August 5, 2009

Conversation with Dr. Haseeb Drabu, Chairman of J&K Bank

Filed under: Conversation,J&K — loggers @ 9:09 pm

We were fortunate to get an appointment with Dr. Haseeb Drabu, Chairman of J&K Bank, during our stay in Srinagar. Upon entering his office space, we found him seated on a couch by the coffee table, browsing on his Sony netbook. He casually acknowledged us as we walked in.

We began the meeting by quizzing Dr. Drabu on Kashmiri affairs, using our meticulously prepared question sheet. He spoke about the economic stagnation that Kashmir is facing as a result of the political deadlock. After several interactions in Kashmir, we also found that the sheer number of stakeholders in this deadlock has resulted in a prolonged resolution-seeking process. He also talked about the importance of seeking resolutions for day-to-day problems, rather than tracing everything back to the larger “Kashmir issue.”

A major topic of discussion was cultural assimilation in India. As Drabu said, “We need to stop focusing on what’s tearing this country apart, and start focusing on what’s holding it together.” He was pointing out that India is a country of 18 languages, nearly every world religion and various shades of skin. He said that “assimilation should not result in homogenization”, and that this diversity must be respected in order for India to develop into a unified world power.

He also touched upon the short-sightedness among Kashmiris that plagues this region. The people are concerned for the immediate-run, like how to afford tonight’s dinner and this month’s cell-phone bill, and not the medium to long-run, like finding a high-paying job in the private sector that would help them buy a new house. The comfort in maintaining a government job creates the lethargy that hampers competitiveness and economic development. Further, he conveyed faith in the Kashmiri political establishment and the young leaders who are in charge (the majority of J&K’s political leadership is under 40). He sounded optimistic about the sincere effort from the government to engage the youth of Kashmir, which is currently cynical and disconnected from political affairs.

Soon into the discussion, we witnessed a candid Dr. Drabu whose raw vocabulary struck a chord. In short, he told us to chill out, enjoy our travels, and that the only thing left to be done is for businesses to spot the potential of investing in Kashmir.

There’s an old Wall Street saying that says, ‘Invest when there’s blood on the streets.’ There is blood on these streets, so do it. –Dr. Haseeb Drabu


1 Comment »

  1. government jobs are still the best when it comes to job security .:,

    Comment by Oscilloscope : — October 29, 2010 @ 4:07 am | Reply

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