On Nepotism

On Nepotism

The odious practice of nepotism defined by the dictionary as, “the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs”, is all pervasive and prevalent in Kashmir. This practice, not only kills the aspirations of others and meritocracy thereof but also eats into the vitals of society, thus eroding its ethical and moral foundations. Consider the decimation of meritocracy first. By definition, meritocracy means and implies that only those with merit, in its multi dimensional forms , can secure positions of worth. By and large, the developed world has moved on and along this direction where merit is the arbiter of position, power and affluence. This creates a feeling and a real effect in society wherein anyone can aspire to anything. It is no coincidence that an African American, a historically underprivileged and wounded group in the United States assumed the highest office in the country. It is because the United States, despite its blemishes and multiple flaws, generally speaking, is a meritocratic society. This feature, among other things, also explains the country’s draw and attraction for immigrants. But, unfortunately, in the less developed world, meritocracy has not entirely taken hold. This is poignant in the context of Kashmir where the word sifarish, ubiquitous and prevalent as it is, explains it all. People, by and large, take recourse to sifarish to, one, gain advantage over others and second, they do not want to be hard done by, because they believe (rightly so) that sifarish is the operative dynamic in Kashmir. Overall, there are two components to nepotism , of which sifarish is one manifestation of: one is top down and the other is bottoms up. The former refers to misuse of position and influence by those who wield both; the second is that society generates supply for it. The problem of nepotism, which is real and prevalent in Kashmir, can actually be resolved only by societal resolve. In other words, society must choke its supply. Once supply is choked, demand will dry albeit not immediately. There might be prices to pay in the short term but longer term, cumulatively, society can only benefit. So, for the larger good of and in society, we must make a resolve to “drain the swamp” and cleanse society from this noxious and odious evil which has already colored it negatively. While much damage has already been done, but as they say, it is never too late to begin cleaning our Augean stables.