Nazir Josh – known as comedy king of Kashmir – plays a politician in a television serial of good old times. (This is other than his classic Ahad Raza character – that so far has been the deepest dig at Kashmir politics etched in the memory of people since late ‘80s). Addressing a crowd of barbers, butchers, farmers, vendors, and cart-pullers in a remote village, he reads his election manifesto. With it, he justifies that he – and he alone – is the candidate who deserves to come in power. Why? Because he can offer what his rivals can’t. People demand the same old Bijli, Sadak, Pani which they don’t have. But their leader promises something far greater. Here he goes:
`If you vote me to power, I will give this small village three airports, ten hospitals, twelve schools, twenty colleges, and twenty five universities’.
That was a master stroke on all the usual manifestos of politicians who sell promises to buy votes. He knew what he is promising is a promise only. That is why he made it as big as it gets.
Over to the pledges, promises and commitments we come across these days. Our Josh-inspired political parties even go beyond. What Josh promised may – by some fluke – come true. But the fairy tales they sell are even funnier.
National Conference – to whom we owe all our pain – is going far too ahead while laying their roadmap. They will restore what they have themselves sold to buy their own throne. Josh promised only three airports to a village, they promise each village its own moon, own sun, own sky – and not to forget – its own Prime Minister.
PDP is no way behind in scripting the edited version of the old promises. They have taken the `poison’ once and they paid the price. But the father `did it for people’ and the daughter had no option but to `fulfill her late father’s dream’. In this in-house parent-child co-production people had no role – except to vote. But now it won’t be so. They will be back with a renewed force and a promise to serve Kashmir and Kashmiris.
The BJP could swear by secular traditions for the moment. But they have a bigger fish to catch in Delhi. They may not promise imaginary airports here as they have the same to sell elsewhere for a better bargain. Indian National Congress is a disrobed king that dreams of a crown again. They can even promise green against the saffron – if they know it assures them the throne.
And then those who want the oldies to be replaced. They think if they take over the reins, angels will descend from heavens. All bad will be replaced with all good. Justice will be done by default as you won’t have to fight to seek it.
Everyone itches for a chance and everyone should. After all politics is `the art of exploring the possible’. But yes `exploring the POSSIBLE’. The problem with our politicians is while making their election manifesto they leap over the line of possibility. Promising the impossible is not smart politics. We don’t want to fly in the skies, we want a walk on the ground.