An open letter to the Deputy Commissioner, Poonch.

Mr DC,
I belong to village Mahra of Surankote tehsil, which lacks the basic amenities like electricity, water, and transportation uptil. It would take me hours as a child to reach the only Govt Middle school of the village. No change has taken place so far. That indeed tells about the reluctance of local and state leadership along with local administration to adress the issues which must concern everyone the most. 

Mr DC, as soon as I came to my senses, I along with my family witnessed acute shortage of basic amenities like food, water, clothing and a moderate accommodation. This was primarily due to the reason that my parents who were labourers, had to support a large family. 

To feed their children and to escape the violence that erupted in 1990's they used to migrate seasonally to the Poonch town. With the intensification of violence, they rented a Kachha house in the town, which had neither water facility nor electricity. To meet the daily needs they would travel to the Poonch river to avail potable water. I would also like to apprise you that they struggled without any help from the then government and they never were treated as the migrants of conflict.

The struggle for the survival was  needless to say, painful yet hopeful. They were hopeful that if they will work hardest, their next generation won't suffer like them. So they continued their struggle to educate us and with time we had enough to have our daily meal.

It is very unfortunate that now when I have a salaried job, like you and I am able pay for my basics, I am unable to avail them. This time, however it's neither my fate nor violence but due to inefficiency and incompetence of administration to provide services for which I am asked to pay full and pay on time. Most important among which is water. Potable water.

Mr DC, water, as Thales believed, is the first stuff this universe. It is water only that makes us. Everything and everyone needs water for their survival. So do I and my family, being humans.

We need water everyday for drinking, washing our clothes, cleaning our house and of course for taking a bath. Atleast this much water is required in every season of the year for the survival. 

But summers in the town, as you might be knowing, are more scorching and more humid. Eventually we sweat more. And sweating more means we need to take bath and wash our clothes more frequently, which requires a little more water. But at my residence, worst is the case in every season.

Sir, you might be knowing that if we don't take a bath daily, it creates bugs, which lead to foul smell, rashes, itching and many other diseases. Moreover, dehydration in human body may lead to death as well.

Mr DC you must also be knowing that we don't have good health facilities in Poonch. So lack of potable water,  will first overburden our hospital and then may lead to more chaos. Besides, referring patients to Jammu won't be cost effective at all. Therein lies the importance of water for us. I don't wish to write about the role of water in maintaining environmental stability, geopolitical balance and peace across the globe, as I believe you already know that.

Mr DC, I am well aware of the fact that a DC can not entertain and lookafter every problem in his district. And for this reason only, we have various departments to address various issues. And to adress the issues pertaining to potable water, it is the PHE Department, which should be consulted.

Mr DC, we frequently talk, request and plead your line-man and JEE regarding the problem every third or fourth day. As we receive a few litres of water every third or fourth day only. But your officials always have excuses. With time, they have become too  rude to even talk with. 

We also went to PHE office for another/alternate connection but the officials there refused to help, stating that, new connections are available only in some months/season of the year.

From then onwards, Mr DC, left with no other options, we are using the water stored for ablution at the nearby mosque, which has created the same problem for 'Namazis' too.

I had decided to go to Poonch river for a bath daily, but that is far from my home and will lead to my delayed services in the college. My classes will suffer. So I cancelled that plan.

As Muharram is approaching, I am reminded of the incident in Karabala, where Hussain and his family suffered the same problem i.e. lack of potable water. It was Yazeed, the tyrant and his governor in Kufa, who was responsible for that heinous crime. I don't know, who is to blame here.

I pray that no one turns like them. So I will only request you to allow me and my family to your office for a daily bath and for washing our clothes. We will be okay with the unclean house and will manage the rest. If your office too has shortage of water, we will have no problem in going to your residential quarters, till the time some other arrangement is being made. I therefore request you to allow us there. As I have been told that your residential quarters and office do receive abundance of potable water.
Thank you.
Best Regards
Mujahid Mughal
Mujahid Mughal is the author of The Paradise Unseen. He is working  as an Assistant Professor in GDC Poonch.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are strictly personal and do not in anyway represent the views of Pir Panjal Post

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