What will you choose: IAS or Azadi?

By Wasim Dar

The selection of a few more Kashmiris in the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) for the consecutive eighth year has triggered a debate in Kashmir. It is about whether Kashmiris, who are stuck in an interminable conflict since the past 60 years, should join or celebrate the Indian “civil services” or not?
The side that supports the celebration puts forward the point that it will strengthen Kashmiris in the bureaucracy which would dramatically turn the equation of power on their side. By having greater say, they would influence policies and plans. The opposite view is that by entering the Indian bureaucracy, Kashmiris would end up as “mini-screwdrivers” who would only perpetuate violence against their own people. By acting as tools of the Indian power structure, these “civil servants” would strengthen India in Kashmir.
The debate whether to join the IAS or not was triggered largely after an article titled “IAS in Kashmir: Glorifying the occupation” was published in the daily newspaper Kashmir Reader. The article took the social media by storm where people expressed their views about the “civil services”.
As the debate was on, another write-up appeared in The Indian Express titled “Till Azadi comes”. The essay was written by the IAS poster boy in Kashmir, Dr Shah Faesal, who had topped civil services exam in 2009. It came as a shock to me. The article was primarily arguing that Kashmiris should go for a political compromise as Azadi was a far-fetched dream. It suggested that there is hopelessness as far as Azadi is concerned and hence it will be better for Kashmiris to surrender and join the Indian mainstream.
How can people join the state which has been shedding their blood and heaping on them indignity? The state that led an all-out war against Kashmiris by blasting their houses, killing men and women, subjecting thousands of people to enforced disappearances, and inflicting countless miseries upon Kashmirs. How can one describe the crimes of genocidal nature on part of the Indian state as just “disturbance”? By doing so, you are not only trivialising the struggle, but also taking sides with the occupier.
Doctors and Engineers have rendered countless sacrifices for the Kashmir cause. Their resolve to gain freedom has led them to resist oppression at every step. At times it has cost them their lives. Turn back the pages of history and see how many “civil servants” have raised their voice against the oppression by the state. If being an IAS officer means resistance, Dr Shah Faesal, why didn’t you write against the oppression of the Handwara girl? What was her crime? Wasn’t it your moral obligation to speak up for her when she was going through trauma? We have enough of resources and talent to deal with unemployment, if we are allowed to utilise them. A few IAS seats are not a solution to unemployment. Even if India gives us 100% of the civil services seats, it will fall short of 1% of our educated youth.
Between 1990 and 2008, ten times more youth were employed by the Gulf countries then by the Government of India. When it comes to choice of one’s career, compromises should not be made, and ethics, principles and bonds with one’s fellow people should never be cast away. The choice of a civil services career is a personal one and should not be played up as an alternative to the political aspirations of the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.
The upward mobility of a few families of civil servants hardly helps the poor on the streets or the half-widows longing for their husbands. No one in Kashmir opposes students getting admissions in IITs, IIMs, and excelling in cricket, but the civil services, the armed forces, and the police are state machinery that supervises in Kashmir mass murders, rapes, abductions, torture, and much else. Let us learn to call a spade a spade. No cause is more critical than the Kashmiri struggle for dignity. Every family in Kashmir has suffered, whether rich or poor. IAS aspirants can never be called Kashmiri heroes as they are bound by the Indian state and India and Kashmir are like parallel lines that will never meet. There is no confusion in history as to where India ends and Kashmir begins. So does everyone in Kashmir and in India.
Everyone has his own battles to fight but no battle is bigger than the collective one. The Kashmiri struggle is definitely about politics, war, traditions and culture. It is about a dignified life in which your children are not killed, mothers and sisters are not molested, heritage and demography are not changed. It is about eradicating corruption and inequality. It is about telling the truth in whole and not in parts. It is about allowing people to nurture their apple orchards, to be upright and active for their rights and against oppression. The IAS gives us none of these, and so it is nothing to celebrate in Kashmir.
Rebellion or militancy is not a career; it is a passion, an ultimate sacrifice, which is far above a worldly career. It is the ultimate commitment to the nation when a human opts for death so that his fellows can live. These martyrs never die, they live in our hearts till eternity. We don’t need memorials to them because they live in our breath. No one has ever stopped living in Kashmir, not the mother who lost her four sons in the fight against Indian occupation, nor the people in the village where every woman was raped in a single night. The only difference is that what they call life is not what you and I call life.
The dawn of Azadi is bound to come. I leave you with just one question: Will you be left with enough spirit to dance on the day?

