From a hospital waiting room - I
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From a hospital waiting room - I

Allah (SWT) says that He will not change the condition of a nation as long as the nation does not change itself (13:11)

Post by SHEIKH SHABIR KULGAMI on Friday, December 16, 2022

First slide

I wonder why we do not get the employees who respect education, educators and healthcare sector and accept that education, teachers and doctors/nurses are like oxygen for society. Make no mistake, government employees must do their duty faithfully and ensure their availability to public— at least during office hours. Every public servant and institution is useful for society if they do their duty faithfully.  Hospitals/ health centres are duty- bound to treat patients with an approach —patients come first.  Such an approach is warranted by the social contract.  


Fortunately, we have a handful of sincere and sympathetic doctors. But just a few days back, this author got imprisoned in a hospital corridor, hoping for a doctor to return from a room, nay a restroom. Asked, the waiting patients whispered that the doctor had disappeared into that room, leaving them in that unending and unknown wait. Even her subordinate staff would mutter things to cover up her offence. Minutes passed, an hour passed. No return of the doctor. Disappointed, I again requested the doctor's staff to call her back, arguing the health and time of patients is not less important.  Nothing changed. I knocked at the doctor's ' restroom’. No answer.  In disgust, I opined she is misusing her powers and just taking for granted the health of the poor public waiting there— a brazen violation of the code of conduct by her.


Another patient/attendant rushed to the room and knocked at it. He too was back heartbroken.

Minutes later, out walked the so called lady doctor at a snail's pace in way into another room. Reading my patient's name out, she threw angry words around and when I stood in front of her with my patient, she threw brickbats at me, “You should have stayed silent,   behaved like an 'educated person' and never objected to my duty dereliction!"  Her fiery words schooled me to race out with no medical checkup and with a stereotype that ' we teachers are strange people'. Always scapegoats!


Was the doctor's way of working truly useful for public?  Possibly not.  Somebody may argue that the doctor could have been out for lunch. Yes, this could be a valid reason. But on return, as a responsible public servant, she could have resolved the mystery instead of turning into a tigress.  Is public time and pain not important? A patient was crying in pain in that waiting room. Public servants are mandated to be accountable to people.





A government employee/ public servant is duty bound to behave with restraint and avoid abuse of power. He/she should use authority within the parameters of the law and take upon him/herself the public concerns and hardships. Such an employee remains impersonal in the discharge of his/her duties and undisturbed in front of critics.  Respecting the popular will, the employee never goes beyond the mandate.


Jammu and Kashmir has been expecting since time immemorial to get such public serving officials. Why? For two big reasons:  One our political environment has remained chaotic most of the time; two, the incompetence and self-serving nature of some employees. Over the years, we have been  facing various challenges — poverty, stressed economy, invisible( if not invincible)  corruption, shortage of employment, law breaking , stressed healthcare and the impact of  disasters  which need the attention of all— including leaders and employees. But if the employees work with indiscipline and prefer their own comfort while on duty, what will happen to the poor public?


No government employee can claim that his/her service is not as important as that of a teacher and that he/she can afford to neglect duty. For example, if a road has potholes and is unsafe for driving, the employee concerned is duty bound to report the issue to the higher authorities, not ignore it saying it is not important.  And if a water works employee notices that water supply is not working well, he/she is required to take the action. Just assuming that my duty is not so important is a punishable offence.


Agreed that teaching profession is a gateway to nation building and there is no room for negligence, but that does not and should not mean that teachers should just watch the violation of their civic rights. Teachers are humans too and fall ill as well. Should they not raise voice if they are treated like cattle? What is noteworthy is that good and bad employees are present in every department and in every sector. Some employees neglect work and prefer their own comfort at the cost of public needs and aspirations. Such people may also be seen in the form of teachers.  But most of the teachers are...



    (To be continued…)


(Author is a teacher and columnist. Email: