dairy: Truth, love and malice
has been pertinently described as a ‘quarter per cent conflict’
not long ago by a political analyst on Kashmir affairs; accounting
for one quarter of one per cent of the combined territory, economy
and population of India and Pakistan. And still it looms large on
our minds. We sit everyday tracking down the day’s events; put our
mathematical instincts into practice and try and sum up the events
and happenings. We have been undertaking this exercise for years and
feel ourselves being dragged into a whirlpool with a black hole at
the centre; darkness looming large in our
faces from all sides and no light at the end of the channel.
This mind-boggling problem has the makings of one of the most
complex yarn of events stretching beyond our wildest of
The optimists are having a field
day in Kashmir; perception
being that Vale is limping back to normal after a decade long
militancy and unrest. An overwhelming response to the electoral
process, they say will remove the miseries and that the elected
representatives will address their genuine grievances. This school
of thought consists of able and competent men, who sing merrily to
the tunes of the state’s manifestations; everything is rosy, you
need not worry, we will take care of those hawks who are
hand-in-glove with Mush after we are Inshalla voted back to power
with a thumping majority!
Should the circumstance have
been normal and not extraordinary, one wouldn’t have been
surprised to see the back of the Abdulla regime – after all factor
“anti-incumbency” is widely regarded as an instrument by which
unpopular governments are shown the door. However, alas, such a
realism seems to be a far-away daydream; lack of pluralistic
dimension in the political spectrum in Kashmir says it all.
A divided opposition was the
very last thing one would have sought. BJP have been hand-in-glove
with the ruling National Conference; Congress has just woken from
slumber; and the local entrant Peoples’ Democratic Party has
unable to unshackle its downbeat image thanks to Mufti Sayeed, the
founder-president. They together constitute half the opposition,
other half being the separatists – still a further divided lot.
All Party Hurriyat Conference
and Company have finally come to terms with the reality but after
voting themselves out of reckoning by assuming an unyielding stance.
By not participating, they have promised themselves five more years
of political seclusion; each passing day taking them further away
from the people who they assert to represent.
Permit me to go a step further;
should the APHC and company have taken part in the forthcoming
elections and assumed numero uno position in the legislative
assembly, they could have held New Delhi to ransom and had the
latter not acceded to their genuine and legitimate wishes, resigned
amass from their positions and created a spectacle that New Delhi
and Uncle Sam and Company would have been flabbergasted. However,
no, they have decided come what may, we are too many cooks who have
to spoil the broth!
the helm of affairs in the Vale are three young men – Mirwaiz Omar
Farooq, Omar Abdulla, and Sajjad Lone with whom I share a
distinction (if I may call it that); all have gone to the same
school in Kashmir and learnt essential
and fundamental lessons of life from the same lot of able and
proficient academicians. Yet, the irony of the destiny is that they
are poles apart and are more or less at loggerheads with one
I happen to meet Sajjad recently
during his recent visit to Mumbai, and the discussion slowly but
naively slithered from Kashmir to our schooling days and we took
time out to invigorate our memories of our school days. Abdulla, I
recall meeting at the tennis courts in Gulmarg way back in the
second half of 80’s. I still vividly recall him hitting the tennis
ball with great ferocity one would have expected from a teenager.
Mirwaiz, I am sure must have bumped into me at school though my
memory does not permit to bring to mind whether I have met him
formally or not (he was my senior at school by a couple of years).
I have over the period of time
encountered a sea change in the mind sets of the majority community
– an alteration which is more than welcome. They abhor the gun
culture and though they don’t say it in as many words but taking
to gun was a gaffe – a reflection they admit in private if not in
public. But then let us not be a spoil sport and rake up the past.
Abdulla after all these years
strikes to me as an honest and upright gentleman against whom we
should hold nothing; however having said that how can one forget or
overlook that his esteemed father heads a very unpopular
establishment, which should be voted out of power for its laxity in
governance and inability to mitigate the sufferings of the common
masses. Omar, I have fondly seen competently counter the likes of
Barkha Dutta, and others on the electronic media. However, is he a
popular figure among his own people is a fundamental question which
we will come back with in the due course of time.
On the other hand his arch rival
Mirwaiz is again a man of talents and on a sunny day I am sure the
two Omar’s would like to sit and chat over a cup of “Kahva”.
But akin to a Bollywood motion picture, their families are jani
dushvan [SHER – Abdulla’s vs. BAKRA – Mirwaiz feud is a common
knowledge]. I am surprised and yet extremely happy that Mirwaiz is
alive and didn’t fall prey to the bullets of the same assassin(s)
who claimed the life of Prof Lone; after all both shared the same
vision of bringing peace back to the strife-torn Valley, and to
facilitate all concerned parties to the negotiating table.
Mirwaiz if my instincts are
right will play an instrumental role in the years to come, to end
the ugly reign of gun culture from the Vale and thereby ensure peace
and prosperity for the years to come. He along with Sajjad Lone and
Bilal Lone are the two main constituents of the APHC who have mass
popular bases across the length and the breadth of the Vale and can
fill the void should Abdulla’s be voted out of power.
We as of now are not sure
whether Sajjad fielded dummy candidates or not, however that his
party Peoples Conference will play a major role in the political
play field is anybody’s guess. Sajjad, with the untimely demise of
father has stepped up into his shoes, and has taken the mantle of
bringing about peace and tranquillity to the state, a step which
should be welcomed by one and all.
The trio in their respective
roles as the torch bearers of peace, I am sure, will do everything
within their power to rid the vale of the menace of terrorism which
by moderate estimate has killed more than four-million people.
Nevertheless, I extending my best wishes to all my three Alma-mater
and hope that they will eradicate the menace of gun culture;
something which the people of Kashmir over the years have come to
abhor; and restore the Vale to its past glory and last but not the
least establish the principle of “Kashmiriat” in letter and
spirit - a
way of living that is close to our hearts!
arrangement with The NEWS, Karachi,