By Alhaj Muhammad Khan
The recent floods devastated property and physical infrastructure in Chitral. At the same time, it also displayed a mentality that should not have to be seen at least in the context of Chitral.
The social milieu or system in Chitral doesn’t allow giving it a way forward. For the successful working environment and performance, particularly for NGOs and government functionaries, is to be insightful on religious, political, social and cultural sensitivities. How apolitical mentality shuts the ways of politics in an organization, it does by the same token suffocates the germs of interests in the province of service. Whence the service takes the place of billboard it makes target far to achieve. It also maximizes the risk of disregard for human self-esteem and dignity. The flaunt approach of service delivery by photographs makes the philosophy of service knee-deep and superficial.
It is true with Chitral that one amongst the reasons of slow development is the annual non-development expenditures spent more on road, electricity, water channels and drinking water supply systems by the government agencies and less on development. It would also be a disservice to shade the services of NGOs: shouldering major works with public sector in water supply, electricity generation and on link roads in different areas of Chitral.
The organisations and people working for the promotion and preservation of culture and value system in Chitral didn’t bother to pinpoint for what they should be culturally sensitive and sensitize those who wittingly and unwittingly cross the realm of values and mores of Chitral. This mentality in the course of time may likely turn out to be a part of ways of expression in Chitral that leads to a culture lowering human esteem – for the sake of few kilograms flour or edible items.
What a mentality of disrespect and insensitivity for the self-esteem of the people was in plain sight in Chitral has been seen erroneously used in distribution of flood relief to the people of Chitral which prevails around the world- is commercial in its very nature rather than human in manifestation.
It has been conditional most of the time for most of the NGOs to show their service output to the donors and agencies with some evidentiary justification. It is also important for the NGOs to show their committal service delivery to the targeted people and area of mandate to get further reimbursement of donation for the organistion but not in the expense of disregard for human dignity in society. But it is true that NGOs has been and should be sensitive in this regard. The recent relief providence, however, in many areas have been otherwise to value the sensitivity in Chitral. But the same condition or case is not true with the government institutions and functionaries because of the government’s responsibility to provide service and relief to the people living inside the state territory without any condition and sense of distinction.
It has been seen that an organization or Institution continues to fly its own kites rather to focus on the task it was founded for, soon falls back once for all.
What I am emphasising here is about the ‘disregard for the self-esteem’ of the people who got relief package on the hours of extreme need and pathetic condition in Chitral should not be repeated again. It was the time of providing psychological and moral support with material relief rather to showing them in a state of being undignified with negative esteem picturising them while receiving a bag of 20 kg flour. A right of providing relief packages to the affected people doesn’t entitle anyone to make the self -esteem of the poor man negligible and inattentative.
It was seen in local and social media that the functionaries under the banner of organizations showed more in photo shops, has never been taken into notice better to keep the affected people away from the eye of camera while considering human psychological and cultural sensitivities of the region into consideration. it is important for relief providing agencies to keep photographic record of the relief given to the affected people should only be kept and used for presentation to the concerned authorities rather showing in media by a disregard of human esteem impacting psychological buoyancy of a man. A step should be taken to regard human dignity and esteem unharmed after this experience before leading this mentality to take a shape of a usage in society because a usage does not take much time shifting into a custom.
The writer is a teacher and freelance journalist based in Chitral. He can be reached at alhajmuhammad firstname.lastname@example.org