Reverse Swing: Day 26 - And it’s Still My Internal Affair
Even after 26 days of devoted, round-the-clock, armed-to-the-teeth demonstration of sheer affection, those grumpy Kashmiris have not woken up to the avalanche of selfless love that has been unleashed at them.
These days, my ‘sthayee bhaava’ is anger. I find myself angry at everything and everybody. And always. This is unusual because, by temperament, I am an ahimsa-vadi like Yogi Adityanath, a pacifist like Sadhvi Pragya and a peacenik like our own Nobel Peace Prize candidate, Rajnath Singh, who (sounding more like in charge of offence than defence) wants his itching fingers to be given the first rights to press the nuclear button.
Conventionally, I am inclined to be cool. Let sleeping dogs lie, I say, and let some speeding truck run over them, as is happening with increasing frequency to those who want to give testimony against the powerful. But, with the collected works of Gautama Buddha, Swami Mahavira, Sant Kabir, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Mahatma Gandhi (should I have invested in Mahatma Godse too?) strategically arranged on my bookshelf, I cannot be caught exhibiting inappropriate emotions of ‘krodha’ and politically incorrect gestures of violence. As an avowed nationalist, I must demonstrably be on the side of ‘prem bhaava’ and ooze unctuous love from every pore in these times when the cunning Opposition is bent upon spreading hatred at every press conference by refusing to praise the government.
After all, I simply love the manner in which our welfarist government has lovingly usurped Kashmir and made it an additional ward of the National Capital Region. Even after 26 days of devoted, round-the-clock, armed-to-the-teeth demonstration of sheer affection, those grumpy Kashmiris have not woken up to the avalanche of selfless love that has been unleashed at them. The romance is of such intensity, that the rest of India is getting restive at this partisan treatment of Kashmir. They are being promised jobs, higher wages, development, roads, shopping malls, health, education and entertainment facilities on such a scale that, in 10 years, Kashmir will be the most affluent Union Territory in Asia – outstripping Shanghai, Singapore, and Hong Kong combined. In 30 years, the Centre will not have to suffer the embarrassment of pinching the surpluses of the Reserve Bank. It will be flush-with-funds Kashmir that will bail out the Centre from every fiscal (I love that word) calamity.
It is a futuristic plan of mind-boggling foresight and vision, bearing the stamp of deep altruism for the depressed, suppressed, oppressed Kashmiri who is merely ranked 5th or 7th in the national indices of development, above Gujarat, UP, Bihar, Haryana, Orissa, etc. We will bring our collective will to bear upon this unfortunate lag and ensure that our beloved Kashmir rapidly zooms right to the top of the index.
This unexpected windfall projected for Kashmir is, inevitably, causing heartburn in other states which are churlishly demanding they too be annexed under the Centre’s ‘love jihad’ scheme and be given a governor who will blank all mobiles and internet lines because these are devil’s factories invented primarily for terrorist convenience. He will also conduct the exciting experiment of arresting and jailing half the population as a benevolent method of incubating a new, tested-by-fire ‘political leadership’.
The wounded whisper down-South, in Chennai, is that very soon, the inconvenient pellets and bullets are likely to be replaced by a Delhi-Srinagar bullet train. (And here we are, down-South, who from the Sangam era, have been demanding a Jolarpet to Jaffna Eelam Express, with nary a nod from the jealous leadership in the North). In Kashmir, this new Mohabbat Mail will obviate any need to revive the, now suspended, Samjhauta Express. It will be a locomotive of love, which boosts the Centre, now gone plain loco with no motive.
All this should be sending me giddy with ecstasy. But, here I am grimacing and spluttering with anger. The immediate cause is my immense annoyance at the inexplicable pleasure people seem to derive by interfering in my/our internal affairs. In the past week alone, UAE, Bahrain and Maldives have carried out gross insults to our sovereignty by conferring a few awards on our PM. Now, awarding our PM is our internal affair. What right have these interfering Joes to jump out and put some trinket around his neck, when here we are all geared up to confer the Bharat Ratna on him on January 26. After all, he has scripted history by so valiantly capturing a region that was anyway under capture. Capturing the captured needs to be honoured with the highest civilian award.
But will anyone let us deal with our internal affairs by ourselves? No, those jobless folk at the United Nations have to pop up and suddenly discover human rights violations in Kashmir. My dear bhai-log at UN, haven’t you got it in 70 years that this is our internal affair. In India, this our ancient way of showing love. When we are excessively fond of someone, we lock them up, gag them a bit, inflict some bodily damage and test them in other severe ways. It is the path of devotion. This is how the upright and truthful Raja Harishchandra was tested by Lord Indra. He was put through the most gruesome and soul killing trials and tortures. But, ultimately, he attained heaven. It is a loving parent’s way of socialising the child to be a good citizen. How many times mother Yashoda lovingly tied down child Krishna to pillars and heavy stones? The child grew up to be a god and never stopped loving his mother. It is a hoary practice that has now delivered good dividends by producing a citizenry which is not shy to lynch and rape and hurt, if necessary, as an expression of extreme affection. However, since your standards at the UN are so narrow, it is something you will never understand. It is best, therefore, that you do not interfere in, what is strictly, our culture and our internal affair. Even Rahul Gandhi had to put you in your place through his tweet and warn you against converting our internal matter into an external matter.
As if that were not enough, along come imperialist minded medical journals like ‘Lancet’ which manufacture a fake medical crisis in Kashmir claiming hospitals have become dysfunctional as neither doctors nor patients are able to access them due to lack of transportation and blockades by security forces. It has raised the bogey of shortage of life-saving drugs and general unavailability of medicines. It has even invented an epidemic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) afflicting the Kashmiri population. Mercifully, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) led by Dr. R.V. Asokan and the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) led by Dr. Mrugesh Vaishnav, and the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPIO) have given gob-smacking replies to ‘Lancet’, taking the magazine down from their considered ‘esteem’. “Where is the medical and health point of view in all this?,” asked a bemused Dr. Asokan. It is strictly an internal matter, he opined. Then he clinched it by asserting, “We are Indian first and medical next”. It is a relief Dr. Mrugesh did not echo this by saying, “We are Indian first and mental next”.
Now, this is where journals like ‘Lancet’ slip up. They tend to flatten out the globe as well as all medical issues. With just a little research, they would have discovered that Kashmir is called ‘Paradise on Earth’. You do not need doctors and hospitals in paradise because no one is ever unwell there. Just like there were no ambulances and multi-speciality medical centres in the Garden of Eden, so too Kashmir is unique with its sylvan surroundings, balmy weather and its unafflicted, serene happy people. It is a society totally free of the ‘unwell’ and, therefore, of doctors and psychiatrists. If, at all, anyone needs medical and psychiatric attention there, it is the poor jawans of the army and para-military who may be turning into mental wrecks with having to stand watch over a population that is so peaceful. The uniformed militia with their pretty-looking automatic weapons is going nuts simply pacing around with nothing to do, except some periodic friendly shower of pellets or a quick raid in a residential area to pick up a few youngsters to play cops-and-robbers with. These boys from the Indian hinterland might need the services of the IMA or the IPS, but that is strictly an internal matter and ‘Lancet’ better search for a more incisive critique.
So, this is the reason for my testiness these days. One wishes there were more activists like Mr. Manan Kumar Mishra, chairman, Bar Council of India, or Justice (Retd) C.K. Prasad, chairman, Press Council of India, who so willingly provide orchestral support for a government that dismantles, respectively, the rule of law as well as the freedom of speech. It reassures one that all is right with us and, on this 26th day of the comprehensive lockdown of Kashmir, no one should dare comment on what is strictly our own internal matter.