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Hazy hues of Kashmir's autumn
By Sameer Bhat
Unlike the Congress, the BJP - always more streetwise - have set no terms and time-frame to Mr Sharma's Kashmir exploits. So basically he is going to be around forever - to give New Delhi the alibi that it is talking peace in the valley. Oh, and when no one is looking, it is fair game to beat up poor Kashmiri prisoners in Tihar.



I'm just back from a whirlwind trip to the valley. It was pit-stop, five days, very hasty. Since one hardly gets to fly home around November, I can safely report that it was cold as the heart of a courtesan. It was dreary also with little electricity and plenty of idle time, which is always a great recipe to clutch the kanger, talk a bit of politics and eat mountains of hot rice. With anchar, of course.

These days Dineshwar Sharma, India's latest plenipotentiary to Kashmir, is busy burning gas - hopping all over the place, talking to high-schoolers, random boatmen associations, All J&K mini-bus drivers' union, 3-member shady NGOs and mainstream politicians. Truth be told, it is not an easy feat to expose oneself to so much cold and ineffectuality at the same time, even if you are ex-IB. Unlike the Congress, the BJP - always more streetwise - have set no terms and time-frame to Mr Sharma's Kashmir exploits. So basically he is going to be around forever - to give New Delhi the alibi that it is talking peace in the valley. Oh, and when no one is looking, it is fair game to beat up poor Kashmiri prisoners in Tihar.

You cannot be in Kashmir and miss out on Dr Farooq's flowery bayans. Heaven knows, he is our very own Lear - the legendary King of Britain in Shakespeare's 1605 tragedy 'King Lear'. With everyone except for Engineer Rashid making boring statements this winter, only Dr Farooq animates the conversation in the Kashmiri drawing rooms. In recent days, the former CM appears more upset with the sanghis than usual and has - maybe -- decided to provoke them on a weekly basis. Clearly he gets the BJP's goat but apart from throwing silly broadsides at him, here and there, the chaddis don't have much to take on Sher-i-Kashmir's big boy. His perfection of King Lear is near complete.

Meanwhile, Miss Mufti, the lady of the land, criss-crosses the landscape, inaugurating culverts and conduits galore. She seldom makes any notable statement except for giving vague remarks to the local press on stuff like grand vision, unfulfilled dreams and baat-cheet. Safe to assume, perhaps, that she has found safety in this incertitude and as long as it hurts no one, she is safe and willing to ride with PM Modi in an open jeep without a flag of J&K. You see big spectacles like tunnels are always inaugurated by big boys. On a less serious matter: Why does Miss Mufti wear sunglasses even in winter?

As far as the eye could see there was no sign of braid choppers in the valley. They seemed to have melted away in the withering autumnal air. Only a month ago you had the bogeymen, tasrupdars with scissors, lurking away at every nook and cranny of Kashmir. They would clip away anything resembling a plait or ponytail or braid. Great numbers thought it is the handiwork of 'agencies' which is a shorthand in Kashmir for India. The cops kept shouting their lungs out that it is some sort of a mass hallucination. In the end, the spook, or fear, just went away. As suddenly as it had come. Just like the Ghost in Hamlet, a 'balay' is essential to the plot of Kashmir's play.

On the way back to airport, my mind was imperceptibly wandering. You can never make sense of Kashmir's complexity. Nothing is sure back there, except perhaps the winter chill and its endless traffic jams.

*(Sameer Bhat is the Deputy Editor (Opinion) with Gulf News, Dubai. This is a guest column for Kashmir Time taken from FB)


News Updated at : Friday, December 1, 2017
 
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