BY M.M. TALI
Over the past one and a half decade, the world has so tremendously been transformed, that it has been successfully reduced to a pocket. A “Smartphone” costing a few thousand rupees is all what a person needs nowadays to access the entire world while sitting comfortably in his or her home (from online note making to data storage, from providing online lectures to holding meetings through VC, from online banking to online shopping, from paperless work to easy dispatching paperless work to easy dispatching and so on). The world has seen manifold changes in the architect of buildings, so to suit them to various physical, geographical factors. Along with it there has been rapid advancement in the heating, cooling technology, making easy accessibility to affordable heating/ cooling systems, providing warmth, coolness for 7×24, without involving too much of manual labor. Overall, technology has seen such a jump, that it has diminished significantly many barriers, may it be perceptual or lingual or cultural, or more importantly the physical or geographical ones.
Is our state really making use of this developing technology to overthrow many of the prevailing present day barriers within it especially the physical and geographical one? Surely, the answer is a big no. The witness of it is nearing of the annual Darbar Move, a 145 year old tradition, started long back to escape the harsh physical and geographical factors. The move, taking place presently at the cost of over one and a half billion annually, is not only a scar on economy, but has a varied impacts on employees, their families and the common masses of both the regions ranging from their way of living to their state of mental health, from their pocket savings to stability of their family systems. Darbar Move, about which one could argue that, it was a need of the time, a century ago, but is surely now a waste of the state’s limited resources.
While experiencing few moves personally with many other colleagues of different age groups, I realized Darbar Move as a kind of “forced separation” not only for myself but for all those who are currently associated with it. As the full employment of modern day advanced technology, definitely has as an alternate for this move, but still the lack of vigor of state authorities to work it out, is why I call it a kind of forced separation. As in a forced separation a person living (freely) at stability, peace and comfort is forced to displace, reducing his life to mere survival and likewise all this happens to a person once he gets associated with this move.
From living in a house with all basic facilities, as soon as, one gets associated with this move, he gets confiscated to a small room most of the time not having even proper ventilation and a basic desired hygiene, leading to a feeling like imprisoned in a cell, where one only survives and never lives. In these confiscated rooms (10/12), one may even find someone living, with many family members, while he has to maintain sufficient space for cooking purposes in the same room. It is kind of miracle how they adjust there. Along with it pulls it, pockets, doubling the expenditure. It leads to a separation of many ailing parents from their only hope (caretakers) at the most sensitive, difficult and needful period of the year (cold winter), when they need their services the most.
The parents turn alienated and caretakers (children) worried. It separates many children from their parents every year, when they need them the most for providing parental encouragement and support at the time of Annual examinations. As parents keep on failing to get actively involved with their child’s schooling, the communication bridge lying between them becomes weaker with every passing move, inhibiting to foster confidence and higher self esteem in them. Parents get stuck with insecurity of their child’s future and children feel estranged. It separates the general public from their elected representatives and government servants, when they are about to enter the most troubled period of the year, therefore, leaving their troubles mostly unheard and unnoticed, hence unresolved. In the move feel the restlessness of the person, who hears about untimely demise of someone close to him, and is not able to participate even in his last rites.
No warmth or coolness is so attractive that can drive a person to enjoy this move at the cost of getting separated from his home, friends and relatives. What this move all is, “is a forced separation” camouflaged with words like enjoy “warm winter” and “cold summer”.
Hope, the topic will be put to a public debate to reach out to some conclusion while considering all possible means of advanced technology, so an alternate could be sought out for this old tradition, which is a scar not only on economy but on all “hearts and minds” associated with it.
P.S: As until now we remained six months separated from our homes, friends and relatives, but from now onwards for most of us it will be all twelve months, as the office timings have been changed from 5.00 p.m to 5.30 p.m, which will restrict most of us in shuttling from office to home and vice versa.
—The author works at the J&K Civil Secretariat and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. (The views expressed are personal)