Bunker Nahin Meter Hatao!

New slogans replaced the old

Salt N' Pepper


It will probably be dubbed as the Arab spring of Kashmir though it was more of an electrical short circuit. People flooded the streets and even barbed wires couldn’t keep them at bay. The world some scientists say started with a Big Bang so, some said, did this mass movement. Reportedly a transformer of a little known mohalla unable to match its enthusiasm to that of cooking heaters and king-size water boilers went Bang! plunging the area into darkness. When some days passed in utter darkness and the cooking fuel began to show an alarming rate of depletion, people began to exhibit a proportionate level of irritation. Finally the proverbial straw broke and an angry mob heckled the local politician who in turn is said to have heckled the officials of the Electricity Department. The mohalla got a new transformer with kids cheering the small wagon that carried it. The womenfolk welcomed the new transformer with traditional songs dispersing only when it was time to switch on the cooking heaters and cook the evening meal.

The very next day a cavalcade of vehicles descended upon the locality, ladders were propped up against electric poles and with a visibly angry engineer (who had had to face the ire of the peoples’ representative!) directing them, the linemen began to fix electric meters to every domestic electrical connection. There was no cheering this time by the kids who hid behind their mothers who, needless to say, were not singing a welcome.

No sooner had the linemen, ladders and the miffed engineer along with his factotums departed from the scene that people came out of their homes. In no time the small mohalla swelled into a large gathering. The next day two neighboring mohallas, one metered and the other in anticipation of being metered joined the protests. Then with the speed of electric current the protests spread even further to other mohallas, then towns and even villages ultimately engulfing the whole valley. New slogans replaced the old. For the first time a camaraderie was witnessed between the security forces, who for once empathized with the local population because they knew the importance of cooking heaters and water boilers and the necessity of hooking on to the transmission lines. This bonhomie was consolidated even further what with people raising slogans of ‘Bunker Nahin Meter Hatao’ which would be responded to with the refrain ‘Tyre Nahin Heater Jalao!’ The protests remained by and large peaceful though there are reports that at places some youths resorted to pelting fused bulbs at transformers and local offices of the electricity department.

Now it is to be expected that where there are protests there will be leaders. Other than out-of-work leaders who crawl out of the woodwork whenever mass protests erupt, new leaders also appeared on the scene as the electric protests became widespread. There was this particular fellow who caught the imagination of the people and quickly rose to prominence as a leader of the masses. A retired lineman (though some say he was ‘jabri retaer’ that is dismissed from service!) nicknamed ‘Voltage Bulb’ dominated the podium with his electrifying speeches. A small head, a clean shaven face made even smaller by the bulk of his torso, a pendulous belly and the habit of wearing whites bright enough to shame those detergent ads on the TV he did look like a voltage bulb! They said he had performed the Hajj pilgrimage six times and would have exceeded this number had he not been permanently banned from entering the Saudi territory after being caught tampering with an electric meter outside the Holy Kaaba. “It is Allah Taala’s house after all,” he would later explain. “I was only trying to earn Sawaab by decreasing His Electricity Bill!” 

I myself was present at one of his speeches. “They say…,” he said and paused dramatically, “They say Kashmir is a political problem. They…,” again that dramatic pause, “They MISLEAD YOU! I say…,” another dramatic pause, “I say Kashmir is basically a VOLTAGE PROBLEM!”  The crowd exploded into a mighty applause.

It was during this historic speech that ‘Voltage Bulb’ announced the formation of a new party. “In keeping with our agenda we announce the setting up of a real peoples’ party the ‘Heater-Boiler Party’. Our election symbol will be a Heater with a Boiler standing next to it. When I was serving the power department as some of you here can attest, I charged a mere 50 rupees per month and ensured that people got unlimited electricity in my area. And I solved their voltage problem by giving double-phase connections. This was when I served the department. Imagine my performance if you give me a chance to serve the Nation! Power dho Paawar Lo!”

The speech has both the local establishment as well as the Center rattled. Meanwhile, the ‘Voltage Bulb’s’ popularity continues to grow…

(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 snp_ajazbaba@yahoo.com)

Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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