DNA is superior to Ph D in
A rehabilitation centre for sons and daughters of litterateurs and journalists
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Incumbent Secretary, Zaffar Iqbal Manhas, has, however, introduced a diversification to ensure that he and few other employees of the Academy also grab some share.
Recruiting relatives of literary and media personalities, less on merit and more on account of their blood relations, is not a new affliction with Academy but it has witnessed a significant growth during the ongoing tenure of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Chief Minister always functions as President of the Academy as per the organisation’s Constitution.
In the past, Additional Secretary Shameema Akhtar, came to be known as the cousin of a prominent journalist rather than a legitimately appointed employee. Editor Kashmiri, Muzaffar Ahmed Tak, is still more important due to being the son of eminent poet, Ghulam Nabi Nazir Kulgami, than being a contributor to any of the academy’s publications. Secretary’s Personal Assistant, Aijaz Ali, was privileged to be nephew of then senior KAS officer and poet Hakeem Manzoor, when appointed in last decade.
Prof Rahi’s student Prof Shaad Ramzan, who years later succeeded him as head of post-graduate department of Kashmiri at
University of Kashmir, also learned the art of adjusting his son, Aijaz Ramzan, in . Though one-odd exception in merit among all relatives of “VIPs”, Cultural Assistant Aijaz (MA English and MA Kashmiri) has been lately removed to an insignificant position to create a vacancy for one Zahoor Ahmed War alias Zahoor Sultan. Even after his rehabilitation in Academy, Zahoor Sultan is reportedly continuing with a Srinagar-based news agency. Cultural Academy
Like many others of her breed, Nighat Yasmeen is considered to be meritorious on account of her being the daughter of a prominent journalist and editor of a daily in Urdu. For over two decades, Secretary Zaffar Iqbal has been a regular contributor to her father’s weekly-turned-daily.
Insiders insist that PRO, Shakeel-ur-Rehman too owes his appointment on the prestigious position to his mentor and another prominent journalist and editor of an English language daily. Both the journalists are famous for their integrity and bold write ups and both have been Secretary Zaffar Iqbal’s bosom friends for the last nearly 30 years. Speculations are currently rife that the lately appointed PRO was being further pushed to the post of a Deputy Secretary, an obvious heartburn to all old cadres.
While a former Secretary, Rafeeq Masoodi, had appointed a retired employee’s daughter, Aafia Qari, as a Copyist, incumbent Secretary Zaffar Iqbal has been kind to retired Calligraphist Mohammad Yousuf Miskeen. Miskeen’s daughter, Barjees, has been lately appointed as a junior assistant. However, while doing that, Secretary also took due care of his close relative, Tabinda, who has also been appointed as a Junior Assistant.
Then Deputy Secretary, Zaffar Iqbal Manhas had allegedly influenced his predecessor, Rafeeq Masoodi, in getting his younger bother, Abdul Wahid Manhas, engaged “on the basis of need”. One of the senior Police officers, then posted as SSP in State Vigilance Organisation, was allegedly used to blackmail Masoodi on account of having recruited some relatives of certain highly ranking politicians through backdoor.
When Zaffar replaced Masoodi as Secretary in 2008, first thing he did in chair was to regularize the services of his own brother, Abdul Wahid Manhas, as Field Assistant (Pahari).
In 2010, when
Kashmir was burning in the flames of street turbulence, activist-litterateur Aziz Hajini became the biggest beneficiary of Zaffar Iqbal’s largesse. For the purpose of adjusting Hajini’s daughter, Asmat Aziz, Secretary advertised a post of Proof Reader (Kashmiri) in pre-revised scale of Rs 5000-8000 (Revised scale of Rs 9300-34800) under Notification No: Adm/E/16/2010-11/5080-91 Dated 27-08-2010. ‘Graduate from recognized university’ plus three years experience of proof reading plus adequate knowledge of Cultural history of state, was fixed qualification for the candidates. Asmat Aziz, who has MA in URDU (not in Kashmiri) and has neither experience of proof reading of Kashmiri nor any knowledge of J&K’s cultural history, was selected and appointed as “Proof Reader Kashmiri” in December 2010.
Those dropped in the selection included exceptionally meritorious candidates like Shehzada Begam alias Shahida Shabnam who had BA, MA and M Phil in the relevant subject i.e, Kashmiri and is also author of Kashmiri short story collection ‘Nabid Baar’ and her creative poetry collection ‘Wachhuk Wath’. Another meritorious candidate, dropped in the selection, was Nisar-un-Nabi who has not only BA, MA and M Phil in the relevant subject i.e Kashmiri but was also completing his Ph D in Kashmiri language and literature.
President of Cultural Academy, Omar Abdullah, as well as Minister incharge Culture, Nawang Rigzin Jora, have completely shut their eyes to brazen favouritism and nepotism going on well under Chief Minister’s nose. While as Secretary Zaffar Iqbal was continuously not reachable, Mr Jora did not respond to phone calls when Early Times made attempts to learn why dozens of posts were being advertised and meritorious candidates were being duped if nepotism, favouritism and blood relation to litterateurs and journalists had been accepted as a rule in so-called
. Cultural Academy