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Star bureaucrat Shah Faesal’s decision to join politics is all about himself rather than Kashmir

39 57 2631

It might be a little early to say, but it might be worth saying it nevertheless. With his resignation from the Indian Administrative Service last week after returning from a year at Harvard Kennedy School, Shah Faesal is generating a whole lot of false hope among a section of the young in Kashmir by his statements to the media. His jump from the bureaucratic ladder to that of politicians may also be rattling some ambitious, opportunistic people. After being a star bureaucrat for a decade, Faesal has learnt that this ladder goes higher and that the bureaucrat is merely an employee.

By safely ensconcing himself in unionist politics, Faesal has revealed himself as only the latest symptom of a brutal and stifling apparatus that only just manages Kashmir for India between cycles of unmitigated violence and enforced calm. He has been trying hard to make the symptom look like agency.

It is hard to miss the two fundamental contradictions that accompanied his resignation and his plunge into politics.

First, while imagining a place for himself on a higher moral plane, Faesal said he will guide Kashmiri aspirants for the Indian Administrative Service, the very institution he resigned from in an act of defiance and protest against New Delhi. By saying so he separates himself from the morality of his imagined subjects – the battered Kashmiri youth who vehemently confront the State on the street and through social media.

Second, he unwittingly admitted to an interviewer on India Today TV channel that he did not have “the strength of character” needed to join the Hurriyat Conference. This was in response to a question asking him if he was going to join the separatists.

“When it comes to joining Hurriyat, honestly speaking I do not think I have that strength of character,” he had said. “The kind of struggles, which Hurriyat people go through, I cannot possibly at this stage of my life go through those struggles. So, I am........

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