Abid Hussain Rather
Everyone among us must be aware of the tragic incident that occurred at Lal Ded Hospital Srinagar few days ago. Yes you are correct, the indirect murder of a new born infant due to entry restriction by security guards for the sake of just two hundred rupees. Though this event sent its shock waves across the whole valley but it was not first of its kind. If you remember correctly then you must be aware that same kind of event occurred two years back at the same hospital when a pregnant lady from Kupwara district was denied entry in the hospital by hospital administration which resulted in the birth of a child outside the hospital near the roadside. Such episodes have occurred recurrently in our valley in the past and believe me, they will occur in the future times also. My dear readers, I am not an astrologer to predict things here nor I believe in future presaging through stars but my harsh experience of the past is compelling me to write here that we have to make ourselves every time ready to listen such news items as there has been moral degradation in our society and we have become materialistic. Humanity has become a bygone term in our valley. We have fallen prey to materialism, dishonesty, selfishness, falsehood, immorality and corruption. We have fallen from the standards of humanity and have turned into beasts for the sake of self-interest. History is witness to the fact that whenever a society turns out to be materialistic, the human values are lost and human life is least valued; then such events and episodes become common and unsurprising to people. Time and again occurrence of such events is an eye witness to the fact that we live in a society where there are only humans and no humanity. If we will introspect in our society we will find our society is full of every kind of social evils and the irony is that such social evils are no more considered as wrong deeds or sinful acts rather we have changed their nomenclature to normalize them in our society. We will find no department or institution in our society where there is no corruption and where rights of common massed are not violated and marred. Each and every department in our valley is involved in corruption and bribery which results in the suffering of common masses.
Lal Ded episode is an eye opener and an admonitory event for common people as well government agencies to curb many social evils prevailing in our society. When we keenly look at this event many questions arise in our mind. Was it the first time when an employee of the hospital asked for ‘chai and mithayi’ or this illegal and immoral custom is prevailing there from decades. We all are well aware about the fact that it is not only the Lad Ded hospital but most of the health centres in our valley are involved in this illegal and inhuman custom of ‘ chai and mithayi’. Rather this illegal custom is prevailing in most of the government departments of our valley which has resulted in the suffering of the common masses from past many years. But unfortunately this evil has been camouflaged in the four walls of government departments by the concerned culprits and no body complains about it. If sometimes somebody tries to complain or protest against this social evil, there is nobody to pay heed to his words. This illegal customs comes to forefront only when it results into a tragic situation or public aggravation as has been seen in the Lal Ded hospital few days ago. Secondly we need to ponder upon whether only the lower grade employees are involved in this ‘chai mithayi culture ‘ of bribery or the higher officials are also involved in this callous act. Here we all are well aware about the fact that higher officials are cognizant of this crime rather in some cases they have their own share from this ‘ chai and mithayi ‘ otherwise no lower grade employee of any department can gather the courage for this heinous crime. So punishing or terminating the service of only a lower grade employee can’t help in eradication of this crime rather the higher officials should be treated equally responsible for this bribery act and should be equally punished by the government authorities as the higher officials are caretakers of their departments and accordingly they are responsible for overall affairs and incidents befalling in there departments.
Government authorities have taken different steps and adopted various strategies during different periods to eradicate this evil from various departments of the valley but they have hardly succeeded in abolishing this ‘chai and mithayi culture’. Instead this illegal culture is gaining popularity in different government departments and has turned out to be a black spot on our society and a question mark on humanity and the lower section of our society has always fallen pray of this evil. Unless and untill every government employee from higher rank to a fourth grade chowkidar or gatekeeper involved in this heinous crime is not strictly punished we can’t make our society free from this illegal custom. There should be a strict scrutinizing system in every government departments to check this illegal custom of ‘chai and mithayi’. Finally it is pertinent to mention here that a society is a cumulation of its individuals and every individual has his own role in eradicating these social evils from a society to make it a better place for one and all. So all of us must develop our consciousness and sense of humanity in ourselves to remain away from these social crimes, so that we can develop our society an evil free society. Moral education in our educational institutions can be much successful in obliterating these social evils from our society. Let the good sense prevail everywhere.
(The author is an official member of JKIFTS columnists council and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)