Frozen Pain in Kashmir

They say pain is without sight, for it is clouded. It’s without heart as it is hard. It’s without soul since it is drowned. And, of course, it’s without scream because it is muffled.

There is always a mystical sense of reality captured by the shock and bewilderment associated with the pain. Everything slows in stillness but a strange scream remains shrieking in the backdrop. We seem trapped in a world of anger and rage, and we see only red through our eyes. Rarely anyone seems to see when we are going through this time or understand why.

The common masses of Kashmir are hemmed in the same paradox of aching pain. Everything is a lie for them. Vanishing hopes and broken promises smothers their being. Even as they put up a façade of usual living, they are lost in a silent rant and rave, a simmering discontent.

Affairs here are in a bedlam. There is absolute wretchedness. This winter we were again witness to things that are the hallmark of Kashmir; its USP so to say. The Snowfall. The Blocked Highway. Poor Communication. Electricity Outage. Lack of Road Connectivity et al.

Decade after decade, we have developed a sort of inertia to all these happenings in winter, one leading to other and so on. We are bereft of any institutionalized contingency plans to mitigate the effects of prolonged bad weather and instead our administration is only seen in knee-jerk reaction mode doing the proverbial balancing act. Usually, meetings are convened to take stock of the situation

How many times we must have seen all this and yet the situation on the ground for a layman is the same. Most of the officials in chic designer outfits pose before the cameras to brief the public that All is Well. On the top of it, we are served hundred and one excuses as to why electricity could not be restored in time; and why snowed roads can’t be cleared soon.

Well, most of the times ‘Power-politics’ is something which has kept so many people alive here and the situation is unlikely to change for good, given the numerous beneficiaries of ‘power-mess’ we have here. Our officialdom relies on shades of people, some of whom have ‘carved out a niche’ of sorts by being ‘adept at situation-handling’, while it is them who usually play the spoilsport whenever things could move forward and change.

Well, it is one thing to utter lies and cook up statistics for meetings and press-handouts and quite the other to pull-up your bootstraps and take some concrete measures for setting your own house and yourself in order.

Take the national highway. Journey on it has become one of the most dangerous propositions: thanks to flip-flop measures aimed at regulation but ultimately designed to create congestion and beat the hell-out of hapless passengers. The worst part of all this is apathy and hapless conditions under which women, children and men are allowed to inch into the mouth of death by stranding on it—the virtual cold hell, notorious road that has taken toll of human life continuously and ruthlessly. Still, our officials will hold a meeting promising that moon and stars are likely to be offered to every traveler on road from next winter. Until then, all of you are travelling at your own risk and responsibility!!

The utter disdain with which our systems play with human life is outrageous. None of the experts, of whatever standing, has contributed anything substantial by way of long term planning and measures for which they would be remembered by the posterity. Instead, they have played havoc with all the good things by their manipulation, owing to their proximity to power corridors.

Take the filling up of Nallah Mar, the building of roads in and around Dal-lake: these are just a few examples of their ill-conceived plans. The present mismanagement of the lake and other water bodies is being comfortably and callously watched by most of the powers that have any say. More often, malpractices are so vivid in the operations at all levels and yet we hear justifications defending the indefensible. Preview meetings, Review meetings and Meeting meetings are held, and a rosy picture is painted to keep the “media pot boiling”.

Bottomline: In a nutshell, you will find the same chaos and confusion in most of the spheres of life in Kashmir. There is no one listening to all the pandemonium. There are only atrocious sadists around. Demons of thirst are lurking indifference. Fate is acting as a cold and cruel prankster, and circumstances playing unkind jokes with us.