Jammu: Governor NN Vohra on Monday recalled his long association with the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and cited him as an example for governments and political leaders. He said that the “concern” of politicians for people, which was there in the past, was missing today.
“I think the greatest, one of the most compelling factors which propel good governance is the concern of politicians for discharging their responsibility,” Vohra said. “The concern of the politician for the people who brought him to that position… this is a factor not common in our governance today.”
Recalling his association with the late Mufti Sayeed, Vohra said, “Mufti sahab would call the DGP, other officers, in the middle of our meetings and would question them about what he had said to them a day or two before.”
Apparently referring to the incumbent coalition government, he said that kind of “anxiety” is missing now.
“That kind of anxiety, if I may say it very politely, is not very common now,” he said.
“We (Kashmir) have stayed behind for reasons which are sometimes not in our control… because of an environment which is sometimes not in our control, (due to which) the pace of our administration gets retarded,” he rued. “But whatever be the circumstances, I think our first obligation is to make the governing system deliver… the pace of implementation of developmental projects should be speeded up.”
“I mention all this because the late Mufti sahab was excessively bothered about some these matters,” he recalled.
Vohra was speaking at a function held to mark the second death anniversary of Mufti Sayeed. The official function was held at Jammu University’s General Zorawar Singh Stadium.
Vohra said that the government had failed to live up to expectations of youth in Kashmir. He urged the “entire polity” to work together to “protect our youth”.
“The entire polity… the entire public services of the state and the people at large must work closely together to protect our student community, our youth,” he said.
Vohra said that the frequent disruption in academic calendar in Kashmir deprives students of admission to institutions in India.
“The academic schedules are disrupted a number of times during the year. Examinations are postponed, declaration of results is postponed. Our students who have enormous merit (and) are seeking admissions in all-India institutions get left behind,” he said.
Referring to the Government of India, he said, “The government of the day, by whomsoever led, in our vast country… in a population of 133 crore… a heterogeneous population of different religions, different languages, different socio-religious traditions… we have to work hard and sincerely, transparently, (and) with complete honesty to deliver to our people what is due to them in a welfare state.”
“Our Constitution has committed to the people of India justice: political, economic and social,” he said. “It is another question whether we have advanced enough in delivering justice in the arenas of politics, economics and society at large.”
The governor said that equality and inclusiveness were huge issues today. “If the administrative machineries cannot deliver the policies of the state government in an equitable and inclusive manner, then we retard and go backwards,” he said.
“Probity is not just the exclusive domain of politics… probity and prudence has to be essential components of our entire society… of our polity, of our people (and) of our society, otherwise no progress is possible,” he said, referring to the title of the award, ‘Probity in Politics and Public Life’, conferred upon Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.
Recalling the time when militants kidnapped Mufti Sayeed’s daughter, Vohra said, “I go back to a fairly long time when Mufti sahab had left the Congress and joined Jan Morcha, after which he assumed responsibility of Union Home Minister. At that time his daughter was kidnapped and in consequence of that development, there was a considerable shake-up in the bureaucracy in Delhi. As part of the shake-up, for whatever reason, I happened also to be relocated. In the process of relocation, I had to professionally and officially deal with the home ministry over what was then happening in Kashmir and the issues that were before the government at that time.”
“Not long after that,” Vohra said, “he (Mufti Sayeed) returned to the Congress in Mr Narsimha Rao’s time. I was working with Mr Narsimha Rao and then I retired from service and lost touch with him (Mufti). But when Mr (Atal Behari) Vajpayee became the Prime Minister, he asked me to get involved with the issues facing Kashmir and I got to see a great deal of Mufti sahib.”
Vohra said he held innumerable meetings with Mufti Sayeed after he became the J&K chief minister in 2002. “We discussed many issues including the concept of self rule, including what needs to be done inside the state, including issues which related to Srinagar-Delhi relationship, issues which related to Delhi-Islamabad relationship, and so on,” Vohra said.
“Then, for the second time in 2015 (when Mufti Sayeed again became chief minister), I had occasion to once again see a great deal of Mufti sahib. Unfortunately, his second tenure was not long,” Vohra said.
“He was not keeping well. He did not take enough notice of what he required to do medically. He kept on touring here and there, going to the Valley during winter time… going to downtown Srinagar… acquiring more than one infection when he was not well, and then he passed away,” Vohra said.
The governor said it was not easy to talk about recent events (in Kashmir). “Because we are not adequately distant from whatever has happened… (when) with the passage of time greater distance will have been put between the events that are taking place (now), perhaps then there will be proportionality in judging governments, judging human beings, judging political leaders. But all I would say today is that what struck me most about his (Mufti’s) character was his wish that his government function in such a manner that it renders greatest help to the people of the state,” Governor Vohra said.