Approximately 70 kms from Srinagar, there is a beautiful touristy hamlet called Kokernag. There is a spring in the middle of the place called Papashudan Nag or sin-cleansing spring. Kashmir’s education minister was born somewhere nearby -- in a village called Damhal. Unfortunately the minister never got the opportunity to wash his misdeeds in the neighbourhood spring. Instead leading by example he got someone in the state board of school education to write his son's exams.
That was two years ago. Newspaper reports suggest that his son recently bagged a distinction in the senior year or first year of A-Level certification (locally called Bahim jamaat). When your dad is a minister of education, who gets a dozen schools sanctioned in tiny Damhal -- if only to improve upon the 13,000 votes he polled last time -- you cannot afford to score a lower grade. How can you invoke the Kashmiri-accented Urdu bluster in cafés, without 85% marks?
There is something odd about old Congressmen in the valley. One they do the best shaves in the whole world as if they have all the time to primp and prink their double-chins. Two they make moral corruption look like meat and potatoes. There are so many mini-scandals stacked up with skeletons in Congress (and NC) closets that one would easily lose count. A dozen leaders were implicated -- one of the main accusers being a minor -- when the 2006 sex scandal surfaced. Nothing ever came out of it.
And here we are in the beginning of 2012 with the usual middle class gibberish being regurgitated at regular intervals in the corporate media. A million tourists this year. One for each vine and weed in the Dal. Regulation politicians in Karakul caps, neck deep in corruption, ruling the little valley of ours slyly eyeing the next election, completely unmindful of the ethical decay slowly eroding us. It is almost sad.
Thanks to Julian Assange we know what the US embassy in New Delhi wrote to the State Department in the US in their classified cables on Kashmir. “Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed behaves like a traditional Congress machine politician, one who asks his staff to put on his socks and shoes for him.”
Sometimes the Americans get it bang-on.