By Archana Sharma
Jaipur, Oct 24 (IANS) Salauddin Ahmed, the former Chief Secretary of Rajasthan feels that social media and TV channels are trying to create a rift in the society.
Ahmed, a retired IAS Officer, recently made news for being among a group of 91 former civil servants demanding action against Sudarshan News for running a promo ad on the ‘UPSC jihad’.
“Yes, we did pen a letter to authorities concerned and this group of 91 civil servants did not represent Hindus or Muslims… they were Indian civil servants who wanted to ensure that UPSC, as a top institute, should never feel demotivated,” he said.
“Also, TV channels have an added face value and hence they should air their content with responsibility as it is being watched in many households,” said the former officer.
Ahmed, who was the first Muslim Chief Secretary in the desert state, further rejects any such claim of Hindutva gaining grounds in India, but says that TV channels and social media are spreading such claims which is not a good practice for any democratic nation.
“The players on social media spewing venom have no identity and still have so many followers. They post gory comments on social media and influence others. But as an educated society, we should stand up and avoid giving our attention to such posts and TV channels.
The former Chief Secretary, after retirement, is spending his life in a plush villa spread on a widespread land, miles away from city life. The shade of thousands of tall trees makes his study area and these trees, he says, were grown up with drip irrigation.
The former Chief Secretary is a fan of old style of living and his bungalow reflects architecture of the bygone era.
“This old way of living has its own charm”, he says while sitting in his natural study area under trees. However, despite residing far off from the city life, this retired officer remains worried with the increasing influence of social media on the Indian masses.
He opines that a few TV channels are also spreading venom in the society.
Speaking to IANS, Ahmed says: “Indians are living with harmony, love and unity, but social media and a few TV channels are trying to create a rift in the society which should not be accepted. Many of our friends from different cadres have been together to raise voice against such moves.”
Ahmed was also among the 101 civil servants who wrote a letter to Chief Ministers of states and the Lieutenant Governors of all the Union Territories on the harassment of Muslims as India dealt with the Covid-19 spread during the Tablighi Jamaat controversy.
When asked if he really feels that there is any kind of bias against Muslims: “India is a country represented by many religions and caste-related issues still stand strong in our society. I have seen people complaining that they were not promoted because they came from Brahmin, ST, SC or other caste/creed. So such biased attitudes are being discussed in general for all castes but they are not against one particular community.”
The former Chief Secretary says that he worked with equal ease with both the BJP as well as the Congress governments.
“In fact, I got the best positions under the tenure of former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and did not feel anything odd under the working of the saffron party.”
But maybe, it will have been difficult to work with Yogi as CM as things seem changed, he adds.
Meanwhile, the officer strongly feels the need of reforms for the Muslim brethren.
“They need to get educated to stand up with confidence. The socio-economic plights of Muslims can change if they learn to stand on their own and get educated.”
The retired officer quotes Kerala and says he is proud of Kerala Muslims who are literate, progressive in their thinking and have never looked back. Most of them are doing good business in the Middle East and other parts of the world.
Even the Bohra community should be their inspiration as they have never sought help from anyone and still remain the most prosperous and educated class.
The former Chief Secretary is also proud of the way ‘Julahe’ community (who weave sarees) have come out.
“These are the people who were exploited by their own community members. There is a strong casteism factor being followed in Muslims too and the top class has not allowed the lower strata to grow. And now they have fought those challenges to emerge stronger and successful which is a good factor,” says Ahmed.
Also, the Kayamkhani (found in Fatehpur and Jhunjhunu region), the Rajputs who were converted from Hinduism to Islam in the 14th century are doing quite well. Their generations are well educated and hold top positions. So if Muslims are well educated, they will represent the educated class and shall bring in confidence in other members of the community, he says.
This Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1975 batch coming from IAS background further says that his father enrolled him at the Allahabad University which was considered as an IAS factory in those days.
“Environment was quite competitive there and, hence, I cleared my UPSC in my first attempt. Today’s coaching classes for the UPSC give a similar environ like that of a university’s hostel in those days where the competitive spirit of students remained high and hence they studied round the clock.”
He further says that his mother wanted to see him as the chief secretary of the state, that dream of her was accomplished, he says, recollecting past days when he and his father used to go camping in Uttar Pradesh and spend over a month there.
The same camping look could be seen reflecting from his present residence where there are trees seen all across and birds chirping and the concrete jungle is far off.
“That is what I have wanted to have a ‘Sukun ki Zindagi'”, says Ahmed.