders can be bad but not trade unions.
I write here neither to support any slanderous language nor to appease someone who has not been magnanimous enough to have patience with a large number of over- exploited class of employees. Last week’s face- off between Director School Education, Kashmir (DSEK) a brilliant, energetic and an honest bureaucrat and teachers forum president Abdul Qayoom Wani, one of the most energetic trade union leaders in the state is not only unbecoming of government functionaries but has created an unpleasant situation for both of them. Where from this argument originated, no one is sure? AQW claims that his association of teachers and its leadership, particularly Qayoom Wani was subjected to tags like mafia. But, unfortunately the response of AQW to this alleged name calling and belittling was not only unwarranted but smacks of extreme arrogance that too while holding a respectable position of a leading trade union leader. His remarks were not only harsh response to an unpleasant argument but insulting personal remarks against a senior officer.Now, leaving aside the fallout of this face- off on both the parties; the overall sick education system of Kashmir or for that matter the student, teacher fraternity, this nasty episode throws open two important issues. One, the role and limitations of bureaucracy and the second legitimacy of trade unions. One thing is clear and everyone from political hierarchy down to bureaucracy should be clear about lawfulness of trade unions. In present contemporary era of empowerment and emancipation trade unions are part of democratic setup. However trade union leaders should bear in mind that gone are the days when trade union leaders like Datta Samant in Maharashtra or for that matter trade union leader turned politician George Fernandez would get every activity to standstill at the drop of their hat. Presently, Trade union and democratic system, but they are more accountable as well. I am privileged, once to be part of this conscious world of equality and justice, but I personally will never allow anyone to misuse his power to make personal attacks that too with feudal garnishing. Trade unionism is antonym of feudalism and somebody boasting about his feudal lineage while making his point has no moral right to be in the shoes of a trade union leader.
Now the other part of the story! Why should a respectable, brilliant, honest, energetic bureaucrat of Dr. Shah Faesal’s stature resort to a practice that is neither permissible in official lexicon nor allowed at personal level? Official matters are official and DSEK has every right to seek explanations, but within the ambit of service conduct rules, using appropriate language. Castigating unions and calling names to union leaders does not augur well for administration, particularly for a prestigious system like education. The matter does not end here only. For the last more than a week both the parties washed their dirty linen in public. Argumentative press briefings in local media and holier- than- cow approach on social media all goes in bad taste. Leaders, both trade- union and administrative should conduct and behave the way that they become role models. Undoubtedly, Dr. Shah is role model for younger generation and at personal level I have observed him to be more than humble, but while sitting on a chair with enormous authority he has to be more and more responsible. Most of the Kashmiris find him a different lot of bureaucrats and had pinned a lot of hope with him. He should try to stand to the test of Kashmiri people not only while reforming the system, as he has been doing for past some time, but should respect other institutions for coexistence of a system called— Democracy.
My humble submission to both these leaders ( Dr. Faesal too is a leader in many spheres of life) to shun their king- size ego and submit to each other’s genuine wishes and demands honestly and sincerely, but strictly within the ambit of existing rules and law of the land, as otherwise there will be anarchy. Belittling each other will do no harm to them in personal capacity but will certainly tarnish the already dwindling image of states ‘ sarkari’ education system.