There are many factors at play for the pathetic work culture in government offices in Jammu and Kashmir. It is nearly impossible to meet any of these exalted government servants. On top of the list is the excuse, Sahab meeting main hai. 

From Tehsilldar to the top bureaucrat, Sahab meeting mai hai is the most convenient and oft-repeated response from their offices. The culture of meetings has hit work culture badly in government offices. Those who don’t belong to the sufarshi class suffer the most.

Sahab meeting main hai. One part of it is true. The factual part is that officers at senior level convene meetings of their subordinates on almost daily basis. The subordinate officers leave the station on the pretext of the meeting and do not reappear in their offices for the day.

There’s more. The officer may be chatting with his wife, girlfriend or be engaged with his social network, sitting in his office chamber. The peon standing outside keeps telling visitors – Sahab meeting main hai. Visitors return exhausted and disappointed after spending the whole day outside sahab’s office.

Now the same officer gives you his comment on the overall scenario in Kashmir. “Alienation badh rahe hai,” he says, shaking his head. He never introspects who is responsible for this alienation. Who is alienating the people? Who is failing to address their concerns? Who is pushing them to the black hole of despair and hopelessness?

There is no realization in the babudom of the repercussions of the bureaucratic apathy and red-tapism. Kashmiris acutely feel the pinch of lack of delivery of services by the system. They feel that the system does not care for their grievances and needs.

Over decades, this collective feeling of hurt has pushed a section of Kashmiri youth into deviant action and violence against the state. All those who know Kashmir are aware of these truths. Yet the babudom does not change. Sahab meeting may hi hain, and Sahab does not care.

The Raj Bhavan needs to intervene to ensure adherence to work culture in Jammu and Kashmir. The bureaucrats at senior level should be directed to evolve a mechanism so that subordinates are not constantly engaged in meetings. The bottom line is that the Administration must be to provide an efficient and friendly administration to the people in Jammu and Kashmir.


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