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By Dr.Tasaduk Hussain Itoo

At the time when it is visible that political discourse in Jammu & Kashmir is taking a paradigm shift, I would like to confess that people-centric leadership is a true leadership and we need to extend our hands to acknowledge it. As the State is going through a turmoil of contemporary adulterated, nepotistic,hegemonic, favouritism-centric politics, there is definitely a need to re-imagine it through true representation of the sentiments of the people.

First, is simply that the last decade has seen an increase in conflict and political violence. But deepening human misery comes not only from more war- like situation and violence. It also comes from the manner in which many actors – whether political leaders, governments or non-state armed groups – are pursuing military and political objectives in Jammu and Kashmir State.

Too often these actors gain from human deprivation. Sometimes they deliberately inflict pain on civilians, attacking, forcibly displacing or otherwise controlling populations, including by determining whether, where and how they get access to aid. Most of the times, they use heavy-handed military or political tactics without attention to the enormous suffering they are causing to a common citizen. This instrumentalisation or disregard of civilian harm is clearly in evidence in some of today’s worst conflicts, from Yemen to Syria to South Sudan to Jammu and Kashmir.

It is difficult to generalise about reasons for this trend – in other words, to identify the political currents that underpin the widespread use of tactics that target or otherwise harm civilians. The conflicts are diverse as are the states involved. Indeed, it is debatable whether parties are more likely to resort to the use of such tactics today or whether their use is simply more prevalent because conflict has increased.

Our political leadership must understand that in comparison to progress made in medicine, education, and financial access, progress in peace-building has been glacial. In contrary to popular assumption – unemployment and poverty alone rarely dictate whether or not a young person will engage in conflict. Instead, it needs to be understood in realistic perspective that young people are driven to take up arms by legitimate frustrations over experiences of injustice through discrimination, marginalization, corruption ,abuse, unabated innocent killings and above all a history of conflicted state.

Good governance goes beyond better government. It is the healthy interaction between government, youth, business and civil society. This is truly – and more than ever – a multi-stakeholder world. We can’t never undermine the role of people who try to truly represent the sentiment of people whosoever may be a resistance leadership or a mainstream electoral regime. We must perhaps even pressure – governments to be more open and inclusive, especially of the young people who are the future political and economic engines of their nation.

Deciding which candidate to owe as leader into office is simply a matter of party affiliation for many people still prevailing as an old-fashioned tradition. However, it is time to re-imagine our thinking and look into a leader of choice who possess qualities of good political leadership.

To be more precise, being honest can sometimes be difficult because it makes individuals vulnerable. Facing that vulnerability and speaking out for people with true intention comes out to be a challenge. It reveals who we really are and discloses our mistakes, which gives others the opportunity to criticize or reject openly. Honesty develops character and builds credibility and trust, which are the foundation to evoke confidence and respect from those around you, and in the case of political leaders, teammates and constituents.

Compassion is the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something to alleviate that suffering.

While many see compassion as a weakness, true compassion is a characteristic that converts knowledge to wisdom. Good political leaders use compassion to see the needs of those he or she leads and to determine the course of action that would be of greatest benefit to all those involved.

The word integrity is defined as ‘the adherence to moral and ethical principles; the soundness of moral character.’ It is a synonym for honesty and uprightness, and is a vital characteristic for those in political leadership. Political leaders who possess integrity can be trusted because he or she never veers from inner values, even when it might benefit them to do so. A leader must have the trust of followers. This requires the highest standard of integrity.

Having confidence in a political leader is about having faith or belief that he or she will act in a right, proper, or effective way. A good political leader needs to be both confident in himself or herself as well in their ability to lead. Leaders who possess this quality inspire others, drawing on a level of trust which sparks the motivation to get others on board and get the job done.

Flexibility for a political leader is about understanding the give-and-take aspects of politics, and the ability to find the common ground.

Good politicians listen carefully to all sides, to not only hear their arguments but to especially learn what it will take on behalf of all parties involved to reach a consensus. This characteristic allows political leaders to recognize setbacks and criticism, to learn from them and move forward.

Knowledge and intellect is crucial. Being a Ministerial candidate, he/she should possess knowledge about our system,constitution,laws etc. To be more open and unbiased, there are few ministers in our state who are unaware of name of their capital city of representation .A leader’s behaviour flows from three main sources: attitude, desire and knowledge.

Thinking globally and acting locally. A true leader realizes that in order for us to live in prosperity as a powerful and blessed nation, reasonable steps need to be taken to make sure others achieve the same goals. He is aware that with power comes responsibility and that responsibility has to be executed through the true representation of the sentiments of the people.

Great political leaders have all of the above qualities – and more. Each aspires to respect different views, analyse problems, and identify the best solutions – not based on loyalty to their political gains, but rather based on what is good and right and in the best interest of the state as a whole. So, the first step is getting the right people in the room. Shah Faisal’s Friday press conference does aware us that it is high time to be eager to connect with each other and join hands to ensure peace-building mechanisms in the state. He said that it is the time that we re-imagine our politics prevailing in the state – It is time we truly represent the sentiment of the people who have suffered since decades through the illegitimacy of politics conducted in the state.

In conclusion, I would say with a high note that Shah Faisal ‘s vision as a leader may prove trustworthy. By citing his reasons for resignation from elite service like IAS and by considering his scholarly intellectual potential, I hope he wouldn’t get trapped in the ideology/nepotism/favouritism of contemporary adulterated politics prevailing in the Jammu & Kashmir State. His upbringing as a person he always credited to his inspiration from the poetry, philosophy and political view of Dr.Allama Iqbal. I hope this thought would guide him in choosing politics of justice, bravery and positivity – politics of humanity and that truly represent the sentiments of the community. I think we won’t tell our grandchildren the same stories our grandparents told us of war and violence, is if we take bold steps now to change the way violence is countered. The time is now. Yes!

(The writer is a Medical Officer at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Super Speciality Hospital Jammu/Motivational Speaker/Activist/Columnist/Journalist/Top Educator Awardee. He can be reached at: [email protected])