June keeps us on very thin ice. Strange things have happened in the past around this time. Omar Abdullah’s hair changed color suddenly from charcoal black to silver. The police chief became more bitter. Even the usually elegant Geelani sahib, never allowed to venture too far from Hyderpora, managed to sneak out to appear in slightly venturesome places such as Sopore. This June is different. An enforcement of silence is in place.
Earlier August used to be the street-fighting month. So each year on August 14 and 15, for many many summers, a tense standoff ensued. Indian military forces planned for the days ahead on how to tackle the lock-ins and protests and black flags and free-and-easy slogans and such resistance paraphernalia. Then suddenly the focus shifted to June, as if by some random raffle. Poor CM has since thrown away his infamous GAP tee.
Strict instructions went left, right and centre this June. Nary a soul should say anything that cannot be retracted later. Surprisingly even Geelani sahib is mum, which is very unlike him. Newly acquired carbonated batons, sackfuls of them, in anticipation of the annual June exercise, lie about in police store-rooms, unused. They might be now distributed to the elderly, under the Sheri-Kashmir Buzurugwar scheme
There was a little faux paus in between. ML Fotedar, an old crony of Madam Indira Gandhi, descended on Srinagar like a familiar curse. These Congress fogies, I tell you. They come to tease their local cousins, whom they perceive weak and temptingly out on a limb. Fotedar winked and someone quietly dropped the R-bomb, greatly discomfiting Omar. Rotational CM. Does that not unjustly take away the privilege of Tweeting about chopper rides, that makes Omar's followers sear in pure envy?
It can’t be rotational. It simply can’t be.
Not entirely satisfied with his R-bomb, Fotedar decided to drop the A-bomb. That always has the desired effect. Assured. Sheri-Kashmir apparently accepted the constitution of India, Fotedar harped, and Kashmir’s accession with India is full and final. Lo and behold soon both fission and fusion happened. Mustafa Kamal, the Digvijay Singh of Kashmir politics, called ML an old conspirator while his party likened him to a snake who hisses and added that accession was only conditional. Not the one to let it pass quietly, ML retorted: Why sleep with the serpent then?
All this might be a trifle confounding and while the last act in this drama is yet to take place, the dénouement is rather uncomplicated. It is a bunch of players basically discussing the famous causality dilemma commonly referred to as "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" It is the middle of June and last I know of, despite the panchs and sarpanchs, Omar’s incessant Tweets and Farooq’s honeyed voice, Fotedar’s ancient machinations and Soz’s little moustache, we still demand our right to self determination.