Monday, January 6, 2014

JUGAAD: THE KASHMIR WAY

JUGAAD: THE KASHMIR WAY
From Politics to Education to Health we are bursting with Jugaad schemes
  SHEIKH FAYAZ AHMAD / BIBI ISHRAT HASSAN

Some days ago we were discussing one of our papers jointly developed on Jugaad with our colleagues near Batla House Delhi, a name that brings back to mind, the memories of infamous Batla fake encounter and images of a countless number of rickshaw pullers and jalopies struggling their way through congested dingy lanes of this predominantly Muslim populated area of Delhi. The discussion was on Jugaad, makedos and expressly on quick fix solutions. This Hindi term Jugaad which refers to makedos, jalopies and ‘corrupt way of looking at ‘innovations’, is in vogue these days, at least in the west, more specifically in innovation and management literature. Without going to that Jugaad debate, we tried to see its relevance in a different context, a different place which we belong to and that is our Kashmir. Is Kashmir also a Jugaad nation; are we also adept in carrying out Jugaad and  do we also master the art of using  shortcuts, avoiding the ‘due process’ of doing things and applying quick fix solutions? Well, we can have some concession here. While a Jugaad way can come handy occasionally in a crisis situation at an individual level, but the major motive here is to outline as to what happens when the social and political institutions or policy-making structures themselves are erected on the foundation of jugaad and the state itself turns out to be a jugaad state. After some examination and scrutiny, what appears is fascinating and this article will reveal some of those shortcuts which we have crafted in a dazzlingly skillful way and that makes the label of ‘jugaad nation’ our deserved and due credit.
Let us start from the recent past with some fresh anecdotes lest these memories shall fade away with time. Before these historic and diligent efforts by our Jugaado’s disappear from our skulls, let us refresh them with this small article. Health is wealth an adage goes, but how does one swiftly capitalize on health for financial incentives is something which world should learn from us. We have a shortcut and quick fix Jugaad pill for it. Take for instance the punctured power of our doctors. Throughout the heyday of doctor-dominance in Kashmir, physicians and equally those aspiring to becoming future ones used to burn mid midnight oil, and used to read every line of a given text book, but now this old unadventurous  style of earning degree and money  is over. Some brave ‘revolutionary’ sons of Kashmir have discovered an ambitious and audacious Jugaad through which dozens of fake “doctors” are wrapped in white papers and white coats and supplied to Medical colleges for stamping and branding. Through this new Jugaad the old dominance and the impression created by some experienced and upright doctors, is smashed. Money, not books earn you more money, or what Karl Marx has beautifully explained in his M-C-M equation (M= MONEY and C=Commodity), that few accumulate more money using money. This shortcut equation of investing money for buying MBBS degrees will not only energize our rust-belt economy through trickledown effect but will also revitalizes the sale of spurious drugs in our state. Poison pills, fake incubators, unauthentic cotton, and the “fake god in a white coat”, is what we have accepted enthusiastically. And, why shouldn’t we, after all the institutions we have approved and meant to oversee and monitor this uncontainable spurious flow of doctors, drugs and deficient substandard equipments are also Jugaad in makeup. Quick fix solution is our first and last aid. We also don’t believe in issuing tenders and bids; orders flow directly under the carpet from top health institutes to suppliers and so does the flow of spurious medical equipments. This Jugaad is so powerful, even the sophisticated and classy state-media radars are not capable to detect. This quick fix transaction between our officials also evades all radars and satellites presumably the lenses used are again Jugaad made. Even when probes are ordered and teams are dispatched from New Delhi to examine the cases like the heart -rending occurrence of infant deaths at GB Pant Hospital where more than 350 infants died in a single year, the final report cum recommendations submitted by these special teams again turn out to be  a big Jugaad. One wonders, as to why and how GB Hospital can be declared as “functioning marvelously” after 360 infant deaths, as said by Prof. Arora, who was heading five member team set by Union Health Ministry that spent sufficient time around Dal lake to probe the cause of infant deaths at G B Pant hospital. “The team went through the G.B Pant hospital records and the way patients were managed in the hospital was absolutely marvelous”, said Arora. This statement truly reflects the power of Jugaad and the underground setting which evades all eyes.
Now, see another Juggad manifested in our power sector. Kashmir according to many surveys has the capacity of generating more than 40,000 megawatts of hydro-power, more than enough to meet the local and other neighboring countries’ demands. The Jugaad here is apparent in a mind-blowing accord under which the producers of hydropower have paid 38.34 billion to the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) for purchase of power from the corporation. This Jugaad is so authoritative, even our promising, young and energetic Chief Minister could not rupture or expose it. But, very recently, one of our senior Congress Ministers helplessly accepted the truth that in future, “anyone with brave heart could take all the power projects back from NHPC”.  Now the problem is we have to wait and look for heroic individuals like Kartikeya, a war God in Hinduism who among the cowardly and fearful lot will raise and fight for the justice. These Jugaad agreements signed and implemented away from the common man’s eye, which even our helpless and frugal ministers could not understand, makes the state a truly exemplary Jugaad state.
See for instance, the recruitment policy of Jammu and Kashmir. State says, they are running out of funds; so the way-out that has been discovered is that they have approved on a Jugaad for changing the modalities for ‘switching-over to “Fixed Salary Mode” of recruitment. Under this Jugaad recruitment scheme
the fresh non-gazetted recruits shall be paid fixed monthly salary equivalent to 50 percent of the basic pay for the first 2-years and 75 percent of the basic pay for the next 3-years or during the remaining period out of total five years (if the period of probation has been extended). The Jugaad precisely here is that this scheme covers the non-gazetted employees only, because the Jugaad policy is framed by our gazetted lot alone. Gazetted lot believes that economic/employment stability comes from changing the recruitment modalities’ of the non-gazetted lot.
            Another biggest Jugaad, which this article demands to be incorporated, is about curbing the menace of STREET DOGS. The, biggest threat to human life in Kashmir and particularly in Srinagar these days come from stray dogs. From poisoning to canine sterilizing various Jugaad schemes where proposed to tackle this menace but SMC officials have publically admitted the fact that all such Jugaad solutions are short term. They believe Kashmir has to wait for more time to get permanent solutions. Instead of solving the problem SMC officials in return accuse feeble Kashmiri’s for not conducting scientific research at their homes as to how to get rid of dogs.   According to SMC census there are around one hundred thousand stray dogs in the city thus puts the dog-human ratio in Srinagar to 1:13. Although this is alarming figure but dogs like humans also have every right to live a dignified life; though they are yet to produce, Locke, Hobbes and Rawls like personalities who will conceptualize their rights explicitly. But, why to worry we have a Jugaad quick fix solution, why not relocate civil population from Srinagar city to villages provide such villages are devoid of ‘camp FEEDING dogs.  At the top of everything, as far as our political existence goes, we as a people ,have been hooked up with the Indian State by way of the unscrupulous jugaad wedlock famously known as Article 370 which is neither integration nor separation.

To cut this Jugaad debate short here, because of space limitations, one should not falter to admit that we are all part of this Jugaad state, we are adept of makedos, and corruption. Leaving exceptions aside, we all are somehow and somewhere encouraging nepotism, corruption, and makedos. Quick-fix, is our brand and shortcut our logo. We stumble to follow an honest life. Poison pills of Jugaad have been planted in our society to secure the destruction of moral and social fabric. Annihilation of culture, elimination of our traditional values and the suppression of creativity is what we happily do and encourage. Outmaneuvering the feeble to deride them is our anthem now.