Flawed Diktat

Flawed Diktat
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The downtown traders and shopkeepers have not accepted the administration’s diktat of closing their establishments on Fridays. While a whole host of reasons have been offered by the shopkeepers and traders associations, the most salient of these might be that appears to be more business volume and activity on Friday’s. It is curious that the administration has actually chosen Fridays for a day off for downtown’s traders and shopkeepers. On the face of it, the reason appears to be more political than economic or administrative. But, whatever the reason, the administration has no right to take a unilateral decision regarding an issue which affects a bevy of traders and shop keepers. In a polity, perhaps other than Kashmir, such a decision would have been co-determined by the business, trading and shopkeeper fraternity and the administration. But, being Kashmir, the decision or order to shut down on Fridays, is in the nature of a flawed diktat from above. It bears mention here that the administration sits atop a society in a way that is inorganic and detached. This leads to a disconnect between the actual needs of society and the detached diktats of the administration. The same holds true for the administration’s decision to impose and thrust a decision on the business establishments and shopkeepers of downtown Srinagar. The ostensible reason trotted out by the administration is that the decision has been taken in view of the traffic congestion and jams thereof that occur in downtown on Fridays. But, this is an eminently remediable problem or issue that can be ameliorated by an increase in the traffic cop to people ratio on Fridays. This reasoning then does not wash. Fridays because of the special sanctity of the days for and in the Muslim schema and consciousness means more people flow in areas where there are hallowed places of worship like the Jama Masjid, the Pathar Masjid and so on. More people flows mean more and increased foot falls for assorted businesses in these areas. By marking and flagging Friday as a day for closure of business establishments and shop keepers, the administration is choking these businesses for rather a bizarre set of reasons. It then behooves upon the administration to review and revise this reflexive decision and allow businesses and shopkeepers to work and function on Fridays. A reflexive or, even a political decision and interference by the administration must not be a surrogate for the smooth functioning of markets and businesses.

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