Welcome to ‘Mam’doo’ land!
SALT N'PEPPER BY AJAZ BABA
Every nation, race and community invariably has a stereotype image, something that readily leaps to the mind at the very mention of that nation or race or community. Though every Kashmiri is a suspect nowadays at home and abroad, this ‘terrorist’ stereotype is a relatively new phenomenon. In fact, as our worthy politicians never tire of reminding us, this image is wholly foreign to the land and the inhabitants of Kashmir (for further reference look up ‘Kashmiriyat’ etc.). It is true that we tried this mask for a while but it never really fit, as even some of our prominent leaders of resistance would testify. After years of gun totting and shooting bursts of ammunition (mostly in the air!) we discovered Gandhiji and found a long lost friend in him. Nowadays our leaders find themselves in full agreement with the great man except perhaps when it comes to favouring a full thatch of hair over a clean shaved head. Now of course, that is perfectly acceptable for where would democracy be without a bit of dissent!
Coming back to our discussion the original Kashmiri stereotype is ‘Ma’mdoo’. Indeed we may belong to any walk or side walk of life, but we are all essentially ‘Ma’mdoos’. Perhaps the ‘unfavourable’ circumstances (not that they have been unfavourable for all!) of the past couple of decades have made this fact slip out of our minds. However efforts are on to get this stereotype identity of ours out of the archives, brush off the dust and wipe off the grime and present it afresh, bright and shining, peaked cap and all. If any of you at this point still finds himself wondering as to what being ‘Ma’mdoo’ means and entails, it can be excused as a lapse of memory and like everything else blamed on the ‘circumstances’. We might as well hasten to jog the memory a bit. ‘Ma’mdoo’ was a character in that 60’s classic Bollywood movie, ‘Arzoo’ played by Mehmood. ‘Ma’mdoo’ is meant to be a typical Kashmiri side-kick in this movie so typically he is a boatman. Of course this is not to say that all Kashmiris are boatmen, some of them are ponywallahs and then there are some who are supposed to chase sahibs and mem’sab’s with apples in their hands.
‘Ma’mdoo’, let me make it clear, is the only officially approved version of the Kashmiri, any other version is – well seditious to say the least! Ma’mdoo is gentle, somewhat stupid and of necessity talks with a funny accent. Violence is something that doesn’t come close by even a mile so far as this simple and stupid (albeit endearingly so!) creature is concerned. The nearest the ‘Ma’mdoo’ type comes to crime is by way of being an amiable crook. Otherwise ‘Mam’doo’ is faithful to a fault and very emotional as well so much so that he will willingly sacrifice his everything for the sahibs and mem’sabs, and by everything we mean everything!
As mentioned before, ‘Ma’mdoo’ is the only officially recognized form of Kashmiri, and by virtue of his being a boatman or a ponywallah he wholly and solely depends on the tourists for his bread and butter and all other accessories of life. Now perhaps it becomes clear to you as to why the authorities are always insisting that our salvation lies in attracting tourists. Indeed! Tourists! Tourists! And yet more tourists! If you happen to be an educated unemployed fellow who was presumptuous enough to get say an engineering degree, well you have no one but yourself to blame. That is in no way a part of being ‘Ma’mdoo’ and so it comes nowhere even in the vicinity of official recognition.
One cannot but salute the genius of our Bollywood film makers for their brilliant portrayal of the official version of Kashmiris in the memorable character of ‘Mam’doo’. Talking of Bollywood there is news that calls for a celebration. Aamir Khan recently visited the vale and is believed to have hinted at Bollywood’s return to Kashmir. If the rumour mill is to be believed very soon every Bollywood flick will have at least one romantic song filmed in Kashmir. Just imagine, with Kashmir becoming a necessary ‘item number’ the solution to our unemployment problem can be had for be a song! All Mam’doos will be drafted as part of the scenery. We are on the exciting threshold of becoming the largest population of ‘extras’!
Not that being a ‘Ma’mdoo’ means that you cannot make it big! Remember ‘Ma’mdoo’ was a sidekick, well look around and you will see that ‘Ma’mdoos’ of today, who play their role of a side-kick to perfection, can make it to the highest offices of the land so long as they keep the ‘Meems’ab(s)’ in good cheer! In spite of all this if your heart feels a bit heavy at times, you can sing like Mehmood the ‘Ma’mdoo’ – Ya Illahi mit na jhandhi dadri dhil!
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 24 Mar 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 24 Mar 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Mar 2012 00:00:00 IST
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