My experiences with the politicians

Narinder Singh
Right from my student days in college and Jammu University, I used to interact with the politicians on many occasions as a students Leader.During 1960,s some anti national elements in Jammu city, raised slogans of Pakistan Zindabad and in response to that we the students of MAM and Science Colleges Jammu took out a procession raising slogans against the anti national elements in Jammu city and the then DIG Police Jammu Vishwa Mitter lathicharged and arrested some students leaders including myself which were later on released on the persuasion of the then IGP L D Thakkar. I along with Harbans Singh, Manhor Singh and Onkar Seth and many others met the then Chief Minister GM Sadiq and apprised him about the high handedness of the then DIG who lathicharged pro Indian students and urged upon him to take action against him but he didn’t assure about any action, then I and other leaders met the then Cabinet Minister D P Dhar who assured us that after his coming back from Srinagar he would take action and we opened the colleges in view of the ensuing examinaton. His assurances and that day never came as he used to be known asTerkalogist (the person who always believes in dilly delaying policy). We were preparing for examinations and opened the colleges. Again during 1966,three students were killed in an agitation demanding opening of Agriculture College at R S Pura .During that period an Action committee was formed and Harbans Singh was nominated as its Chairman and myself as PRO of the said Committee. During seventies Hashim Qureshi from Srinagar high jacked Indian plane to Pakistan in winter and I along with Sohan Lal Raina retd.Addional Deputy Commissioner, Daljit Singh Tiger Tehsildar and PL Manchanda Law student observed hunger strike at Sheedi Chowk Jammu raising slogan “Pakistan Hai Hai , return our plane,” and on the assurances of the then Vice Chancellor Jammu Dr J N Bhan that matter would be taken up by the Government of India with the Pakistan we ended the hunger strike.
In 1972, after joining the state Information department as a gazetted officer I used to remain in touch with the chief ministers/ministers and politicians of the J&K state and found them always interested in their personal publicity.I remember during 1970’s a minister visited my office at old secretariat and told that he visited Social Welfare’s Department Office . On this my Asstt Information Officer enquired whether he has taken any action against any of the employees. He replied that it was good that everything was going on well and he started drafting the press release but after some time the same minister came and told that he has placed one chowkidar under suspension to make the news catchy, then Itold the officer to mention one official instead of a chowkidar. Such was the attitude of the politicians.
During those days everyone of them was concerned about their personal publicity,generally they used to listen 7-45 pm radio Kasmir Urdu bulletin that used to be the main attraction. If their activities were not covered they used to feel disturbed.I remember once a minister visited some villages on foot during 1970,S and the visit was not covered by Radio Kashmir in its 7-45 pm news bulletin,he was very much upset and remarked “what was fun of walking on foot”and used to consider Information Department as ineffective , therefore, officers of the department used to send news to the print/visual media in advance.
Once a minister visited far flung areas of a district and I sent to media news in advance. That minister reached back to Jammu,I was accompanied him. On the way he listened the news ,he was very happy but at the same time he was disturbed ,if any mishap has occurred on the way nobody would come to his residence to enquire about his health that was the fate of officers of the Information Department.The ministers whose news were covered used to compliment me by saying that you were ” just in news .It has rightly been said that “Fortune favours few and I among those as whatever I wanted in my life ,I got that ”
During our student days we were three friends Daljit Singh Tiger Harbans Singh and me. I was fan of Dev Anand, Daljit Singh of Dalip Kumar and Harbans Singh and myself of Raj Kapoor. During sixty’s Daljit and Harbans Singh left f or Bombay to meet their heroes, they persuaded me but I did not agree,they could not reach because of shortage of money.As fortune favours few and I am among those. In 1983 ‘I was posted as Public Relations Officer Bombay and remained there for seven years in two terms and met Dev Sahib and his two brothers Chetan Anand and Vijay Anand and many others such as Dharmendra, Poonam Dhillon Dimple Kapadia and prominent filmmaker such as B R Chopra and Ramanand Sagar. So to say I became so popular among the film Industry that I was nominated as Delegate to the feature films festival in 1984 and Documentary films festival in1992.
Again I was transferred back to J&K and posted as Special Assistant to Director General of Police and handled Hazrat Bal and Charar-e- Shrief crisis.
Once I interviewed a militant who was well qualified and obtained PHD Degree in Political Science and enquired that being a highly qualified whyhe opted to join militancy ,his reply was”that he was told that Islam in Kashmir was in danger and as per Islam wherever Islam is in danger we have to fight war which is called a ji had.When I questioned did you find Islam is in danger, he said no it’s only Pakistan agency ISI who misguided rather Muslims in Kashmir are more happy and prosperous than in Pak occupied Kashmir.
There is a prolonged Govenor Rule in J&K which is against the norms of Democracy,he is like a monarch,.. common man can’t approach him easily.Therefore ,Assembly’s elections must be held at the earliest to restore democratic set up into the state of J&K. Whatsoever demerits maybe but elected members are always voice of the people who can solve day today problems of the people being their representatives.
(The author is former Director Information)