Last night Mehboob Beg abandoned the ship. Perhaps hindsight is a good thing but Mirza Afzal Beg’s son didn’t wait for hindsight to dawn on him. Instead he dumped Omar. Like he had dumped Dr Farooq in the past to put Gul Shah on the throne. Then mysteriously he made up with doctor sahib and was politically rehabilitated.
His father, the legendary Mirza Afzal Beg, was Shiekh Abdullah’s lieutenant for decades, and was often hailed as Fakhr-e-Kashmir. He presided over the Plebiscite Front (Ah, how many times have we flirted with this darned Azadi business!) and was the legal brain behind the famous Indira-Sheikh accord.
Beg senior was sent to jail along with Sher-i-Kashmir in the infamous Kashmir conspiracy case. When the Sheikh was allowed to perform Hajj in 1965, he took two people along -- his wife, Begum Abdullah and Afzal Beg. Well all that is history now. In a hurriedly-called press conference yesterday, the NC called Beg junior a chameleon. Politics, they say, is colorful business. People change affiliations like a baby’s diapers.
Here is a clutch of Gupkar conversation from last night that we managed to pick up from our palace sources. It had to be brief because some BSF walla, stationed outside Omar’s villa, went mad this morning and started shooting at ducks in the compound.
A big black rotary dial telephone, without lettering on the finger wheel, comes alive. Sheikh Abdullah used it once to make calls to Nehru. It has become fashionable to abuse Nehru in Delhi these days. Sheikh’s grave needs to be protected in Srinagar by men in uniform with carbines.
The phone rings. Omar, a cross between looking glum and tickled, takes the call.
OA: Yes, dad, it is true. What do you mean how true?
Doc: Faan ha karov atey saersi.
OA: Talk in English or Urdu, dad. What is Faan?
Doc: Kihi na. It is the Muftis, I know.
OA: Why blame them? It is our deadwood.
Doc: Haya potra if we lose men at this rate, soon it will be you and Nasir alone left in the party.
OA: Mehboob wanted to be a hero.
Doc: Hero, my foot! What is happening in Beeroh (Beerwah). Put a pheran on and visit Beeroh daily, booztha.
OA: I tweet daily, dad.
Doc: Haya only journalists read your tweets.
OA: Mehboob was bad-mouthing them till Saturday.
Doc: Beg calls Mufti a ‘visionary’. Jigar ha dodum. It was like a dagger in the bosom.
OA: We are the only and the oldest nationalistic party. They can’t possibly take us on.
Doc: Haya Sheikh Ghulam Rasool tya nivok. Kuni na rood na kah.
OA: You know dad I was joking with Devender last night that they have Ashiq and Mehboob both.
Doc: You think it is funny! That Devender’s brother is BJP’s CM aspirant.
OA: You trusted Karan Singh’s son Ajatshatru. He is also supping with the devil.
Doc: Hay kus tavan.
OA: Electoral politics, dad. PDP's time perhaps.
Doc: It should be Al-bain always.
OA: Let Mufti yield the broom.
Doc: Kursi is important.
OA: Now what?
Doc: Make sure no one takes the leader of the opposition kursi from you.