Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Abdullah of all seasons

Whenever Doctor Sahib opens his mouth there is snowball's chance in hell that you won’t be surprised. The latest verdict, it appears, is loud -- as is expected from the older cub (they can be cubs only for there is only one lion): We badly need to have big screens back in Srinagar and open up the goddamn beer shops. Pronto. Tourists, you see, when they come to Kashmir have this tremendous urge (it could be the weather) to see Shahrukh Khan halt trains with the nail of his left little finger in cinema. Guests also want to eat butter chicken but often find no beer or Bagpiper available. This must change!

The tourism minister naturally adds to the chorus. 2011 saw 700,000 tourists visit Kashmir. Imagine millions of bottles of whisky – cheap, desi and malted – they might have consumed and the revenues thereof -- quickly collected by the state. In neighboring Jammu, where booze is freely available, by the way, excise duties et al on liquor comes to Rs 60 crores a year. Whatever the gain to the exchequer, tipple-tax may indeed be helpful in a state where the CM blows up Rs 12 crore on his chopper sorties alone.

All handicraft stores might need to display monkey-caps from now on – prominently. And journalists must wear bright clothes while clicking Haryanvi holiday-makers, enjoying boat-rides in the Dal. Else you could be mistaken for some obnoxious weed and dredged away into oblivion. The state government has -- till now -- efficiently, one must add, spent upwards of Rs 160 crore on the Dal clean-up project. Now the lake is as speckless as Veena, the neighborhood bombshell. All indicators suggest that ISI did not try to sabotage the project.

If one were to take Doctor Sahib seriously, we could be shortly in for a round of ‘controlled democracy’. Given his insouciant image, and apart from the fact that Sheri-Kashmir in a very un-socialist gesture put the dastar on the golf enthusiast one fine morning (since Farooq was more pliable and hence acceptable to India, his younger apolitical sister opines), Doctor sahib thinks he has a divine right to distribute over-simplistic gyaan on the workings of democracy in his capacity as India’s wind and biogas minister.

Other than the annual NC sound bites that Sheikh was a tall leader and how we are all grateful – and shall remain so – because he was for harmony and all that, the governor also had some nice words to say. Sheikh Sahib, Raj Bhawan noted, was among the notable leaders of his time who had worked closely with Jawaharlal Nehru. What they won’t say or choose to carefully blot out: Nehru put the Sheikh in prison for 23 long years and Indira Gandhi let him out, only to walk into a trap.

By the way has Doctor Sahib being listening to Kolavari Di, oflate?

© Sameer