Sunday, December 05, 2010

Confusion in the times of conflict

Sometimes in our confusion, we see not the world as it is, but the world though eyes blurred by the mind.

We are as confused as a hungry baby in a topless bar. We find it hard to differentiate between a yellow school bus and a white police wagon, especially on weekends. As a principle we don’t like to fight in the cold because we aim better in June. But dejection is quite commonplace in our neck of woods. Since that perfidious damsel – variously called Azadi – didn’t show up this last summer, we are a little glum. Naturally we react! On the brighter side we have hope that she might do a half-Monty next season. Hence at the onset of our winter hibernation the ritualistic bus burning.

It is not the plebs alone who are confused. Sheikh Abdullah’s descendants are equally confounded. Dad Farooq shaves two times a day, picks out a new shawl from his fashionable wardrobe and preens in the mirror for hours. Then he air-dashes to various Moffusil towns of India to declare that the dreaded AFSPA shall not be repealed in Kashmir. Sonny Omer sings a different jingle in Srinagar. He says AFSPA must go. As it were – on the most important issue at hand -- the first family of Kashmir is at a serious cross-purpose. Adding to the theatre of absurd is another of the Sheikh progeny who says that the appointment of interlocutors is plain meaningless. The CM nephew disagrees. Confusion prevails.

The thermometer of army’s tolerance is directly proportional to the dip in mercury. The army spokesperson in Kashmir said that the CM -- boss of Unified Command -- has basically given in to Hurriyet speak. In plain words Omer watches too many Geelani videos and has now begun to make some of the same demands, chiefly the removal of AFSPA. He said something about merger-accession also but that does not particularly bother the army. It mostly wants the harsh law to continue. Sensing that they may have over-stepped their brief, the army’s highest officer in Kashmir promptly said sorry to Omer but the confusion didn’t end here. The junior minister of defence in Delhi butted in with his wisdom: The army can speak. So why the apology!

As Sunday markets go, Srinagar’s BD market near Polo View is famous. Kashmiri hawkers are quite enterprising and they lay their hands on the best pre-used stuff from across the globe. You can buy clothes which they can’t even think of in Delhi’s second-hand markets. Gloves from South Africa often vie for attention with caps from Norway. The market is chock-a-block on Sundays and if the currently visiting Track-II diplomacy team drives by, they may well mistake the bazaar for normalcy and hence Kashmir’s acquiescence to status quo. In a park – nearby -- the parents of those missing in the strife quietly assemble on some Sundays, seeking the whereabouts of their beloved.

The conflict in our hearts. And the confusion, thereof.

© Sameer