By Sheikh Mohammad Usman
As I sit here and write this article, a deep sense of regrets fills me. Another infant somewhere, everywhere in Kashmir will be lamenting for better healthcare while I just sit here. Life is already difficult for the youth in this valley with no employment and its allies of depression, agony and misery. But now our infants, who do not even know the word Kashmir or its history, are paying the price of being Kashmiri. We cannot challenge the authority of God regarding death or birth but here we are in a deep crisis – fingers need to be pointed and questions need to be answered by the authorities.
We may have lakhs of tourists swarming to Kashmir, traffic lights being installed and even be building state of art facilities for stray dogs but for our children? We need not care! What is more shocking is our brutal silence over this grave situation. Last year alone, 900 infants died and not a voice was raised. The doctors at GB Pant Hospital may as well have handed over their stethoscopes to their children to play with and their coats for lab experimenting at school, while they themselves sit discussing politics and crickets at hospital canteen. The administration might have employed the cleaning staff at their respective homes as cleanliness is nowhere to be found. Forget the cleanliness; the sewage treatment itself is inside the hospital only. First of all, we need to be catch hold of the authorities of GB Pant Hospital. The doctors and employees at GB Pant Hospital have ashamed themselves by maintaining a criminal silence. They definitely need introspection and must question their souls as to whether they have done justice to this noble profession. The power of media was definitely not utilised by them. All they had to do was approach the media and further damage might have been prevented. Maybe the few “future of the nation” could have been saved. At the very least, one does not expect this callous and gross character from doctors whose very job is to save human lives.
Next we must hold accountable our beloved government with all its master plans, monitored by both centre and the state, for the rehabilitation of our “future of the nation” – who happen to be dogs. The state government has employed their resources, money and various departments for this purpose. The centre at Ganderbal for dogs looks like a beautiful resort. But government needs not to worry about the infants because they fear that they may turn against them in future. So our government is investing in the faithful ones. The government’s blind eye to GB Panth Hospital displays yet another example of how the government is oblivious to people’s welfare. The first thing they promise during campaigning is better healthcare; evidently this is the last thing we get – if we get anything at all! Where do these funds go? Is there something more important than funding a hospital, especially a pediatric hospital in the valley to save innocent human lives?
The suggestions of people talking in shop outlets are worth listening. I overheard a group of people belonging to my locality saying that, “Our sarkar is worth nothing, they protect the dogs and let infants die. All they should do is kill dogs and spend the money on children.” Another person joining in said, “These dogs should be sent to home of Meneka Gandhi.” This comment is very much famous in Kashmir because of the fact that she has worked immensely for dogs’ right and even made a bill passed in parliament for their rights. A sarcastic response said, “Dogs will be protected no matter what so it’s better to have dogs than children.”
We are not asking the government to give away money from their shares of funds. All we are asking is at least spend the money in the right places. But again I forget, dogs are their top priority. The least we can hope for is that the government diverts some of which it has kept for the nourishment and care of dogs to this ailing hospital. Even a little amount from that would help. Hope you would turn your eyes from your beloved dogs to the less privileged children of Kashmir. We also expect a tough punishment for employees and doctors of GB Pant Hospital.
Now is the right time for people to look around at all the wrong happenings in Kashmir and raise their voice against such atrocities. Had the doctors done the same thing at the right time, many lives could have been saved. If alone we stand helpless, together we can turn the tide. The power the media gives us is indispensable for raising our voices. Let us try to raise awareness of the situation before it’s too late. The employees at all levels need to ask themselves – are they giving their best to their jobs… because there is a life hereafter where all will be held accountable for their deeds, no matter what. People have hopes pinned on those more qualified than them – especially doctors. When our doctors exhibit such unprofessionalism, the common man is bound to suffer viciously. Try to live up to expectations of the common people, and then only will you find real joy and solace. A single prayer from a thankful person is of much more worth than bundles of harri patti. Reflect.
Sheikh Mohammad Usman is a Computer Applications student.
Photo: Faisal Khan/Tehelka.com