Sopore was a ‘liberated zone’—a Jaffna for Kashmiri freedom fighters, in the early ’90s. Dar’s brother was shot dead by militants while he was working in his paddy fields some years ago.
“I don’t think the most important qualification for entering politics is education. It is character: working at the grassroots makes you dear to the oppressed. I have cultivated trustworthiness and so people love and elect me as their representative in the assembly.
But there is perhaps another kind of education that is more necessary: “Yes, in first two years of my political career I encountered problems. I had to learn the tricks of the trade very quickly”.
“In 1982, three of my closest ones died—my father, my wife and my brother. All in that same year. It ruined my education; I couldn’t even matriculate.”
But politics, and indeed life, is about more than matriculation. “I have my own orchards. They produce 10,000 boxes of fruits every year. I keep myself busy with my business. No one can accuse me of taking bribes or indulging in frauds.”
“There are many predecessors in this field who were not formally educated but did wonders. But they served people more.” Former state Congress chief Ghulam Rasool Kar (an ex-MP and many-time MLA) is one. “Your work should speak for you, not a piece of paper.”
By Showkat A. Motta in Srinagar