O P Sharma
The 256-page book entitled “Unmasking Kashmir-A Bureaucrat Reveals” is an exciting hard look into the affairs-administrative, political mismanagement and sheer discrimination in sensitive Jammu and Kashmir State. An insider view by former top bureaucrat Sonali Kumar , a IAS cadre officer who was the first “outsider female” in J&K State. She shares her experiences in her memories of eventful IAS cadre till she superannuated on November 23,2015. She remained put in J&K State as her husband Dr. Arun Kumar (IAS) also served in this State. Her bold and impressive narrative makes an interesting, revealing and instructive reading for the readership.
It is noteworthy feature that Jammu and Kashmir , bestowed with natures charm and bounty, has been suffering for the seven decades with mal-administration, political bungling, economic mismanagement, tough terrain and backwardness compounded by nefarious continuous external intrigues and interference. Those at the helm of political and administrative set-up have not risen to the aspiration and genuine needs of the people. The e-Governance is urgent and immediate need of the time.
Glimpses of Attitude
The misrule and mal-administration with widespread prevalent corruption have made the life of common masses difficult. The dissatisfaction against the administrative functioning have been providing breeding ground for anti-social and anti-national sentiments further fueled by communal , regional and anti-India attitude. Surprisingly, the public sensitivity is harshly damaged and even driven to negativity to such an extent that the administrative system is mostly unable to provide clean , efficient and fruitful public service in the crown of India’s state.
Interestingly, Mrs. Sonali Kumar has aptly quoted an African proverb : “Until the lions learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter”. She most appropriately describe “events and happenings” which she faced without any notice or action by the State or the Central Government. Her story should now bring about more understanding and solution to the problems of discrimination, neglect and injustice. Lessons must be learnt and the firm actions taken swiftly
Though much water has flown down the Jhelum and Tawi but still many acute career intricacies and hurdles are prevailing. There is prejudice prevalent against section of people and gross favoritism for many others. If the State has to march forward rapidly the first task is to tone up the administrative set-up and system, let the rule of law prevail and firm commitment ensured by the administration for just, speedy and service-oriented administration to the people of J&K State. Only by gearing-up the administrative machinery , the State can be brought back from ” restlessness” and put it on the path of accelerated growth and all round development so that it moulds itself as a modern State in the county and restore its legacy as “Paradise on the Earth” once again!
Sonali Kumar’s book will certainly act as a wake-up call for J&K State administration for shaping some new policies for dealing and improving the administrative system and tackling with the socio-economic problems facing the Jammu and Kashmir State. A dynamism is required to replace static , insensitive and corrupt administrative engine of J&K administration.
The book makes absorbing reading and is of immense interest for the administrators, political leadership, academicians, students and the common readership. While the author deserve a high word appreciation for boldness and stylish expression, the Manas publications, New Delhi too should be praised for having published this bold memoir of a senior bureaucrat. It is praiseworthy that an epilogue and index have been included in the book. A good word must be expressed for Prasenjeet Kumar for ably editing this most interesting book.
O P Sharma