Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011: Kashmir's kick-ass year

The final dying moments of 2011. What an eventful year it has been! The Americans killed OBL, go-go-go Hollywood style and NATO got poor Qadafi cornered, like a desert rodent, only to be impaled by the loutish thugs from Misrata, who then put his body on display, similar to some medieval pillory.

The Arab spring, powered on by ordinary people, astounded everyone. Elsewhere ordinary people – the now-famous 99% -- got their act together and sat down -- in Zuccotti Park, NY, laying mental siege to the slimy edifices of capitalism. Occupy Wall Street was almost synchronous with the Euro zone stumble, something that is bearing on, as we put our stockings on to ring the new year in.

Kashmir stayed relatively peaceful in 2011. Early on in April, village folk lined up, pherans upon shoulders, Geelani Sahib’s boycott call notwithstanding, to elect their Sarpachs. Sociologists admitted at that time that human memory is forecasted to remain short-term and God knows Panchayat-ghars were notorious make-shift interrogation centers not so long ago.

One of Kashmir’s foremost lobbyists in the US, Dr Fai was caught this year feeding carrots to rabbits in Virginia, near DC. Caught up in heavy diplomatic cross-fire, the Kashmiri doc – who has since revealed the color of all rabbits – was America’s style of humiliating Pakistan which had – earlier in 2011 -- outted and thrown the CIA agent Raymond Davis in prison. The Pakistanis released Davis after he paid blood money; subsequently the Americans let Fai off on bail -- with an electronic contraption strapped to him. Bad blood remains.

In the run up to fall this year, there was ballyhoo in badam-orchads and Indian news papers. Glad that the first nine months of the year passed off relatively smooth, lit-lovers thought it fit enough to dust their Fab-India Kurtas and head off to Srinagar. Since Zabarwan makes stunning backdrop in autumn, it was time to sit back over 'yellow as quince' Kehwa and discuss freedom of expression with local men and women of letters. Alas no one took the bait.

There was murder in the Gupkar castle in 2011. TV channels went berserk, especially Arnoub, the oily haired Indian telly anchor who has successfully discovered the G-spot of Kashmiris and jerks them into a mad frenzy every time he begins mouth farting. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the prince of Denmark’s dad drinks a potion so potent that it immediately causes bubbling scabs on his body. Something similar happened. Some commission was set up and then winter set in.

The debate on the abrogation of AFSPA gathered momentum this year with both Omar and Umar on the same page for a change. Many weeks of hue and cry later, the debate drowned in liquor. Rather than promising something substantial – to be named after Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah – on the late Sher’s anniversary, Dr Farooq asked for opening of beer bars in Srinagar. Sheri-Kashmir must have turned in his grave. What a spirited wish on someone’s tomb?

They say life is about looking forward. As 2011 melds into 2012, one can only wish that there is more power in Kashmiri homes this winter. Let the flute and the lyre of peace replace the paranoia and bluster of those who administer us. And though we may seasonally be unretentive, one cannot burn memories.

Happy New Year, folks.

© Sameer