The Scrapyard of Governance: A Reflection of Our Priorities

Iqbal Ahmad
Iqbal Ahmad

 
As I sit here, reminiscing about my childhood, I am transported back to a time when my mother’s penchant for hoarding scraps was a constant source of fascination and frustration for my siblings and me. Our storeroom was a treasure trove of discarded items, each one carefully preserved with the intention of being useful someday. While my mother’s intentions were noble, the reality was that our storeroom had become a mini-scrapyard, a testament to her inability to let go of the past.

Little did I know that this habit of clinging to the past would find an eerie parallel in the functioning of our government, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit various government departments in the region, and what I witnessed was nothing short of astonishing. Tons of scrap materials, including old papers, damaged electric goods, and rusting vehicles, lay scattered in every nook and cranny. It seemed as if the government was hell-bent on preserving the remnants of a bygone era, rather than embracing the spirit of e-governance and progress.

As I walked through the corridors of these government departments, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu. The files upon files of yellowed papers, some dating back decades, filled the rooms, a testament to our bureaucratic inefficiencies. Old computers, printers, and generators, long past their utility, gathered dust, serving as a stark reminder of our inability to adapt to changing times. The police stations, too, were not immune to this phenomenon, with seized vehicles, some of which had been impounded for years, rusting away in the yards.

This penchant for hoarding scrap raises several questions. Are we so enamored with the past that we cannot bear to part with its remnants? Do we genuinely believe that these discarded items will magically regain their utility someday? Or is this simply a manifestation of our lackadaisical attitude towards governance and progress? The answer, I fear, lies in our collective psyche. We have grown accustomed to living amidst chaos and disorder, often prioritizing the preservation of the status quo over the pursuit of innovation and growth.

This mindset has permeated every level of our governance, from the local municipality to the highest echelons of power. The consequences of this approach are far-reaching and devastating. Our once-pristine environment is now reeling under the pressure of unchecked pollution, our infrastructure is crumbling, and our economy is struggling to keep pace with the demands of a rapidly changing world. The tourists who once flocked to our paradise are now dwindling in numbers, deterred by the very filth and disarray that we seem so reluctant to address.

As I reflect on my mother’s scrap-collecting habits, I realize that her actions, though well-intentioned, were ultimately a reflection of her fear of uncertainty and change. Similarly, our government’s reluctance to let go of the past and embrace the future is a manifestation of our collective fear of the unknown. We are afraid to let go of the familiar, even if it no longer serves us. We are afraid to embrace change, even if it is necessary for our growth and progress.

But it is time for us to confront this fear and embark on a path of transformation. We must recognize that progress is not a destination but a continuous journey, one that requires us to adapt, innovate, and evolve. The scrapyard of governance must be cleared, and in its place, we must build a system that is efficient, effective, and responsive to the needs of our people.

This requires a fundamental shift in our mindset and approach. We must be willing to let go of the past and embrace the future with all its uncertainties. We must be willing to take risks and experiment with new ideas and approaches. We must be willing to invest in our people and our infrastructure, and to prioritize the needs of our citizens over the interests of a select few.

The consequences of our inaction are already evident. Our environment is suffering, our economy is struggling, and our people are losing hope. But it is not too late to change course. We can still reclaim our paradise and restore our region to its former glory. We can still build a system that is just, equitable, and responsive to the needs of all our citizens.

But it requires a collective effort and a willingness to change. We must recognize that our scrapyard of governance is a reflection of our priorities, and that it is time for us to prioritize the needs of our people and our planet over the interests of a select few. We must be willing to let go of the past and embrace the future, even if it is uncertain and uncomfortable.

Only then can we build a system that is efficient, effective, and responsive to the needs of our people. Only then can we reclaim our paradise and restore our region to its former glory. Only then can we build a future that is just, equitable, and prosperous for all our citizens.

.