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32 Responses to "What will you choose: IAS or Azadi?"

  1. Riyaz Faktoo   June 9, 2016 at 7:16 am

    The most ridiculous write up. What an IQ.. That’s the reason AZADI will never come.

    Reply
  2. Mukhtar Ahmad   June 9, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Hats off dear Bro. This is a befitting reply for those who have common sense which unfortunately doesn’t exist commonly.

    Reply
  3. rahat wani   June 9, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Yes i will choose azadi not ias because we want to breathe in free space which is occupied by india

    Reply
  4. sadaf wani   June 9, 2016 at 10:55 am

    I don’t think Indian civil services is a bad option, even if you are fighting for Kashmir. Joining the administration of ruling state can instead prove helpful.
    Moreover we need to be clear first,
    what we mean by “azadi” a completely separate country or just self governance & expel of excess army. Cause lets face it,
    the former is not gonna happen.

    Reply
  5. younis   June 9, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I appreciate your words dear brother .our ultimate purpose is azadi from Indian occuption.few kashmris getting selected for I A S will not help to those who have sufferd by the hands of Indian occuption here

    Reply
  6. Ghazi Suhail khan   June 9, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    mera kalam b khaak ugelta sa reh gaya…..

    Reply
  7. Fasal Rather   June 9, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Beautifully written and nicely argued

    Reply
  8. Farhat   June 9, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    What is Azadi? Is azadi such a simple term?
    Whose idea of Azaadi are u talking about? Geelani’s? Yasin Malik’s? Burhan’s? Mododi’s? An educated Kashmiri’s? A government servant’s? A vendor’s? An unemployed youth? A facebooker? A policeman’s? Azadi is different for all of them. How can you asure that Azadi won’t lead to a civil war in Kashmir? Your brothers are fighting for 8 or 20 raka’ts in Taraweeh these days! We need to grow up to even comprehend the complexity of this word.

    Reply
  9. Nasir   June 9, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    100% Azaadi

    Reply
  10. Sohail   June 9, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Brilliantly put forward…

    Reply
  11. Mudasir Parray   June 9, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    The upward mobility of a few families of civil servants hardly helps the poor on the streets or the half-widows longing for their husbands. No one in Kashmir opposes students getting admissions in IITs, IIMs, and excelling in cricket, but the civil services, the armed forces, and the police are state machinery that supervises in Kashmir mass murders, rapes, abductions, torture, and much else. Let us learn to call a spade a spade. No cause is more critical than the Kashmiri struggle for dignity. Every family in Kashmir has suffered, whether rich or poor. IAS aspirants can never be called Kashmiri heroes as they are bound by the Indian state and India and Kashmir are like parallel lines that will never meet. There is no confusion in history as to where India ends and Kashmir begins. So does everyone in Kashmir and in India.

    Reply
  12. Asif   June 9, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    These are two different things We should be proud of kashmiris who topped in administrative services Azadi and qualifying IAS are two different things At least they are better than those people who work and live outside kashmir where they enjoy life and give sermons of Azadi to us These young IAS boys will at least serve our community

    Reply
  13. Raees gulzar   June 9, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    I too don’t think Indian civil services is a bad option, even if you are fighting for Kashmir. Joining the administration of ruling state can instead prove helpful.

    Reply
  14. Asif Dar   June 9, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    What a tight slap!

    Reply
  15. waseem mir   June 10, 2016 at 9:48 am

    tough lines for ENDian stooges

    Reply
  16. Rashida   June 10, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    promoting militancy and rebellion…

    where does this website get these amateur writers?

    Reply
  17. Vakil   June 14, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Even if you don’t have enough ‘spirit’ to ‘dance on the day’ (dawn of azadi etc), what is the problem? Just have one MORE peg or so (of whatever ‘spirit’) — and being in the Civil Services, there is plenty of FREE access to the same! That should be the real ‘spirit’ — hence why more and more educated Kashmiris are aspiring for the same.

