This is the summer of gay abandon in Kashmir. Close to 100,000 holidaymakers set off for hill resorts yesterday. Each nook and cranny was filled with tourists, local papers said. Everyone clicked pictures on hummocks and horsebacks. With the urban pockets reeling under an abnormal heat spell, the closest get-away is Pahalgam for everyone south of Srinagar and Gulmarg for the northerners. The jury is still out on why the horses in Gulmarg resemble mules these days.
The peaceful summer – and there have been many such epochs before – is not because the recently elected Sarpanchs have lulled their respective villages into some sort of amity. It is not even because the police force has suddenly become efficient since Nasir Sogami – grandson to GN Wai, minister in Sheikh Abdullah’s cabinet – became the new taskperson. It is because peace is often the easiest way to wind up at the goal.
In the slow psychological warfare that Kashmiris are subject to, sloppy stories continue to appear in the Indian press about how we must be on some weed to suggest that we lost 100,000 people in the last two decades. How we are completely off the mark on the exact number of people missing in the conflict or how we blow up the figures about people languishing in jails. The compradors just miss out on a small detail: the sport of statistics is always subjacent to aspirations.
We have never been in the business of numbers. We don’t wish to wear the albatross of victimhood around our necks. At an emotional level not many people would even bother to contrast the government figures of the dead or missing to the intelligence agencies' tally (often fed to whippersnapper visiting journalists) or APDP’s number of mass graves. The sad part is this very perverse and cunning effort to make the sufferer curse himself for the throes he undergoes.
The old man could make extraneous noises from time to time. Ofcourse we won’t throw our expensive phones into river Jhelum, neither would we asunder our classrooms into male and female units but we would still admire him, for someone must have the gall to tell the emperor that he is without clothes and that no matter how many tourists mistake horses for mules and how many schemes you launch, you can’t shackle our imagination. or Nostalgia.