Breaking the jinx

Zamir  Ahmad

Legend has it that Columbus was at a dinner with some Spanish nobles when some of them began scoffing at the admiral’s success in finding the new world. One of the nobles said, ‘Sir Christopher, even if your lordship had not discovered the Indies, there would have been, here in Spain which is a country abundant with great men knowledgeable in cosmography and literature, one who would have started a similar adventure with the same result.’ Without responding to these words, Columbus asked for a whole egg to be brought to him. He placed  it on the table and said: ‘My lords, I will lay a wager with any of you that you are unable to make this egg stand on its end like I will do without any kind of help or aid.’ They all tried without success and when the egg had gone entirely around and none had succeeded, all agreed that it was impossible. Then Columbus took the egg, tapped it gently on the table breaking it slightly and, with this, the egg stood on its end… “Oh, that’s so easy, anyone can do it,” cried the watching crowd. “Yes,” said Columbus, “it is the simplest thing in the world. Anybody can do it”
Breaking the egg is, though, far more easier than breaking the jinx. The jinx of being perceived as underperformers and non achievers. Thank fully Shah Faesal has broken one such jinx by topping this year’s IAS list. Not that, people from Kashmir have not qualified IAS examinations earlier. We have had many achievers in this field since the time Mr M. Shafi Pandit became the first from Kashmir to do so. What makes Faesal’s story special is his modest background and the fact that the formidable years of his youth and childhood coincided with the most tumultuous of years we have ever seen. It was not long ago when a particular community from our land was wrongly considered as the most intelligent of all human kind. Thankfully that myth lay shattered much earlier when our students competed nationally and internationally in all the elite examinations successfully. It was then understood that it was more a matter of chance being given to us as a community to prove our mettle and had less to do with notions of being inferior to another race.
Lately there has been a lot of consciousness among students regarding the civil service examinations. Many individuals and organizations have taken a lead in this direction. The results are quite encouraging. If it were four candidates who made it to the list this year, it is certain that the numbers will grow as the years pass. Shah Faesal has made the egg stand on its end!
The larger question is but the one that is being asked by the common man; will Faesal’s selection in the list make a difference to him? What has been the contribution of the earlier “sons of the soil” towards making this place a better place to live in? Why are all these brilliant lads gobbled up by the system so much so that they become imbecile and ineffective? Why is it that the there is an inverse relation between the bungalows of our bureaucrats and the roads that lead to them. While as our roads get narrower and shabbier by the day, the mansions get larger, more ostentatious and extravagant.
There is another side to Shah Faesal’s success as well. There are people who are trying to serve ‘national interests’ by consistently pointing out that Faisal’s father was killed by militants. There are others who argue that Shah Faesal has silenced the votaries of resistance by his success. Success normally unites all but in our case Divided we stand; divided we fall.

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