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If you aim at moon, don't touch treetops

AJAZ UL HAQUE
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 12 2019 10:58PM | Updated Date: Jan 13 2019 2:38AM
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When courage opted for a human face, it chose Harsh Mander. You miss something if you don’t know him. And if you do, you can’t save yourself from being inspired. Harsh is not a sensation, he is substance. In 2002 he left Indian Administrative Service in protest against Gujarat riots which he refuses to call `riots’. He calls them a `state-engineered massacre’. Harsh served for twenty years in IAS and was a known voice of dissent even in the system. Where disobedience is a crime, he fought to make it a right. His books portray an India which Indians refuse to accept. Dark, unequal, anti-poor, fanatic and crushed by a corporate monster. His joining IAS is not as remarkable a feat as his leaving IAS. 

Coming home. When Shah Faisal does the same, that’s courage. He too quits the same office which is the dream destination for millions of aspiring youth. Faisal too has a reason to choose a new way. I will pair him with Harsh, but for that, I will have to wait. 

Though he hasn’t declared the banner under which he is going to begin his new struggle, but if it’s National Conference that will be a double loss. One rational, one moral. Rationally it will be like leaving an ocean and choosing a pond to swim in. Morally you can’t protest against bloodshed by joining those who are responsible for bloodshed. Then it won’t be a protest, it will be a deal, or a gamble which can go any way depending on how it pans out for you. Unlike Harsh Mander’s rebellion against an unjust system, Faisal’s will be a simple career choice. A bureaucrat turned politician is just a change of chair, a civil servant launching a civil movement will be a revolution. Chair-changers we have many, we want a game-changer. The king who has thrown the throne cannot - and should not - settle for subordination.

Harsh Mander sacrificed power by siding with the powerless and taking on the powerful. He exposed the dark underbelly of Gujarat politics including Modi. Can Faisal afford to unlock the NC cupboard to let the skeletons tumble down? Can he hold a mirror to that good old `lion of Kashmir’ whose duplicity cost us all we had. Honour, dignity, identity and life. Can he demolish those false gods NC worships as icons. If he can’t beat them, why join them. 

Politics is no heresy, no crime. It’s our right and it’s that unfilled vacuum to be filled up by educated and enlightened people like him. We can’t always condemn it by staying outside. Healthy and strong political institutions make a society healthier, stronger. Let’s not make electoral politics a forbidden fruit tasting which can throw us out of heaven. So I am not against his opting for politics as his calling. Do it with all confidence, but do it with a difference. Be a trailblazer of Imran Khan make. Ladders are instant, trees take time to grow. Sow a seed of your own and be a fruit of your own. Joining the queue won’t fit you. It will go against the very spirit of change you intend to bring about. NC is an old story. Old and rotten. Script a new one. New and fresh. 

Sermons of `do-this-don’t-do-that’ type won’t make you any wiser, but whichever the way you choose, ask yourself a question. Does it freeze you or it frees you?

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