If the shoe fits - wear it
INKSIGHT BY MEHMOOD-UR-RASHID
We now have a rackful of shoes, and every shoe has a story to tell. From the Babylonian Tower to the Solomon Hillock all the shoes have a question mark engraved on their soles. Every shoe has traced a long way before following the trajectory towards a ‘dignitary’. A small and distasteful act, actually it is a detailed and poignant remark on the affairs that surround the actors involved in each incident of shoe-hurling.
Shooting a shoe at a human being sounds like an act shorn of civility. It actually is. Human face is an established station of respect. If the entire civilization has to be put on a poster, merely drawing the human face would suffice. If a shoe is hurled at this face it is not an occasion to jump joyously, but to sit down and think seriously.
Now what message does the August event carry with it. In fact it carries a pack of messages. Everyone has a line to read and reflect. Omar Abdullah, his political opponents, and at the far end the ‘Iron lady’ of Kashmir Asiya Andrabi – all are in the eye of this shoe. In this event and what followed it, there are lessons to be learnt for them all.
For Omar Abdullah: how strange an emotional self gets actuated into a generous act of forgiving someone who created an ugly, and embarrassing scene at a public function, and remains unmoved at the death of a chap just nine. Let us presume that the turn in Jan story is real and there are no hidden actions and actors behind it, even then Omar Abdullah has a bagful of questions to answer. If a dozen odd policemen can be suspended just because they could not save an embarrassment, how many should have been suspended, and punished, when almost sixty lives are already lost. If just an after minute action followed the act of disrespect, why nothing happened as life after life fell to the bullets of police and CRPF. In fact by posing magnanimous Omar has appeared more unpleasant. He has answered no questions but has rendered more meaning to the already in front of him.
Leave Jan, what of the lady’s yell in SKIMS. There is a deep sense of rejection, which when goes unaddressed for long expresses itself in the crudest ways possible. What is happening in Kashmir these days is an indictment on the present regime. It says very loud, and very clear, that there is blood at the hands of present regime, and that it draws legitimacy from somewhere other than people.
It might not have to do solely with the person of Omar Abdullah, but like it or not, he is the face of this government. It is through his face that this government is known. All niceties of politics aside, Omar has a moment to reflect. If his father says that the son has joined the club of ‘dignitaries’ it only turns the onlooker squeamish.
The real task for this government is to look into the mirror and see what it has made of itself. And if it really gathers the courage to see its face, and is honest enough to read the message in all the acts of rejection, the next thing for this government to do is to drop the other shoe.
For Mehbooba Mufti: momentarily it might tickle them, but it’s always ill waiting for dead men’s shoes. And then till the fundamental question - to whom Mulk-e- Kashmir belongs - remains unanswered, shoes, stones, and abuses will keep raining. Why scramble for getting the head underneath this popular ‘blessing’. And then it is not Omar Abdullah alone in question. The very politics, known as Mainstream is under attack. Be it a stone, a shoe, or a shout – all belong to the entire camp. So you have a share in it all.
For Asiya Andrabi: her press release, at least, makes a fantastic read! The way she showered praise on shoe-thrower only depicts how shallow her understanding is. What does Asiya think of Ahad Jan now! Tamgae Jurrat-e-Imani – it’s really hard to translate this lady! She lives in a world of her own, with a language absolutely Greek to all. She is actually the irony-lady of Kashmir, who avowedly fights for a common man but harbours an elitist bent, pedigree and religion. The way she randomly uses the sublime concepts of Islam in defense of petty things is deeply unsettling. It is painful for every holder of sense to come across the deployment of terms and concepts that are rooted in spiritual depths, along a terrain that is shifting and suspect. The ends and aims that Asiya has fixed for herself can be pursued in gentler ways, too. Getting carried away by some surprise event, or a sudden shift in situation, never makes a decent politics. And as for the application of sublime themes, Asiya has a lot of home work to do. And is this a part of divine commandment to issue a press release for everything, and anything, that happens in Kashmir.
To conclude, the August shoe holds a mirror up to all. And if anything is held as a mirror against you no point turning your gaze away from it, because you ultimately will look the same. Courage is to look straight into the mirror and read the face. Don’t frown at the mirror if you see an ugly and revolting mark. There is nothing wrong with the mirror; it’s all your own face. Mirror is an honest broker that only allows you to meet yourself. Unlike your comrades and compradors it doesn’t cheat; it doesn’t flatter. Unlike your detractors it doesn’t hide, or highlight. It shows all, exactly as it is – divine or devilish.
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Lastupdate on : Wed, 18 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 18 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 19 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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