Author: Saadut
•9:14 PM


During the start of last year summer turmoil, on 07th July 2010 the Indian army did a flag march through Srinagar.  The flag march started earlier in the day at Srinagar Airport and later on the march was conducted through Lal Chowk, Batamaloo, Bemina and Qamarwari areas. The marching Army columns were broadcast live by some national media, clearly scoring their point of infusing terror in the hearts of residents. Lal chowk’s roads which otherwise are jammed by public transport on normal days looked like the peripheral edge of a desert dotted with green shrubs in a queue formation with these army convoys. The camouflage jacketed, trigger clenched men in fatigues atop these metal monster, noisy engine convoys were supposed to convey the extent of the might that could be used against the civilians.

"We are out to give support to the state machinery. We are ready to move anywhere, anytime," the Associated Press news agency quoted army spokesman Col Vineet Sood as saying. (Source BBC). The fears not withstanding defiance of curfews were still being reported from many areas of Kashmir.

Even thought the army may not have confronted directly with protesting civilians during the turmoil of last year, the paramilitary forces having taken the responsibility of using the bullet, baton and boot against the civilians, but the sheer impact of having an army flag march in central Srinagar was to be psychological in nature.

Exactly a fortnight short of one year to that ‘flag march’ there was another kind of march yesterday in Srinagar. Indian home minister P Chidambaram conducted tour of some parts of Srinagar city including areas what the media loves to call “volatile” downtown. The Indian HM and his cavalcade had an uninterrupted drive along the old city, a tour which concluded at 10.30 PM.

 If he was there to gauge the situation in these areas, he was greeted by indifference of the routine business and daily life of this “volatile” part. The morbid silence of these areas, the quietude of the winding roads wore a melancholic mask over it which unfortunately was presented to P Chidambaram as peace. The indifference of the local population should have conveyed their resilience and their adaptability to the Indian Home Minister but unfortunately he was presently the “all is well” syndrome by his hosts in Kashmir. If he was here for any peace making mission, he made none of it and if it was a law and order assessment tour he was presented masks of oblivion in the dimming light of evenings. But then his tour presented itself as more of a “conquest trumpet’ blowing exercise across this lanes and rough, bumpy roads of this battered and wounded land, than any goodwill exercise. The Indian Home minister on his way must have passed the homes of Tufail Matto (17 yr old killed on June 11), Muhammad Rafiq Bangroo (24, injured killed on June 12, succumbed on June 20), Javed Ahmed Malla (19 killed on June 20) and countless others killed in 2010, but did not want to see the desolation that this agony has driven the families to; no hope of justice offered. He did not bother to offer any kind words to dwellers of the “attot ang”, parts of which have been left deliberately to rot, wounds on which have been left open susceptible to getting septic over time.

If he was a keen observer he would have noticed that the chain of broken windowpanes, unconcerned faces here and continuity of normal life in calamity speak of defiance not any weakness. He could have read that the silence of these dwellings was holding to its bosom a tempest. Did he see all this?

He definitely did not want to see beyond the peace painting presented to him by his hosts, a painting so glossy and yet so untrue.

He came, he drove in twilight and he kicked some dust.


P.S: Next time when you want to see the ‘real Kashmir’ please do away with your present state hosts and be our guest, we will have no veils and no cloaks between you and the real view. Kashmiri’s promise to be wonderful hosts to you, in fact far better hosts than you ever have been as guests in Kashmir.



21st June 2010


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2 comments:

On June 22, 2011 at 9:14 PM , Altaf Qadri said...

"no hope of justice offered. He did not bother to offer any kind words to dwellers of the “attot ang”, parts of which have been left deliberately to rot, wounds on which have been left open susceptible to getting septic over time." Nicely put together. Thanks Saadut.

 
On June 23, 2011 at 4:18 PM , Nitasha Kaul said...

'If he was here for any peace making mission, he made none of it and if it was a law and order assessment tour he was presented masks of oblivion in the dimming light of evenings.' Poetic and very apt. Thanks.