    Reply
  18. Vinay   July 4, 2016 at 1:27 am

    What you mean by Azadi? Free killing of innocents in the name of blasphemy? Do you hypocrites have any shame in telling yourself victims. Your religion is the sole problem of this planet. Soon or later your religion will be finished. Either good people will leave this shity religion like apj abdul kalam. Or good people will root out this religion.
    You assholes read 1 book full of shit and think yourself genius of everything while a common guy read 100s of book yet he doesn’t consider him perfect and always ready to accept new ideas.
    Future is very clear, the more people understand the more fake they will found god. God rules on fear and darkness. God didn’t created us. Human created God for their benefits.

    Reply
  19. Muhammad Taha   July 12, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Jab zindagi hi na rahi toh IAS kis kaam ka,,, I was really disappointed after hearing the answers of IAS Amir Shafi khan of Mattan Islamabad yesterday on Indian Media debates,,,, Hum Begairat nhi hain hum humesha ladeinge Ya humari fatah hogi ya shahadat aur Hindustan ye na samj le ki humay maar kr wo kashmir ko hadap lega balki usey humarey baad humari agli nasloon se Ladna hoga

    Reply
  20. SHAFIQ   July 13, 2016 at 11:21 am

    WE WILL CHOSE THE AZADI THIS IS KIND INFORMATION FOR HINDO BANYEA

    Reply
  21. Iftikhar   July 14, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    IAS means Indian Administrative Service. Service means job. If someone does a job, he or she does it for living. Now ask a westerner : whose job is important: a carpenter’s or IAS officers? Do I need to tell you the whole story?

    Reply
  22. kash   July 15, 2016 at 12:34 am

    Well said bro..really a master piece .rightly said wasn’t it moral duty of Shah to write about te girl from his home town..Azadi must b the ultimate goal of every Kashmiri. being in India administration means you are responsible for all those killings which Kashmir has seen from years..some will say IST you must qualify IAS then talk I must tell them I have seen some of the IAS officer’s whose IQ is Zero infront of majority of kashmiris.

    Reply
  23. Jamila   July 19, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    This guy started with medical profession because he was committed to serve community. Down the road he remembered his own needs and changed to Civil Authority.

    Reply
  24. sib ishfaq   July 21, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Power corrupts man but when stupid people get into a position of power,corrupt power.The very notion by the so called civil servants from kashmir that our future is secure and have scope with the so called Mighty India proves to be parochial as far as the “Aazaadi barai Islam” is concerned. How can this notion be justified with India as it is the same very india which has transgressed all limits of inhuman,murderous acts in kashmir. They have gone completely blind-folded with the charisma of position and power in it.Being kashmiri, if one cannot support the justified ongoing freedom struggle,do not at least oppose with your specious ideas. In the words of Iqbal, ehsaas-i-ziyaan b jaata raha….

    Reply
  25. INDRA   July 25, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Dear Kashmiris no AZADI is required for KASHMIR because you living with azadi itself. Just look at PAK occupied Kashmir .There your brothers wants to join with India. If U join with PAK your condition will become more worst. PAK is epicenter of terrorism in world. EVEN PAK killing militants of its own soil. Militants demanding AZADI. Balochistan people agitating for AZADI. See the condition of PAK citizens now , everyday killings ,bomb blast . If you still wants PAK even god could not save you .

    Reply
  26. Jamila   July 25, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Let their be referendum and people chose. Most likely they will decide to stay independent having cordial relations with both of its neighbors.

    Reply
  27. Mohammad Farooq Wani   July 31, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Shah faisal,s lip service. Would like to see him relinquishing office and join Azadi camp. Politically motivated statement.

    Reply
  28. Rehal   July 31, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Brilliant writer up!!!!

    Reply
  29. Mushtaq iqbal   August 20, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    PeAce everywhere

    Reply
  30. Kshitiz   September 5, 2016 at 2:16 am

    Beautifully written sir, but sir will joining ias make someone less Kashmiri or can’t someone who has done IAS still fight for kashmiri rights , against AFSPA ,etc…

    Reply
  31. MD Shah   September 15, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Great

    Reply
  32. A   December 30, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    So called hurriyat leaders getting kids brainwashed in the name of a zadi and getting them killed while their own kids study in India…. Shame

    Sooner Kashmiris realize that no azadi possible from emerging super power… Better it is

    Reply

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