Having resigned as president of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement and quit politics, Shah Faesal on 10 August said that his area faced a new political reality. He said he did not want to show “quixotic dreams” to people when he had no power to change it, borrowing from the eccentric character The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, the famous Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes.
Faesal said in an interview with a national daily he was a victim of a perception that he was an anti-national. “In the last one year due to some of my problematic utterances, a perception was built that I am an anti-national… due to some of my statements, I let down a lot of people who had immense goodwill for me. I want to undo that,” he told the anti-establishment newspaper The Indian Express.
According to Faesal, he realised that in politics it was really hard to tell the truth to the people. “I did not want to lead Kashmiris down the garden path and raise unrealistic expectations,” he said.
Dodging a question on whether he would consider returning to government service, Faesal said he had a life ahead of him and wanted to move and “do something productive”.
“I don’t know what’s stored in future and where will I go (sic). My fundamental interest is in education, health, poverty alleviation, employment generation and I wish to contribute to those sectors. This is a new world and I have many dreams for Jammu and Kashmir. I wish to start my life from a clean slate and do something productive,” Shah Faesal said.
Faesal said detention proved to be an “immense learning phase”. “I realised that at the end of the day you are all alone. It’s your family that suffers the most while ironically those for whom you seem to be standing up are drawing a sadistic pleasure out of your misery. Detention gave me the clarity of mind that I belong somewhere else. That I can’t destroy my life for those who won’t even cry for me,” he said.
While the claim to fame for Shah Faesal has been being the first Kashmiri to top the UPSC examination in 2009, he said he had not been speaking for almost a year. “I took my time lest it (quitting politics) was seen as a hasty decision. It has been a year since I spoke last,” he said.
On whether he saw space for mainstream politics in Jammu and Kashmir, a lost Faesal said, “I have absolutely no idea.”